Tamil Cinema has dealt at length with a variety of themes like love,family sentiment, friendship, myths,religion,spirituality,social and historical transitions,psychic disorders and crime and violence, in broader perspectives and as specific subjects for delineation.As far as love is concerned, there has been considerable thrust on the romantic side, with clear cut interpretations of calf love,cup board love and Platonic love.While the first one speaks of infatuation and the physical side of love hitting teen age victims,the second brand reflects the convenient aspects of love, such as financial aspects and personal advancement.But the third type is an ideal pattern of love, searching for a soul mate, through self inflicting moments of agony and sacrifice.
Love need not always be an exclusive field for two people.Quite often two men might be in love with the same woman or vice versa.It is this this kind of love triangle that most often occupied the imagination of eminent director Sridhar and later director Vikraman. As a rare phenomenon, K.Balachander show cased a situation of three sisters falling in love with the same man, but none of them finally getting him and this story line as well as its captivating treatment made the film Sollathaan Ninaikirein a mega hit.
Love triangle has been a fascinating subject for beautiful cinematic presentation, ways back to the days of films like Manappandal,Aalayamani, Bagyalatchumi and later Kalyana Parisu.Triangular love has been a predicament experienced by two persons, either brothers, or sisters,or friends in relation to the third individual, a man or woman, who is put to undue mental anguish,because of the other two.In Manapandal S.A.Asokan and S.S Rajendran as brothers would be in love with the same woman [played by B.Sarojadevi] and when the younger brother SSR sacrifices his love interest for the sake of the elder brother,both of them do not realize how much mental agony they cause for the woman who is deeply in love with the younger brother.
The audience were exposed to a similar experience of a woman suffering in between two close friends, equally loving her and finally one giving up his love for the sake of the other.The two friends were Sivaji Ganesan and SSR and here too,it was the same SSR who sacrificed his love for the same Sarojadevi and the film was Alayamani. Similarly in Uyarndha Manidhan,it was Asokan who gulped his one side love like poison and behaved nobly with his friend Sivaji Ganesan, who was in love with Vanisri.
On the contrary, in the other two films it was Gemini Ganesan who was caught in between two women loving him .In Bagyalakshmi it was the two sisters Sowcar Janaki and E.V.Saroja who were after the hero and the latter sincerely loving the younger sister, E.V.Saroja the younger one was found in a sacrificing mood suppressing her mental torment.In Kalyana Parisu,Saroja Devi was in a similar predicament, giving up her love for the hero, for her elder sister [played by Vijayakumari] who too loved the hero.For the romantic hero Gemini Ganesan, such roles were a cake walk and he was seen portraying roles of entanglement with ease and exuberance.Director Sridhar continued the theme of love triangle successfully, in a few more films like Nenjil Oer Aalayam,Nenjirukkum varai Avalukkenru Oer Manam and Ilamai Onjalaadugiradhu.In all these love triangle films, the original lovers were made to walk on fire for the sake of the in- between man or woman, who capitalized the situation, by emotionally blackmailing a sibling or friend and exploiting their generosity.
K.Balachander had a taste of the love triangle concept in films like Aval Oru Thodarkadhai and Thamarai Nenjam.In the former, the elder sister Sujatha would sacrifice her love for the hero Vijayakumar, to help her widowed younger sister Sripriya,who was also in love with the hero,to marry him.Whereas in the latter, it was a clear demonstration of the competitive spirit of sacrifice between two friends of the fair sex,[Sarojadevi and Vanisri] to give up their love for their man, for the sake of the other. Among the new generation directors, it is Viraman who has succeeded in presenting the delicate and noble side of triangular love in his most celebrated film Poove Unakkaaga
The examples given here are not many. But they are valid indicators of the complexity of triangular love.What is always special about the treatment of love triangle is the reflection of the ideal base of romance with a growing monument of nobility and sacrificing instinct of the human nature in general and that of the lovers in particular.The ideal incorporated and propagated through this noble theme is that, there is greater happiness and fulfillment in living for others, than for one's own desires and expectations.This supreme factor of giving in for others, seems to surpass the barriers of race and gender, because it is an all embracing way of life and the hallmark of exemplary human attitude and behaviour. In this way, Tamil Cinema has certainly succeeded in ennobling the fundamental principle of love, through its focus on and delineation of, the love triangle predicament.