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Thread: Padalgal Palavidham - பாடல்கள் பலவிதம்

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    Padalgal Palavidham - பாடல்கள் பலவிதம்

    இன்றைக்கு சரியாக 6 ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன்னாள் [2008] ஒரு நாள் நமது ஹப்பின் நிறுவனர் திரு RR அவர்களும் திரு மணிசேகரன் அவர்களும் என்னை தொடர்பு கொண்டு ஒரு பெரிய சுமையை என் தலை மேல் சுமத்தினர். அன்றைய நாளில் மணி சார் நமது ஹப்பில் பாடல்கள் பலவிதம் என்ற தலைப்பில் தமிழ் திரைப்பட பாடல்களின் பின்னணியில் நடந்த சுவையான தகவல்களை எழுதிக் கொண்டிருந்த நேரம். சட்டென்று அவருக்கு அவசர அலுவல் பணி காரணமாக ஜெனிவா செல்ல வேண்டிய சூழல். ஆகவே என்னிடம் அந்த பாடல்கள் பலவிதம் பகுதியை தொடரும்படி கேட்டுக் கொண்டனர். அதை Sivaji Season என்ற தலைப்பில் நடிகர் திலகம் நடித்த திரைப்பட பாடல்களிருந்து ஒரு சில பாடல்களை தேர்வு செய்து அதன் பின்னணியில் உள்ள தகவல்களை வெளிக் கொண்டுவரும் பெரிய பணி என்னிடம் ஒப்படைக்கப்பட்டது. அந்த பணியில் என்னை ஈடுப்படுதிக் கொண்டு பத்து பாடல்களை அதன் பின்னணியில் அடங்கியிருந்த தகவல்களை நான் பதிவு செய்தேன். திரைப்பட தொலைக்காட்சி நடிகரும் நமது ஹப்பில் உறுப்பினருமான திரு மோகன்ராம் இந்த முயற்சிக்கு பெரிதும் பக்க பலமாக இருந்து உதவினார். என்னுடைய இந்த தொடர் சிறப்பாக வருவதற்கு நமது ஹப்பின் admin head ஆன RR அவர்களும், மாடரேட்டர் NOV மற்றும் மாடரேட்டர் பிரபு ராம் அவர்களும் தந்த ஊக்கமும் ஆதரவும் மறக்க முடியாதவை. பெரிய அளவில் எனக்கு பாராட்டு கிடைத்தது. அதன் எதிரொலியோ என்னவோ ஒரு சிலர் கண்களை அது உறுத்த ஒரு சில technical tools-ஐ பயன்படுத்தி அந்த திரியை ஹப்பிலிருந்து detach செய்தனர். அதை மீண்டும் தேடி பிடித்து மீள் பதிவு செய்தேன், சிறிது காலத்திற்கு பிறகு அதிலும் ஒரு பகுதி மறைந்து விட்டது. இன்றைக்கு காலம் கனிந்திருப்பதால் நடிகர் திலகத்துக்கென்று ஒரு தனி forum ஒன்று அமைந்திருப்பதால் அந்த திரியில் நான் எழுதியவற்றை [நான் ஏற்கனவே சேகரித்து வைத்திருந்த என் தொகுப்பிலிருந்து மீண்டும் எடுத்து இங்கே ஒரு தனி திரியாக தொடங்குகிறேன். நான் முன்பே எழுதி பதிவு செய்த பத்துப் பாடல்களின் பின்னணி தகவல்களை வாரம் ஒரு பாடலாக மீள் பதிவு செய்யலாம் என்று எண்ணம். சற்றே நீளம் கூடிய பதிவுகள். அன்றைய சூழலுக்கேற்ப பெரும்பாலும் ஆங்கிலத்திலேயே எழுதப்பட்ட பதிவுகள். ஆகவே அனைவரும் நிதானமாக படித்து தங்கள் கருத்தை பதிவு செய்யுமாறு கேட்டுக் கொள்கிறேன். அனைவரின் ஆதரவையும் வேண்டும்

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    SIVAJI SEASON

    SIVAJI SEASON - Nalanthaana


    தில்லானா மோகனாம்பாள்

    நலந்தானா

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

    Mr.Manisekaran

    Mr.Mohanram

    Various film magazines of yesteryears


    When we start a new thing, especially in Tamilnadu,we insist it to be "Mangalakaramaana aarambam".

    As for as Tamil Kalaachaaram, panpaadu is concerned, Mangalakaram is synonymus with music and it is epitomised best by Nadaswaram. This instrument had been associated with the lives of Tamils for ages. So when we start with Nadaswaram, is there anything better than Thillaana Mohanambal and Sikkal Shanmugasundaram.

    When you talk about Nadaswaram and Bharatha Nattiyam in Tamil cinema the first and foremost film that strikes everyone's mind is TM. The movie produced and directed by APNagarajan was released in 1968. But there is a story behind that which dates back to the middle 60s. As most of the people must be aware, TM was serialised in Ananda Vikatan and it was written by Kothhamangalam Subbu.As it was vogue during those days, S.S.Vaasan the MD of Ananda Vikatan was also the MD of Gemini Studio, always used to get the rights for filming the thodarkadhai under Gemini banner. It was the same with TM. APN by now was slowly establishing himself as a director. APN and VKR had joined together to produce some films (Makkalai Petra Maharaasi) and later APN did Vadivukku Valaikaapu,Kulamagal Raadhai and when he did Navarathiri under his own banner (Sri Vijayalakshmi Pictures) he was firmly established. By this time APN had thought about filming TM. Though the experiment of filming novels was not proving successful (Akilan's Paavai Vilakku and Kalki's Paarthiban Kanavu failed to make it rich), APN felt that TM was film material. He approached Vaasan but Vaasan refused to give the rights. APN after trying for sometime dropped the project and hit upon a new series of films.APN felt that Bakthi movement has great scope in TN. Another factor that influenced APN's thinking was, he being a Congress man wanted to counter the athesit propaganada of the DMK men who were cleverly using the medium to propagate their ideologies.With Nadigar Thilagam reposing full confidence in APN, the making of Thiruvilayaadal started and the film marked a watershed in TF industry. It was followed by Saraswathy Sabatham and Thiruvarutselvar and all crossed 100 days.In between SS and TVS, APN with his magic wand also gave new life to Kandha Leela, the almost shelved project of AL.Srinivasan, brother of Kannadasan. Kandha Leela rechristened as Kandhan Karunai with NT doing a cameo role was also a Box office success.

    With this background, APN approached Vaasan now. This was fag end of 1967.APN also had Thirumal Perumai on floors now. Now Vaasan realising the potential of APN was more than willing to give the rights to APN but he put up one condition. APN can direct but the film has to be under Gemini banner.Now APN was on strong grounds and was not willing to accept that because his banner has become one of the prestigious production houses and distributors were more than willing to pay what APN demanded.When Vaasan realised that APN was not interested, mooted the idea of joint production. But again this was not acceptable to APN. Vaasan realising that APN was not playing ball, decided to give the complete rights to APN without putting up conditions.[There is also another story. By this time the DMk government had assumed power in TN and Annadurai the Chief Minister had proposed to conduct the 2nd World Tamil Conference (Irandaam Ulaga Tamizh Maanaadu) in Chennai.For this Vaasan being the showman of South was appointed as Coordinator.Vaasan had to spend full time for this and the conference was held successfully in Jan 1968. Vaasan completely immersed in the conference realised that he cannot concentrate on the production and had given the go ahead to APN to produce under his own banner].It is said that to repay his gratitude to Vaasan, APN did Vilayaatu Pillai under Gemini banner, the film was again based on the story "Rao Bahadur Singaram"written by Kothhamangalam Subbu and serialised in Ananda Vikatan.

    [Again there is a small story.APN had paid a handsome amount by cheque to Vaasan for securing the rights. But APN being a writer himself had a guilty feeling that it is not proper for him to not to pay the writer K.Subbu as he was the creator of the story.By this time he got a news that KSubbu was not well and had been hospitalised. APN went to the hospital and after the courtesy call presented a cheque to Subbu along with fruits.He told Subbu about TM and his acquiring the rights. Subbu said that he was aware of the developments and said that he will not accept the cheque. He put his hand below the pillow and pulled out a cover and showed it to APN.It contained the cheque given by APN to Vaasan. Vaasan had sent it across to Subbu.See how magnanimus all the three persons are.Vaasan though holding the rights decided to give the cheque to the creator.APN though he had acquired the rights by paying Vaasan still went ahead and paid the story writer also.Subbu on his part could have easily hidden the fact that Vaasan had given the cheque to him and could have accepted the extra money APN had offered.But he politely refused the cheque from APN and informed him that Vaasan had already paid him].

    Now the filming the novel became the biggest challenge for APN.There were many loose ends that need to be tied up. First the story had two parts (Irandu Baagangal). While the first part dealt with the issues faced by Shanmugasundaram and Mohana before marriage, the second part was about the problems they encountered ater marriage. APN decided that the screen play would cover only the first part and the film would end with the marriage of Shanmugam and Mohana. APN also made sure that the hero's character was well etched but at the same time he avoided giving undue importance to heroism. Nadigar thilagam was always a person who attached more importance to the characters than his personal image and he gave complete freedom to APN.

    When screenplay writing progressed, APN found that the hero will not have any song sequences.He was bit apprehensive about how NT will react to this.But NT asked APN to go ahead. Another issue (though small in nature but important to Tamil peoples'physcological mindset) was about the non sporting of mushtache by the hero because Nadaswaram players don't sport mush. At a time when mush was a must for Tamil men and especially for cinema heroes, APN was apprehensive about the public reaction. To his discomfort someone pointed out that Rangon Radha where NT appeared without mush had failed at the Boxoffice. Even in APN's own movies such as Saraswathy Sabatham, Thiruvarutselvar and Thirumal Perumai, though NT appeared without mush in certain roles (Like Naradhar in SS, Periyazhwar in TP etc) there were other roles in the same movies where he had sported mush.But again APN and NT decided to take up the challenge.

    About Mohana, APN had decided about Padmini.But there was one hitch.Padmini was 35 by that time (1967) and she also had got married. Though she continued to act, some movie experts had expressed doubts about Padmini doing justice to the role. But APN was of the firm opinion that Padmini alone could do the role and without her there would be no Mohana.Naatiya Peroli proved APN right and people who were doubting her ability had to eat humble pie.Especially in the song "Maraindhirundhu Paarkkum", during the lines

    அழகர் மலை அழகா

    இந்த சிலை அழகா

    the camera would capture her from a low angle and nobody can say that she was 36 at that time.For other characters, APN decided that the film should have stalwarts and the likes of Baaliah,Thangavelu,TRRamachandran, Saarangapaani,Balajee, Nambiar, Naagesh,Manorama and Sahasaranaamam were roped in.Not to forget CK Saraswathy,A.Karunanidhi and Ambika etc.

    There was one more thing that needed attention. If we say naadaswaram, then people who readily come to mind are Thiruvaduthurai Rajarathinam Pillai, Karukurichi Arunachalam, Sheik Chinna Moulana and MPN Sethuraman - Ponnusamy brothers. Rajarathinam Pillai paased away in 1956.Karukurichi Arunachalam who gave the immortal "Singara Velanae Deva" in Konchum Salangai had also passed away. Sheik was not interested in movies.So the only person(s) left were MPN Brothers. But there was only Shanmugasundaram as per the story.Both the brothers refused to play alone. So APN took the artistic liberty of creating a fresh character who would accompany Shanmugam and thus AVM Rajan came in and MPN brothers were more than happy.The shooting was about to start. Now NT felt that he should watch and learn about playing this wind instrument.It was not without reason. Balaiah, Saarangapani and Ramachandran were from the stage background and as they have to learn all skills there, they had a tint with Thavil and mridangam.

    Added to it AVM Rajan hailed from a musical background (Isai Velaalar family)and so he easily adapted to playing the instrument.NT told APN that he wanted to observe how the MPN brothers played the instrument.So APN arranged for a concert.NT asked the Naadaswaram troupe to come home (Annai Illam). He was there to receive them.He the genius observed everything from the begining.Right from stepping out of the car, holding the naadasswaram in hand, changing the tail piece, checking the sound,sitting posture at the stage, the breath they take in between were all keenly observed and stored.And how well he reproduced the same with telling effect.APN had used different musical pieces fordifferent scenes.If the introduction sequence at Azhagar Kovil was traditional, it was Tamil isai at ingapuram (Aayiram Kanpothathu) followed by English notes.At Tiruvaarur it is Thillaana and the same Thillana becomes semi classic in Nalamthaana.In between he plays it to the gallery while at Manorama's dance.You could see NT adapting to all these situations with an expertise of a seasoned naadaswara vidwan.

    Everybody played their part to perfection.We can write seperate essays on Balaiah and troupe and CK Sarawathy and troupe.But the major scene stealers were Naagesh and Manorama. Naagesh got the biggest break up of his carrier through Dharumi and afterwards though he was a regular in almost all movies, his another top notch performance came in TM as Savadaal Vaidhi.It is a mere coincidence that the NT-APN combo which gave Thiruvilayaadal was also behind TM. The second one was Manorama.

    Karuppayee alias Jil Jil Ramamani alias Rosa Ramani was one of the all time best performance of the Aachi. Her dialog delivery with a slang and elasticity went down so well with the audience.

    Music and the songs

    KV Mahadevan alias Mama was the asthaana nusic director for APN. It was no different for TM.KVM gave a free hand to MPN brothers and only gave some corrections here and there to suit the film. APN and KVM decided on 3 songs. While the first song would be the introduction song for Mohana, the other song would be for the scene when the hero and heroine meet after a longtime and hero coming out safely from a lethal murder attempt. In between the character Rosa Ramani running her own troupe was given a song. This was also to balance the film by catering to the average audience. The first song composing took place.

    Kannadasan came and Pugazhendhi,the all in all of KVM played the tune to Kannadasan. He was briefed about the situation.He asked Pugazhendhi about the raaga in which the tune had been composed.He was told that it is Shanmugapriya. Kannadasan just looked up and the lyrics simply flowed from his throat. For every charanam, he finished with the word Shanmuga, denoting both the hero and the raaga.Of course as we all know it is child's play for Kannadasan. For Pandiyan Naanirukka(for Manorama), he penned the lyrics using colloquial language.It suited the character very well.

    THE SONG

    As per the story, Shanmugasundaram sustains a grievious knife injury in his left hand at the Tiruvaarur Temple during the Thillaana competition and he gets treated at Chennai. Once he recoups the Tamizhisai Sangam President Kittaavaiyer arranges for the same combination at his Sabha.

