Monday, December 5, 2016

பெண்மையின் போர்வாள் .





              பெண்மையின் போர்வாள்  . .

அறிவும் ஆற்றலும் அமைந்தொரு அகரமாய்,
எறியவும் எதிரியின் கணைகளை ஏற்கவும்
மறவரின்  மனபலம் மதியுடன் கொண்டநீ,
குறையாக் கம்பீரத்தில், அலைகடல் ஆனாய்!

திறனுடன் ஆளுமை திரையில்,அவையில் 
நிறைவுடன் புகுத்தி, நெஞ்சினில் நின்று,
சிறப்புடன் செல்வாக்கு நிரம்பப் பெற்று,
பிறப்பின் புகழில் பெருமிதம் பெற்றாய்! 

உறவுகள் மக்களென உறுதியுடன் உணர்ந்து               
சிறகுகள் விரித்தவர் சிந்தையில் பறந்தாய்!
மறவா மக்களின் மாபெரும் பலமாகி,
இறவா அன்பினில் இரண்டறக் கலந்தாய்.!

வெறுமை  விதையினை வலிகளாய் விதைத்து, 
இறைவன் மலரடியில் இணைந்தாய் இன்று.  


                                                                 . சந்திரசேகரன்.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Rajiv Menon's Two Rejuvenating Tales of Romance,


   











     

        Tamil Cinema has established its proud position marching through decades of remarkable contribution by a galaxy of talents, that include reputed film production units,eminent film makers amazing actors extraordinary cinematographers, musical wizards and several others taking care of the various segments of film making.Some have made their long innings and carved an immortal niche for themselves. Many have retained their powerful place in the film industry for quite long.But very rarely have we come across, a film maker leaving an indelible mark with just a couple of films. Rajiv Menon who made Minsaara Kanavu  and Kandukondein Kandukondein,the two ultra refined films, stays acknowledged as a breezy film maker of outstanding merit.
    Rajiv Menon needs a special pat for giving the audience something totally different from what they were used to watching.The first of his two films  produced under the biggest AVM banner,has been reputed for leaving celebrated memories of delicate touches of romance.It was a fine,feather touch tale of love, involving two guys and a girl.One of the two guys, and the girl were schoolmates and childhood acquaintances and the other turned out to be an accidental intruder, with unique characteristics of ruggedness, warmth and sprightliness,the qualities that would easily attract any woman.Here the wealthy girl was a decisive spinster readying herself to put on the ecclesiastical attire .But her rich childhood cousin was dreaming all the time about winning her hand in love.
    What mattered more was the exciting cast of the movie. Menon went in for the Bollywood Kajole, bypassing all the actresses here and it beautifully worked out. Kajole was seen as a sweet mix of toughness and tenderness reflecting a balanced inclusion of the felicity and agony of falling in love, with just a role play of her sparkling eyes and adept body language.Similarly, she poignantly brought out the conflicting emotions arising out of her chosen spinsterhood and the sudden occurrence of falling in love.While handsome Arvindsamy neatly performed as the chocolate boy and dreamer of romance,Prabu Deva caught our imagination by his rugged charm and nimble niceties of role performance as a youth capable of creating sparks of love in a girl. S.P.Balasubramanyam and Girish Karnard were perfect in their paternal roles.
    The casual happening of love between the poor, happy-go-lucky Prabu Deva and the nun- to- be Kajole, was exuberantly narrated by Rajiv Menon, with exquisite scenic display and aesthetic grandeur.The brilliant musical composition of A.R.Rehaman was another great talking point.I still keep on wondering about the most poetic cinematography of the song sequence "Vennilave Vennilave".How enchantingly Prabu Deva and Kajole would move their limbs in very close proximity,without touching each other and how like an escapologist they would get disentangled without actually getting physically entangled, finally reaching the irresistible embrace.It was an exotic visual extravaganza projecting  windy dance movements, shuttling between  breeze and storm.It was like the fascinating experience of passing through the peerless lines of 'Ode on the Grecian Urn' of John Keats.No doubt the film generated electrifying dreams for a huge section of the audience, with its neat narration and energizing songs like ''Poopookkum Osai''."Manamadhurai Mamarathu" "Strawberry Kanne""Thanga Thamarai Nilave"and "Anbenra"besides the scintillating "Vennilave Vennilave"
      Rajiv Menon's other film "Kandu Kondein Kandu Kondein" based on Jane Austen's famous novel 'Sense and Sensibility' created an experience of watching a constellation of stars from the North and South.There were Aiswarya Rai,Tabu and Abbas from Bollywood,Mammootty from the Malayalam film industry and Tamil Cinema's great names like Ajit,Manivannan,Raguvaran,Nizhalgal Ravi, Srividya and S.N.Lakshmi.As an avid reader of all the novels of Jane Austen starting from Pride and Prejudice to Persuasion, I did enjoy watching the film that warmed up the core of the book with the big screen.The underplay of emotions by Mammootty,Ajit,Tabu and Srividya stood in sharp contrast with the dramatic uproar of Abbas,Aiswarya Rai and Manivannan.
      This was another version of romance demonstrated by conflicting interests and emotional outbursts between two pairs of lovers played by Ajit and Tabu on the one hand and Abbas and Aiswarya Rai on the other.How the war affected Mammootty mellowed the boiling mood of Aiswarya and saved her from the emotional turmoil resulting from jilted love, was brought home through subdued narration.Like Minsara Kanna this film was also known for its exalting music core with unforgettable songs like Enna Solla Pogiraai,Yenge Enadhu Kavidhai,Konjum Mainaakale Kanna Moochi Yenada and the title song Kandukondein Kandukondein composed by the same A.R.Reheman.
       Both the films were rocking romances with distinguished themes and story lines narrated in a different vein. While the former was a consummate tale of romance the latter was a family drama too. The romantic dynamism of Minsara Kanna inspired the audience to a great extent.Whereas Kandu Kondein Kandukondein was a blend of usual family emotions and those of expectations and the consequent moments of disappointments and pangs of separation arising out of the misplaced expectations. Aiswarya Rai compactly revealed the vagaries in her characterization with the mature Mammootty making her, getting into terms with the practical implications of life. Tabu elegantly reflected her suppressed emotions and Ajit was in full form of youth with his creative and histrionic formulations. Minsara Kanna was meant for all sorts of audience thanks to the popular presence of Prabu Deva. But the Menon's second film Kanukondein Kandukondein,appeared to reach a selective group of audience, on account of its inherent layers of consistently felt elegant touches in narration.On the whole it could be said that, with two films Rajiv Menon created a life time impact of a rejuvenating, film watching experience.
                                  ==================0=====================       

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Fim Maker without Sound and Fury.





