Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Crow Prefixed Actor


     Tamil Cinema is famous for actors with strange prefixes.Actors like Thengai Srinivasan,Bakoda Kadher,Thayirvadai Desigan,and Bonda Mani carry unusual prefixes as a peculiar mark of some character they played either on the stage or in films.One such actor who belonged to the old generation of Tamil Cinema is Kaakaa {Crow}Radhakrishnan who takes on this prefix from the film Mangayarkarasi, in which he was shown climbing up the thatched roof tops, to catch crows.
    Radhakrshnan was always a natural actor in the line of character actors and comedians like V.K.Ramasamy. He was ever identified by his characteristic husky voice which he beautifully modulated to deliver the intended dramatic effect.At the out set it would appear as if he had some voice impediment.But his dialogue delivery would make it a unique voice mold capable of causing a cutting effect thereby creating amazing memories as its scars, to remain as the indelible impression of a living experience.
   Radhakrishnan would  have acted in about fifty to sixty films.But most of his films were the popular ones.I first saw him in the great film Manohara that  remains as one of the most memorable films in historical fiction highlighting the most powerful and chaste Tamil dialogues penned by Kalaignar M.Karunanidhi and delivered by the ever great actor Sivaji Ganesan as powerful utterances .In that film Kaakaa Radhakrishnan played as the innocent son of T.R.Rajakumari,the whore plotting to usurp the Chola Kingdom.This remarkable actor had acted with Sivaji Ganesan in films like Thuli Visham, Ulagam Palavidham,Bommai Kalyanam,Chithoor Rani Padmini and later as the Chevalier's younger brother in the monumental film Thevar Magan. In fact it was Kamalahasan who reintroduced this potential actor to Tamil Cinema after a hiatus of more than two decades. Kamalahasan utilized Radhakrishnan's acting stuff, first in Guna and then in Thevar Mahan and later in the highly refreshing film  Vasool Raj M.B.B.S in which Radhakrishnan was offered a meaty role as the father of Crazy Mohan. As an aged asthmatic patient with a craving for the carom Board game, his role would have left a lasting impact on the viewers.
    Kaakaa Radhakrishnan had acted with MGR in Thaikupin Tharam and Thai Magalukku Kattiya Thaali.Among the next generation heroes he was happily associated with Prabu { Vietnaam Colony Mr.Madras and Middleclass Madhavan}Karthik Muthuraman{ Udhavikku Varalaamaa,Unakkaaga Ellaam Unakkaaga and Rojavanam, which gave him another memorable role as a forlorn senior citizen},Soorya {Poovellaam Un Vaasam and Unnai Ninaithu}Prashanth {Hello}Jeyam Ravi {Idhaya Thirudan} and Sarathkumar {Vinnukkum Mannukkum &Maayi}.Apart from these  heroes,two special directors like Mani Rathnam and Fazil have offered him creditable roles in their films Iruvar and Kadhalukku Mariyaadhai respectively.
   Most of the films cited, belong to the  notable category. A senior artist like Kaakaa Radhakrishnan deserved a better place in Tamil Cinema than he was actually offered.In fact credit must be given to Kamalahasan, for having recognized the latent talent of this wonderful actor who could be regarded as the strongest old chip of the nascent tree of Tamil cinema .It should be mentioned here that Kamalahasan also brought in, another forgotten actor called Kallapart Natarajan and gave him a significant role in the same film Thevar Mahan as the father of Revathi. The other senior actor who was restored to the Tamil big screen was Kulatheivam Rajagopal and it was actor director K. Baghyaraj who gave him this recognition, in his film Pavunu Pavunudhaan.
    Kaakaa Radhakrishnan's  special voice pattern  and his bold and big eyes were the glorious audio visual additions to Tamil Cinema.One would have seen Radakrishnan not as an actor performing his role in celluloid form, but as a living individual trying to pass out of the screen and deliberate with the audience as one among them.The other most striking feature of his acting style was his inborn mischief that would accompany his body language and dialogue delivery.One such sample is the way he would touch his hair while  attempting to mention the name Mayil Ravananan as if he misheard the name as Mayir [hair}Raavanan in Saran's film Idhaya Thirudan. So effortless was Kaakaa Radhakrishnan, in delivering his roles and so difficult it would be for the nostalgic audience of Tamil Cinema, to forget this simple actor with a salient acting calibre.

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