    Shanmugasundaram would play Nadaswaram and Mohana would dance. Mohana and Shanmugasundaram are deeply in love with each other and after a long gap get to meet together. Moreover it is not normal circiumstances as Shanmugam has just escaped from death. When such a situation pregnant with so much possiblities is thrown up, we have always seen Kannadasan coming out trumps.Not only that, he always used such situations to express his feelings towards certain happenings of that time. He and EVK Sampath (F/o EVKS Elangovan) formed a new party Tamil Desiya Katchi in 1961 and Sampath contested the 1962 Parliament elections from Gobichettipalayam but lost. Kannadasan used Bale Pandiya song "Yaarai Enge Vaippathunu Yaarukkum theriyalae" to express his anguish. When his own brother AL.Srinivasan tefused to give him money to clear some debts, he penned "Annan Ennada? Thambi Ennada?" for Pazhani.When he wanted his party to merge with Congress, he expressed his request "Andha Sivakami Maganidamum Sethi Solladi,ennai serum naal paarkka solladi" in Pattanathil Bootham.When this song was getting composed, as mentioned earlier Annadurai was the CM. He had an attack of cancer.He had been affected by cancer even before 1967 elections but this was known only to very few people lest it would affect the chances of DMK in elections.But after the elections and he becaming the CM, the situation worsened and the news came out.He was told to go to USA for check up and treatment.He went to USA and had the check up done.He was trated there and he returned to India, Again it was only a temporary thing but the public was made to believe everything had become normal.

    Now coming back to our song, Kannadasan who was once so close to Anna was upset about his health condition.They were not in talking terms.Still the poet's heart bled for his erstwhile leader. He started

    நலந்தானா நலந்தானா

    உடலும் உள்ளமும் நலந்தானா

    நலம் பெறவேண்டும் நீ என்று

    நாளும் என் நெஞ்சில் நினைவுண்டு

    இலை மறை காய் போல் பொருள் கொண்டு

    எவரும் அறியாமல் சொல் இன்று.

    He finished with another charanam

    நடந்ததெல்லாம் மறந்திருப்போம்

    நடப்பதையே நினைத்திருப்போம்

    கட்டுண்டோம் பொறுத்திருப்போம்

    காலம் மாறும் சந்திப்போம்

    Anna knowing Kannadasan, could understand the meaning and it seems he expressed his happiness when the movie was screened to him. Kannadasan completed the song and P.Susheela, the undisputed queen of TFM (why TFM, even Indian Film Music) simply breathed life into it.With the Kaviarasu, Thirai Isai Thilagam and Isaiarasi having completed a great job, now it was left to APN, NT and NP to show their mettle. Padmini with her expressive face and eyes showed all the right emotions.The love for her men, her anxiety about his health, her anguish about the injury not fully geting healed, the pain she undergoes on seeing her lover suffer,her desire to get united with him, all these things ypu could see in her body language within a matter of minutes.If Naatiya Peroli used her dancing skills to express things, the one and only Nadigar Thilagam just used his eyes to upstage her.His eyes would convey all emotions.You could see his eyes smiling when Padmini enters, his eyes showing pain when blood starts Oozing from his left hand, his eyes would acknowledge Padmini's feeling.Especially the lines

    கண்பட்டதால் உந்தன் மேனியிலே

    புண்பட்டதோ அதை நானறியேன்

    புண்பட்ட செய்தியை கேட்டவுடன்; இந்த

    பெண் பட்ட பாட்டை யாரறிவார்

    NT's eyes would become red and tears would be filling around his eyeballs. Normally it is said that glyserine induced tears could not be held back.It would automatically start flowing. But for our NT, the tears would stay till the time he wants it to be there.It will start trickling only when he wishes so.It is said that he will even make it fall drop by drop. This becomes all the more absorbing in this context because when holding tears itself is difficult, playing the naadaswaram at the same time makes it more difficult.But NT would make it look so easy and natural.At the theatre this scene would always evoke thunderous applause.This is a song that has stood the test of the time for the last 40 years and would continue to remain as such. To say that this song played an important role in the film's success is not out of context.

    It won widespread acclaim from all walks of society.There were some people who were predicting a disaster had their mouths shut when it became the biggest hit of 1968.It won the best film award and fetched best actor award for NT from the Tamilnadu Government.The annual Pesum Padam award,the cinema fans association award and so many awards from various sources just flowed in.MGR saw the film and he was so impressed it seems that he saw it for one time and it is said that when a foreign delegation came to meet him, he arranged for the special screening of the film for them through Idhyam Pesugirathu Manian.This goes to see how well the film was received.

    To sign off, let me add my personal experience.The film was released on 27th of July,1968. It was a Saturday and in our Madurai, it was released in Chinthamani Talkies.I was studying in St.Joseph's Convent and we were staying in Aarapaalayam. Myself used to travel in Cycle Rikhshaw and we need to cross the theatre on our way to school.What I saw in the morning of that day is still etched in my mind. People knowing the topography of Chinthamani would be aware that it is a shaped building, the two lanes on either side of the theatre acting as the length of . If we stand in front of the theatre,the left side would be having the high class counters(balcony) and right side the lower class.The main gate would allow the ladies in and they had a seperate counter inside. On the morning, when we crossed, the traffic had come to a stand still.There were serpentine Queue on either side and there were about 200 people in front of the gate [in addition to the hundreds lining up on either side of the theatre] trying to get in through the main gate.The police were having a tough time controlling the crowd and everytime the police wielded their laati, the crowd was spilling into the main road throwing the traffic(It is a busy throughfare wth buses and lorries plying round the clock) out of gear.It took 15 minutes for us to pass the strech (normally it would hardly take 2,3 minutes). School being half day (Saturday)we came back by 1.15 pm.Now the police force was more and the front gate was being guarded. In both the lanes,கண்ணுக்கு எட்டிய தூரம் வரை வரிசை காணப்பட்டது. There was a sea of people in the opposite paltform. Suddenly the main gate opened and some people were seen rushing out.They stepped out of the platform into the main road and one of them lighted a 5000 wala charam amidst the shouts of "Nadigar Thilagam Sivaji Ganesan Vaazhga". More people by now had started coming out and more crackers were being burst.Our Rickshaw man cycled away from the theatre though I preferred stayong back and watching the fun getting unfolded.That was my first experience of the opening show crowd and celebrations and it is still green in my memory. The lyrics is as follows.

    நலந்தானா நலந்தானா

    உடலும் உள்ளமும் நலந்தானா

    நலம் பெறவேண்டும் நீ என்று

    நாளும் என் நெஞ்சில் நினைவுண்டு

    இலை மறை காய் போல் பொருள் கொண்டு

    எவரும் அறியாமல் சொல் இன்று.

    கண்பட்டதால் உந்தன் மேனியிலே

    புண்பட்டதோ அதை நானறியேன்

    புண்பட்ட செய்தியை கேட்டவுடன்; இந்த

    பெண் பட்ட பாட்டை யாரறிவார்

    நடந்ததெல்லாம் மறந்திருப்போம்

    நடப்பதையே நினைத்திருப்போம்

    கட்டுண்டோம் பொறுத்திருப்போம்

    காலம் மாறும் சந்திப்போம்.


    Regards

  4. Likes Gopal,S., RR, NOV, Subramaniam Ramajayam liked this post
  5. #3
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    Murali sir no words in dictionary to appreciate your writings about TM, I remember good olden days how ladies were showing interest to follow the novel waiting anxiously on thursdays for anandavikatan issue's arraival.very nicely you have written like how APN has captured the theme successfully in mouldig the characters etc was very much appreciated by followers of the novel including my belovedmother when she saw the movie told me at shanthi theatre itself.
    regarding movie made a thumping success that time iwas a college student crossing mountroad very often every time HOUSEFULL board seen even after 10weeks run. i could not belive that. two persons who are brothers sellig tickets in black market well known to all our NT fans said proudly they have purchaded one new ambassador oout of the earings of this movie alone withinn 100days run. some thing hard to belie but a fact.
    When we met APN sir in his house he was astonished about the thumping success of the movie and apprecited all the artists and NT IN particular about his invovement in the picture.
    GREAT DAYS.
    Last edited by Subramaniam Ramajayam; 26th March 2014 at 03:33 AM.

  6. #4
    Senior Member Seasoned Hubber KCSHEKAR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murali Srinivas View Post
    SIVAJI SEASON
    SIVAJI SEASON - Nalanthaana
    கண்பட்டதால் உந்தன் மேனியிலே
    புண்பட்டதோ அதை நானறியேன்
    புண்பட்ட செய்தியை கேட்டவுடன்; இந்த
    பெண் பட்ட பாட்டை யாரறிவார்
    நடந்ததெல்லாம் மறந்திருப்போம்
    நடப்பதையே நினைத்திருப்போம்
    கட்டுண்டோம் பொறுத்திருப்போம்
    காலம் மாறும் சந்திப்போம்.[/B]Regards
    டியர் முரளி சார்,
    தங்களின் பாடல்கள் பலவிதம் பதிவை நான் படித்ததில்லை. நலந்தானாவுடன் அருமையாகத் துவக்கியிருக்கிறீர்கள். பாடலை வரிக்கு வரி அலசியிருப்பது அருமை. மற்ற பாடல்கள் பற்றிய பதிவுகளையும் காண ஆவலாக இருக்கிறோம். நன்றி.
    அன்புடன்

    K.CHANDRASEKARAN
    President
    Nadigarthilagam Sivaji SamooganalaPeravai
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  7. #5
    Senior Member Senior Hubber kalnayak's Avatar
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    முரளி சார், பாடல்கள் பலவிதம் திரியை ஏற்கனவே அது வெளி வந்தபோது தொடர்ந்து படித்திருக்கிறேன். அதுபெற்ற வரவேற்பையும், பின்பு குதறப்பட்ட விதத்தையும், காணாமல் போனதையும் கண்டிருக்கிறேன். அற்புதமான பாடல்களை உங்களுக்கே உரித்தான சுவாரஸ்யம் கூட்டும் நடையில் மிக அழகாக எழுதியிருந்தீர்கள். உங்கள் பெயரும் பரபரப்பாக குறைந்த நாட்களிலேயே மிகப்பிரபல்யத்தை அடைந்தது. நடிகர்திலகத்தின் திரிக்கு வருவோரின் எண்ணிக்கையும் அதிகரித்தது. நல்ல வரவேற்பை பெற்ற பாடல்கள் பலவிதம் திரி இடர் களைந்து மீண்டுதிப்பது கல்கியின் பொன்னியின் செல்வன் மீண்டும் மீண்டும் கல்கி வாரப்பத்திரிக்கையில் வந்து வாசகர் வரவேற்பை பெறுவதைப் போன்று இங்கே எல்லோரது வரவேற்பை மீண்டும் பெறுவது திண்ணம்.

    நலந்தானாவில் துவக்கி விட்டீர்கள். அபாரமாகவுள்ளது. என்னால் நீங்கள் எழுதிய எல்லாப் பாடல்களையும் உடனடியாக நினைவிற்கு கொண்டு வர முடியவில்லை. மன்னிக்கவும். ஆனால் பாசமலர் 'மலர்ந்தும் மலராத' பாடலுக்கு நீங்கள் எழுதிய வரிகளை அதை படித்தவர்கள் யாரும் மறக்க முடியாது. அடுத்த பதிவை ஆவலுடன் எதிர் நோக்கியிருக்கிறேன்.

  8. #6
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    நன்றி ராமஜெயம் சார்.

    நன்றி சந்திரசேகர் சார்.

    கல்நாயக் நன்றி. மலர்ந்தும் மலராதா பாடலும் வரும், ஆனால் அது இறுதியாக.

    அன்புடன்

  9. #7
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    SIVAJI SEASON - SONG NO 2

    SIVAJI SEASON - ELLORUM KONDAADUVOM


    பாவ மன்னிப்பு - எல்லோரும் கொண்டாடுவோம்


    Acknowledgement:

    Various Magazines with special thanks to AVM 60 by M.Saravanan

    Mani Sirs previous song threads

    Fellow Hubber and actor Mohanram for his valuable info addition


    PAAVA MANNIPPU


    For the last 50 years, people who are aware of Tamil cinema (forget about their age - they can be between 15 and 75) will recognise one alphabet and immediately identify that with two people. The alphabet is pa and the people who readily come to mind are NT and BheemSingh. This duo of NT BheemSingh literally swept the Tamil audience off their feet by delivering quality movies one after another with an unfailing consistency that marked a watershed in the annals of Tamil Cinema. So much so that other directors who were directing NT during those times had to make conscious efforts to make their movies stand. Some succeeded like K.Shankar (Aalaya Mani) and LV Prasad (Iruvar Ullam) whereas some good films like Punar Jenmam and Ellam Unakkaaga did not get the success they deserved. Even now that combination is spoken with awe. The song we had selected for discussion is from one such immortal movie of this combo PAAVA MANNIPPU.

    Paava Mannippu carries another distinction in the sense it came in 1961, a year that saw the release of three greatest Paa varisai movies and Paava Mannippu was the first one (16.03.1961) followed by Paasa Malar (27.05.1961) and then Paalum Pazhamum (09.09.1961) and it goes without saying that all three were Super duper hits. Now before proceeding to the song some background news on the movie. BheemSingh had started Buddha Pictures and produced Pathi Bakthi, the starting point of Pa. Then he did Baagha Pirivinai that was produced under the Saravana Pictures Banner. After this he planned a movie with Chandrababu in the lead. CB had given a knot for the story. A man born as a Hindu grows up as a Muslim and loves a Christian girl. Bheemsingh decided to developon this. He named the movie as Abdullah. Shooting started and around 2000 feet was shot.

    On seeing the rushes, Bheemsingh had a feeling that something is amiss. He being very close to AVM Productions discussed the issue with AVM. Saravanan. Saravanan also saw the rushes and though he also felt the same about the portions shot, the knot attracted him. He spoke to his father AV.Meiyyappan about this and Bheemsingh went and met AVM Chettiar. It was decided that Buddha Pictures and AVM would co-produce the film. AVM would finance the project and profit would be equally shared. The Budget was fixed as 4.5 Lakhs. It was also decided to re work the script.