    Film directors of the action genre are of different kinds.Tamil film industry has the singular pride of having enrolled and patronized a galaxy of men, in making action films.Starting from P.Neelakandan, M.A.Thirumumugam T.R.Sundaram, and A.Jaganathan,the list will go unending. Modern Tamil cinema has been enriched by astute action film makers like Shankar, Lingusamy, P.Vasu,A.R Murugadoss and many others.Of these Shankar has established a unique position as the most technically savvy director.But there is one action film maker who proved to be distinct in his approach to the action genre, through subtle touches in narration along with a racy focus on the vital segments of an action film such as romance,crime and social justice.It is K.Subash,who breathed his last yesterday, in his mid fifties.
    Starting with his moderately reviewed Kaliyugam released in 1988,K.Subash has made about fifteen Tamil films.The other notable fact is that he wrote the story for five Hindi films of which the most popular Chennai Express is also one.His last film was 1,2,3 pictured on a lighter vein, depicting the interesting vagaries of three physically impaired guys, falling in love with the same girl.The best two films of Subash were Bramma,starring Sathyaraj and Banupriya and Chatriyan with Vijayakanth and Banupriya. These two films could be called big action bonanzas, keeping completely intact,the gripping factors of speed, tempo and vigor in narration from the beginning till the end.
      While the thriller effect was more in Bramma, the toughness and devil may care attitude of the hero was an impressive feature of Chatriyan. Both carried the aesthetic components in narration significantly enriched by delicate touches of romance and the grandeur of music. Kushbu remained as an enchanting addition to Bramma, Revathi was a symbol of piety and submissive womanhood in Chatriyan. In both the films Banupriya gracefully contributed to the over all visual grandeur. Vijayakumar was a sweet tongued villain in Bramma and an unflinching police officer in Chatriyan. Thilagan  remains memorable as the crude and devilish Annachi of Chatriyan. Both  Satyaraj and Vijayanth took their respective films to highly creditable levels by their commanding grip of their character potential standing up in spirit, as the incarnation of bravery. Subash needs a special pat for narrating these two action films with well knit dynamism and dauntlessness in character evolution and contextual validity.These two incomparable films will always stand to his credit.
      Pangali was another Sathyaraj film directed by Subash. Here too Banupriya was paired with the hero.But in this film which was a revenge drama, Satyaraj played dual roles.Napoleon played the ruthless villain, keeping his nephew in a cave with guardian Vijayakumar, whose tongue the villain did not hesitate to slash.Some of the scenes in the movie reminded the audience of a few happenings in the MGR blockbuster Adimai Penn.The film went in for mixed reviews.However the Sathyaraj and Goundamani team did not fail to provide their usual cheeky side of humor.
       Subash has worked with leading heroes like Prabu,Satyaraj,Vijayakant,Ajith  Parthiban and Prabu Deva. He needs a special acknowledgement for showing Raguvaran in two totally diagonal dimensions, as the meekest lawyer in Kaliyugam and the most menacing villain Masilamani, in Abimanyu. Similarly Parthiban was shown as an aggressive youth with an innate vengeance, to kill his devilish father Raguvaran in Abimanyu and as an extremely astute guy, outsmarting his wicked friend Ranjith in Sabash. The word sabash means "well done!" .At the end of the film Sabash, one could say 'well done!' not only to Parthiban but also to  director Subash for cleverly contriving the course of events in a tricky story line.Both Abhimanyu and Sabash are two special films of the action genre with elements of crime and justice carried on in two different ways.
      Prabudeva has the privilege of being inducted in three of the  films of Subash.There was a negative undercurrent running through all the three films. Poverty,social neglect,anguish of love and its related disappointment and the usual criminal element,dominated in the films Ninaivirukkumvarai and Ezhaiyin Sirippil. The third film 1,2,3 was both a farce and a silent tale of pain ably withstood by the three differently powered youth. Keerthi Reddy was fascinatingly compact in Ninaivirukkumvarai and Roja added both glamour and grace to Ezhaiyin Sirippil. Jyothika adeptly handled the three men with dignity and grace. Uthama Purushan the other film of Subash, was romance cum family drama. Subash was perhaps influenced by the memories of L.V.Prasad's great film Iruvar Ullam starring Sivaji Ganesan and Sarojadevi, in making the film Uthama Purushan with Prabhu Ganesan and Amala. This moderate film carried reverberating memories of the former.
     Some of the other films of Subash were Ajith's Pavithra and the multi star movie Suyamvaram.
It is really a sad thing that a film maker of merit died of an organ failure.The fact that as the son of Krishnan,the first part of the Director duo Krishnan Panju, K.Subash remained as a highly talented film maker and his films like Chatriyan,Bramma,Abhimanyu,Sabash,Kaliyugam and Ezhaiyin Sirippil will perpetually celebrate his memories, both as an action film maker and a director with a perfect understanding of the vital parameters of film making, aimed at entertaining the audience .In doing this, he had always been genuine in the sense, that he never resorted to needless moralizing, by raising the voice of reform or reorganization.It was his natural and modest handling of the action genre, with a precise perception of romance and sentiment, that came in handy for his narration of stories, events and characters.In other words, he was ever a self confident film maker, without sound and fury.  
                    

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Musical Genius is No More.




       This blog has dwelt upon many singers and music composers of Tamil film industry.With the blog writer's passion for Indian Cinema in general and Tamil cinema in particular,many aspects of the celluloid world were discussed recalling the grand moments of watching movies with absolute involvement and appreciation.But the writer of this blog did not so far venture into any deliberation on Carnatic music or on the most reputed Carnatic singers, for lack of knowledge and competence to delve into the most sacred stream of music.The writer's longstanding esteem and admiration for one of the most venerable musicians of the Indian subcontinent, who was extremely regarded for his multi dimensional musical calibre has to be recorded now, because the consecrating voice is now part and parcel of divinity. Yes. Dr. Balamurali Krishna who came to be naturally adored for his voice grandeur and instrumental efficacy, has reached the abode of God.
     The writer earnestly cherishes in his memory Dr.Balamurali Krishna's magnificently vibrating rendering of the song 'Chinna Kannan Azhaikkiraan' from the film Kavi Kuyil and the thought provoking soothing number 'Mounathil Vilaiyaadum Manasaatchiye' from Noolveli. So does the writer absorb into his soul the scintillating song Orunaal Podhuma?{Is one day enough for me to sing?} from the myth making veteran A.P.Nagarajan's Thiruvilaiyaadal. The song stays remembered for three reasons.Number 1}.It is from the splendid musical composition of K.V.Mahadhevan,an expert in classical music. Number 2}.The scenic tie up between the legendary actor T.S.Balaiah and the voice of the immortal singer Dr.Balamurali Krishna being in perfect blending. Number 3}.The competitive exuberance between  'Oru Naal Podhuma' and 'Paattum Naane' by the stentorian singer T.M. Soundarajan, being a prominent feature of this magnum opus of A.P.Nagarajan. It can rightly be said that the song 'Orunaal Podhuma' is not meant  for a day but for all times.
     As a singer Dr.Balamurali is indisputably a class by himself.This blog writer would also salute him for his wonderful role performance as Naradhar, for the fascinating mythological film Bhakta Prahlada, that came from the A.V.M banner.The film would never fail to create nostalgic moments for any film goer with aesthetic and spiritual quest  Dr.Balamurali, definitely enriched the quality of that film in his own way, along with the veteran actor S.V.Rengarao as Hiranya Kashipu and the then child artist Roja Ramani as Prahlada. This is what the writer  knows about Dr.Balamurali Krishna. The voice of the sacred singer would ever flow in the mind of the writer with its mighty rhythms of music. It is no exaggeration  to say that the world would rarely come upon a musical genius like him..

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

M.S.Bhaskar,the under utilized Comedian and Character Actor.

   










 

      Comedy actors performing character roles, is not new to Tamil Cinema.Comedians like N.S.Krishnan,T.S.Dorairaj, K.A.Thangavelu, Nagesh and Thengai Srinivasan have shown their brilliance as character actors.Similarly character actors like V.K.Ramasamy,T.S.Balaiah and Delhi Ganesh have also beautifully reflected their flair for comedy shows.In these lines there is another actor who set his foot as an actor on the big screen years back in 1982 and there after maintained a slow and steady race, on the double tracks of television and cinema.It is M.S.Bhaskar who has simultaneously created a track record as a television serial actor and Tamil film comedian and character actor.
     Many of us may not remember his role in his first film Thirumathi Vegumathi,directed by Visu. Nor has he retained a stable position in the film industry in terms of consistency and continuity.He would have seen ups and downs and even a period of hiatus.If it had been some other actor,they would have lost hope and left the field.But he sustained the trials and periods of neglect and proved his resilience. This is something special about him.
     It is directors like Perarasu and Radha Mohan who regularly made use of his talent for comedy and character role performance.One extraordinary thing about him is his effortless mode of acting. Whether it is comedy or character role, he does it with spontaneity and ease, that makes his delivery a casual occurrence.With his sobre looks, one would doubt if he can deliver humour so as to generate instant laughter.But a scene like the one showing him in a fully drunken state, causing a lot of flutter for Vadivelu and Pandiarajan, in Enga Anna, is enough to show his capacity for generating a great blast of comedy.His other memorable role was in Dum Dum Dum, as a family doctor, periodically playing a foul game of cards, that creates havoc to the extent of breaking a marriage.
     His Nellai Tamil accent in that film was so natural that it would have been a cake  walk for him to speak the same dialect of Tamil, as a tea stall owner, in Kamal's latest film Paapanaasam. His three other Kamalahasan films are Unnai Pol Oruvan, Dhasaavadhaaram and Uthama Villain. Whether it is the character of a lawyer[Sivakasi],or broker [Thiruppachi] or coach {Azhagiya Thamizh Magan}or conductor [Thamizhan]  or police constable[Arima Nambi] he would perform each role with its inherent layers perfectly reflected in  role delivery. He has even appeared as the personal Assistant of the Chief Secretary in Rajijikanth's blockbuster Sivaji. He was equally convincing as a  Christian Father in Mozhi. He also created a significant impact as a mad guy in Varalaaru and as a sleeping accountant, in Kaavalan. One could see him sleeping even while standing, in the latter film.No one can forget his hilarious role performance as the shamelessly casual maternal uncle of Vijay, in Velayudham.
     Most of the recent Tamil releases have included him at least in a minor role.One such role is that of an astrologer [Naadi Josiyer] in Demonte Colony. His other latest films are Vellakaara Dhurai, Ivanukku Thannila Kandam, India Pakistan,36 Vayadhinile.His recent appearance as a local bigwig in Radha Mohan's Uppu Karuvadu created a sterling impact with his flair for poetry and the final powerful poetic outburst on the elopement of his daughter.
     M.S.Bhaskar's entries are many and the types of characters he has performed are equally innumerable.His bald head and untrimmed beard are his popular trademarks showing him as a simpleton and not as a heavy weight in appearance.But when it comes to performance he truly fulfills all necessary requirements, of the role assigned to him.Though he has acted in more than one hundred films and nearly a dozen serials, [of which Vizhudhugal, Chinna Paappaa Periya Paappaa,Arasi and Selvi are most popular] he has not yet got the right position and recognition he truly deserves.Perhaps that is the reason for his not being able to establish a solid place either as a comedian or character actor. Within the limited space made available to him so far,he has certainly proved to be a buoyant comedian and character actor.
                        =====================0=======================

Friday, October 14, 2016

Sacrifice as the Salvation of love.


