Emotional moments in Kamal’s Uttama Villain

Kamal is renowned for his sense and sensibilities. The mythological story of ‘Uttaman’ face off with Muttharasan (Nasser) looks like a straight pick out of Panchatantra. It regales and makes one forget the pain.

But the story belongs to Manoranjan, the ageing superstar, who knows that he will die in about three months time.

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Kamal and KB – an enduring partnership                                                                                                                  Image Courtesy – Twitter.com

Talk about the emotional integrity of a man who decides to pull away the mask and unwrap the life of a popular superstar. And it is not sugar-coated at all – the man is there for everyone to see – warts and all. So you are a superstar, ageing but famous and rich. Your jet set lifestyle comes with a lot of pressure points and you manage to push along by leaning on a variety of vices ranging from wine to women. You have a megalomania that is unquestionable and is the fount of your genius. You have been there and done it all. A wreckage of broken relationships involving affairs, broken hearts, insecure relations and edgy confederates (Andrea and MS Bhaskar).

Continue reading “Emotional moments in Kamal’s Uttama Villain”

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Love and longing for Uttama Villain

Personal priorities have created a situation whereby I am not able to watch the movie that released recently – Kamal is my all time favourite actor and the rave reviews have whetted my appetite for the show.

Have planned to watch it soon, till then it is a bit of love and longing as I just have to bide my time. The wait makes one a bit impatient but am sure the it will meet a sweet end.

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Kamal’s Theyyam Performance                                                                                                                     Image Courtesy – chitramala.in
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Enough and more reviews have dusted the plot and story to death. It is trademark Kamal movie and the focus remains sharply on him. It is a workable combination of setting an art movie while keeping the commercial aesthetics in mind. To many the ‘story-in-the-story’ is not as pleasing and they wonder why there is a need for it. To my mind it all about enriching the plot by allowing a counter plot to appear – so imagine a dying Manoranjan (celebrated film star of present day) being contrasted by Uttaman (who is nicknamed Mritunjay – one who successfully evades death).

Continue reading “Love and longing for Uttama Villain”

K Balachander – view from a feminist perspective?

All kinds of accolades have poured in for KB – the supreme director who helmed 101 movies, the  ‘Guru’  who launched many careers but in particular played a pivotal role in Kamal’s and Rajni’s rise to stardom, the strong playwright and scriptwriter known to produce intriguing climaxes, the director who showcased social issues etc.

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But the most appropriate epithet for KB would be the manner in which he delved into the female psyche and provided a feminist view in a patriarchal and male-dominated society.

KB’s heroine were well-known leads chiefly Sarita, Sujatha, Sridevi and Suhasini. In some ways he employed a technique similar to his contemporary Bharathirajaa. The tale would be a woman-centric subject, she would be subjected to a vale of miseries and the rising crescendo will lead to an intriguing climax. Bharathirajaa tended to focus on rural themes and would exploit the psyche of a person under stress. KB seemed to have reserved his attention for his female leads. Continue reading “K Balachander – view from a feminist perspective?”

Review of Tamil movie ‘Manathil Uruthi Vendum’ by K Balachander

Veteran director KB, as he is affectionately named by innumerable fans, had a penchant for doing woman centric movies. Marked with spirited screenplay and dialogues they were indeed entertaining and iconoclastic in the 70s and 80s.

They seem a bit formulaic now as it is easy to predict the story and its twists. Still they were a welcome relief from the melodrama or mindless masala plots that  otherwise dominated our films.

KB was inspired by Mahakavi Bharathiyar’s poem ‘Manathil uruthi vendum …’ (The mind should be firm …) and he used it on couple of occasions.

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SPB and Suhasini in KB’s ‘Manathil Urudhi Vendum’                                                                     Image Courtesy – Edizon.com

He used the original song in the Tamil movie ‘Sindhu Bhairavi’ to showcase a classical singer’s (Siva Kumar) change of heart when a spunky heroine (Suhasini) demands that he should sing folksy Tamil songs as well so that the message reaches his audience. Intrigued by the challenge he decides to experiment – instead of singing only traditional verse set in Telugu or Sanskrit, he ventures to sing Tamil songs as well. Bharathiyar’s songs are an obvious choice. Symbolically Siva Kumar renders the said song seated on a rocky seashore, to be praised and rewarded by a local fisherman who stops by to listen his rendition.

Continue reading “Review of Tamil movie ‘Manathil Uruthi Vendum’ by K Balachander”

Suhasini’s Tamil Classic Movie – ‘Sindhu Bhairavi’…

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.

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Siva Kumar & Suhasini ‘Sindhu Bhairavi’ Image Courtesy – Tamilstar.com

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. Continue reading “Suhasini’s Tamil Classic Movie – ‘Sindhu Bhairavi’…”

Review of Tamil Movie Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa (Will you cross the skies?)