    Bheemsingh had a unique style of script writing. He would always have some writers in his unit like Valampuri Somanathan, Arangannal and Irai Mudi. Everybody would write out a screenplay on their own and after discussion, Bheemshinghs assistant Thirumalai (who later with another colleague Mahalingam formed a director duo and did Sadhu Mirandaal and Aalayam) would collate all three and form the screenplay that is going to be filmed and Solai Malai would write the dialogue. The Pooja of Paava Mannippu was held on Jan 20th of 1960. The screenplay writing was going on. At this point of time NTs brother VC Shanmugams marriage took place in Abotsbury (He married the younger sister of Kamala Ammal, the wife of NT). During the marriage, Saravanan met Bheemsingh and enquired about the progress. Bheemsingh had replied that the script has shaped up very well. But he told Saravanan, that with the turn of events that took place in script writing, Chandrababu would not be able to do justice to the role and it required an actor of NTs caliber to cope with. Saravanan though happy was apprehensive about how Chandrababu would take it. Because Chandrababu was known as a person who could have extreme mood swings and Bheemsingh himself took the responsibility of taking up matter with CB and Babu, to everyones surprise agreed to move out. Though CB had given the knot, it was fully developed by Bheemsinghs unit and therefore in the titles the credit for story was given to Buddha Pictures Kadhai Ilakkaa, a common practice carried out during those days. Now the budget had to be reworked and it was revised to 10.5 Lakhs. What started as a simple story had by now grown into a story dealing with a much-discussed social topic religious amity So NT came in as the hero and Bheemsingh immediately booked Gemini, Savithiri, Devika, MR Radha, SV Subbiah, and Balaiah. Naagaiah, MV Rajamma and Rama Rao were also there.

    Madurai formed the backdrop of the story, where MRR (Aalavandar) would be running a diamond business. MV Rajamma as his wife and Balaiah as his driver, Rama Rao as his assistant and Subbiah as his friend James completed the casting. MRR is shown as a greedy person and as usual his wife is a good woman. They have two sons. Balaiah has one daughter and his wife is in an advanced stage of pregnancy. A north Indian businessman who comes to sell diamonds is tricked and murdered by MRR and the blame is put on the head of Balaiah, who is arrested. His wife delivers a female child and dies.

    MV Rajamma, who wants to atone for her husbands sin, gives this child to James. The elder girl is taken care of by an elderly woman neighbour of Balaiah. Balaiah on hearing about the developments escapes from the prison and kidnaps the younger son of MRR and in a fit of anger throws the child on to the railway track but the child is saved by an Islamic Medical practitioner who with a help of a Hindu friend sets up a dispensary (BharathiVaidya Salai) in Ponnagaram a suburb of Madurai which is inhabited by the poor. He names the child as Rahim. So the stage is set with one son of MRR growing up in his own home as a Hindu (Gemini-who becomes a Police Inspector), while the other son grows up as a Muslim and engages himself in social service. In the same manner, whileBalaiahs elder daughter (Savithiri) is a Hindu, his second daughter (Devika) who is brought up by James grows up as a Christian, though all four are by birth Hindus. With such a plot, Bheemsingh simply delivered.

    Now coming to the songs.

    There is still a large section of Population (believe me it is really large) who are of the firm opinion that when it comes to songs, its contents, its tune, its BGM, its filming and enactment, the combination of NT Bheemsingh- Kannadasan- VR is unbeatable. On any given day this combo would rock.

    Paava Mannippu was one among the golden musicals dished out by this combo. All the songs were Super Duper hits and the fact that even after 53 years have gone by, all the songs retain their charm and craze speaks for their longevity.

    The Film in total had eight songs and all were hits. (In fact in later years, when the film was re- released), the advertisement was like this.

    பாடல்கள் எட்டு! அத்தனையும் தேன் சொட்டு!

    All the songs were recorded. Saravanan had an idea and he with the help of the radio advertiser L.R.Narayanan had sent the record containing all songs to Mayil Vahanan, the announcer in Radio Ceylon. All the songs were played in Radio Ceylon and they became a big hit. Bheemsingh had a fear that repeated playing might make the songs stale during release. But Saravanan was very confident and he even cited the example of Kohinoor tuned by Naushad, which had been aired for a longer period, and it helped the film. Saravanan was right and when the movie was released, the public received the song sequences with thunderous applause.

    SONG SITUATION

    Now coming to our song, this serves as the introduction of NT in the movie. Not only him, GG, Savithiri and Devika are introduced during the song. So a single song had served to introduce all main characters and it has been done clearly without creating any confusion in the minds of the audience. But it seems that the song was not in the scheme of things in the first place. Later when discussions were in the advanced stage, this song situation was thought of and it made Bheemsinghs task easier. Kannadasan was assigned the task.

    The period was 1960 and Kannadasan was still with DMK. So he was supposed to be an atheist. But as for as Kannadasan was concerned, beliefs and business were different things and it should be said here that he had a vast knowledge about all religions. He who was known as a Kannan devotee had also written about other religions in the films. His combination with APN in films like Thiruvilayadal, Saraswathy Sabatham, Kandhan Karunai, and Thiruvartuselvar brought out the saivaite based songs and Thirumal Perumai saw him penning Vaishanvaite songs (Thirumal Perumaikku Nigarethu a
    classic on the Dasavatharam). Devar used him to bring out the glories of Muruga in his Dhandayuthapani Films movies. If this is the case for his own religion, Kannadasan for Christianity came out with songs which are ever green and aired till today.

    In Thaaye Unakkaaga, the song Yesunathar Pesinal avar enna pesuvaar? is one example. Kannadasan had read all Holy books and just as he put the Gita in simple Tamil in Karnan (Maranathai Enni Kalangum Vijaya), he used biblical language in Devane Ennai Paarungal (Gnana Oli) and Vaanamennum Veedhiyile (Annai Velankanni). In fact the songs of Annai Velankanni would highlight his knowledge on Christianity. No wonder he wrote Yesu Kaaviyam in the last leg of his life. Another song where he brought out the goodness of all religions is from Kuzhandhaikkaga. The song Devan Vandhan would have a pallavi

    ராமன் என்பது கங்கை நதி

    அல்லா என்பது சிந்து நதி

    இயேசு என்பது பொன்னி நதி

    (This was only the second time the combo of Sirkazhi, TMS and PBS had come together, the only other occasion being Aarodum Mannil engum Neerodum in Pazhani).

    So Ellorum Kondaaduvom was a starter for all these songs, which came later.


    SONG

    Kannadasan aided by a powerful pen always highlighted the songs with a large dose of practical and philosophical thoughts thrown in. For practical life he advises against laziness. Like this

    கல்லாக படுத்திருந்து

    களித்தவர் யாருமில்லே

    கை கால்கள் ஓய்ந்த பின்னே

    துடிப்பதில் லாபம் இல்லே

    His favourite philosophy comes behind. Simple but see how effective are the words

    ஆடையின்றி பிறந்தோமே

    ஆசையின்றி பிறந்தோமா

    ஆடி முடிக்கையிலே

    அள்ளி சென்றோர் யாருமுண்டோ

    He also advocates the religious amity in his unique style

    நூறு வகை பறவை வரும்

    கோடி வகை பூ மலரும்

    ஆட வரும் அத்தனையும்

    ஆண்டவனின் பிள்ளையடா

    கடலுக்குள் பிரிவுமில்லை

    கடவுளில் பேதமில்லை

    With Kannadasan completing his task and the Mellisai Mannargal churning out a simple but lovely melody the stage was set for TMS to breathe life into it. At this time the MDs and Bheemsingh had a thought and they decided to implement it. When we say Islamic songs, the name that first comes to mind is Nagoor Haneefa. (Everyone would have listened to Iravanidum Kaiyenthungal). Here the MDs decided to make use of him. Thus Nagoor Haneefa also sang the song along with TMS. That added lustre to the song.

    With all things done, now it was the turn of our beloved Nadigar Thilagam to enact the song. For this movie, the first shot NT faced was for this song. NT came for the make up and the same was done. NT called up Bheemsingh and enquired Bheembhai, indha character-ai eppadi panniyirukke? Edhaavadhu negative shades varudhaa? For which Bheemsingh replied No Sivaji Bhai! Rahim character is a good-hearted Samaritan (NT and Bheemsingh always used to address each other as Bhai). On hearing this NT called up the make up man and asked him to sport a black mark in his forehead. He told Bheemsingh Oru unmaiyaana Muslim, dhinam 5 neram thozhanum. Thariyile nethiyai vachu namaz pannumpothu indha mark vizhum. Bheemsingh though well aware of NTs character study was still moved.

    Of course there are hundreds of incidents where NT had taken extreme pain to do justice to the roles he played. The make up he sported for Leprosy patient in Navarathiri; he had come to the Saradha Studio at 6 am in the morning and stayed back till 10 pm the next day without even going home. He had only liquid food through straw. The Deiva Magan make up; again the pain he underwent during the make up and its removal was tremendous. Blood used to ooze out. The most challenging part is he had to enact the second sons character also whose face should be free from any scars. During the filming of mythological movies, he had avoided Non Veg, cigarette etc. Especially for Appar in Thiruvarutselvar. While he was shooting for Paritchaikku Neramacchu where he played the character of Nadathoor Narasimhachari, an octogenarian Vaishnavaite, he had gone to Kanchi Mutt along with Muktha Srinivasan and Sri Jayendra Saraswathi, the pontiff of Kanchi Mutt saw him wearing a Poonool (sacred thread) and enquired about it. NT replied that to get into the character, he has been wearing the same. That is NTs Thozhil Bakthi for you. But he never trumpeted about all these things. He never said indha padathukkaaga 10 kilo weight kootinen, illai kuraichen, vaazhai pazham mattume saapiten, mottai adichhikkiten etc. His philosophy was simple. Eppo kadhai kettu padam panneren-nu kai neeti kaasu vaangitomo, appo andha characterkku enna thevaiyo adhai seivadhu oru nadiganoda kadamai. Adhai veliye sollitirukkakoodathu.

    The song was filmed and you can see how with the simple steps of graceful walk and hand synchronisation (using the tape which he holds) he makes acting look so easy. An actors calibre has to be measured by how he conducts himself in a song sequence. How he performs, whether it is action or reaction in that song shows his ability and in this regard NT is streets ahead of all actors. This song is one more evidence for the same.

    The movie was progressing and AVM had planned for an Oct 26th.Unforeseen incident happened. At the start Kannamba had been booked for the mother role and she took part in shooting. But during the shooting she took ill and she was hospitalized due to which she excused herself from the film. So instead of her MV Rajamma was booked and the portions were re shot. So the film release got post phoned to March 1961.

    During those days in Chennai (Madras then) NTs movies were released in Chitra, Sayani and Crown etc. For Paava Mannippu, AVM Chettiar had wanted the movie to be released in Shanthi. (Actually Shanthi was built and owned by G.Umapathy, who later sold it to NT and with that, built Anand and later Little Anand. During Paava Mannippus release, Umapathy owned the theatre). Shanthi had the biggest Balcony (421 seats) of all Chennai theatres and so AVM wanted to release the movie in that. But till that time Shanthi never had a great BO record and so Bheemsingh and VC Shanmugam were bit skeptical. But Chettiar stood by his stand and how well he was proved right. Paava Mannippu released in Shanthi was a blockbuster and celebrated Silver Jubilee there. So it became the first movie in Shanthi to complete 25 weeks.

    As a novel way of advertising, AVM imported a gigantic balloon from Japan and tied it atop Shanthi theatre. The balloon had Hydrogen inside it and to sustain the gas inside Hydrogen cylinder was also placed atop. The balloon had an inscription of AVM in English and Paava Mannippu in Tamil. As Mount Road was devoid of skyscrapers during those days, the balloon was visible even from far off places and every one who was passing through the road had a look at the balloon with awe. This helped the film. But one unforeseen problem cropped up. During those days for placing any material which would extending into the high skies, it was mandatory for the people concerned to get a permission from the Chennai Airport authority. Similarly placing a gas cylinder atop

    a building has to be approved by Directorate of Explosive factories. AVM unaware of both these things had failed to take the requisite permission and only when they received notices from both the authorities realised their error. But AVM Chettiar tactfully handled the situation and problem was solved.

    As the songs had become so popular, AVM decided to conduct a contest. The public were asked to assign the songs in the order of their liking and it was announced that one could send any number of entries. The persons whose choice gets the maximum number of votes would be given a cash prize of Rs 10,000/-, it was announced. There was tremendous response and entries started pouring on. An entire room was allotted for keeping the covers and it started to overflow. So for counting, the entire lot was removed to an open area and the entire staff of AVM Studios was assigned to do the job. A Black
    board was placed with all the songs written on that and votes (!) were added.

    The winning order was like this.

    1.சிலர் சிரிப்பார்! சிலர் அழுவார்!

    2. அத்தான்! என்னத்தான்

    3. வந்த நாள் முதல் இந்த நாள் வரை

    4. காலங்களில் அவள் வசந்தம்

    5. எல்லோரும் கொண்டாடுவோம்

    6. பாலிருக்கும்! பழமிருக்கும்! பசியிருக்காது

    7. ஓவியம் கலைந்ததென்று

    8. சாய வேட்டி தலையிலே கட்டி


    So many people had won and when the prize money was shared, it was doubtful whether it covered even their postal expenses. But this was the first time a contest was held for public and by this count also Paava Mannippu becomes unique.

    I always used to say and I have posted in this thread also that NT and his songs carry a special place in Tamil Homes. If it is marriage it is வாராய் என் தோழி, if it is farewell it is பசுமை நிறைந்த நினைவுகளே, in the same manner for any Islamic festival there will be this song. Foe ever.

    The lyric is given below.

    எல்லோரும் கொண்டாடுவோம்

    எல்லோரும் கொண்டாடுவோம்

    அல்லாஹ்வின் பெயரை சொல்லி

    நல்லோர்கள் வாழ்வை எண்ணி

    (எல்லோ---)

    கல்லாக படுத்திருந்து

    களித்தவர் யாருமில்லே

    கை கால்கள் ஓய்ந்த பின்னே

    துடிப்பதில் லாபம் இல்லே

    வந்ததை வரவில் வைப்போம்

    செய்வதை செலவில் வைப்போம்

    இன்று போல் என்றும் இங்கே ஒன்றாய் கூடுவோம்

    (எல்லோ---)

    நூறு வகை பறவை வரும்

    கோடி வகை பூ மலரும்

    ஆட வரும் அத்தனையும்

    ஆண்டவனின் பிள்ளையடா

    கருப்பிலே வெளுப்புமிலே

    கனவுக்கு உருவமில்லே

    கடலுக்குள் பிரிவுமில்லை

    கடவுளில் பேதமில்லை

    முதலுக்கு அன்னை என்போம்

    முடிவுக்கு தந்தை என்போம்

    மண்ணிலே விண்ணை கண்டு ஒன்றாய் கூடுவோம்

    (எல்லோ------)

    ஆடையின்றி பிறந்தோமே

    ஆசையின்றி பிறந்தோமா

    ஆடி முடிக்கையிலே

    அள்ளி சென்றோர்யாருமுண்டோ

    படைத்தவன் சேர்த்து தந்தான்

    வளர்த்தவன் பிரித்து வைத்தான்

    எடுத்தவன் மறைத்து கொண்டான்

    கொடுத்தவன் தெருவில் நின்றான்

    எடுத்தவன் கொடுக்க வைப்போம்

    கொடுத்தவன் எடுக்க வைப்போம்

    இன்று போல் என்றும் இங்கே ஒன்றாய் கூடுவோம்.