     The Platonic side of love, once used to be the passion of many film makers in India, irrespective of the language in which the films were made.An actor like Raj Kaboor was a born lover with a profound compassion for those, whom he loved,and he quite often celebrated the agony of love, in donning the role of a forlorn lover, on the big screen.There was a lot of self imposed pain in his approach to the delineation of one side love, that asked for bigger sacrifices.But today, we are living in an age of suffocating stalkers, calling themselves lovers,and when we see such men with a diseased mindset, going to the the extent of throwing acid upon their victims of love and at times, even killing their innocent victims, we are simply shocked by the changed semantics of love.The present scenario vindicates the dominance of the love of the body, as the one and only perception of love, over the other anchored fundamentals of romancing.
     Along with other language film industries, Tamil Cinema took the credit of showcasing the nobler side of love, with its deeper layers of sacrifice, as a vital part of the process of one'e love journey. Tamil films in their originals and remakes from other languages, periodically took the audience to the height of realizing how beautiful the experience of loving is,when one loves just for the supremacy of loving.One side love, or giving up one's love for the sake of a sibling or friend, or for the sake of the lover herself / himself, was quite often the most inevitable and inseparable layer of a film maker's portrayal of the theme of love and its related story,events and characters.
    Take the film Devadas for instance,made simultaneously,both in Telugu and Tamil,with Nageswara Rao and Savithri as lovers.The film released in 1953 was an agonizing tale of childhood love, that firmly sustained and transcended the barriers of time,caste and status to stay put, as an inexorable passion of adulthood.Conservative parental attitudes cut the bond of soul making love with a forceful marriage, thrust on the girl,Parvathi, with a much elderly, rich man.The hero Devadas's father [played by S.V.Rengarao] achieved nothing by his adamant rejection of his son's love.The pain of love threw the hero into the path of wayward drunkenness,which ultimately took away his life.Even his last wish of having a look at his bosom lover before his death, did not materialize.The lovers' life became a penance and death put a full stop to all their sufferings.It was the parental prestige and parochial thinking, that nullified a noble course of love.
     Later, Sridhar's Kalayana Parisu that hit the screens in 1962, disturbed the audience mood, with a tragic love story of triangular love, in which two sisters vied with each other, in giving up their love for the man to the other.Here the man became the victim of the competitive sacrificing attitude of the two sisters. There were numerous occasions for the audience to shed tears at the theatres. The film left indelible memories, of sequences leading to the marriage of the elder sister with the man whom the younger sister deeply loved and finally the death of the elder sister, after falling seriously ill, on knowing the tragic fact of her younger sister's sacrifice for her sake.
   The climax of the film, also showed the hero failing again to get united with the younger sister, because by the time he reached her place her marriage was over with another man. The younger sister agreed to marry another guy, as she did not know her sister's sudden death and as she was under the assumption that if she married some one else, her elder sibling would live happily with her lover, without any sense of guilt.The film came to a close, showing the unfortunate hero, leaving his son as a marriage gift to his former lover.There were competitive sacrifices on all sides, from all the three characters who were involved in the process of loving purely with the motto of perpetuating the nobler dimensions of love.
   Sridhar's several other movies continued to celebrate the theme of sacrifice as the corner stone of love.If in Nenjil Oer Aalayam it was the man who sacrificed his life to prove the selflessness of  his love for a woman,it was the turn of the woman to do it in Avalukenru Oer Manam. Nenjirukkumvarai was again the story of a man whose one side love, ended up in his death, to prove his unblemished love for the woman, whom his friend happened to marry. Sridhar can be called the master of the art of portraying Platonic love, as a serene symbol of empathy and compassion for others.
     Annakili directed by the duo Devaraj Mohan, became the quintessence of exalted love by presenting the dignified profile of a simple rural woman, who fell in love with a school teacher  but could not marry him for helpless reasons.The woman took her unrequited love with positive energy and continued to cherish the grand memories of her past love.Her love for the man was so impeccable that she lost her life in her attempt to save her lover and his family, from a fire accident in a touring talkies.That she died in a stampede, in the process of saving so many lives, made her life a monument of unparalleled  sacrifice.
      New generation films like Poove Unakkaaga and Shajahan looked at the concept of sacrifice in a different wavelength by making the disappointed heroes resorting to the self-effacing task of helping the women whom they loved ,get united with the men they loved.One can quote many a love story with inherent deeper layers of the sacrificing mindset.Not all can embrace the spirit of sacrifice setting aside their own personal desires and cry for love fulfillment.But there are men and women who can transform the agonizing setbacks in their love life, to ecstatic moments of self sacrifice and transmit the power of ennoblement.In this cathartic experience,the quest for love becomes the fire wherein the human soul undergoes the predicament of salvation.Like gold getting purified in fire, the human soul gets absolved through suffering, in the name of love.
                                            ============================
      

Monday, September 19, 2016

Two Villain-cum Character Actors of a Similar Mettle.




























      Villains doing character roles, is not new to the world of cinema.Even in Bollywood,the great villain actors of the last century such as Pran and Premnath, had done brilliant character roles.No one can forget Pran's role in Johnny Mera Naam,Be Iman, and Zanjeer. Both Pran and Premnath gave a sterling performance with paternal fervor, in Bobby.Tamil villain actors like  M.N.Nambiyar, M.R.Radha and S.A.Asokan were seen as amazing character actors too.All these men had their individual profiles of looks and levels of performance beyond comparison.Whereas, there are two actors in Tamil cinema, who carry a similar concept of role performance, in terms of their body and mind and they are the most popular Senthamarai and Sangili Murugan.
     This comparison has been necessitated not only by their uniquely sounding names but also by their toughness in posture and a kind of roughness in dialogue delivery.Their faces seem to give a hundred percent guarantee for a reliably crude performance of villainy. Age wise Senthamarai is a decade or so older than Sangilimurugan. His first entry was in A.P.Nagarajan's epic status film Thillaanaa Mohanaambaal released in 1968. He has acted in a couple of other films of Sivaji Ganesan like Andhamaan Kaadhali and Naan Vaazhavaipen.Whereas Sangilimurugan made his first appearance on the big screen in 1979 in 'Suvar Illaadha Sithirangal' directed by K.Baghyaraj.
   Both Senthamarai and Sangilimurugan have acted in more number of Rajini films than that of others.Interestingly both of them have acted in the Superstar's mega hit film Moonru Mugam from the Sathya Movies.While Senthamarai played the  role of a murderous  bootlegger,Sangili Murugan came as his henchman.It was a mighty show of villainy by the duo. Senthamarai's other notable Rajini films were Kazhugu, Naan Vaazha Vaipein,Anbulla Rajinikanth,Un Kannil Neer Vazhindhaal, Adutha Vaarisu, Adhisiapiravi, Thambikku Endha Ooru,Guru Sishyan and Panakkaran. He was mostly a rustic villain in most of these films. Thambikku Entha Ooru' is specially known for his character role, which was dipped in the usual portrayal of an uncouth exterior.Guru Sishayan was yet another film known for the majestic role performance of Senthamarai, as an honest police officer.
   Unlike Senthamarai,Sangilimurugan was a film producer too.He has produced about half a dozen movies like Enga Ooru Paattukkaran,Enga Ooru Kaavakaaran,Periya Veettu Pannakaaran,Naadodi Paattukkaaran,Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai and Sura. While the first two were Ramarajan hits,the second two were Karthik Muthuraman's moderate shows.The last two were Vijay films and one of these, Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai,which was a remake of the famous Malayalam film Aniyathipraavu, was a blockbuster.This movie gave a fresh appeal to the romantic face of Vijay. Incidentally, Senthamarai who had earlier acted with Sangilimurugan in Moonru Mugan, also played key roles in Sangilimurugan's own films like Enga Ooru Paattukkaaran and Periya Veettu Pannakkaran.Most of the very titles of Sangilimurugan's films, carried a rural fragrance and it is quite logical that an actor like Senthamarai who has genuine rustic looks, found a favourable place in the village based films of Sangilimurugan..
   There is a visible sense of devil-may-care attitude and casual indifference in demeanour,in all  the characters played by Senthamarai. His face and mode of dialogue delivery would ever be in perfect unison, reflecting the depth of brutality or emotional grasp of character, needed for a measured display of acting potential, that the role assigned to him warranted.He was a Sathya movies favourite and a rural necessity, when it came to stories bound intact, to the rugged soil.His other noteworthy films were Paandi Naattu Thangam,Raja Nadai,Madras Vaadhiyaar,Kaaki Sattai [again as a smart police officer],Sattam Oru Vilaiyaattu,Naalai Unadhu Naal,Nenjathai Killaadhe and Rettaivaal Kuruvi.
    Sangilimurugan can be called a softer version of Senthamarai particularly in delivering dialogues. But he too naturally takes on his opponents with a hell bent mood of nonchalance.Moreover unlike Senthamarai,he spontaneously fits into the role of a soothsayer or a village temple priest. One cannot forget his vulnerable, as well as conscientious role play in the character of a soothsayer, in Sathya movies' Oorkkavalan. He too has been a periodical Sathya Movies' preference and he too makes it a cakewalk when it comes to performance of characters of the native soil.His other Rajini films include Kazhugu,Sivappu Sooriyan and Naan Mahaan Alla. He has also done a cameo in the latest  Superstar show, Kabali besides doing a round, in films like Jigardhanda and Udhayanidhi Stalin's Manidhan.
   Before I conclude it has to be emphatically stated here, that in addition to their similarities in looks and mode of getting into the groove of acting,Senthamarai and Sangilimurugan hold the singular position of acting together,joining the team of Rajinikanth frequently and one of the two finding a place in the films produced by the other.There exists a rare kind of coexisting principle and sharing of patterns in acting, between these two exemplary actors.They make the audience recall their contribution to Tamil Cinema, with a similar frame of mind and  perception of the rudiments of histrionics, rightly executed, towards the realization of  an effective screen experience.
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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Four Super Heroes of Tamil Cinema.

