Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Tamil Film Actor of Theatrical Excellence.



    






            
      During the last century, quite a number of actors gradually moved to the big screen from the stage like a cluster of stars. Starting from great heroes like P.U.Chinnappa,K.R.Ramasamy, MGR and Sivaji Ganesan, many villain and character actors also enriched Tamil Cinema with their theatrical experience.The list would include many actors like M.N.Nambiyar,M.R.Radha, TKS Brothers, S.V.Sahasranamam ,V.S.Raghavan and the most illustrious comedian N.S.Krishnan. In this list there was another amazing actor, well built in body frame and impressive in looks, with a pair of clear, bold eyes. That was R.S.Manohar, an exemplary stage artist who founded his own National Theatres and performed many stage plays of which remains, the immortal play Ilangeswaran eulogizing the epic grandeur of Raavana, the king of Sri Lanka who as per the epic Ramayana, kidnapped Rama’s wife Sita and kept her as captive. I have heard many of my friends telling that besides the deviation in narration and glorification of an anti hero,the unique technicalities involved in the stage presentation of a newer version of the epic resulted in a grand appreciation of the live show of a theatrical extravaganza. R.S.Manohar came to be known as Lankeswaran Manohar.
    As a film actor R.S.Manohar is rightly remembered as a dedicated, talented and diligent artist. The fact that he was closer to both MGR and Sivaji Ganesan and that he was a favoured actor of the Modern Theatres,R.R.Pictures,Sathya Movies , Gemini Pictures and Sujatha Cine Arts Pictures, are enough to prove his credentials as a remarkable performer. Manohar was good at fencing and boxing and had a face fit for playing mythological, historical and family roles. He was  equally convincing as a villain and character actor. He had a gruffly voice and with that he would deliver clear dialogues through calculated efforts.His well built physique added to his sparkling image as a powerful villain and henchman. His levels of sobriety in role performance were creditably high. But he had a face fit for performing humorous roles also, as he did it Vallavanukku Vallavan for the song sequence ‘’Paaradi Kanne Konjam/Paithiyamanadhu Nenjam’’.
    In mythological roles, be it that of Ravana or Lord Shiva, he was  facially compact like S.V.Rengarao,who had a perfect face to fit into any character from Hindu mythology. Manohar was magnificent as Lord Shiva in the film Datchayakgnam with Jamuna as Goddess Parvathi. It was almost like watching Sivaji Ganesan as Shiva in Thiruvilaiyaadal. Though the film was not a hit its memories are inerasable for those who had watched it. The other mythical films of Manohar were, Thiruneelakandar and Mahakavi Kalidas.  In royal garbs Manohar was greatly appealing in films like Raja Raja Cholan, Aayirathil Oruvan and Adimaippen. When it comes to villainy, Manohar had an independently fascinating style of performance  with regard to body language, dialogue delivery and aspects relating to stunt scenes. Nobody can forget the boxing scene at the start of the film Kaavalkaaran that showed MGR and R.S.Manohar  in a professionally rich form.The fencing scene between him and MGR in Aayirathil Oruvan was another treat.Almost all his fight sequences with MGR in films like Panakkaara Kudumbam,Parakkum Paavai,Panam Padiathavan, Olivilakku, Rickshawkaaran and Idhayakkani were full of fire and ferocity.
      R.S.Manohar performed villainy with force and brutality in several films like Naan,Parakkum Paavai, Raaja,Vallavan Oruvan,Idhayakkani and Rickshawkaaran. Like M.N.Nambiyar,He enjoyed equal intimacy with both MGR and Sivaji Ganesan. If he would have acted in more than fifteen films with MGR, he had also shared screen space with Sivaji Ganesan in Raja,En Magan,Rojavin Raja , Sivagaamiyin Selvan,Raja Raja Cholan, Sangili, Paattum Baradhamum,Chitra Pournami and Mahakavi Kalidas.The other popular heroes with whom Manohar got into fisticuffs on the screen were Jaishankar and Ravichandran.The number will be more with Jaishankar because both of them were  favourite actors of the Modern Theatres.RS.Manohar would have acted in almost all Modern Theatres' releases including Chitraangi,Petra Maganai Vitra Annai and Konjum Kumari.Similarly he was a regular addition in the films of R.R.Pictures' films.The other memorable films of Manohar are the most historic Konjum Salangai,and the greatly valued film Idhayakamalam besides the children movie Pattanathil Bhoodham.
     Some of the hero-cum- character roles Manohar  performed were in films like Vannakkili, Vallavanukku Vallavan and Kaidhi Kannayiram. In Vannakkili it was a redeemable negative role that brought him a lot of accolades from the audience.Similarly,Manohar's character almost as hero carried a telling position as a cop in the old film with the lengthiest title''Thayaipoal Pillai Nolaippoal Selai''In Iru Vallavargal it was again a redeemable negative role, as the elder brother of Jaishankar. All these films became hits and Manohar’s contribution was noticeably on the higher side, in all these films. Manohar has acted with many heroes from MGR to Pandiarajan. His  films with Rajnikanth like Billa,Thee and Thangamagan were super hits. What is more significant in Manohar’s role assignment is that he would be a crucial character in carrying on the tempo or suspense in narration of the main plot ,however small his role was. This is how his role solved a ticklish issue of the husband suspecting the fidelity of the wife as seen in the film Vaazhkapadagu, {another Gemini pictures movie before the release of Olivilaaku}.Manohar’s character served a similar purpose in Thangamagan.In Rickshakkaran,as the wayward husband of Padmini,he would play a major role in finally exposing the darker side of a judge, played by Major Sundarajan.
    Whatever be the character that was offered to him and however small it was,R.S.Manohar was never lagging behind in his dedication and whole hearted contribution to the delivery of the role in its perfect presentation. The salient part of his acting mode was his calculated manner of dialogue delivery with relevant display of contextual emotion and flawless diction with proper stress and intonation. This must have been one of the positive impacts of his regular stage performance. It was his devotion to the stage that groomed his acting style on the screen with necessary changes incorporated on a modest scale. The over all impact was ultimately the audience getting closer to the nuances of theatrical excellence scrupulously  displayed on the screen  as the right kind of comprehensive evolution in acting.It was this factor that constantly projected R.S.Manohar as an actor different from  the others,who are making straight entry into Cinema, without  getting routed through the stage. The end result is R.S.Manohar is remembered today as a dramatist, stage colossus and film actor with infallible grace, embracing all his profiles.   
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