    எல்லோரும் கொண்டாடுவோம்

    எல்லோரும் கொண்டாடுவோம்

    அல்லாஹ்வின் பெயரை சொல்லி

    நல்லோர்கள் வாழ்வை எண்ணி

    எல்லோரும் கொண்டாடுவோம்


    Regards

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    SIVAJI SEASON - SONG 3

    DEVANA ENNAI PAARUNGAL

    GNANA OLI

    Acknowledgement

    1. Mr. Vietnam Veedu Sundaram the Screen play writer and Director who wrote the story of this film and who was kind enough to throw light on the play and the movie.

    2. Stage/ Serial/Cinema Artist Mr. LIC Narasimhan who had been associated with the troupe of Major Sundararajan for more than 30 years and who gave me some info about the play and the troupe.

    3. Mr. Mohan Ram who not only gave me some vital info but also helped in getting the much needed details from VVS and Narasimhan

    4. The book Oru Kuyilin Vaazhkai Sangeetham by Kavitha Albert.

    5. The NT thread in our own forum with special thanks to Saradhaa, Raghavender and tacinema.

    6. Various Magazines of yesteryears.

    Dedicated To:

    A Hard core NT Fan and my Dear Brother Joe

    Start up of the Movie


    A movie that came in the golden year of NT. Yes, it was the second movie of the calendar year 1972, when whatever he touched turned gold. A film that had the powerful portrayal of NT as Anthony alias Arun. The song that we have chosen for discussion was one of the top-notch songs that topped the charts in the radio and it had tough competition in its hands as it had to compete with songs of Silver Jubilee hits Pattikkaada Pattanamaa and Vasantha Maaligai, both of which got released in the same year. In spite of that, this song came up trumps. Let us delve into the background first.

    There was this production company called JR movies. The men behind the company were PKV Sankaran and PKV Arumugam. These two brothers belonged to Tenkasi. When RM.Veerappan launched the first film under Sathya Movies-Deiva Thai, his debut movie as a producer, these two brothers functioned as co-producers for the same. Later they launched JR movies (on screen they would spell it as Jayaar Movies). It was 1968 and there was a by- election scheduled for Tenkasi. MGR wanted a movie to be made in quick time and the brothers were given the call sheet to produce Puthiya Bhoomi. (There used to be rumours that the name of the banner itself denotes Janaki Ramachandran). So when the announcement that their next movie is Enga Mama with NT in the lead came out, it was received with shock and surprise, because during those days the change of camp was a big happening. Enga Mama, a remake of Hindi Brahmachari, hit the screens on Jan 14th of 1970. JR movies had planned one more movie with NT. At this time NT saw the play Gnana Oli staged by Major Sundarrajan and it was decided to adapt the stage play into a movie. Now let us do a little peep in about Majors troupe and play.


    Major and his Troupe

    The stage or Drama troupe was an integral part of Tamil Nadu starting from the early 1930s and it gave so many stalwarts to Tamil cinema. The amazing part is stage continued to co exist with the cinema even as late as early 1980s. Almost all heroes of Tamil Cinema till 70s came from Stage Plays. Many cine artists continued to have their own troupes and even Super Stars like NT and MGR had their own. Sivaji Nataka Mandram and MGR Nataka Mandram as they were called were professionally managed. Then there was Seva Sadhan by Sahasranamam, TK Shanmugam and Bagavathy were having their own, Manohar was staging historical/ mythological plays through his National Theatres. Actors Senthamarai, Shanmugasundaram were all having professional troupes. By this time another trend slowly started taking root. People, who were not 24 * 7 artists, started their troupe and it was called amateur troupes. YG Parthasarathy started United Amateur Artists (UAA), KB had his Ragini creations and Cho was having Viveka Fine Arts. The early 70s saw Kathadi Ramamoorthy, Mouli and Visu coming up strongly followed by Crazy Mohan and S.V. Sekhar. In this scenario, let us talk about Major and his plays.

    Sundarrajan, a native of Periakulam was employed with Telephones but his heart was after art (i.e.) Drama. He had an uncle by the name Veeraraghavan (a well known stage/cinema artist) who was actively into the stage. There was one Mr.N.S.Natarajan, more commonly known as Sambu Natarajan. He had staged the plays of writer Devans famous stories Thuppariyum Sambu and the name Sambu got attached to him. Many persons who later made a mark in cinema trained under him. Jai Shankar acted in his drama (Theerppu) and even actor Srikanth had acted here before moving on to Ragini Creations. And here it was that Veeraraghavan brought Major. Major made a mark on the stage and soon found himself at the centre stage of the troupe. With Natarajan becoming old and weak, Major took charge of the entire troupe. After the passing away of Natarajan, Major changed the trope name as Padmam theatres. As it is called the Golden period of Tamil Drama, there were many gifted writers who wrote many plays for NSN (written as EnEsEn) theatres. To name a few, Comal Swaminathan, Karaikudi Narayanan, Thooyavan and Vietnam Veedu Sundaram wrote many plays for this troupe. Whether it was by accident or by choice, Major named his drama titles as four letter Tamil words. For example

    அப்பாவி

    சந்ததி

    சொந்தம்

    கல்தூண்

    ஞான ஒளி

    அச்சாணி

    தீர்ப்பு

    ஜஸ்டிஸ்


    (Of course he also staged plays without four letter words like Tiger Thathachary and Delhi Mamiyaar).

    Interesting information is actor Siva Kumar after coming into the cine field voluntarily approached Major and expressed his desire to act in his plays. Major impressed by the young mans involvement admitted him and Siva Kumar played important roles in most of the plays which were staged in the early 70s.

    Film

    The play that formed the basis of our film in discussion is Gnana Oli and as most of the readers should be aware, Vietnam Veedu Sundaram wrote it. VVS at that point of time (we are talking about late 60s and early 70s) had written 3 plays. Vietnam Veedu for Sivaji Nataka Mandram, Kannan Vandhaan for YGP (later made as Gowravam) and Gnana Oli for Major and all the three were getting staged almost at the same time.

    VVS basically belonged to Tanjore District and had his education at Poondi. In his formative years he came across a Church Father, who helped him to study and he was a man of extreme kindness and this quality had left a deep impression in the mind of VVS. The Father had great visions about the Church he was managing and wanted to rebuild the Church in a big manner. He also wanted a Hospital, Library etc for his hometown, which is reflected in the film.

    VVS, an avid reader (during those days a storywriter must read a lot) was introduced to various types of Books and this helped him to think about new stories and improvise the characterisation. The fact that all the three -Vietnam Veedu, Gnana Oli and Kannan Vandhaan, were different from each other showcased his writing skills. During this period French novelist Play writer Victor Hugo impressed VVS and the novels Hunchback of Norte Dame and Les Miserable both written by Hugo particularly fascinated him. The ugly Church bell operator of Hunchback of Norte Dame character who falls in love with a beautiful woman had him thinking about a knot but for a stage play, it was not enough. Then he read Les Miserable and it suited his look out for a suitable story. It dealt about a young man who commits a murder at the spur of the moment and an Inspector who is after him. But the problem was the novel had already been filmed in Tamil as Ezhai Padum Paadu which had V. Nagiah in the lead and Javer Seetharaman as the Inspector. (V.Gopalakrishnan, Lalitha and Padmini were there too) In fact the character name of Inspector was Javert and Seetharaman by his wonderful portrayal of the Inspector came to be known as Javer Seetharaman. But all said and done, this movie was a Box Office failure. (Yet the movie continues to be spoken as a quality movie).

    Keeping this in mind, VVS decided to use both the backgrounds so that Antony the main protagonist was introduced as an Orphan who is brought up by the Church father and he was shown as the Bell operator at the Church. In addition Antony was also shown as the man who designs and fabricates coffins. VVS, Indianised the plot nicely and there was a lot of scope for people to perform.

    Major, a close confidant of NT had invited him to see the play. As a matter of fact, NT used to see all dramas of not only Major but also the plays of other troupes, as stage occupied a special place in his heart. VVS also by this time had become close to NT having written Vietnam Veedu. So when NT saw the play he was pretty much impressed. He wanted to do the movie version of the play. He saw the play more than 2, 3 times. He asked the Tenkasi brothers Sankaran and Arumugam to acquire the rights of the play and Major was more than willing.


    STORY & SCREENPLAY

    By now VVS had come into the cine field and having successfully written Vietnam Veedu, there were no second thoughts about putting him in charge of the screenplay. P.Madhavan was assigned to wield the mega phone. They have already come together in Vietnam Veedu. VVS and Madhavan sat down to rework the story to suit the cinematic needs. In the play, there was no physical appearance of Antonys wife and the character was established through dialogue. But for cinema, this character was physically presented and Vijaya Nirmala played the role of Rani who would marry Antony and would die during delivery. A duet song was also included (Amma Kannu summa sollu). The drama had a parallel comedy track enacted by stage artists Rajagopal and Kasinath. But when the screenplay was getting shaped up, they felt that comedy track might hinder the serious flow of the story and decided to cut it short. MRR Vasu and ISR played these two characters. VKR appeared as a Doctor who gives shelter to Mary, the character played by Saradha, Manorama came as VKRs wife. But by and large, the soul of the play was preserved.

    In the play, Major played the role of Antony @ Arun and his uncle Veeraraghavan played the role of Inspector Lawrence. For the movie version Major took the role of Lawrence as NT donned the role of Antony. [Major used to stage the play even after the movie was released and people who had seen the movie and saw the play later found it somewhat bemusing]. The other major role was Antonys daughter and Oorvasi Saradha made a comeback to Tamil cinema after a long gap through this role. Srikanth now a regular in NT movies did the guest role of Saradhas lover who gets killed. Gokulnath played the role of Church father.

    A slight briefing about the story. As told earlier, Antony, the orphan is brought up by the Church Father. Antony is short tempered and picks up quarrels easily. Father advises him restraint but of no avail. Antony marries Rani and she becomes pregnant. Antony the coffin maker gets an order to fabricate a coffin and when he finishes the job receives the information that the person who was on the death bed had recovered and so coffin would not be required. Then comes the news that his wife had died after delivering the girl child. (A poignant scene where NT would have simply excelled). Antony brings up the girl child on his own and sends her to Chennai for studying. At this time Lawrence a childhood friend of Antony arrives there to take up the post of Police inspector and needless to say that he also has great respect for the Rev. Father. Mary, the daughter of Antony falls in love with Srikanth who studied with her and the inevitable happens. Antony seeing this and in a fit of rage tries to harm Srikanth but Lawrence interferes and conducts the marriage then and there. He asks Srikanth to bring his parents to formalise the marriage. But Antony to his dismay finds out that Srikanth is a womaniser and he refuses to marry Mary. Antony in a fit of rage hits him and he dies. His friend and Inspector Lawrence arrests Antony. Mary runs away from home and tries to commit suicide and is believed to be dead. Antony gets shattered further. Rev Father is sick and wants to meet Antony. Lawrence brings Antony on parole to meet the Church father and Father passes away. Antony using this opportunity escapes from the police cordon. Interval.

    After many years Antony returns to his hometown but now he is Arun, a multi millionaire. He buys a house, stays there and tries to meet his daughter. She because of the relationship with her lover had conceived and given birth to a girl and she is finding it difficult to make both ends meet. Lawrence posted in the same town is suspicious about Arun but he is unable to find proof. Antony tries to help his daughter but Lawrence is always after him thus by making the reunion difficult.

    NTs Make up and Body Language

    The make up also played a part in the success of the movie. Normally when the hero is shown as an aged person, they normally grey the hair at the side burns and in the front above the forehead. But here NT while discussing on the make up insisted on a wig with complete white hair and a thick white mush. He told the crew that when Arun comes back to his hometown, his grand daughter (daughters daughter) would be grown up and ready for a marriage. So for such a character, the make up should be like this, he clarified. The wig with a receding hairline and thick mush sported along with a cooling glass (there would be again a story behind that) would have played a prominent role in the character build up. The get up would add majesty to the character during the song sequence.

    It seems that NT did a lot of homework for this character. He gave importance to gestures in this movie. VVS recalls that during the shooting of the movie, even while seated at the studio floor in between the shots, NT was liberally using his left hand rather than his natural right. He had told VVS that he wanted to practise the left handed nature of Antony so that it gets reflected correctly on screen. Remember the gesture of his left hand patting his right chest shoulder. The second half is exactly opposite with Arun using his right hand. Inspector Lawrence tries many a trick to trap him and of course this is the twist that surfaces in the climax

    VVS the writer

    VVS got more applause for this film for his dialogues. Especially the second half was racy and the cat and mouse game between the leading characters gave lot of scope for him to indulge in word play. In order to make the Inspector believe that Arun is not her father, Saradha comments that she doesnt want to discuss her daughters marriage in front of third person, for which Lawrence retorts ஏம்மா, அவர் என்ன அன்னியரா? சொந்த அப்பா leaves a gap and then says மாதிரி.

    Same way when he sees Arun crushing the fruit for making the juice ஏதேது, இந்த பழம் உங்க கையிலே படற பாட்டை பார்த்தா, இதுவே ஒரு ஆளா இருந்தா ஒரே அடியிலே உயிரே போயிடும் போல இருக்கு?".

    The scene where Major tries to pocket the silver glass tumbler used by NT is another gem. NT would ask இதையே மற்றவங்க செஞ்சா குற்றம் அதையே நீங்க செஞ்சா ஞாபக மறதி இல்லையா?"

    Major would angrily ask, What you mean?

    NT: I mean the silver tumbler.

    After telling that he would remove his gloves with a sarcastic grin indicating that even if he had taken the tumbler it would have been of no use. The theatre would roar during the scene.

    We can quote many scenes like that but let us come back to our point of discussion.

    Song Composition

    Three to four songs were thought of for the movie. While NT Vijaya Nirmala duet was one, the second song, duet like one (though it was sung only by Susheela Manamedai Malargaludan Deepam) was filmed on Saradha and Srikanth. Both comes before Interval and after interval, the screenplay would be fast building up the confrontation between the two characters. The main protagonist would be on tenterhooks. On the one hand, he is unable to openly help his daughter. If he does it, then the Inspector who is looking out for a small slip would pounce on him. Caught in no mans land, the internal turmoil piles up and the song comes at the breaking point.