 




   













    Every hero of the world of cinema, carries a distinctly identifiable tag.It is language that confines them to a region.But some of them surpass the barriers of language too.Tamil cinema in particular has never been caught in the midst of language prejudices.When it comes to performance, it is the individual and his attitude and capacity for performance that matter.There are so many high profile talents in the field of cinema in general and Tamil Cinema in particular.
   Many heroes have made an indelible mark here, by their looks and luminous layers of performance. But some have stuck to the soil, like every one's heart beat and pulse rate without which life is impossible.It is not a question of heroes doing more than one hundred films in their life time and staying stable.Many heroes like Gemini Ganesan,Muthuraman, Jai Shankar,Ravichandran, Sivakumar,Prabu, Karthik, Sathyaraj,Vijayakanth and Sarathkumar have all done this magic.But there is something more than this, that lifts the hero's career to the peak and keeps him there,meant for admiration and adoration.Very few heroes can adorn the temples of the medium of cinema and attain a kind of immortality.
    Can any one contest the fact that in the midst of a galaxy of heroes, two illustrious men ruled Tamil Cinema from the Nineteen Fifties to late Nineteen Seventies,as invincible idols, during their lifetime and after?.Can any one among the Tamil audience of the last century, recall any name other than MGR, the three lettered mass model and Sivaji, the Six lettered film fiesta?Both these stalwarts, grew up to historic heights,from a very humble base.Both arduously moved inch by inch, from the streets to the big screen.It was a glorious growth from a Lilliput land to the Great Heavens,or a gorgeous journey from poverty to the fountain plaza.All this happened through the years, by their consolidating opportunities into achievements.But providence too served their interests, as a mascot on hand.It looked as though Sivaji Ganesan lived only to perform and MGR performed, only to move closer to the masses.
   Both made history, Sivaji as the encyclopedic version of acting and MGR as the endearing image of the overall big screen.MGR and Sivaji were poles apart, in their understanding and assimilation of the fundamentals and yardsticks of cinema.Nor did they share screen space more than once in their entire career.For MGR, cinema was a medium to take him closer to the people, in the best order of things, that he preferred and popularized.When I say this, I do not mean to underrate his acting credentials. He had mastered the best formula of acting and his style of acting would ever be with in that MGR formula, with its rich aesthetic components, that necessitated a felicitous mood, for celebrating the process of watching cinema,with its significant entertainment ingredients.Whereas for Sivaji Ganesan,each film warranted a self declared period of conception, gestation and delivery.Yes. each of his film was born as a fresh beautiful baby, with its independent looks and character.
    MGR's objective of screen performance was to establish and promote an ideal model of manhood through characters, that symbolized the overall virtues of a good human being.In this respect,he could be called a typecast hero.But he went on refining this typecast hero, film after film, so as to make the theaters become the homes of men and women, with their accepting and including him, as some one closer to their dreams and life realities.That is why years after his departure, even this day, his spirit rules the emotions of people, through his energizing, hope building,songs of eternal value.He was an astute analyzer of the pulse of the people,
    Sivaji Ganesan was an ardent observer of the inner strings of humanity at large.In other words, if MGR was getting into the heart and soul of the masses, Sivaji Ganesan was digging out individuals from the masses, as characters that he portrayed.For MGR the hero was always someone specially good.But for Sivaji the hero was just a character, either good or bad.The immortality of these lifetime heroes is the result of the goodness in character that MGR stood for and the characters good and bad that speak of the performance- hungry hero called Sivaji Ganesan, who was more concerned about the veracity of the roles he played, than about himself and the audience.
    People remember characters like Gunasekran,[Parasakthi],Parandhaaman,[Thirumbi Paar], Manohara,[Manohara],Raju[Paasamalar],Va Vu Chi.{Kappalottiya Thamizhan}Kattabomman,[Veerapaandiya Kattabomman] Karnan[film of the same title],Rengan,[Padikkaadha Medhai]Gopal [Pudhiya Paravai]Prestige Padmanaban [Vietnam Veedu],Saapaattu Raman,{Raman Ethanai Ramanadi}Barrister Rajinikanth [Gowravam], Chinnadorai{Vasantha Maaligai] Rengadhurai [Rajapart Rengadurai],Justice Gopinath[film of the same title] and many others, which form a tip of the iceberg of  characters, that celebrate the grandeur and memory of the actor in Sivaji Ganesan. He did not hesitate to do three different characters in Dheiva Magan and nine variety of  characters in Navarathiri each one providing a different depth and thrust in character delineation, Sivaji Ganesan was always far from  projecting the image of a single hero, as MGR did.
   Each film of Sivaji Ganesan seemed to have carved the body and spirit of the protagonist, with immense scope for emotional display and elegance in performance, purely with a view to fulfill the thespian urge in the hero.Every one would have thought that Tenali Raman, Ambikapathi, Kattabomman Va.Vu.Chi,and Maha Kavi Kalidas,would have looked and conducted themselves like him.Similarly all the mythological figures like Karnan,Lord Shiva,MahaVishnu and Naaradhar would have been visualized through the body language of this brilliant hero.The image of spiritual saints like Appar and Sundarar have been imprinted in the minds of the audience, through the looks and demeanor of Sivaji Ganesan. He could be shortly called the epitome of the cherished values of history,society and spiritualism.A Chevalier award is not the end of acknowledging his theatrical and cinematic grandeur.
      Ultimatey what happened was, MGR the hero of the masses,became a political heart throb,on account  of his time tested screen image of being a positively inspiring human being,with all right attributes meant for leadership.He could form a political outfit of his own and lead the state of Tamil Nadu as its chief minister from 1977 to 1987 with a brief break for a couple of years.Whereas Sivaji Ganesan, a born actor who also founded a political party, suffered a pathetic defeat at the hustings. This was because the people were prepared to recognize him only as a screen hero of immense value, who would be remembered as the rarest phenomenon in the sphere of cinema,a star in the firmament to be watched with awe, for its myriad colors, symbolic of the infinite variety of mankind.The posthumous reality of both these life time heroes is that,both have reached a state of eternal fame not to be washed away by the passage of time.They are more than heroes.They continue to outlive their times,one as a former dynamic chief minister and the other as the grand master of the Tamil big screen .
     It was during the lifetime of these monumental heroes,a pair of the next generation stars began to glow and glitter with the brilliance of a similar stature.One of the two stars had already established himself as a child artist acting with MGR and Sivaji Ganesan in films like Aananda Jodhi and Paarthaal Pasi Theerum. The other star shot up to fame like a meteor to remain as the undisputed superstar of Tamil Cinema.Both these heroes remain in their own individual capacities, as proud treasures of the tinsel world,to retain their legacy longer,in the line of their predecessors.
     Kamalahasan and Rajinikanth were the two heroes, who were groomed by the profound film making intricacies of a trendsetting and epoch making director, called K. Balachander.The acronym KB, was known to all Tamil film viewers as the pinnacle of film direction with his singular stamp of authority in film making.Soon the two heroes of KB, began to grow to newer heights, with their own inimitable quest for originality, dynamism and depth in acting.Unlike MGR and Sivaji Ganesan, who acted together in just one movie,Kamalahasan and Rajinikanth have acted in more than a dozen films, either as two heroes on the same screen or Kamal as hero and Rajini as villain, sharing equal screen space and importance in characterization .Later they parted ways to set up their own yardsticks and footprints in acting.
    In Kamal,one can see a combination of Sivaji Ganesan and Gemini Ganesan, with regard to the extensive stimulus  for climbing up the rungs of the acting ladder and the gusto for exhibiting infinite shades of romantic charm,respectively.But his inventive uniqueness, in making each of his films into an over all creative experience and his aesthetic breathing in and breathing out, the air of cinematic freshness, are his hard earned assets, never to be equated with the achievements of any other hero.He can mastermind the whole process of making a film with a total surrender of his body and mind, to that process.In this respect, his acting capital is an invaluable investment notwithstanding the consequences of risks involved in his filming ventures.He will go a long way into the interiors of world cinema, to stay there permanently, for case studies and their research implications, so as to become a point of reference for any meticulous actor in future.It is no wonder that such an incarnation of histrionics, has been honored to become the second Chevalier of Tamil Cinema.
    The Superstar is made of sterner stuff.Unlike Kamal he was not a child artist but he came like a shadow in Aboorva Raagangal and then carved his image on the minds of the audience with a bang, in his next film Moonru Mudichu, reflecting an attitude of storming, through his rugged style and charm.The leonine wield of his acting, has not yet reached its full capacity.He is not only a tornado and a ferocious stream in Tamil Cinema but is also a ripple free river and a gentle breeze. He is both a flower and its thorn.That is why he can excel both as a hero and villain.From Moonru Mudichu to Kabali he has fallen repeatedly into the hands of both creative and commercial giants in film making and come out as the incarnation of excitement and exuberance, in celebrating the joy of a field experience.
    In my longstanding assessment of the films of Rajinikanth,I would compare his mass appeal  to that of  MGR, without the latter's political agenda and his energetic role play, to the passionate histrionics of Sivaji Ganesan. The vibration in his voice,the radiation in his smile and the energy levels of his body language, take him closer to one and all.Not all heroes can become the superstar. If Rajini has moved that high in his career, it is all because of his being Rajini and it is the will of God that the star material in Rajini should glitter more than that of other heroes.Envy can not be an answer to anybody's position in their career.If MGR,Sivaji Ganesan,Kamal and Rajini are more than mere heroes, it is purely due to the fact, that they have traveled far ahead of others in showing the world what is special in them, as the iconic interpretation of the soul and spirit of being a hero and it is this distinct characteristic that has made them the super heroes of different times.
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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A versatile Talent of Tamil Cinema.