Inter-religious love stories in Tamil cinema are a mixed bag. Bharathirajaa gave us a youthful and carefree outing in ‘Alaigal Oivathillai’ while Raja Paarvai had an equally spunky Nancy who falls for a blind violinist Ragu. I guess the cult movie for my generation was K Balachander’s ‘Ek Duje Ke Liye’. Mostly the star-crossed lovers rebel for a lost cause and the movies have tragic endings.

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Trisha and Simbu in Gautham Menon’s VTV                                                                    Image Courtesy – alfa-img.com

VTV is a classy movie but the vital soul is missing – there is no real spunkiness shown by the pair particularly the heroine. She is forever caught in two minds and the so-called ‘love’ is just an episode in her life that she manages well without having to stake her future. That this is regarded to be a pragmatic approach and lauded indirectly is to my mind, a reflection of the cold-hearted calculations that have replaced ones emotions.

Collection:Photographer's Choice Courtesy: Getty Images
Collection:Photographer’s Choice
Courtesy: Getty Images

VTV promos were great and catchy – the absence of any details about the cast and crew and their release being timed around the Valentine Day gave great salience to the product in the mind of its youthful audience. And it was a slick product as well – cinematography, music, romance and the comic track all seem to be in place. The production values are always tops when Gautham Menon helms a film. Continue reading “Review of Tamil Movie Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa (Will you cross the skies?)”

Kamal and Rajni Movies

Any comparison is meaningless and provokes endless debates. The two have not appeared together in movies for several decades now – a decision that makes a lot of commercial sense and has enabled them to portray their own vision of cinema, accumulating millions of fans along the way.

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Kamal and Rajni with their mentor K Balachander                                                                                           Image Courtesy – http://www.tamilcnn.lk

It is interesting to see the few movies they did together in the late 70s and the fruitful collaboration has provided us great entertainment and cinema.

Together they have appeared in about 18 films in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi cinema. Typically Kamal starred as the protagonist while Rajni played the antagonist. Eventually Rajni emerged as a popular hero in his own right and, given that twin heroes subjects are rare in Tamil cinema, it made little sense for them to star together any longer.

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Aval Appadithan by Rudraiah

The tragic consequences of feminism in a patriarchal society like India were used as a theme by many pioneering movie makers in the late 70s. Indeed the storyline was prefixed just like shooting fish in a barrel. Unfortunately most of these movies did not meet with much commercial success.

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Kamal, Rajini and Sripriya in Rudraiah’s Aval Appadithan                                                               Image Courtesy – You Tube

Decades later we are fortunate to discover the pioneering work by moviemakers like C Rudraiah who dared to bravely venture in making meaningful cinema. He was a contemporary of K Balachander and Bharathiraja but ended up being a one-movie wonder.

It is  truly a classic Tamil movie down to being a Black & White movie when the era of colour movies had already arrived. Produced on a shoestring budget the movie still did not meet with adequate returns on the box office. But it excelled in so many departments including cinematography and music. Continue reading “Aval Appadithan by Rudraiah”

Azhagan by K Balachander.

KB is an ace director and Mamooty a star actor, so I expected that the movie would be something special. But the KB’s master touch of creating credible characters and intriguing climax of interpersonal issues is missing this time. You can predict well in advance as to where the story is headed. So for once we have a feuilleton at hand instead of a classic but it too provides moments of entertainment.

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Mammooty and Bhanu Priya in Azhagan                                                                                                         Image Courtesy – zmp3.xyz

Let us talk about the basic plot – you have Mammootty playing the role of a charming widower in his mid-30s who is a doting father to 4 cute kids and a budding hotelier. He has diverse interests including appreciating classical dance forms, reading classical literature and poetry and pursuing his degree in Literature through a part-time course. He is a good orator and makes witty observations that draw admiration from his listeners. Continue reading “Azhagan by K Balachander.”

‘Keladi Kanmani’ (Listen, my dear…) by Vasanth.

Released way back in 1990, Keladi Kanmani marks the directorial début of Vasanth who had assisted K Balachander in many movies earlier. In my view it is his best work and a true tribute to his ‘gurunathar’- the great KB.

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SPB and Radhika in Vasanth’s Tamil movie ‘Keladi Kanmani’  Image Courtesy – thehindu.com

I regard it to be so as the story has no villains or overboard melodrama, typical of most Tamil films in those days. And it has a rare sensitivity of two loving adults who let go of their relationship because the child feels insecure and is not ready to accept anyone else in the place of her mother.

It is an offbeat love story between two ordinary real life characters – ARR (essayed by singer SPB) is a middle-aged widower and Sarada Teacher (essayed by Radhika) is a mature and educated daughter of a ‘deaf-mute’ couple played by Poornam Viswanathan and Srividya.

Continue reading “‘Keladi Kanmani’ (Listen, my dear…) by Vasanth.”