    A HIGHLY CHALLENGING SONG

    Having conceived the situation, Madhavan arranged for song composition. VVS also took part in the composition. Madhavan explained the situation and he along with VVS expressed their desire to Kannadasan that it would add lustre to the song if Biblical sentences could be inter spread between the pallavi and the charanam. The lyrics as usual flowed from Kannadasan and Madhavan and MSV had the unenviable task of choosing the two charanams from the lot Kannadasan had given. It was decided that the biblical lines coming out as outburst would be in the form of vasana nadai and MSV set it accordingly.

    Recording & Dilemma

    The recording session was fixed. At the time of recording, Madhavan and MSV had one dilemma. Having decided to keep the intermittent lines in vasana nadai, now they were contemplating to have this lines spoken by some body else while TMS would sing the song. NT happened to walk in and it seems that MSV hesitantly asked him if he is willing to dub the same. NT was not willing stating that speaking such a dialogue in high pitch when the song is going full throttle would be difficult. MSV then got hold of Joseph Krishna, his Violinist and an Anglo Indian to try out the dialogue. It was not up to the mark and they had to reject it. Then MSV got the mimicry expert Sadhan to try out the dialogue. As soon as he tried it out, NT burst into laughter. When all these things were happening, TMS was simply observing them. The seed of doubt in MSV and Madhavans mind was about the ability of TMS to speak the English dialogue. Then came a suggestion to use TMS himself and TMS also stepped in to assure that he can utter the dialogues. NT asked Madhavan and MSV to proceed with TMS himself and he was proved right. TMS approached NT and asked him to speak out the dialogue again. NT spoke the dialogue OH My Lord Pardon me TMS observed the feelings, emotions and the pitch of NT and reproduced the same. The song and intermittent lines were well sung by TMS and for the listeners it was as if NT had himself spoken it.

    NT TMS Bonding

    Not without reason had NT said like that. The TMS NT association dates back to 1954 and 18 long years have gone by when this incident took place. As everybody is aware, it was C.S.Jayaraman, who was singing for NT during his early days and NT was recommending CSJ for singing in all his films. At that point of time music director of Thookku Thooki G.Ramanathan brought TMS to NT and requested him to listen to TMS singing and if satisfied could give him a chance in the movie. NT was hesitant but he agreed to listen. He spoke to TMS and told him that if he sings well then he would give three or four songs to him. While NT was speaking to TMS, TMS was closely watching NT or rather his voice. TMS had this rare ability of adapting his voice suitably to the voice of the person for whom he is doing play back singing. TMS absorbed the nuances of NTs voice and started singing Sundari, Soundari, Nirandhariye. For NT it was revelation. Till that time he had thought that CSJs voice best suited him but now he found out that here is a man who can effortlessly match his voice. If TMS absorbed NTs voice, NT keenly observed the body language of TMS and you could see NT modulating his lip sync based on TMS way of rendering. If it was high decibel Paattum Naane, he would also do it with a high decibel body language and for songs like Yaar andha Nilavu, which was low key, NT would adjust his body language in such a way that the audience at the theatre felt it. From that day (Thookku Tookki) onwards it was TMS for him. But in between other singers had come and gone as well.

    OTHER VOICES TOO

    Other playback singers too had given voice for NT and it was a matter of time before it became a foregone conclusion that it was the voice of TMS that became the undisputed and natural voice for NT in playback singing. In Kalyanam Panniyum Brahmachair JP Chandrababu sang for NT (Jolly Life), in Raja Rani, SC Krishnan sang for him (Poonai Kannai Moodikkondaal) IN Ethirparathathu it was AM Raja who gave him voice- Sirpi Sethukkatha and Kathal Vaazshvil Naane. Also in Bommai Kalyanam it was AM Raja- Anbe nee Angey, and Inbame Pongume. In Naan Sollum Ragasiyam it was PB Sreenivas who gave playback voice for NT- (Kandene Unnai Kannale) SG also had given voice to NT- in Vanangamudi (Malaiye Un Nialai neeyum paarai, in Kappalottiya Thamizhan- Odi Vilaiyadu Paappa. In Sabash Meena, it was TA Moti who gave him playback voice- Kaana Inbam. Gandasala has sung for NT in Thenali Raman (Ullasam Thedum) and Kalvanin Kathali (Veyiluketra Nizhalundu) Trichy Loganthan too had sung for NT in Kalvanin Kathali. NV Sundram had sung a small piece in Veerappandiya KattaBomman (Sakthi Vadivelane, just before Varalakshmi sings Manam Kanintharul Vel Muruga)

    Except on rare occasions when he had to submit to the wishes of the Director or producer like Sridhar (who made AM Raja sing in Vidi Velli and Punar Jenmam) and MuKa (CSJ being the relative of MuKa, got him the chance in Pudhayal) and Paavai Vilakku also had CSJ singing Kaaviyamaa illai Oviyamaa. In Kuravanji (again Mekala Pictures MuKa) too SCJ Sings for NT. But wherever he could put his foot down, NT insisted on TMS. KVM, the MD of Kungumam (Rajamani Pictures) had wanted Sirkazhi to sing Chinnan Siriya Vanna Paravai because of its high pitch and classical background. Directors Krishnan Panju were on agreeing terms but NT asked KVM to proceed with TMS, it was said. KVM went ahead and we know how well the final product shaped out. There might have been instances when NT had agreed to make use of other singers but the bonding between them never got strained. It remained intact in spite of later day happenings, which were not the making of NT. After a long gap IR used TMS for Thaikku Oru Thalaattu and during the picturisation of the song when NT heard the song on Naagra, he commented to Padmini TMS TMS thaan. (The song Pazhaiya Paadal Pole Pudhiya Paadal Illai was based on the tune of Unnai Ondru Ketpen from Puthiya Paravai but unfortunately the song was never used in the movie except for a few lines. Till date this remains the only song, which had the combination of NT- IR Vairamuthu TMS PS)

    MUSIC

    Kannadasan used to always say that MSV is the authority of all forms of music that exist in different parts of the world. MSV had composed music for all religions in India. And among the songs composed for Christian theme (or shall we say using biblical words), this may perhaps be the best or one of the best. He had used appropriate musical instruments like church bells. Again the chorus by the church going Anglo Christians has come out very well. While listening to the song, one would get a feeling that he is attending a Sunday Mass.

    TMS SAW THE MOVIE

    TMS himself has disclosed that when the movie was released, he went to the theatre and sat with the audience and saw the film. He admitted openly that he thanked God for blessing him with such a voice and he also added that the same applies for Nadigar Thilagam for his acting ability. He thought the NT- TMS combination was one of the gifts of God.

    APPRECIATION FROM THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY

    As soon as the song became popular, many Christian friends came to TMS and congratulated and praised him for singing the song with so much excellence. They said that it was like a Christian offering prayers to Jesus Christ and not like a cinema song. TMS then had said that perhaps it could be that he was born as a Christian in his previous birth. As for as Gods gift to him is concerned (i.e.) his voice, it is very much true. Because without that he could not have sung immortal songs on Lord Muruga (still a rage), and songs like Ellorum Kondaduvom for Muslims and Devane ennai Parungal for Christians.

    The song sequence

    Now came the picturisation part. The other two songs had been shot indoors. Though both the songs were supposed to be outdoors, they were shot at AVM studios. So outdoor shooting was planned for this song and Kodaikanal was chosen as the spot. The song rather the pallavi would be subtle in sound with TMS singing it in what they call half open voice that would gather momentum when charanam starts and the decibel level would hit the roof when the charanam ends. Moreover in between the two fast charanams, there were two slow charanams and MSV had beautifully arranged it and TMS had done full justice to the song.

    The song would start in the bungalow and when the pallavi comes to an end with the word மன்னிதருள்வீர், the camera till then focussing on NTs face from a close up angle would move away and it would be Kodaikanal. Here comes the first vasana nadai

    Oh Lord! Pardon Me;

    உங்கள் மந்தையிலிருந்து இரண்டு ஆடுகள்

    வேறு வேறு பாதையில் போய் விட்டன

    இரண்டும் சந்தித்த போது பேச முடியவில்லையே

    When this line is sung, the screen changes to the earlier scene when Antony tries to reveal his identity to his daughter and she seeing the Inspector just entering her home hides her joy and acts as if Arun is a stranger. With this the charanam starts and so is the majestic walk by NT. The camera captures him sideways when he sings

    தாய் மடியிலே மழலைகள் ஊமையோ

    சேய் உறவில் நினைவுகள் மௌனமோ

    நோய் உடலிலா மனதிலா தேவனே

    the camera from a close up would start moving away from him and the mid close up followed by the mid long shot would come and finally it would culminate in a long shot when he finishes

    நான் அழுவதா சிரிப்பதா கர்த்தரே

    The walk without straying even an inch would match what they call thala layam of the song. You can feel the increase in decibel level in his walk and finally when he raises both his hands in his own unique style, the applause that would start with the first line of charanam would also be increasing and would reach crescendo when he throws his hands up skywards.

    Another beauty of this scene is when the long shot shows NT raising his hands at the end of the last line of the charanam, you can see the movement of shadows of clouds on the ground, which would be passing above the head of NT. Cameraman P.N.Sundaram affectionately known as PNS, would have beautifully captured that shot. It seems that it was a coincidental shot. They had not waited for such a happening but when it happened on its own, it enhanced the beauty of the song.

    The second vasana nadai would then start with

    Oh Lord! Please answer my prayer

    and then the slow charanam

    மான்களும் சொந்தம் தேடுமே

    இம்மானிடன் செய்த பாவம் என்னவோ

    காவலே கர்த்தர் வேலியே; உன்

    பார்வையில் பிள்ளை பாசம் இல்லையோ

    after this again the vasana nadai comes

    செல்வங்கள் குவிந்தன

    மாளிகை வந்தது

    சேவை செய்திட சேவகர் ஆயிரம்

    தேடி கொண்டாட நண்பர்கள் வந்தனர்

    ஆயிரம் இருந்தும் வசதிகள் இருந்தும்

    No Peace of Mind!

    Kannadasan the genius could bring out the turmoil of the character so effortlessly. Whether it is biblical wordings or his own out pour, he comes out trumps.

    Arun while singing this reaches a Church situated on a hillock with steps leading to it and Arun climbs up the stairs but without going inside the church sings

    கேள் தருகிறேன் என்றதும் நீரன்றோ

    when he reaches the final line, again the majestic pose with his right hand held up is shown on the screen when he sings

    என் கர்த்தரே கிடைக்குமா நிம்மதி

    And the final charanam soaked in tears comes out of his voice

    கண்களில் கண்ணீர் இல்லையே;

    and ends with his confession

    உன் கோவிலில் வந்து சேவை செய்கிறேன்.

    And the last biblical vasanam comes up

    முள்ளை வளைத்து ஒரு மகுடம் அணிந்தும்

    ஆணி அடித்து ஒரு சிலுவை அறைந்தும்

    அன்று நடந்தது ஆவி துடித்தது

    இன்று நடப்பது நெஞ்சு துடிக்குது

    When he finishes with the rendering of Pallavi again in a slow manner, it is again his home. The entire 4- 4.5 minutes, Kannadasan, MSV, TMS and NT simply transport the audience to the emotional world of the character Antony and for a moment it looks as if you are wearing his shoes. A great song and great acting by NT, no doubt about it.

    Success Story

    Like at any point during his illustrious career, even while this film was on floors, NT had 4, 5 projects at various stages. Babu, Raja, Pattikkaada Pattanama, Dharmam Engey, Thava Pudhalvan were on floors and Vasantha Maaligai had started. Starting from Kulama Gunama in 1971, which ran for 100 days, NT was having a dream run. Savale Samali also celebrated 100 days and intermittent films like Sumathy En Sundari and Moondru Deivangal had 12 and 10 weeks run. Babu released on Deepavali day of 1971 (18th Oct 1971) also ran for 100 days. If 1971 was like that, 72 was still better and it turned out to be the year of NT. His first film for 1972, Raja became a smash hit and Gnana Oli was ready by that time. Normally producers avoid the month of March because of examinations and they release it in April to encash on the summer vacation, when families prefer going to movies. But the producers-director duo was confident of the films success and March 11th was announced as release date. (It must be noted here that Director P.Madhavan had this sentiment of releasing his movies only on Saturdays). The other reason that prompted their decision was Pattikkaada Pattanama (P.Madhavans own production under his Arun Prasad movies) was slated for release on May 6th. For the first time for a NT movie and first time for a Black and white movie, 5 theatres were charted in Chennai and all were regular shows. Raja was yet to complete 50 days when this movie hit the screen it was proclaimed a big hit right on Day 1, all over Tamil Nadu. Chennai at that time had a culture of Sabhas arranging for special shows and booking the entire tickets for the show. It is said that Gnana Oli created a record of sorts when 55 special screenings were arranged for the Sabhas and all were Houseful. This was in addition to the normal shows. The producer- directors confidence about their product was vindicated with the success of the movie. It ran for more than 100 days. The success tasted more sweeter because Gnana Oli was sandwiched between two entertainers Raja and Pattikkaada Pattanamaa The subject was ever green can be judged from the fact that it was remade in Malayalam 14 years after its release.

    To sign off, my personal note. As I said earlier, it was released on March 11th of 1972, Saturday, in Madurai New Cinema. I had watched the opening show of NTs previous film Raja on Jan 26th (that happened to be my first experience on Opening shows) and so naturally was very excited about this movie. But alas! My school annual examinations started bang on March 11th and so I couldnt go. My cousin had gone and when he came back, he had 100 incidents to boast of. The fact that I was grudging made him to elaborate more, just to tease me. The exams got over by March 24th Friday and I could watch the movie only on the 16th day, being Sunday the 26th. But when I saw the movie, I felt it was worth the wait. Needless to say that the theatre response was infectious. Not only on that day, whenever I had seen it in theatres, it was the same irrespective of the years that rolled by.

    Here goes the lyric.