 

    Apart from actors who have enriched Tamil Cinema,there have been very many talents on the creative front, pushing to glorious heights, the various components of film making.Tamil cinema certainly owes its qualitative survival, to its classic film making segments that include illustrious directors,story and script writers, besides the most important section of producers.Only a few days ago, Tamil film industry was deprived of a highly credited script writer,director and actor in the passing away of Vietnaam Veedu Sundaram and this blog carried a modest homage paid to that great film personality.Today Tamil Cinema lost another wonderful film producer and director who was also a lyricist and story writer.It is really a sad news that Mr.Panju Arunachalam a well known name in the Tamil film industry, passed away leaving an indescribable vacuum in the Tamil film field.
    Panju Arunachalam as a film producer,  made Tamil Cinema stand up to its meritorious recognition by adding up a number of highly talked about and commercially viable films to its archives.While he produced some of the rare Rajinikanth films like Bhuvana Oru KelviKuri, Aaarilirundhu Arubadhuvarai and Engeyo Ketta Kural he could also be complimented for giving great Rajini entertainers like Priya,Veera and Guru Sishyan. Similarly three of Kamalahasan's unforgettable films such as Kalyana Raman,Jappaanil Kalyana Raman and Michael Madana Kamarajan were from his P.A Arts' Production unit.Some of his other significant releases were Rasukutti, starring Baghyaraj, Poovellaam Kettupaar,the breezy romance with Suriya and Jyothika in the lead and Cheran's Solla Marandha Kadhai.
    A huge list of fabulous stories emanated from his extraordinary imaginative brain to become films of grandeur and successful realities.Some of his felicitous films in this regard are Mayangugiraal Oru Maadhu,Avanthaan Manidhan, Kavarimaan, Annakkili, Vaazhkai, Engeyo Ketta Kural,Bhuvana Oru Kelvikuri,Adutha Vaarisu, Murattu Kaalai, Manidhan,Thambikku Endha Ooru,Paayum Puli,Aboorva Sagodharargal Rajaadhi Raajaa,Meendum Kokilaa,Sagala Kalaa Vallavan, Uyarndha Ullam, Thoongaadhe Thambi Thoongaadhe and several other films produced by the AVM banner.Maximum number of his stories were for the films of Rajinikanth and Kamalahasan.It should also be mentioned here that Panju Arunachalam was significantly responsible for the emergence and indisputable popularity of Ilayaraja who composed music for a number of films produced by him.
    Arunachalam  has also directed films like Manamgale Vaa,Puthu Paatu,Kalikaalam and Thambi Pondaatti starring heroes like Prabu,Ramarajan and Rehaman.The eternal melodies and vigorous songs for which he wrote the lyrics were,"Ponnezhil Pooththadhu Pudhuvaanil"{Kalangarai Vilakkam}"Manamagale Marumagale Vaa vaa"{Saradha} "Machaana Paatheengalaa" and "Annakili Onna Thedudhe"{Annakili}"Vizhiyile Malarndhadhu" and "Raja Enbaar Mandhiri Enbaar"{Buvana Oru Kelvi Kuri}"Kanmaniye Kaadhal Enbadhu"{Aairilirundhu Arubadhuvarai}"Kaadhalin Deepamonru"{Thambikku Endha Ooru} and "Podhuvaaga Enmanasu Thangam"{Murattu Kaalai} A few important aspects that would call for specific notification are,his association with great actors like Sivaji Ganesan,Rajinikanth and Kamalahasan his long term link with the Rajini director, S.P.Muthuraman and his frequent lenience towards the AVM banner.
    Above all, the fact remains that late Panju Arunachalam never disappointed the audience in giving them, duly cherished family oriented and socially conscious stories, absolutely meant for a decent watch with all the relevant entertainment ingredients, keeping the audience drawn towards the theaters at various points of time, through out his creative and productive career.His concepts of film making were precisely business oriented; but in fixing his commercial targets he never compromised on quality of exhibition, or narration of his story lines.He knew what the audience wanted and gave it in the most acceptable form.His movies and his stories for his movies, were symbolic of a natural process of evolution ,with the singular objective of providing entertainment through the calculated yardsticks of social responsibility and creative compactness .Here lies the value of a versatile talent of Tamil Cinema, and it is in this respect, we should specially salute  the departed soul of Panju Arunachalam .
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Saturday, August 6, 2016

A Vibrant Script Writer and Film Maker.





     It is a known fact that no film can hit the mark without a catchy script.Story and scrip writers could be called the soul of a film.However good a director is and how great the actors are,the ultimate success of a film solely depends upon the weight of its story and its script that form the backbone of any great movie.Language is just a medium.But how effectively that medium is used to take the story and its characters closer to the audience solely depends upon the sparkling impact made by the dialogues. The relevance of word power, to the depiction of a scene and  the characters rolling around the scenic sequences,strikes a potential balance in the process of film making.Tamil Cinema has come across renowned names ruling the script dynamism in film making.One such dynamic script writer is Vietnaam Veedu Sundaram who is no more today.
   Late Mr.Sundaram takes his magnificent prefix from the most successful Tamil drama Vietnaam Veedu splendidly staged by him in the Nineteen Sixties, with the grand participation of Sivaji Ganesan as its protagonist. In fact, this face lifting prefix,was bestowed upon him by none other than Sivaji Ganesan himself. Later in 1970 when the play was released as a movie under the eminent direction of P.Madhavan,it was Sundaram who wrote the script for the historic film, that became another milestone in Sivaji Ganesan's career,performing the most memorable role of prestige Padmanaban. The film is remembered as much for the vigorous role play of the Chevalier as for its most impressive dialogue segment. Sivaji Ganesan as Padmanaban and Padmini as Savithri simply lived as life-like husband and wife on the screen, thanks to the wonderful script of Sundaram and the qualitative direction of P.Madhavan.
   Like most other film personalities Sundaram was also a Sivaji devotee.His script for great Sivaji Ganesan's films like Gnaana Oli, [which went on for long, as another amazing stage drama, with the theatrical team spirit of Sivaji Ganesan and Sundaram]Annan Oru Koil,Grahapravesam,Pareetchaikku NeramaachuJustice Gopinath and Sathyam, created celebrated moments for the film audience.On top of it all, came the monumental film "Gowravam"letting Sivaj Ganesan play dual roles as barrister Rajinikanth and his devoted adopted son.This extraordinarily stylish movie which was yet another brilliant stage play of the duo, was directed by Vietnaam Veedu Sundaram himself and I still remember watching  the very first show of this film on its date of release,with one of my close friends, another ardent Sivaji fan. Sundaram casually moved a big step forward, on the track of Tamil Cinema, as a powerful film maker and script writer.
  The Two MGR films for which Sundaram wrote the script were Naan Yen Pirandhein [a rare MGR film with a solid family base] and Naalai Namadhe[the Tamil remake of the Hindi block buster Yadon ki Baaraat].Sundaram is also a specialist in delineating social mythologies in an exemplary manner,through his captivating stories and scripts.Some of his timeless films  in this respect are,Namma Veettu Dheivam, Navagrha Naayagi,Nambinaar Keduvadhillai, Aaiyiram Kannudaiyaal and,Velundu Vinaiyillai.Sundaram has also worked with his next generation actors like Kamalahasan,[Soora Samhaaram]Prabu [Anand] Sathyaraj [Jallikattu] and Karthik Muthuraman[Raja Mariyaadhai].His most favoured female star was K.R.Vijaya.
   In his later years, Sundaram also turned to acting in films [Appu,Kanna Moochi Yenada} and Television serials.He has acted in almost twenty serials so far, of which Metti Oli,Athi Pookkal, Marmadesam.,Krishna Dhasi,Rishimoolam,Raja Rajeswari,Pillai Nila and Valli will find a distinct place in the history of the Tamil small screen. Vietnaam Veedu Sundaram's voice modulation carries a calculated charm in dialogue delivery.His family- oriented values behind his writing the script,and his sharp psychological perception of characters and their vocal role play, with an organized understanding of the family and social realities, speak volumes of his concerted focus on the traditional core of life, through his imaginative presentation of dialogues,to be delivered by the respective characters on the screen.
     Sundaram's contextual grasp of the harmony between scenes and their semantic revelation is an excellent indicator of his stage and screen sense of creativity.In his passing away,the script component of Tamil Cinema and the thespian side of the small screen, seem to have lost immensely. The views expressed here, are the genuine outcome of the profound regard that this blog writer has cherished  for more than the past four decades, for this outstanding film face, of Tamil cinema.
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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A Special, Rajini Film Maker.



