Kamal Haasan and Singeetam Srinivasa Rao were one of the successful ‘actor-director’ duo who delivered many hit films together such as Pushpak Vimana, Michael Madana Kama Rajan, and Apoorva Sagodharargal. But it all started with their first movie together – Raja Paarvai.
Kamal plays a blind but competent and self-respecting musician who falls in love with Nancy, a caring and insecure girl. The movie has a conventional climax but it still has a refreshing take on the scheme of things and is far from the melodramatic sob-stories that were staple of Tamil films in those days.
Released in 1981, ‘Raja Paarvai’ was Kamal’s 100th movie and he donned multiple hats for it – producer, part-writer and lead actor. It did not quite click at the Box Office and in fact left him in a financial struggle, nonetheless it has grown in stature over the years and Kamal went on to collaborate further with the director, Singeetam Srinivasa Rao on popular movies in days to come.
The movie scores for showing Kamal lead a very normal life as a blind Violinist. Competent in his work and supported by Y G Mahendiran in the buddy role, Kamal does do extraordinary things and one of the highlights is that he falls in love with Nancy (essayed by Madhavi) a Christian girl. Their romance develops in a realistic manner and they have a lot of fun moments together – so overall mood of the movie is quite positive and that was rare and refreshing in those days when melodrama would tend to dominate the Tamil movies.
Playing the role of Violinist, provides a nifty framework for couple of lovely songs (Andhi Mazhai Pozhikirathu and Azhagae Azhagu) and beautiful BGM by isaignani Ilaiyaraja. The unusual romance creates expected tussle between Kamal and Nancy’s family (except for her doting grandfather who approves of Nancy’s free spirit). The conflict scenes are true-to-the type and realistically done. In fact we seen shades of it being repeated in the much acclaimed ‘VTV’ although the end is not as happy in the case of the latter. Just reminds one that there is very little that is new under the Sun.
He also uses YG Mahendiran character as an effective foil to generate a few laughs. There are many witty ‘one liners’ in the story that you will ‘blink-and-miss’ while watching it for the first time. Nancy is supported by her grandfather, realistically portrayed by veteran L V Prasad though his final act is a bit ‘out-of-character’.
Kamal’s choice of his 100th film being such an off-beat and classic film sets him apart from the many who would prefer to do a typical masala film. He handles the subject in a ‘slice-of-life’ fashion and shows the lead characters to be vulnerable to other people’s machinations. The final climax might be a bit ‘over-the-top’ but the sequence leading up to it is quite credible.
Probably the movie was a bit ahead of its times and so it did not set the registers ringing at the Box Office. But it has gained ‘cult status’ now and is surely on a ‘must-watch’ list of Kamal’s movies.