    தேவனே என்னை பாருங்கள்; என்

    பாபங்கள் தம்மை வாங்கி கொள்ளுங்கள்

    ஆயிரம் நன்மை தீமைகள்

    நாங்கள் செய்கின்றோம்

    நீங்கள் அறிவீர்

    மன்னிதருள்வீர்

    Oh Lord! Pardon Me

    உங்கள் மந்தையிலிருந்து இரண்டு ஆடுகள்

    வேறு வேறு பாதையில் போய் விட்டன

    இரண்டும் சந்தித்த போது பேச முடியவில்லையே

    தாய் மடியிலே மழலைகள் ஊமையோ

    சேய் உறவில் நினைவுகள் மௌனமோ

    நோய் உடலிலா மனதிலா தேவனே

    நான் அழுவதா சிரிப்பதா கர்த்தரே

    Oh Lord! Please answer my prayer

    மான்களும் சொந்தம் தேடுமே

    இம்மானிடன் செய்த பாவம் என்னவோ

    காவலே கர்த்தர் வேலியே; உன்

    பார்வையில் பிள்ளை பாசம் இல்லையோ

    செல்வங்கள் குவிந்தன

    மாளிகை வந்தது

    சேவை செய்திட சேவகர் ஆயிரம்

    தேடி கொண்டாட நண்பர்கள் வந்தனர்

    ஆயிரம் இருந்தும் வசதிகள் இருந்தும்

    No peace of Mind

    கேள் தருகிறேன் என்றதும் நீரன்றோ

    நான் பலமுறை கேட்கிறேன் தரவில்லை

    என் கருணையே திறக்குமா சன்னதி

    என் கர்த்தரே கிடைக்குமா நிம்மதி

    கண்களில் கண்ணீர் இல்லையே; இந்த

    உள்ளமும் இதை தாங்கவில்லையே

    கொண்டு வா இல்லை கொண்டு போ; உன்

    கோவிலில் வந்து சேவை செய்கிறேன்.

    முள்ளை வளைத்து ஒரு மகுடம் அணிந்தும்

    ஆணி அடித்து ஒரு சிலுவை அறைந்தும்

    அன்று நடந்தது ஆவி துடித்தது

    இன்று நடப்பது நெஞ்சு துடிக்குது

    தேவனே என்னை பாருங்கள்; என்

    பாபங்கள் தம்மை வாங்கி கொள்ளுங்கள்

    என்

    பாபங்கள் தம்மை வாங்கி கொள்ளுங்கள்


    அன்புடன்

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    SIVAJI SEASON - SONG 4

    அந்த நாள் ஞாபகம்

    UYARNDHA MANIDHAN

    Acknowledgement

    1. Mr.AVM.Saravanan who was kind enough to share his experience about this movie and song

    2. Mr.Mohanram again the bridge who helped me not only to get the vital information from Saravanan but also kind enough to share his very personal moment with me and permitting me to write the same.

    3. AVM 60 Cinema Book by AVM.Saravanan

    4. Mellisai Mannar M.S.V Book by Rani Maindhan

    5. Various film magazines of Yesteryears

    6. NAANUM INTHA NOOTRAANDUM by Valee

    7. ITHU RAJAPPATTAI ALLA by Sivakumar

    8. Oru Kuyilin Vaazjkai Sangeetham by Kavitha Albert

    Dedication:


    Fellow hubber Rajesh a dedicated fan of Vaalee.

    Introduction

    The 125th movie of NT that gave the evergreen song Andha Naal Gnaabagam. The movie that saw the combination of AVM NT- Krishnan Panchu joining together after Parasakthi. The movie that brought the first national award for the music queen P.Susheela. A song in which Vaalee proved that he too can give a hit in the combination of NT like Kannadasan. Let us go back in history to savour that Andha Naal Gnabagam.

    Starting of the Movie

    It was in 1966. AVM had offices in all metros as they were actively into Hindi films production. The person who was taking care of the Calcutta office was Mr.V.A.P.Iyer. He used to regularly interact with Saravanan and during one such call he told about a Bengali movie that was running successfully in Calcutta. He was telling Saravanan that the movie has a good storyline and if made in Tamil, it is bound to be a success. On hearing this, AVM brothers went to Calcutta and saw the movie Uttar Purush. They liked it and got a print of the same. AV. Meiyyappa Chettiar also liked it.

    During those days Javer Seetharaman was a part of AVM Story Department. So Javer was assigned to write the screenplay and was asked to make suitable changes keeping in mind the taste of Tamil audience. The discussions took place and the screenplay was nicely shaping up.

    Till that time AVM had not given a thought about the star cast. They had only decided to put Krishnan Panchu in charge of direction. So when the screenplay was nearing completion, they started discussing about the star cast and everybody involved said in one voice that NT should play the lead role. But there was one problem.

    FLASHBACKS

    During that time AVM was not in good terms with NT. There was a misunderstanding between them. After Paarthaal Pasi Theerum that came in 1962, NT had not acted in AVM movies.

    AVM co-produced Pachhai Vilakku in 1964 along with Vel Films but since Bheemsingh was the director of that movie, the differences didnt come to the fore. So with this background, Saravanan had a hesitation to approach NT. He told about his dilemma to his father and AVM Chettiar asked Saravanan to go and meet NT and sort out the issue. Kumaran, Saravanan and Murugan (the eldest brother of Saravanan) went and met NT at his Annai Illam.

    During that period NT had suffered an attack of typhoid and was taking rest. After enquiring about his health, Saravanan broke the ice by broaching the subject and asking NT to act. NT always held AVM in high esteem and he didnt even talk about the differences. He said that he would do the movie. He told them that once he recoups, he would watch the original. He did not even talk about his salary and told that his brother Shanmugam would come to AVM office. Shanmugam informed Saravanan that NT would accept whatever salary was offered to him. But AVM decided to give him the market rate that he was getting for other movies.

    NT fully recovered from the illness saw the Bengali movie. Afterwards, he told Saravanan that the movie is not so great and he felt that the lead character didnt have much scope for his acting. If at all AVM wants to do the movie, he would act in the guest role of the friend, the Doctor character who is a close confidant of the hero. NT even suggested that they could announce that he (NT) is playing a guest role and he also gave them the freedom to choose any hero for the lead character. But Saravanan did not accept and he spent hours and days to convince NT. Then NT asked Saravanan about the Doctor character and Saravanan replied that they had sounded Asokan for the role. This was another shock for NT. That was the time when NT and Asokan were not in good terms.

    TWO CONFLICTS

    Both NT and Asokan belonged to Tiruchy district and everything was going fine between them. Asokan did act very much earlier in a small role in Ethirpaarathathu. Then he acted with NT in Padikkadha Medhai, and when Banthalu cast Asokan as Duriyodhana in Karnan, NT had no objection. They continued to act together in Aandavan Kattalai, Muradan Muthu and Kandhan Karunai. But that period (post 1962) saw the polarization of fans and the rivalry between NT and MGR was growing day by day. This had its reflection not only among fans but inside the cine field also. Artists who were regularly acting with NT/MGR were branded as persons belonging to either units and they were not considered for the films from the opposite side (the only exceptions were the performing artists like MSV, TMS, PS and KVM).

    So Asokan was perceived to be of MGR unit. To make matters worse, it was rumoured that Asokan spoke ill of NT during election campaigns. Here Saravanan was a very close friend of Asokan and he had earmarked this role for him. NT respected Saravanans decision and asked him to proceed with Asokan. NT always looked for the betterment of the cinema he acted in and he never thrust his personal wishes on others. Another example other than this is Iru Malargal again involving Asokan. The director AC Tirulokachander was a very good friend of Asokan and when he wanted Asokan to act the School correspondent role, NT gave his nod.

    On his part Asokan was also apprehensive about acting with NT but Saravanan persuaded him to accept. Now came the next shock for NT. Till that time he was not aware that Krishnan Panchu were going to direct the movie. On hearing this NT told Saravanan that it would be difficult for him to act under KP and especially he had problems with Panchu. Again the problem dated back to 1963. Rajamani Pictures after the all time classic Paasa Malar had started their next movie Kungumam and KP were assigned the direction of the movie. The film (as many of the readers here would be aware) was planned as a different movie as far as storyline was concerned. It had a racy story in the form of a thriller. NT donned different get ups in the movie that included a lady get up (the only movie NT appeared in a woman get up though he had enacted so many lady characters on stage).

    Again it had a multi star cast with NT, SSR, Rangarao, Saradha (debut) and Vijayakumari. Shooting was completed and film was sent for censorship. Having completed the movie, NT left for Jaipur to take part in the 2 month long schedule of Karnan. Kungumam ran into censor issues. The story had one twist, which the censor board felt degraded a highly sensitive family relationship. They wanted the said portions to be cut and the director duo of KP could not convince the board members. The cuts were implemented. Now the film lacked continuity and people who saw it were confused. The only option available was to re shoot the modified sequences that were cut. But NT had already started working for Karnan and it was impossible for him to break that schedule because Banthalu would incur huge loss. NT informed that only after that outdoor schedule was over, he could come. But the problem was the other stars like Rangarao, SSR etc were all busy and to pool everybodys call sheets together was a Herculean task. So KP had no other go but to release the movie as such. They tried to edit the movie to their best of their ability but still the jumps would show. This resulted in the movie failing to perform in the Box office. (It is another matter that Kungumam, with some of the best songs and emotional performance of NT during its subsequent re release did excellent business). KP and in particular Panchu felt bad about this and it is rumoured that he voiced his displeasure in open. The NT camp was upset it seems and they felt it was not the fault of NT. They explained that it was their own production and asked whether anybody would sabotage their own product? It was purely due to unavoidable circumstances, they said. The irony is NT for the sake of Banthulu had gone out of the way to help him even at the cost of antagonising Krishnan Panchu the directors who introduced him but Banthulu forgetting all the gratitude shown by NT switched over to the other camp just because his movie was not declared as the 100th movie.

    With this background in mind, NT voiced his concern to Saravanan and again Saravanan had to convince him. Now with everything settled, AVM named the movie as Uyarndha Manidhan and started the shooting. But again new problems cropped up one after another.

    CASTING

    AVM started finalizing the star cast. With NT and Asokan already decided, artists need to be found for rest of the characters. There were two heroines. One was a short role but a powerful one. The second one, the wife character was a full-length character. For the lover role, AVM looked up at top-level heroines but later they decided that it would be better if a new face or a heroine, who had not acted with NT before, did this role. So they zeroed on Vanishree, who was relatively new at that time having made her debut in Kaadhal Paduthhum Paadu. The other role had to be played by an established actress as the character was steeped in arrogance and pride usually associated with rich people and Sowcar was the automatic choice. Major was cast as the friend cum driver and Bharathi another relatively newcomer as his daughter. SV Ramadoss was fixed for NTs fathers role and Nagaiah, V.S.Raghavan, VKR and Manorama were drafted in for servant characters.

    SIVAKUMARS BIG BREAK

    AVM Chettiar told Saravanan to fix Sivakumar for the sons role. There were reasons behind it. Sivakumar was introduced by AVM in their film Kakkum Karangal but due to unavoidable circumstances, most of his scenes had to be cut and Sivakumar was very much upset by this. AVM wanted to compensate but the movies they did after Kakkum Karangal like Kuzhandaiyum Deivamum, Anbe Vaa and Ramu did not have a character suitable for Sivakumar. In the meantime, AVM Chettiar came to know that APN was looking for an actor to portray Lord Muruga in his Kandha Leela recommended Siva. This was done without Sivakumar being aware of the recommendation. APN was impressed by Sivakumar and cast him as Lord Muruga. [It is another story that Kandha Leela got struck in the middle but APN cast Sivakumar as Lord Vishnu in Saraswathy Sabatham. Later Kandha Leela with the induction of NT as Veerabagu was rechristened as Kandhan Karunai and got released]. So when the innocent sons role came up in Uyarndha Manidhan, it fitted Sivakumar to the T.

    STOPPAGE OF SHOOTING

    The movie started rolling. Normally NTs movies never used to get struck and would finish in quick time. But due to his illness his films which were on floors at various stages had to be given the priority and the shooting of Uyarndha Manidhan was being done in small schedules.

    At this time AVM was producing Kuzhandhaiyum Deivamum in Hindi. Titled Do Kalian, the movie was progressing. Kuzhandhaiyum Deivamum story was based on an English film Parent Trap Another bollywood production company was producing a movie called Vapaas, which was also based on the same English movie. When AVM came to know of this, they decided to complete Do Kalian at the earliest before the other film hit the screen. So they concentrated on the Hindi movie and UM shooting was stopped. When they completed the Hindi movie, another trouble cropped up.

    WORKERS ON STRIKE

    The workers of AVM coming under trade union gave a list of demands to be implemented and when the management did not accede to their request, they struck work. Since both the sides stuck to their respective stand, the strike got prolonged. Most of the stars, who were acting in UM, now concentrated on their other commitments. But again the actor who felt he lost out was Sivakumar. During the period preceding the strike, Venus Pictures had approached Sivakumar. They had planned a movie En Annan with MGR in the lead. In that there was a role of a Doctor who loves and marries the sister of the hero and they had come to Sivakumar for the same. But Sivakumar could not commit because the shooting of UM was about to restart (Period after Hindi movie was completed but before labour strike). For MGR movies, the producers used to block the call sheet of other artists for a longer period because with MGR, you never knew and the artists may be required at any point of time. Knowing this Sivakumar explained his position. But came the strike and with it inactivity also set in.

    Sivakumar on seeing this decided to meet Venus Pictures owners to find out the possibility of he doing the role. But the next day morning when he saw the Dina Thanthi, he was shocked. The advertisement of En Annan had come and there was this still photograph of Muthuraman given in the ad along with MGR and JJ. Sivakumar realized that his hope had crashed. He had acted with NT in 2 or 3 movies and though he did a role in Kavalkaran with MGR, it was a smaller one. He felt that he had lost an opportunity. But nothing could be done. It is another irony that after this Sivakumar did only one more movie with MGR. It was Idhaya Veenai.

    STRIKE RESOLVED

    There were no sign of the strike coming to an end and AVM almost decided to close down their studio and convert it as a godown. By this time there had been change of government at Tamilnadu and DMK had replaced Congress. Anna was the Chief Minister. MuKa was the minister for Public Works Department. Anna and MuKa both had a very soft corner for AVM and the very thought of this studio getting closed down upset them. Anna directed MuKa to initiate the conciliation process through Labour welfare ministry. MuKa took the initiative and finally the strike was withdrawn. But it took some time for AVM to restart the shooting of Uyarndha Manidhan. There was a gap of 8 months. It was such a long gap that NT even had a doubt whether AVM had dropped the entire movie itself. But AVM decided to go ahead.

    THE FEEL OF THE MOVIE

    Since the movie was written on the basis of Bengali movie, the whole film had a tone of underplay and audience can feel the same while watching the movie. NT beautifully did the role of Rajasekharan, a born rich man who could not go against his father, his family customs and later his dominating wife. There were certain scenes where he would have performed in a exemplary manner. People would immediately recall the scene where his wife accuses him of telling a lie. He first tries to ignore it but when his wife insists on his explanation, he bursts out with a dialogue 20,000 hectares of fertile land and pours his heart out. One another scene that stood out was the one where he tastes the food brought by Sivakumar. He relishes the spicy food and you have to see it to enjoy. There is a reason behind me highlighting this scene. There is a section of people that always used to say that Mudhal Mariyadhai is the best thing to have happened for NT and invariably you can see most of them quoting the scene in MM, where NT would eat the fish cooked by Radha in her house. Though MM was a splendid movie and the scene mentioned is a superb one, it must be noted that NT had already done such a situation some 17 years before MM happened. But the UM scene never got its due. It was in Paalum Paazhamum that NT won the hearts of the female movie goers, as he played the role of a very loving husband who dearly missed his wife. Following that it was in UM that he once again moved the audience with his emotion as to what extent he missed his first lover.