          An assertive film maker always stamps his individuality, not only by his choice of themes,story line,weight of script and pattern of narration, but also by his ability to give a U turn to a typecast hero, in a totally different portrayal of looks and role play. Today's superstar Rajinikanth who literally owes his career to his mentor K.Balachander,and had his initial years branding him as a rugged villain or an actor in double hero films, with a captivating image,mannerism and style,was transformed into  a bulldozing hero of rugged charm, by a director with a distinct perception of an actor's flair for performance. It was of course  K.Balachander who identified the over all potential of Rajinikanth But he was caught in a major dilemma of choosing the right focus and thrust required for the evolution of the next generation's two top most heroes, Rajinikanth and Kamalahasan,who happened to succeed MGR and Sivaji Ganesan, as the two mega stars of Tamil Cinema.
    As Balachander  had to simultaneously engage both these talented men, with the scope and space they independently deserved and needed,he could not explore and bring out the best in Rajinikanth through a hero making film.His initial offers to Rajinikanth were for negative roles which this special actor sumptuously enjoyed in films like Moonru Mudichu and Avargal. It was C.V Sridhar who first gave him a positive role in his Ilamai Oonjalaadugiradhu,but that too was a double hero film with more scope for Kamal.There were other low profile Rajini films like Mangudi Minor,Vanakthirkuriya Kadhaliye,Adupuli Attam and Aaru Pushpangal. Two other earlier films of Rajini, made a mark and they were Bhairavi directed by M.Baskar and Ayiram Jenmangal made by Durai.
    But the first Rajini film that took him to new heights as an independent,well carved hero, was J.Mahendran's historic film Mullum Malarum. Apart from Rajinikanth, who appeared as a rough shod man, with a soft inner self, made of unrelenting love for his younger sister,the cast of the film included Sarath Babu as a police officer and two women, namely,the most talented Shobha and Fadafat Jeyalakshmi [ both committed suicide later].With its vigorous narration and melody of music from the musical prophet Ilayaraja,Mullum Malarum became a specially noticeable and gloriously trend setting Rajini film.In all fairness, it can be said that though K.Balachander was Rajini's mentor,it was J.Mahendran who made him rightly and firmly step on the ladder to super stardom.
    J.Mahendran seems to have drawn the attention of MGR,as a new creative talent, during his student days.Later he happened to gain a little space, in the making of MGR film Kanchi Thalaivan, This happened after a few MGR films like Ponniyin Selvan and Vaazhve Vaa in which Mahendran was to play a vital role,could not take shape or pass the production stage for various, less known reasons. But slowly, J.Mahendran set his foot into Tamil Cinema, as a story,screen play and dialogue writer for many films, of which Vaazndhu Kaattukiren, Vaazhvu En Pakkam and Sivaji Ganesan's grand show Thanga Padhakkam, find a memorable place.But Mullum Malarum was the first film, he directed and it was the first film for Rajini, to fix his growth trajectory as a hero, commanding a hysteric fan base. J.Mahendran's first film itself was a major hit, receiving accolades from the movie critics and reviewers.
    J.Mahendran went on to make award winning films like, Udhiri Pookkal and Nenjathai Killaadhe, He made excellent use of the talent of actors like Mohan,Vijayan,Suhasini and Aswini, in these two films.It was a period of the musical reign of Ilayaraja and he played wonders with his magical wand of making music.Starting from Mullum Malarum, it was the expertise of Mahendran's delicate handling of intricate themes, that evoked the emergence of new aesthetics in film making.The two other Rajini films Johnny and Kai Kodukkum Kai,directed by Mahendran,would definitely remain as the two specially memorable films, for Rajini himself.Unlike S.P.Muthuraman, who made the maximum number of Rajini films,Mahendran made only three films with the Superstar.But each film was different from the other, in the hero's character delineation.While robust masculine verve dominated in Mullum Malarum,Kai Kodukkum Kai showed the man of the film, as one endowed with utmost empathy and humaneness. Johnny in which Rajini played dual roles, projected the conflicting attributes of male waywardness and helplessness, in falling a victim of  negative circumstances.
     In presenting womanhood,Mahendran was always at his best, in showcasing the traditional profiles of feminine glory, through his women protagonists, in films like Mullum Malarum,Udhiri Pookkal,and Kai Kodukkum Kai.Even as a story writer he did not fail to top up, the dignity of submissive womanhood, in Thanga Padhakkam and the feminist in his women characters,in films like Vaazhvu En Pakkam and Vaazhndhu Kaattugiren. His film Johnny, put in contrast the power of considerate womanhood, as reflected in the character of Sridevi, with that of opportunism and betrayal, reflected in the character formation of Deepa.
   Mahendran's themes and story lines were also known for variety.While Nenjathai Killaadhe was an elegant love story,Johnny came out as a tale of love with its vagaries and waywardness.Love born of respect for womanhood formed the base for his Kai Kodukkum Kai. Betrayal of men and women formed part of his narration of the process of love in Johnny.His family dramas were like calm streams with occasional ripples,causing a kind of destabilizing note.He had the guts to portray nasty, mean minded and crude villainy, as the negative face of humanity, that was beautifully reflected in the characterization of Vijayan in Udhiri Pookkal. His villains were perverts [imagine Cinni Jeyanth performing the role of a pervert in Kai Kodukkum Kai} of the vulgar kind, disturbing the mind of the audience in films like, Udhiri Pookkal, Kai Kodukkum Kai and Poottaadha Poottukal. Mahendran's other notable films were Nandu,Metti,Azhagiya Kanne,Kannukku Mai Ezhudhu and Oor Panchayathu The last film made by him was Saagasam. Recently we would have been surprised to see him as an actor, donning the role of a bloody, inhuman villain, committing brutalities of an unacceptable kind, in the Vijay mega hit movie, Theri.
    J.Mahendran's creative ingredients are self made.His reach with the audience, has been significant as powerful waterfalls, reaching the ground from a mountainous range.He could entertain with sense and sensibility.His aesthetic norms of film making, were always of the higher order.Films like Nenjaththai Killaadhe, Mullum Malarum,Udhiri Pookkal and Johnny, would substantially vindicate Mahendran's capacity for capturing a world, of differently beautiful composition.Particularly when it comes to the three Rajini films he made,it could be categorically stated that it is Mahendran who,of all Tamil film makers, has discovered the varied dimensions of the same hero and qualitatively stuffed them, in celluloid form, to pave the way for the extraordinary march of an uncommon hero,to reach the top most slot in Tamil cinema.It is really unfortunate that J. Mahendran did not get the recognition that has always been due to him.But he continues to strike a mark as a special maker of Rajini films,of course with  the exception of  movies like Aarilurndhu Arubadhuvarai, Bhuvana Oru Kelvikuri and Nallavanukku Nallavan, directed by S.P.Muthuraman.
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Friday, July 22, 2016

The Superstar Reverberates.

