Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tamil Film Directors as Actors.


       It is a known fact that quite a few Tamil actors here and there take a fancy for directing films once a way. But very rarely did directors show much interest in acting at least till the middle of Nineteen eighties.For quite long,without the facility of television channels,very little opportunity was there even to see the photos of highly esteemed directors like A.Bhimsingh, A.C. Thirulokchander,
 P.  Madhavan, K.S. Gopala krishnan,K. Balachander, Balu Mahendra,J. Mahendran,P. Neelakandan and S.P.Muthu raman.It was A.P.Nagarajan who first appeared as Poet Nakkeeran in his most popular film Thiruvilaiyaadal  and made an eternal mark by his clear and chaste delivery of Tamil dialogues.Then directors like K.Vijayan began to appear at least in a single scene of their films. New Age spokesman Barathiraja too  has acted in a couple of films. Chitra Lakshmanan  who served as Assitant director of Barathiraja,became a regular actor playing character and comedy roles,of  course, simultaneously directing films like Kamal's  Soorasamhaaram and Prabu's Periya Thambi. Same is the case with Director Ramesh Kanna who is now more known as a comedian than film director.
      It was T.Rajender who  after giving his mega hit movie Oruthalai Raagam in the mid Seventies, began to seriously try acting, first in character roles and then as hero in a few movies.Tamil film viewers can never forget his sterling performance  as the elder brother of heroines in films like Thangaikkor Geedham and .En Thangai Kalyani.As a hero he was impressive in Mythili Ennai Kaadhali and Samsaara Sangeedham.His other popular movies were  Oru Thaayin Sabadham Sonnaaldhaan Kaadhalaa,Kaadhal Azhivadhillai and Veerasaamy.What made T.Rajender from the other film makers was his constantly valid sentimental themes and the emotionally intense depiction of scenes and characters in all his movies.Quite often melodramatic outbursts would make his narration and acting very appealing to the viewers.His Tamil specially known for its thrust on alliteration in framing dialogues placed him on a distinct pedestal as a film maker.His lyrics and music composition have never failed to create the intended emotional impact on the audience. T.Rajender could be called a pioneer among directors turning to acting, without losing his grip in the manifold management of film making involving multifarious tasks like direction,acting,music composition,dialogues and lyrics writing, singing,dancing and fighting.He can be called the grand master of film making.  
     From the Nineteen Eighties onward, many film directors vigorously looked upon the tinsel world with a passion for acting.While some have been doing a successful round as character actors,a few of them have played hero roles with zeal and conviction, to the extent of casting indelible impressions on  the mind of the audience,by creating an exclusive space for themselves on the big screen. SomeTamil film  directors occupy distinguished positions in this regard.
      K.Bagyaraj and  R.Parthiban,who began to direct themselves as heroes  created some box office hits.Tamil film audience owe a lot to these two men of meritorious talent, for unfolding an awesome evolution of creativity in celluloid form.Both these men are intelligent performers with ripeness of imagination and right understanding of reality and fiction.As actors,they have excellently brought out the intrinsic layers of ideas and emotions perfectly channelized in the right form, to win the audience mood.It is their sharpness of understanding the right themes and story lines of appealing under- currents ,that enabled them to create waves among the movie goers, and project them as the right type of film makers and actors.The audience earnestly loved to watch the pranks and mischievous deliberations of Bagyaraj and  Parthiban whose focus on dialogues was not only inventive but also thought provoking.Both have consistently reflected their avowed preference for the humour  track  for a valued journey of thoughts and emotions towards an enlightening destination. While Bagyaraj  has attracted everyone by his innate geniality,Parthiban has become closer by his sharpness and witticism.The best of Bagyaraj are  films like Mouna Geedhangal,Andha Ezhu Naatkal,Darling Darling Darling and Mudhaanai Mudichu. Parthiban  has to his credit films such as Pudhiya Paadhai,Housefull, Barathi Kannamma and Kaakkai Chraginile. Despite this restrictive listing one could very well say that as actors,both of them have never failed to entertain the audience by their common sense and commendable wit.A long list of their films would vindicate this observation.  
