Is it possible that a man can fall in love with a woman’s intellect and mind? And is it plausible, if he were to be married, conservative in thought and a religiously inclined man at the peak of his career as a classical singer?
KB, known to make woman centric movies, delivers a gem as usual by exploring the theme to perfection in the Tamil movie ‘Sindhu Bhairavi’ that appeared in the mid 80s.
And for me the star of the movie was Suhasini – a relatively new actress who matched the step with the impeccable veteran Siva Kumar and essayed the lovely role of a young spirited woman who knows her mind. She received a well-deserved National Award for Best Actress for her work.
The movie is about the successful classical singer JKB (Siva Kumar) who is enjoying great success as a classical singer who renders lovely songs in Telugu and Sanskrit. He is married to Bhairavi (Sulochana) who, much to his disappointment, is tone-deaf and can’t share his enthusiasm for music.
JKB is proud of being a maestro and innovative enough as well – early in the movie he delivers a song (Mahaganapathim) without the accompaniment of ‘Mrindagam’ that is in utter defiance to tradition. No wonder he is drawn to Sindhu (Suhasini) when she successfully challenges him to experiment and sing folksy songs in Tamil as well so that the larger audience can appreciate his music.
Two strong-willed characters make for an interesting contest and KB does not disappoint as he show-cases their tiffs and arguments. Eventually though their mutual interest for music transcends everything.
It is a social disaster that JKB should be in a relationship beyond his marriage and events quickly unfold whereby Sindhu exits his life. And that marks the downfall of the great artist – he sinks to sad depths due to an addiction for the bottle. He neglects his music, starts telling lies, breaks the heart of the elderly grandfather by stealing his money and finally renders a humiliating dappankuthu to obtain alcohol.
Bhairavi realizes the futility of separating the artist from his muse and takes Sindhu’s help to rehabilitate JKB. She swallows her pride and even plans a ‘second marriage’ for her husband so that he does not lose his stability again. JKB makes a dramatic comeback by rendering the final song (Kalaivaniye) in Aarohanam (ascending scale in music) without any avarohanam (descending scale in music).
KB then delivers the most appropriate climax to the story wherein Sindhu refuses to marry JKB, instead presents the loving couple with her new-born son as a tribute to the relationship she shared with JKB.
The movie had everything going for it – great music (the first ever collaboration by KB and Ilaiyaraja), lovely lyrics by Vairamuthu and great singers in Yesudas and Chithra. Add to it some amusing comic tracks involving Janakaraj and KB trademark dialogues and you know we have a winner at hand.
But for me the defining act in the movie is of Suhasini – playing the role of young music teacher and JKB’s muse with elan. She looks amazingly poised and confident while singing the folksy Tamil song ‘Paadariyen…’ that she effortlessly blends into a classical song (Mari Mari Ninne).
In a similar fashion she engages JKB’s mind and effortlessly becomes his muse – her sensibilities are not bound by any tradition but she remains an affectionate and giving person at the end of it all. And that is the appropriate answer to the poser I mentioned at the start of the post.