Tuesday, 10 July 2018

A Pinnacle Among Directors

Credited as the pinnacle among directors (Iyakkunar Sigaram) of Tamil cinema, K Balachander, was one of the pioneers in filming emotional context, especially the struggles of women in Brahminical families and social issues like unemployment. Apart from this Balachander also has experimented with a lot of other human emotions on screen. On his birth anniversary(July 9), I just want to list some of his off-beat movies that I enjoyed watching.

Thillu Mullu - 1981

Starring Rajinikanth, this movie was an out-of-the-box flick for the actor and director. Since Rajini was on a serious track of films, he wanted to break that chain and show his another side of acting. At that time, Balachander too had started to collaborate with Visu, who was doing stage plays. So, with the dialogues and screenplay by Visu, this movie was remade from a 1979 Hindi blockbuster Gol Maal. With a comical outburst, this movie explored the comedian inside Rajinikanth and the humourist inside Balachander. The storyline of the movie was so fresh that it was later adapted for a remake with the same title in 2013.

Poikkaal Kudhirai - 1983

It all starts with the characterisation of every actor in the movie. Giving an on-screen debut for poet Vaali, this movie was also the first collaboration of renowned screenwriter and playwright Crazy Mohan. The way Vaali's character was built in the movie sets the plot for it. Making a challenge with everyone he knows, he traps himself in an instance where he challenges the hero to impress his daughter and the movie ventures into a full-time comedy galore. Kamal Haasan did an extended cameo that was something new to the cinema at that time.

Punnagai Mannan - 1986

One of the all-time musical love drama of Tamil cinema, this flick starring Kamal Haasan and Revathi in the lead, also saw Kamal in double action with the second one an imitation of the legendary Charlie Chaplin. Balachander presented Punnagai Mannan as a musical entertainer with a lot of experimentation in the songs and original soundtrack. The film's music composer Ilayaraaja introduced sequencer a.k.a. synthesiser for the first time in Tamil cinema in this movie for which AR Rahman was the main keyboard player. The musicality of the movie was so popular and groundbreaking that the main theme of Punnagai Mannan also became the theme for K Balachander in a lot of award ceremonies and concerts.

Azhagan - 1991

This was one of the unexpected attempts of K Balachander. It is a simple storyline of a widower with four children, who finds his love and joins with her after a long ego clash. The poetic writing and filming of the aftermath of them falling in love are what that make Azhagan unique. The subtle screen presence of Mammooty in the lead and his character establishment were handled by Balachander with his expert filmmaking trait. Also, the movie had a lot of references to its period, like the placement of Doordarshan's theme in between the song, 'Sangeetha Swarangal'.

Paarthaale Paravasam - 2001

With an unusual plot on the friendship between a couple after divorce, this movie which had Madhavan and Simran in the lead was one of the finest experiments of Balachander before he quit direction for a while. The movie with a lot of humour, touched upon the changeover in the character of a man before and after marriage. Poet Vaali had a unique role to play in this movie as well. This was also the 100th film for this legendary filmmaker.

- Santhosh Mathevan,
Chennai, July 9, 2018.

A part or complete version of this listicle by Santhosh Mathevan has appeared in newstodaynet.com. This is completely based on the perceptions of Santhosh Mathevan alone. This does not reflect the views of two or more people or a community. Queries and criticism shall be addressed to the writer only. Photos/images appearing on the post are sourced from various sites across the web.