    When we talk about UM, another talk that we can commonly hear is that Asokan outperformed NT. Again people who somehow wanted to prove that NT was beaten in acting spread this. But the real fact was, it was NT who taught Asokan how to do that scene. Asokans role was an author backed one. He develops a one sided love for Vanishree and he is the only person who knows who Sivakumar is. Coupled with that he is a heart patient and is it not enough to get the sympathy of the audience? Before the shooting of the crucial scene where he comes to the party to disclose the true identity of Sivakumar and falls dead without telling the truth, there was a discussion among the directors and actors about the way it needs to be enacted.

    NT (though it would sound clich) always thought about the scene and ways to make it good. He showed Asokan how he needed to do the particular scene. NT during the entire course of shooting never showed his differences in open whether it was with Asokan or with director Panchu. So forgetting his personal feelings, he enacted the scene to Asokan. But Asokan it seems had a doubt whether, what NT showed would be the right way. Saravanan present at the set during this scene advised Asokan to do exactly what NT had done. But Saravanan says that Asokan performed only 1% of what NT had done. Still that itself was good enough.

    SONGS

    Having carried out the major part of the talkie portion shooting in studio, AVM decided to go for outdoor shooting and the location chosen was Kodaikanal. The song situation scenes were marked in the screenplay. Accordingly a solo song for Vanishree, a duet for NT Vanishree, a duet for Sivakumar Bharathi and a solo song for Sowcar were pre decided. Again if you check, the Naalai indha velai song was shot inside the studio, though it was supposed to be outdoors. The song Athhaanin Muthhangal for Sowcar was also indoors. En kelvikkenna badhil when it came on screen was filmed in studio. But earlier it was filmed in outdoor. There was a story behind this.

    Old timers might remember that the lyrics version of En Kelvikkenna badhil that came out in records before the release of the movie and the one that finally came in the movie were different. People were under the impression that there might have been some censor objections that must have played a part in the change. Their thinking was not off the mark because many such changes were happening at that point of time. But it was not censor issue that prompted the change. AVM Chettiar used to regularly see the rushes of the movie under production and on seeing this song, he called up Saravanan. As per the story, Sivakumars character was an innocent one and it is Bharathi who teaches him the essential things in life. So such a person singing such lines and doing physically intimate love scenes would not go down well with the audience, said Chettiar. Saravanan realizing the logic behind this informed the directors to re shoot the song after modifying the lines. The lyrics were changed and the song was recorded again and the lead characters kept a distance throughout the song. Here I would like to add the reactions of the fans, which I had seen and heard personally. Those days when the songs came out in records, fans used to imagine about the picturisation and develop expectations about it.

    The same thing happened with this song. Fans were discussing among themselves about how NT would do it. But came the release day and opening show and fans were in for a shock. They could not believe that this song was not for NT. Of course here more than anything else, the fact that the song was sung by TMS was the main reason for the fans to believe that it would be for NT. The hardcore among them protested and there was trouble in theatres in the initial days, which subsided later.

    AWARD FOR PS

    The solo song for Vanishree brought the first National award for melody queen P.Susheela. She must have got it much earlier but it was destined that Naalai Indha Velai should bring her the first award.

    (While composing the song, MSV who was inspired by the music challenged that P Suseela would bag a national award through this song. And as he predicted she received a the national award. This song is very close to the heart of P Suseela for other reasons as well. Following her husbands death, PS was performing at a stage show. She started to sing this song, and as she sang the line Indru Enthan Thalavian Illai She started to sob and stopped singing. The fans understood why she was sobbing. They stood up in respect for hr husband who had passd away recently. With this encouragement from the fans PS continued the song).

    The duet between NT and Vanishree Vellikinnamthaan (a first night honeymoon song) would again start in the set and move out to cool locations of Kodai. Here it is a solo song by TMS but punctuated by the humming of PS, which she would have done it exceptionally well. [A song sequence which every NT fan would relish in addition to the song which we have taken up discussion. The reason being this is one sequence where one can see a joyful NT. Fans would wait for the scene that would come in between the first and second charanams when NT would put his two hands in front and do a small dance movement, the theatre would reverberate with sounds of applause]. PS had a major share in all the four songs and would steal the show. TMS was waiting for his turn and that came unexpectedly.

    The original Bengali movie didnt have so many songs and the song situation in discussion was created as an after thought. AVM always used to review the movie under production at various points and it struck them that the protagonist didnt have a song sequence after the first 45 minutes. During those days, it was sort of a mandatory thing that the films of NT should have a philosophical song. AVM wanted to do it differently and at the same time they wanted the song to bring out the suppressed feelings of the protagonist. Now let us take a brief look at the story of the movie, which leads into this song.

    STORY

    Rajasekaran affectionately called as Raju is the only son of a multi millionaire at Madurai. His father is a typical arrogant rich man who would not even tolerate his servant wearing slippers in front of him. He wants his son to marry his sisters daughter but son is not interested. Raju has a close confidant in Dr. Gopal, who always accompanies Raju to all places. During one such trip to their Kodaikanal estate, Raju chances to meet Parvathy, the daughter of the estate caretaker and it is love at first sight for him, which the girl reciprocates. Gopal who also meets Parvathy loves her but when he comes to know that his friend and the girl are in love with each other makes way and conducts their marriage. The newly wed couple starts their life.

    All these things happen without the knowledge of Rajus father. Parvathy conceives and Raju is the happiest person but his joy is short lived. His father on hearing about the happenings rushes to Kodaikanal along with his musclemen and in a swift operation sets fire to the house of Parvathy. Raju and Gopal are forcefully evicted from that place and they are brought back to Madurai. Raju is crest fallen and his father arranges his marriage with his cousin and Raju is threatened by his father that he would commit suicide if Raju is not agreeing. Raju reluctantly agrees and marries his cousin Vimala. Years roll by.

    Now Raju is one of the leading business magnets of Madurai. His father is no more and he has his good old friend Dr. Gopal as his only confidant. Raju is unable to forget Parvathy and he just goes through the motions when it comes to enacting the role of a good husband.

    Gopal now a heart patient is also unable to forget his old flame and he constantly pokes his friend about his cowardice. Enter Sathyan (Sivakumar) into the picture and somehow Raju and Gopal take a liking for him. It transpires that Sathyan is the son born to Parvathy through Raju.

    Parvathy had escaped from the fire and had taken shelter in a relatives house. She had passed away without informing anybody about the identity of her husband. Gopal chances to see the photo of Parvathy and he comes to know of all that happened. But before he could divulge the truth to his dear friend, he succumbs to cardiac arrest.

    Sathyan faces a hostile atmosphere in the Bungalow and his only solace is Bharathi, the daughter of Major, who serves as a car driver and he is an old classmate of Raju. Vimala and Raju fall out on many issues and Sathyan happens to be the reason for most of them.

    Things start to move out of control when Raju decides to go on a short trip to Kodai. Major, Sivakumar and Bharathi accompany him and there comes the situation where Raju does a trip down the memory lane triggering the song.

    BACKGROUND OF SONG COMPOSITION

    At that time the English movie My Fair Lady was running in Chennai and it was a quite a popular movie. Like all film personalities, AVM brothers had also seen the movie and Kumaran had a flash in his mind when UM song situation came up. In My Fair Lady, the hero Rex Harrison had acted in a song sequence that had a mixture of Dialogue and song. Harrison in that song used to carry a stick in his hand. Kumaran asked MSV to see the movie and he along with Vaalee went and saw the movie. As per wishes of the Kumaran, MSV composed the tune of the song on the lines of the song [Not the tune, only the model was taken as inspiration].

    Even much earlier, in 1965 MSV was very impressed by the movie The Sound of Music, by July Andrews. In that movie there were many good songs. He had wanted to do a movie along that line and only much later he could do almost a replica of Sound of Music in Shanthi Nilaiyam. Shanti Nilaiyam was even called the Indian Sound of Music in the banners. But what inspired MSV was one song in the Sound of Music that had dialogue in it. He wanted to compose one in Tamil as well. But when My Fair Lady came along, it added his resolution to complete a movie along the same though he had harboured earlier. MSV also used to say hat the song Antha Naal was inspired by the song in Sound of Music ( Oru Kuyilin Vazhkai Sangeetham.)

    Vaalee had to write the song. Vaalee had come into the cine field long back but it was Karpagam (1963) that catapulted him to fame. Vaalee within a short time rose to fame and MGR who was looking for someone to bring up in place of Kannadasan gave his full support to Vaalee and within no time Vaalee reached the top rung. But he had one grouse. He could not get into the movies of NT and the fact that he was branded as a MGR camp man, also did not help matters. But he patiently waited. He finally got his chance in Anbu Karangal in 1965. To be precise it was NTs 102nd movie. After that he wrote for Selvam, Nenjirukkum Varai (Nenjirukkum engalukku naalai), Pesum Deivam, Iru Malargal and Galatta Kalyanam. Of these Selvam (3 songs), Pesum Deivam and Iru Malargal were Super Duper hits. But these films did not give a chance to Vaalee to write a philosophical song in the mould of Kannadasan. True, he wrote Kakithathil Kappal Katti, a philosophical song in his very first film for NT, Anbu Karangal. The song tuned by R.Sudharsanam had become a hit but since the movie on the whole did not do well at Box Office, it failed to fetch the desired credit for Vaalee. He nursing this at the back of his mind saw an opportunity when UM song sequence was explained to him. He decided to give out his best and was amplyrewarded with an appreciation he had longed for. But it should be noted here that credit for many such songs written by Vaalee invariably went to Kannadasan. I am sure that there is a large section of people who believed/believe that the song in discussion was also written by Kannadasan.

    The song beautifully captured the basic human nature in the Pallavi itself. The human mind always thinks and believes that the period went by was the happiest one and the present period is not a happy one. It stems from a comparative mindset. One is always inclined to think and pronounce the famous adage good old times in this context and always loves to go for a trip down the memory lane. Vaalee brought out this thinking when he wrote

    அந்த நாள் ஞாபகம் நெஞ்சிலே வந்ததே நண்பனே நண்பனே நண்பனே

    இந்த நாள் அன்று போல் இன்பமாய் இல்லையே அது ஏன் ஏன் நண்பனே

    The composing got over. It had been composed in the manner of the driver cum friend rekindling the (g)old memories buried in the heart of his friend cum boss in the form of dialogue and boss replying in the song format. A thought struck MSV. How would it look like if NT himself sung the song and Major spoke the dialogue? The very thought inspired him and AVM brothers gave him the freedom to do that. MSV sounded this to NT. He initially thought that MSV is making fun of him. But MSV was serious. After all NT was from the stage background and was trained adequately to sing. So with a little effort, NT could do it, believed MSV and asked NT to refrain from smoking for a period of one month. This would soften the rough edges and voice would become suitable for singing. But NT refused. (Visu, ethukku indha visha paritchhai?). He asked MSV to record the song with TMS. MSV realizing that NT would not play ball, arranged for the song recording.

    TMS himself says how the song came to be recorded. This song was recorded during pre Ilaiyaraja era where there was no stereo effect in Tamil films. In the 1950s singers used to sit on the floor and sing the songs with microphone hanging above their heads and facing them.

    Then stand mikes came into picture and the singers and musicians had to sing in the same room. Later came separate rooms for the musicians and the singers. After that came track recording where the composers, singers and musicians need not meet face to face at all.

    MSV had used only the Sitar and sung out the song and recorded it. MSV then gave it to TMS to go through. TMS got the background information of the song scene and decided to make it more natural. TMS was told that in the song scene Sivaji would run, and at the same time sing out the song. That is to say Sivaji was to pause and pant in the song. Then came the brilliant idea of TMS. He suggested to MSV that he would run in the studio a few rounds and as soon as he started to pant, he would give the signal to MSV and immediately TMS would sing and speak out the dialogue. Major recorded his voice for his dialogue part. But listeners of the song and the movie goers thought that it was Sivaji who was singing the whole song.

    Now came the picturisation part.

    GRACEFUL WALKING GESTURE OF NT

    The two friends along with their son and daughter would be strolling on the park when they would decide to go for a running race. They do it seriously and when they come back, the old memories start gushing out and the words pour out from their heart. This song is a testimony to the walking style of NT. He is not only the emperor of acting but also the emperor of walking. When you say walking, his style is not monotonous. He had different styles of walk for different type of characters. He had a Raja Nadai when he portrayed Kings, he had an aristocratic walk when he did rich businessmen roles, he had a authoritative walk when he was a police officer, he walked majestically when he donned the roles of professionals. Even in the sub categories he had different walks for the same professional. For example, his Doctor role in Paalum Pazhamum had a different walk when compared to the Doctor role of Navarathiri. Dr.Siva was different from Annan Oru Kovil though all were medical professionals. We can extend the same logic for all his characters. Of course we can spend an entire session on his walk alone. We would do it separately. Let us come back to the song.

    PICTURISATION

    The song in place too had different walking styles as per the mood of the lines. The song would start in NTs voice, which would be gasping for breath. While dubbing for the film, before this scene came up, NT excused himself came out of the dubbing theatre and did a running, circling the dubbing theatre and straightaway went inside the theatre and dubbed அந்த நாள். He did it to get the exact effect on screen. Again an act that speaks volumes about his dedication.

    The pallavi is like this

    அந்த நாள் ஞாபகம் நெஞ்சிலே வந்ததே நண்பனே நண்பனே நண்பனே

    இந்த நாள் அன்று போல் இன்பமாய் இல்லையே அது ஏன் ஏன் நண்பனே

    At the end of the pallavi, Major comes up and says

    பாடம் படிப்பு ஆட்டம் பாட்டம்

    இதை தவிர வேறு எதை கண்டோம்

    That triggers the memories of the happy by gone days in the mind of NT and he sings

    புத்தகம் பையிலே புத்தியோ பாட்டிலே

    புத்தகம் பையிலே புத்தியோ பாட்டிலே

    பள்ளியை பார்த்ததும் ஒதுங்குவோம் மழையிலே

    See here how Vaalee makes use of the age-old adage மழைக்காக கூட பள்ளிகூடத்திலே ஒதுங்கினதில்லை and manipulates the lines to suit the situation here. The next lines expresses the happiness they enjoyed and see NTs face conveying them.