 


    Pa. Ranjith  made us sit up and watch his unusual course of narration of events in his film Madras.It is perhaps  a matter of coincidence that,all the letters of his name spelt in English, form  a major part of the name of Rajinikanth too. The fifty fifty combination of their names gets into perfect fusion in the tremendously hyped film Kabali. For the fans of the superstar, there is enough display of his charismatic style and gusto.But the narrative format is characteristic of the budding director of distinct merit.From the beginning till the end, the action sequences move on, like a steam boat shuttling between a calm  sea and one of turbulent waves.
   Rajini's devotion to his wife [which already hit the victory mark in AVM's Nallavanukku Nallavan under his periodical director S.P.Muthuraman], carries deeper dimensions of the pang of presumed loss of his wife and its intensity of anguish.The scene where Kabali and his daughter meet on an unexpected twist in narration, marks the mind blowing intermission of the film.Really the interval screen falls upon the audience with high voltage thrilling effect.The second part of the film that takes the hero, on a search mission with his daughter to find his yet living wife in India, is a  grand mix of sentiment and appalling action shots.The superstar's meeting his wife is an effective emotional package poignantly unveiled,thanks to the spontaneous melting down of Radhika Apte who plays the role of Rajinikanth's wife.The dignified family reunion is an endearing treat  .
  Through out the film, the combined impact of  tempo, noise and niceties, makes one feel, if one is watching a usual Rajini film, or experiencing a refreshingly fulfilling Rajini film, after a long time, when films like Mullum Malarum and Bhuvana Oru Kelvikuri brought Rajini the actor,closer to our hearts.All said and done, can anyone get completely retrieved from the Baasha effect, when it comes to the presentation of a gangster story.That there is no place for the usually energizing comedy quotient of Rajinikanth, is certainly a matter of disappointment,though factually speaking comedy has no scope in a movie of this kind.
   Santhosh Narayanan's music was more appealing in Madras.The song 'Maya Nadhi' is of course a melting melody. Nassar and Sangili Murugan are compact in their brief appearances. Danshika, Rythvika, Kalaiarasan and Dinesh have substantial space for performance and they have made good use of their opportunity to be part of a Rajini film.Winston Chao and Kishore exhibit their sheen for villainy with style and brutality.John Vijay has more scope to share a lot of joint appearances with the superstar.Beyond all this ,what was surprising for me is how the film got a U certificate, in spite of being a gangster movie, with too many crude scenes of violence and profuse gunning down of one another in a mad spree. Rajini looks a bit exhausted in quite a few shots.Ageing has its impact.But his innate charm and style remain intact.His breaking down when he comes to know the fact that he has missed for long, his living wife, who he thought was dead and several other scenes, will live long to create a lasting impact on the minds of the audience.The invisible audio climax, with the bullet sound makes the audience leave the theater with each one's guess work about the fate of Kabali.
   Through out the film, there is a reverberating rhythm in the characterization and performance of Rajinikanth, the monumental actor, who is blessed with so much of fan adoration from children to grownups.No doubt, Ranjith has not failed to capitalize on this phenomenal factor.
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Friday, July 15, 2016

T.R.Ramanna the Ritzy Film Maker.,































                                           

                                       T.R.Ramanna the Ritzy Film Maker.,                   .

         Like all other business activities,film making has its own ups and downs.However, during the last century film production houses were not many and the spirit of competition was always healthy. The absence of television until the mid seventies and the non existence of electronic governance and its resultant video piracy, made the film making industry exist without any sudden shocks of fall in business.Starting from the Gemini Pictures and the AVM mega production house, there were a sizable number of film making units like Jupiter Pictures,Vijaya Vauhini Production house, Vijayalakshmi Pictures,Padmini Pictures,Devar Films Circuit,the Modern Theatres, Sathya Movies,Kalakendra& Kavithalaya film houses of veteran director K.Balachander and K.Balaji's Sujatha Cine Arts.
     Among these was the R.R.Pictures, maintained by Thanjavur Renganayaki Ramanna,the most notable film maker and sibling of the most fascinating actress T.R.Rajakumari. In fact T.R.Ramanna was a forerunner in the field, along with the Gemini and AVM big banner houses.He has to his credit several dynamic film making credentials, that could afford him, a specially distinguished place in Tamil Cinema. Ramanna is pretty much known for his diversified narrative skills, in taking social and spiritual themes closer to the hearts of the audience.His unforgettable mythical and spiritual entries were, Kaathavaraayan,Sri Valli, Arunagirinadhar and Ilangeswaran..
      Unlike A.Bhimsingh and K.Balaji who never thought of making even a single movie with MGR as hero and unlike Chinnappa Devar who for reasons not known,deliberately excluded Sivaji Ganesan,among his heroes,T.R.Ramanna who has a slightly bigger number of MGR films in his film archives, did not fail to make a good number of Sivaji films.In fact, Ramanna could be proud of making the one and only film of the two heroes, starring together, for the first and last time and that film was Koondukkili. Even in that film Sivaji did only the role of an anti hero, as a womanizing, treacherous friend of the other hero MGR. T.R.Ramanna did five other films with Sivaji Ganesan as hero and they were Kaathavarayan, Sri Valli,Thanga Surangam.Sorgam and Ennai Pol Oruvan. Of these Kaathavarayan  and Sri Valli were based on Hindu mythology,Sorgam was a breezy family drama and the other two were action packed entertainers.
    Ramanna a stylish director of longstanding merit, made nearly eight films of MGR, with a variety in theme and story line. Besides Koondukkili,which was his first film with MGR,there were powerful family dramas like Periya Idaththu Penn ,Panakkaara Kudumbam and Panam Padaithavan,fabulous entertainers like Gulebakaavali,historical fiction like Pudhumai Pithan and thrillers like Parakkum Paavai. T.R.Ramanna also made an unusual MGR movie, that showed the conventionally positive spirited hero, caught in a web of tragic circumstances, culminating in his death and this special movie was Paasam.
    T.R.Ramanna and his sister T.R.Rajakumari, who was popularly known as the dream girl of Tamil Cinema,worked together in movies like Gulebakavali,Pudhumai Pithan,Periya Idathu Penn and Paasam. Rajakumari was first paired with MGR as his pair. Later,she acted as the elder sister of MGR in Periya Idathu Penn and finally also became the mother of the hero in Paasam. Whereas,MGR ever remained as a youthful hero, till the end of his career.As far as the narrative style of Ramanna is concerned,one could always feel it as a creative process, dipped in a galaxy of emotions with a proclaimed focus on entertainment and action sequences.
    Even during the days of slow motion films, Ramanna's Pudhumai Pithan and Gulebhakavali were found to be rich entertainers on a speedy track, with amazing action potential at all levels and enchanting musical value, thanks to the mind blowing sound track and musical composition of the ever eminent G.Ramanathan [films like Pudhumai Pithan, Kaathavarayan,Sri Valli and Arunagiri nadhar] Viswanathan& Ramamurthy and later M.S.Viswanathan{Several films},or T.K.Ramamurthy [Thanga Surangam and Moonrezhuthu}for the rest of his films.I think  the exceptions were Koondukkili for which music was left in the hands of K.V.Mahadevan and Vairam taking the tunes from T.R.Papa..
    Excepting Puthumai Pithan, Ramanna produced and directed, the other seven films of MGR. Similarly Kathavarayan was the only Sivaji movie, produced and directed by him.All the remaining films directed by Ramanna were not from his R.R.Pictures production house.Again Manapandal starring S.S.Rajendran and B.Sarojadevi,was the only movie produced by R.R.Pictures, but not directed by him.When the two new  heroes Jai Shankar and Ravichandran came to lime light, Ramanna's attention promptly shifted to them, leading to some great films like Nee,Naan,Kumari Penn,Moonrezhuthu,and Vairam. Of these,Naan, Kumari Penn and Vairam were popular hits.During the last spell of his film career, Ramanna also made a film starring Rajinikanth and this film Kuppathu Raja  also became a great success, among the B and C sections of the audience.
    As far as Ramanna's heroines were concerned, his early stars were B.S.Saroja, T.R.Rajakumari, G.Varalakshmi  S.Varalakshmi,Raja Sulochana and E.V.Saroja.But his most frequent heroines were B.Sarojadevi and J.Jeyalalitha. The other notable heroines were Savithri, K.R.Vijaya,Bharathi, Usha Nandini and Radhika. Starting  from the first generation comedians of Tamil Cinema,like K.A.Thangavelu and J.P.Chandrababu and the later years' veteran comedians such as Nagesh,Suruli Rajan ,Thengai Srinivasan and Ennathe Kannaiah,all have  contributed their humor might in the films of Ramanna.
    But when it came to the role of villains Ramanna's most preferred villain actor was R.S.Manohar. This actor of theatrical excellence became a  must in Ramanna's films as he was in the movies of the Modern Theatres.The other favourite villain actor of Ramanna was S.A.Asokan. Strangely, M.N.Nambiyar who played the villain in a majority of M.G.R films, was seen only in Ramanna's Parakkum Paavai,that too in a less important role. P.S.Veerappa the other prominent villain actor of MGR films, was never inducted in the films of Ramanna. T.S.Balaiah was seen in Pudhumai Pithan and M.R.Radha in a couple of films [Paasam and Periya Idathu Penn}.
      Beyond all this statistics of Ramanna's films,the most undoubted fact is that Ramanna was a ritzy film maker proving  his commercial strength, by his periodical hits like Pudhumai Pithan.Guleba gaavali,Periya Idathu Penn,Panam Padaithavan [chiefly remembered for all hit songs],Sorgam Kumari  Penn,Naan and Kuppathu Raajaa. In addition to the distinctly powerful entertainment value of his films,the over all quality of narration deserves a passionate compliment.His heroes, heroines, villains and comedians were all reputed for, invaluable quality of performance.Music was another ecstatic factor of many Ramanna movies.It can be assertively stated, that as a ritzy film maker he has made the memories of his films percolate into the imagination and understanding of a majority of the audience, who will stand up and say, here was a film maker who made Tamil Cinema live long.     