    Then came Raj Kiran who turned hero in the film 'En Raasaavin Manasile',directed by himself and produced by Kasturi Raja He,continued as hero in a few other movies like Aranmanai Kili,Manickam and a few others for which he was the director too..The first two films were box office hits.Later Raj Kiran  began  to do character roles very impressively and is busy doing a great round in many movies.Films like Nanda, Sandakkozhi, Kaavalan,Vangai,Kirieedom and the most recent Manjappai,have substantially established his capacity for portraying character roles with self made layers of naturally rustic and authentically rural attributes.
     Director Ramarajan,well known for his impressive narration of rural themes,began to cast himself as hero and created a success wave for some time, with his remarkable hits like Enga Ooru Paattuk kaaran, Kargaattakkaaran,Thangamana Rasa, Manasukketha Maharaasaa,Paatuukku Naan Adimai and many other films.Music component was the special attraction of the movies cited and the credit goes to Ilayaraja also.  Ramarajan being a great admirer of MGR,followed his pet hero's principles of film making in choice of costumes,priority to music and projection of righteous men, as heroes of his films.However,after sometime,his successive films began to suffer on account of lack of freshness in story line and absence of tempo in presentation.
     The two contemporary,dynamic directors P.Vasu and K.S.Ravikumar  have joined the thespian journey either for a short duration or for a significant slot.While P.Vasu is  meant  for serious type of roles,K.S.Ravikumar has been doing just the opposite. Vasu  has taken up villain roles{eg Then kasipattanam}or the character of a self-possessed individual as in Seenu.It is  difficult to imagine him perform comedy roles. Whereas Ravikumar has  been compact as a villain {Putham Pudhu Payanam needs a special mention}as well as in stepping into comedy and character performance together.{Arul and quite a few other films} Of late, he is in the habit of appearing at least in a song scene of any film directed by him'.For instance,his appearance for a few seconds for the song sequence 'Ohoho Kicku Yerudhe' in Rajini's Padayappa created a specially fascinating impact.
    Late director-cum-actor Manivannan started his game, first as a villain in Barathi Raja's movie Kodi Parakkudhu and later, in many films as a comedian and character actor. No one can forget his voluminous and qualitative contribution to Tamil cinema for nearly three decades.His exceptional roles were in movies like Ullathai Allithaa,Amaidhippadai,Maaman Magal,Vaanavil,Sangamam and Mettukkudi. Though  he claimed a remarkable position as director,his spontaneity and level of energy in essaying character and comedy roles were of a unique kind in the line of immortal actors like S.V.Rengarao,M.R.Radha and T.S.Balaiah of the previous century.Manivannan could effectively emote in performing father characters and he could beautifully display frames of modesty and arrogance with consummate degree of perception.He seemed to have established unfailing levels of rapport with actor Sathyaraj which remained intact, throughout his life time.
   Following the footsteps of  Manivannan,  several other directors like R.Sundarajan, Manobala, Sundar.C.Cheran and S.J.Surya came into lime light, the first two as character actors and the rest as heroes.Though R.Sundarajan would not have succeeded like Manivannan in the field of acting his involved performance in films like Makkal Aatchi, Marumalarchi,Kaalam Maaripoechu, Paattaali,and Soorya Vamsam has been a clear indicator of his wonderful acting stuff,particularly when it comes to delivering both heavily emotional and humorous roles. Sundarajan has  acted impressively in many films but as a director he has given many silver jubilee hits on a regular basis.Films like Payanagal Mudivadhillai, Naan Paadum Paadal,Amman Koil Kizhakkaale Vaidhehi Kaathirundhaal  Mella Thirandhadhu Kadhavu and Rajini's blockbuster film Rajaathi Raaja will symbolize his Midas touch as movie director.As an actor he has joined the band wagon of great heroes like Vijayakanth,Sathyaraj,Sarathkumar,Vijay and Parthiban. As director he holds the proud position of directing Vijayakanth,Mohan,Parthiban,Sathyaraj and above all Rajinikanth.The Tamil film world owes more to his directorial merit than his role performance.
