Friday, April 1, 2016

The Casanovas of Tamil Cinema


     Casanova is a man who flirts with many women at a time and jilts them.He is a smooth tongued charmer and seducer of women.Lord Byron's Don Juan,is an immortal example of a Casanova.With a play boy attitude,Casanovas play with the emotions of women in the name of love and leave them in the lurch.Romeos and stalkers are a part of the global realities.In the prime of youth some men take upon, a take- it -easy policy and in this casual process, they take women's life into ransom.World cinema has focused upon such characters time and again and Tamil cinema is no exception to this.Ever since the inception of the Tamil film industry, there have been films narrating the vagabond type of youths as stray characters, appearing in main or supportive roles.
     Starting from Sivaji Ganesan,many front line heroes of Tamil Cinema,have visited this unpalatable character with immense passion and have done utmost justice to their roles. Sivaji Ganesan's most striking movie Thirumbi Paar at the start of his film career showed him in a detestable negative shade as a hell bent womanizer.The fiery dialogues of the film written in chaste Tamil by Dr.M.Karunanidhi,remained as the most talking point, taking the film to its brilliant heights. I think after this film, Sivaji Ganesan did not play such a role, though he was seen as a playboy getting redeemed in L.V.Prasad's memorable film Iruvar Ullam. Whereas ,MGR the mass hero and close contemporary of Sivaji Ganesan was always image conscious and would never think of donning such a negative role, causing harm to anyone in general and to womanhood in particular.Never during the life time of his career did MGR play the role of a Casanova.
    K.Balaji,a close contemporary actor of Sivaji Ganesan and one who later turned producer of several Sivaji hits, was a charming spoiler of passionate womanhood in Policekaaran Magal [an earliest grand creation of director Sridhar}and later in Sivaji Ganesan's Enga Mama. Gemini Ganesan delivered a wonderful performance as Casanova in K.Balachander's epoch making film Naan Avanillai, as a social menace walking into the lives of many women.The film created so great an immortal impact, that it was remade after nearly three decades,with Jeevan replacing Gemini Ganesan The success of this remake, which was narrated in a much lighter vein, called for the making of its Part ll, which became an average show.
     R.Muthuraman at one stage, played such characters in films like' Maanavan' 'Namma Veettu Dheivam' and Sridhar's most popular 'Avalukkenru Oer Manam'.The other critically reviewed film in this category was K.Balachander's Major Chandrakanth' showing A.V.M Rajan in a stylish form of Casanova.In most of these movies such deceptive men finally fell under the clutches of destiny or were done away with,by the affected persons or their family members.
    Between Rajinikanth and Kamalahasan,it was the latter who ebulliently performed Casanova characters in films like Sollathaan Ninaikirein and Pattaam Poochi.Though Rajinikanth did quite a few negative roles[the most detestable roles in this category were in films like Padhinaari Vayadhinile and Gayathri} in his early impressive innings in Tamil Cinema, the role of Casanova perhaps evaded his grasp.Whereas MGR cautiously avoided such characters throughout his film career. Another memorable Casanova portrayal came in handy for Mohan and he beautifully made use of his opportunity in K.Balaji's silver jubilee hit movie, Vidhi. Even here,the affected woman legally fought her case and exposed the dirty side of the hero.
   Modern Tamil Cinema is almost getting out of such themes because in new wave thought and globalized life styles, the sentiments of affected womanhood, are not selling factors anymore.On the one hand, there are women empowerment programs.On the other, women's liberation movements have started looking at man woman relationships, as choice based and optional concepts.There are simultaneous changes in perspectives taking place at various levels, in the form of dating,live-in-relationships and divorce-cum-remarriage schedules.In a way, the term Casanova is becoming an outmoded expression .Besides, jilting is also crossing gender barriers.Hence Casanova tales can be called things of the past.

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