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Four Tamil Films with a Circus Base.


 












       The quality of a film is determined not only by its theme and story line, but also by its variety element, in capturing the imagination of the audience, through its distinct base of narration, reflecting uniqueness in the midst of variety.The base for the sequence of events in a movie, may be the family, or history, or politics, or spiritualism, or the different strata of society such as one's place of work or outside one's working environment.Sometimes there will be contributory layers adding up to the strength of the base. These layers could include criminality or be free from it, depending upon the film maker's perception. One such very valuable supporting layer,is the presence of a circus company and its shows, finding extraordinary relevance to the story base and its complete presentation.This article focuses on four such Tamil films, with a circus base released during different periods, creating an amazing feel of simultaneously watching both a movie and a circus show, with a vigorous appeal.
    One of these films had the circus element as a supplementary feature in helping the  heroine to achieve her main objective of liberating  a kingdom, from the evil forces, besides saving her lover from death. This film Chandralekha, based on a story of historical fiction, was made by the Gemini Pictures' production house It was an epic level film,released in 1948.This film produced and partially directed by S.S.Vasan, was under production for more than four years.There was an unimaginable amount of aesthetic grandeur, infused exhaustively through gorgeous settings and visual splendour.
    Chandralekha had in its cast the most fascinating T.R.Rajakumari as its titular character. M.K.Radha and Ranjan,the sterling actors of that period,appeared as siblings,the latter in a villainous role, scheming to usurp the kingdom and win the hand of Chandralekha, with whom he was obsessed. The circus show maintained by the most illustrious comedy pair N.S.Krishnan and T.A.Madhuram, played a pivotal role in helping the heroine to save her lover, M.K Radha and the kingdom,from the machinations of Ranjan The circus shows greatly helped the entertainment value of the film and made the whole film, an immortal piece of Tamil Cinema.
     Then came Sivaji Ganesan's Kulamagal Radhai directed by A.P.Nagarajan. Released in 1963 the film's cast included B.Sarojadevi,Devika,K.Sarangabani,V.K .Ramasamy, R.S.Manohar Sandhiya P.Kannaamba, and P.D.Sambandham. K.Sarangabani played a negative role in this film.It was actually a love story and the circus base was an accidental interruption in the life of the hero. Situations schemed by Sarangabani became factors leading to misunderstanding and the final rapprochement of the hero with his beloved Radha. Here the circus company called National Circus is maintained by V.K.Ramasamy and his daughter Devika plays as a trapeze artist. Sivaji Ganesan, also learns the circus activities.Though the movie did not do well at the box office,the songs under the enchanting musical composition of K.V.Mahadevan, might still be ringing in the memory of the audience.Songs like Chandiranai Kaanaamal, Pagalile Chandiranai Paarkaponen and Unnai Solli Kutramillai were great hits.The other notable feature of the film was the sparkling role performance of Sarojadevi and Devika. P.Kannaambaa as the meek mother of Radha was a graceful symbol of positive motherhood.The circus events were neatly filmed, adding pep to the sub plot, poignantly spreading its layers into the main plot, involving the romantic segment of Chandran and Radha.
     The other circus film was the M.G.R starring Parakkum Paavai, released in 1966, by the most popular R.R.Pictures.Besides MGR, the film had a huge cast of great stars like B.Sarojadevi, Raja Sulochana and Kanchana and veteran actors such as V.Nagaiah,R.S.Manohar, S.A.Asokan and M.N.Nambiyar With an inherent layer of suspense, the film carried the thriller effect from its beginning till the end.It had a fairly good story line and is still remembered for its fascinating music quotient and  for its exhaustive circus show with MGR,R.S.Manohar and Sarojadevi performing as trapeze artists. and S.A.Asokan  stiffly controlling the animal world in the circus company.
     Though R.S.Manohar and S.A Asokan reflected an evil frame of mind,the source of villainy and its accompanied thriller effect,originated from the woman[played by Kanchana}who wanted to marry the hero and hence attempted to get rid of the girl, whom the hero loved. M.N.Nambiyar appeared as the family doctor of V.Nagaiah the rich man and father of B.Sarojadevi,the heroine. K.A.Thangavelu was the circus manager and along with him, there was also J.P.Chandrababu to provide the comedy segment.When compared to Kulamagal Radhai,the circus shows of this film were more relevant to the main plot and hence became an inseparable element of the whole course of narration.Each and every scene could be correlated to the base of the story, with a simultaneous throw of action both from with in and outside the circus ambiance.Music composed by Viswanathan Ramamurthy was a bonanza with eternal melodies like Kalyaana Naal Paarka Sollalaamaa  and Yaaraithaan Nambuvadho Pedhai Nenjam. However,in spite of all these positive aspects, like Kulamagal Raadhai this film also was not a blockbuster.
   The latest in this category was the Rajkamal Pictures' most popular film Aboorva Sagodharargal that hit the screens, in 1989.Directed by Singeedham Srinivasa Rao,this movie showed Kamalahasan in three roles as father and twin sons.Like Chandralekha, this film also attained an epic status because of its universal appeal in narrative grandeur,aesthetic richness and entertainment value.It was a revenge drama projecting a dwarf doing the impossible.The film threw several challenges to Kamal's grasp and he never missed to grab the opportunity and prove, how much capable he was, in delivering the magnitude of a mind blowing performance.The film had every thing in its kit-a magnificent story line,remarkable range of characterization and brilliant performance by everybody, involved in making the film.Like Parakkum Paavai,the circus segment was inseparably linked to the over all narration of events and characters.Here,Mouli was the circus manager.
   The greatest winning point of the film, was its tricky revenge programme thoughtfully designed and executed by the dwarf Kamal with the able support of his acrobatic body and circus brain.The other extraordinary thing about this mighty show, was its tremendous reach with all sections of the audience without any hiccup. Ilayaraja's music was an additional enticement.All the songs were beautifully composed and memorably rendered.It is a film that calls for a continued flashback on account of its unique vigor in keeping the entire audience visually enthralled, without any let up in tempo at any point of its narration. Aboorva Sagodharargal was one of Kamal's outstanding ventures and the circus portions of the film stand out as the most prominent events of the film, with the most specific climax scene showing Nagesh,the primary villain, getting killed with in the circus premises, by the circus animals.
     Of these four films mentioned here,Chandralekha and Kulamagal Raadhai were in black and white and the other two were color films.While Chandralekha and Aboorva Sagodharargal were the out come of massive human and technical efforts,Kulamagal Raadhai and Parakkum Paavai were not that kind of extravaganzas  requiring any extraordinary labor or expenditure.However,the latter films had great star value and B.Sarojadevi was the heroine of both the films.But the fact that Chandralekha was under production during the pre- independence period and that it was filmed during the days of little technical access, speak of its singular greatness and special position in film making.One can not imagine how many ordeals the entire production unit would have come across, in managing men money, materials and animals.A stupendous task it would have been for all those, involved in making this majestic movie and all of them need an immortal recognition,  
    Aboorva Sagodharargal would have been another uphill task for Kamal who had to undergo the strain of shrinking his posture and size to genuinely fit into the role of a dwarf.These are amazing expositions of talent and merit in performance of individuals and groups.Beyond all this the truth of the circus base, stays stronger in MGR's Parakkum Paavai and Kamal's Aboorva Sagodharargal. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the main course of events is cohesively interrelated with the circus schedule in both the films and both were action packed films, not shedding the weight of action, at any point of portrayal of events.The other reason could be that Chandralekha had more to do with the historical base and Kulamagal Raadhai was more a tale of romance, confined to the plight of a man caught in between two women.On the whole, all the four films had a lot to entertain the audience through their circus display.
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