    Manobala who  directed Rajini's popular film Oorkkaavalan has also given us great movies like Pillai Nila and Karuppu Vellai. He is also known for directing Mallu Veitti  Minor,a well known Sathyaraj film. But today Manobala,with his lanky frame of body,sunken cheeks and disheveled hair,remains as more prominent comedy star capable of generating laughter moments just by his appearance and by his casual manner of notable dialogue delivery.Very often I used to think that if Shakespeare's Julius Caesar is made in Tamil,Manobala will be the fittest person to do the role of Cassius.{Caesar normally would refer to Cassius as 'lean and hungry looking'}Manobala has proved without any reservation that he is ever ready to play the role of a fake Sanyasi or a pimp or a sidekick with spontaneous ease and perfection.He has also been chic in the role of a helpless cop or a hapless father  taunted by his irresponsible son.If R.Sundarajan  has been more successful on the directorial side, Manobala has been a better actor than director.
    Sundar.C has already occupied a vital page in this blog taking a specific article that would add merit to this blog.Starting his film career as a successful director of many comedies and farces,he took to acting hero roles with considerable image and films like Thalainagaram, Veeraappu,and Aaudham Seivom will testify greatly to his acting core.However he has once again resumed his directorial responsibility with a fresh shower of comedy hits like Kalakalappu  and Theeyaa Vela Seiyyanam Kumaru. Cheran,a self- made creative artist owes to his credit critically acclaimed movies like Paaandavar Bhoomi, Porkaalam,Vetrikkodikattu and Autograph,the last one marking his career as a hero.It is Cheran's  dedication and unrelenting conviction for norms that have taken him on the higher side of the movie ladder.His other films like Solla Marandha Kadhai,Maya Bazaar,Raman Thedia Seedhai and Chennaiyil Oer Naal have all shown his unflinching devotion to acting and his sense of sobriety has been his singular trait.If the other directors mentioned above are distinctly humour-prone, Cheran always seems to be laid up with a mood of heaviness and melancholy reflecting most often the negative feel that 'God is not in heaven and all is wrong with the world'.But there is always a feel of dignity,inspiring the actor in Cheran, that places him on a higher pedestal to be noticed, remembered and preserved in a Platonic frame.
     S.J.Surya the ace director of mega hits like Vaalee and Kushi,with Ajith and Vijay  respectively, all of a sudden developed an urge for acting may be due to his stylish,Sharu kahan  kind of looks.Unfortunately, his films like Anbe Aaruyire, Kalvanin Kaadhali, Viyabari and Newtanin Moonraam Vidhi did not yield the expected result,despite the fact that Surya was fascinating and powerful in doing the roles that he took for himself, to portray.His clear,nasally sharp and forceful delivery of dialogues is his special asset.He is good looking and lovely too,as an actor.But success has so far eluded him.
   The latest list of directors launching their acting spell are the 'S' duo Sasikumar and  Samuthirakani and the other equally popular, Mysskin. Roles of  subdued sentimental display have gone to the favourable  side of Sasikumar{Subramanyapuram and SundaraPandian are significant samples} and he has been doing a smart job in this regard. Samuthirakkani  is always down to earth,both as a villain {Subramanyapuram}  and realistic protagonist be it as a cop or school teacher.{ Eesan and Saattai respectively}.Later as the father of Danush in Velaiyilla Pattadhaari,he played his role very convincingly.Besides Tamil films, Samuthirakkani  has become the favourite of the Malayalam film industry,by taking up characters that would stick to one's memory.Mysskin who is much focussed on the darker side of crime and compunction has proved to be a credible performer of poignant and penetrating characters as seen in Nandalaalaa and Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum.
    Among the director-cum-actors, it is Bagyaraj and  Parthiban who were able to create a sustained hero image for themselves for a solid period. Manivannan  and  Manobala as comedians and character actors, have surpassed their directorial position to a great extent. Sundar.C and Cheran have evenly shuttled between directing films and acting in them. R.Sundarajan   and S.J.Soorya could be acknowledged as better directors than actors.Beyond these observations, the fact always remains that most directors are actors first, because it is the acting frame in their centre of creativity that drives them properly, to direct all actors and actresses in their appropriately presentable form.


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