    நித்தமும் நாடகம் நித்தமும் நாடகம்

    நினைவெல்லாம் காவியம்

    நித்தமும் நாடகம்

    நினைவெல்லாம் காவியம்

    At the end of this charanam, NT would do the majestic walk, which the camera would capture from the top angle and then it changes to sideward when he would try to balance the walking stick in his right hand index finger without losing his rhythm.

    Now Major comes up and talks about the second phase of the life. About Life after marriage and commitments that come with it.

    பள்ளியை விட்டதும் பாதைகள் மாறினோம்

    கடமையும் வந்தது கவலையும் வந்தது

    The mood of the protagonist changes and with a tinge of sadness creeping into his voice he acknowledges

    பாசம் என்றும் நேசம் என்றும்

    வீடு என்றும் மனைவி என்றும்

    நூறு சொந்தம் வந்த பின்னும்

    தேடுகின்ற அமைதி எங்கே

    நூறு சொந்தம்வந்த பின்னும்

    தேடுகின்ற அமைதி எங்கே

    அமைதி எங்கே

    The final line he repeats and with a saddened heart. The camera captures him standing alone under a tree sans growth with tears rolling. His walk is now different. Slow, thoughtful and sad. The energy seen before has come down.

    Major now philosophically concludes

    அவனவன் நெஞ்சிலே ஆயிரம் ஆசைகள்

    அழுவதும் சிரிப்பதும் ஆசையின் விளைவுகள்

    This further triggers the hidden emotions of our hero. He is repenting for the mistakes he committed in the past and is getting reflected in his words. The situation when he stood helpless when his wife was burnt alive in front of his eyes had left a deep scar and he carries that moment of inaction due to which he lost his wife as a huge baggage which he is unable to put it down even after so many years and this gets reflected when he sings

    எண்ணமே சுமைகளாய்

    இதயமே பாரமாய்

    தவறுகள் செய்தவன் எவனுமே

    தவிக்கிறான் அழுகிறான்

    தவறுகள் செய்தவன்

    எவனுமே அழுகிறான்

    எவனுமே அழுகிறான்

    He is repenting for his mistakes and the burden increases because he is unable to redress it. See his face and eyes. The face lost in deep thought and eyes welling with tears, he portrays the agony of the man that strikes a deep chord in you.

    Now after this his walk again changes and we see the body language of a man, a prisoner of his own actions, repenting for the mistakes he committed, searching for a miracle to relieve that burden and finds nothing before him making him to pour out his heart, the only thing that he is able to do. He manages to retrieve the situation and concludes the song with a degree of joy.

    Here is one song that swings from one extreme to another and the audiences were also taken along that roller coaster ride. Here was an actor who proved how a walk and body language could convey emotions on the extreme. Keen observers would also notice that how even the walking stick was used to convey the moods. In the Pallavi the walking stick is directly pointed at majors heart to symbolize the happy memories and in the next shot, he hooks the stick on to his friends neck and pulls him along with him again indicating that he is trying to pull him into that trip down memory lane. In the first charanam when he sings உயர்ந்தவன,his grip on the stick would be firm and the stick would be pointing skywards in an erect position. The next word he utters தாழ்ந்தவன்and now the stick points down. But see the difference, the grip would be loose, stick not erect, implying that he was a person who gave least importance to the economic status of his friends. By a simple gesture the character comes alive. What an output?

    No director could have taught this and the greatest actor ever to have walked on earth had it in him that got embedded on to the celluloid. At the end of the first charanam, during the walk the stick is moving in cross circles in the line of sword and later it is getting balanced in his index finger indicating the difficulty he is facing in balancing his present life. Again in the second charanam when he says நூறு சொந்தம் வந்த பின்னும் தேடுகின்ற அமைதி எங்கே,the stick is held at the back of his neck probably to balance him while he walks. See how he uses the stick to convey that. The stick further becomes loose in his hand when you see his drooping shoulders indicating the heavy burden that he has been saddled with. A great song with a lilting tune, thoughtful and expressive lyrics that conveyed the mood and it was brought alive by the genius on screen. With everything falling in place, the director duo simply had to say start and cut. With shooting completed and editing done, AVM was sure about the success of the song but the reception it got exceeded their expectations.

    MOVIE RELEASE

    As most of the people knew, Uyarndha Manidhan was the 125th movie. But it was not planned that way. The movie when compared with normal NT films took a much longer time to complete. It was almost ready for a Deepavali release in 1968 (October) but AVM knowing that Enga Oor Raaja produced and directed by P.Madhavan is getting released, postponed UM and now they got the statistical information that EOR is the 123rd.

    They also came to know that AL.Srinivasan is releasing his NT movie Lakshmi Kalyanam on 15th November and AVM announced that 29th November as the release date and the announcement said that it would be NTs 125th film. The news also pointed out that the same combination of actor producer-directors doing the 1st and 125th movies of the actor.

    Uyarndha Manidhan became a hit right from day 1.

    ANNA AND UYARNDHA MANIDHAN

    AVM went to thank Anna for helping them out in a crucial situation. Annas health by this time had deteriorated. He had to go to USA for the second time for treatment and had just returned. A function was arranged to facilitate NT for crossing the 125th movie milestone at AVM Rajeswari marriage hall and Anna presided over the function. The film was screened to him separately. Anna on this occasion was emotional and told the audience that he would not take the credit for discovering Sivaji. He was referring to the speeches made earlier crediting him for the same. Anna went on to add that even if he had not brought him forward, NT still would have made his mark as he possessed an exceptional talent. Anna recalled the days NT spent with him and added that though he may have politically drifted apart, he would be in his heart forever. He concluded his speech by wishing NT எங்கிருந்தாலும் வாழ்க .This was the last cinema function that Anna attended as he passed away on Feb 3rd of 1969.

    MOHANRAM AND THE SONG

    Actor and fellow hubber Mr.Mohanram recalls an equally emotional moment in his personal life, with respect to this song, though it was 23 years later. To be precise it was Dec 4th of 1991. His father Mr.V.P. Raman had passed away on that day. For those who are not aware of him, Mr. Raman was a leading lawyer of Chennai and he was one of the founder members of DMK. He was close to Anna but there was a group, which actively worked to alienate him from the leadership. Not only him, the group had worked overtime to send out NT. NT came out in 1956. Mr. Raman followed him two years later and the group then concentrated on Kannadasan and EVK Sampath and their move succeeded in 1961. All the four who came out remained friends throughout and NT had a special place in his heart for Mr. Raman. For those who are not aware, Mr. Raman owned the property at Lloyds Road that was rented out to MGR. Named Thai Veedu, MGR and Chakrapani lived there. At one point Mr. Raman sold the house to MGR. MGR didnt have money to buy. But Mr. Raman went ahead with the sale and registered the house in MGRs name, asking him to pay the amount later. MGR stayed in this house till the death of his second wife and moved on to Ramavaram gardens after that.

    Mr. Raman served as the Advocate general of Tamilnadu, when MGR was the CM between 1977 80.

    [When it comes to properties owned by the two Thilagams, one coincidence strikes you. NT was residing in Besant Road Royapettah, MGR stayed in Lloyds Road Royapettah, a stones throw away from where NT stayed. While Sivaji Productions still continue to operate from there, MGRs brother Mr.MG Chakrapani and his family lived in Lloyds Road. In the same manner, NT bought Annai Illam in South Boag Road, MGR bought a house in Arcot Road again a stones throw away. While Arcot Road house is now the memorial house of MGR, Annai Illam continues to be the memorial of NT. Same way, when MGR bought a house in Ramavaram, NT also had his garden nearby named Sivaji Gardens. A striking similarity].

    Now coming back to Dec 4th of 1991 when Mr V.P.Raman had passed away, NT had come down to pay his last respects. After doing the same, he walked out and Mohanram followed him. Away from the earshot of others, NT sang அந்த நாள் ஞாபகம் நெஞ்சிலே வந்ததே நண்பனே நண்பனே நண்பனே.

    Not expecting this Mohanram was taken aback and seeing his startled expression, NT had commented என்னடா இந்த நேரத்திலே வந்து பாட்டு பாடறானேனு பாக்கிறியா? சும்மா பாடல, நான் சொன்னதுக்கு பின்னாலே ஒரு கதை இருக்கு. உயர்ந்த மனிதன் ஷூட்டிங் கொடைகானலிலே நடந்தது. எல்லோரும் ஒண்ணா தங்கியிருக்கோம். பஞ்சு அண்ணன் டைரக்ஷன். என்னாலே ப்ரீயா இருக்கமுடியலை. அப்போதான் உங்கப்பன் உங்களோட கொடைக்கானல் பங்களாவுக்கு வந்து தங்கியிருந்தான். சாயங்கலம் ஷூட்டிங் முடிஞ்சவுடனே நானும் மேஜரும் உங்க வீட்டுக்கு போயிடுவோம். ரிலாக்ஸ்-டா இருப்போம். ஷூட்டிங் முடியறவரைக்கும் உங்கப்பனையும் ஊருக்கு கிளம்ப விடலே. இன்னிக்கு இந்த நியூஸ் கேள்விப்பட்டதிலேருந்து இப்போ இந்த நிமிஷம் வரைக்கும் அந்த ஞாபகங்கள்தான் வந்துகிட்டே இருக்கு. அத்தான் சொன்னேன்

    The words show how he valued the friendship, recalls Mohanram, his mind drifting to that poignant moment again.

    To sign off, Uyarndha Manidhan as said earlier released on 29th of November of 1991 at Madurai Central. I saw the movie a week later. What struck me was the theatre reaction. Compared to other movies of NT during that period, the full house theatre enjoyed the movie without frills.

    Except for the two song sequences (Vellikinnamthaan and Andha Naal), there was no outward showing but when the movie ended, everybody had liked it. In the subsequent releases, the film was received with more fun fare.

    Here is the lyric

    அந்த நாள் ஞாபகம் நெஞ்சிலே வந்ததே நண்பனே நண்பனே நண்பனே

    இந்த நாள் அன்று போல் இன்பமாய் இல்லையே அது ஏன் ஏன் நண்பனே

    அந்த நாள் ஞாபகம் நெஞ்சிலே வந்ததே நண்பனே நண்பனே நண்பனே

    இந்த நாள் அன்று போல் இன்பமாய் இல்லையே அது ஏன் ஏன் நண்பனே

    வசனம்:

    பாடம் படிப்பு ஆட்டம் பாட்டம்

    இதை தவிர வேறு எதை கண்டோம்

    பாடல்

    புத்தகம் பையிலே புத்தியோ பாட்டிலே

    புத்தகம் பையிலே புத்தியோ பாட்டிலே

    பள்ளியை பார்த்ததும் ஒதுங்குவோம் மழையிலே

    நித்தமும் நாடகம் நித்தமும் நாடகம்

    நினைவெல்லாம் காவியம்

    நித்தமும் நாடகம்

    நினைவெல்லாம் காவியம்

    உயர்ந்தவன் தாழ்ந்தவன் இல்லையே நம்மிடம்

    (அந்த நாள் ---)

    வசனம்:

    பள்ளியை விட்டதும் பாதைகள் மாறினோம்

    கடமையும் வந்தது கவலையும் வந்தது

    பாடல்

    பாசம் என்றும் நேசம் என்றும்

    வீடு என்றும் மனைவி என்றும்

    நூறு சொந்தம் வந்த பின்னும்

    தேடுகின்ற அமைதி எங்கே

    நூறு சொந்தம் வந்த பின்னும்

    தேடுகின்ற அமைதி எங்கே

    அமைதி எங்கே

    (அந்த நாள் ---)

    வசனம்

    அவனவன் நெஞ்சிலே ஆயிரம் ஆசைகள்

    அழுவதும் சிரிப்பதும் ஆசையின் விளைவுகள்

    பாடல்

    பெரியவன் சிறியவன்

    நல்லவன் கெட்டவன்

    உள்ளவன் போனவன்

    உலகிலே பார்க்கிறோம்

    எண்ணமே சுமைகளாய்

    இதயமே பாரமாய்

    தவறுகள் செய்தவன் எவனுமே

    தவிக்கிறான் அழுகிறான்

    தவறுகள் செய்தவன்

    எவனுமே அழுகிறான்

    எவனுமே அழுகிறான்

    அந்த நாள் ஞாபகம் நெஞ்சிலே வந்ததே நண்பனே நண்பனே

    இந்த நாள் அன்று போல் இன்பமாய் இல்லையே அது ஏன் ஏன் நண்பனே


    அன்புடன்

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    SIVAJI SEASON - SONG 5

    தாழையாம் பூ முடிச்சு

    BAAGHA PIRIVINAI

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

    1. Mr. Lenin Editor cum Director and s/o of Bheemsingh who was kind enough to throw light on the backdrop, the creation, execution and celebration of the film Baagha Pirivinai.

    2. Mr. Mohanram - again without whom the contact and conversation with Mr. Lenin would not have been so easy.

    3. EN SUYA SARITHAI NADIGAR THILAGAM Book published by Sivaji Prabhu Trust.

    4. Various film magazines of yesteryears in particular script writer Aroordass interview

    DEDICATION

    காவிய தாயின் இளைய மகனுக்கு,

    தமிழ் அன்னைக்கு தன் கவிதைகள் மூலமாக

    தங்க கீரிடம் அணிவித்த கவியரசுக்கு

    நான் நிரந்தரமானவன் அழிவதில்லை

    எந்த நிலையிலும் எனக்கு மரணமில்லை

    என்று சாகாவரம் பெற்ற அந்த கண்ணதாசனுக்கு

    INTRODUCTION


    A movie that proved to the world (if at all any proof was required) about the calibre of NT. A film, through which the people were able to understand how the title Nadigar Thilagam conferred on him suited him to the core. A film that witnessed a new combination and which also saw the joining together of two great actors for the first time. In our series so far all the songs have been solo and for a change we will take up a duet song.

    Yes, we are again going back to the great combination of NT- Bheemsingh- Kannadasan- VR.

    A song that touched the hearts of many and which still continues to rule the hearts of millions.

    START UP OF THE MOVIE

    The movie was the second of Paa series. Bheemsingh had launched Buddha Pictures and did Pathi Bakthi. G.N. Velumani, the famed producer of yesteryears, was one of the partners in Budhha Pictures. He came out of the company and floated a new production company called Saravana Pictures. He wanted to make a film with NT- Bheemsingh combo and he was trying to get both of them for his next film. He used to regularly visit the sets of Pathi Bakthi. The year was 1958. During one such visit, he was there in the set watching the shooting. People who have seen Pathi Bakthi would be aware that NT enacted the role of an Army person who would have come back to his native village. He would be carrying a gun.

    It is a known fact that NT was very much interested in hunting and often used to go for hunting in the forest. He had a penchant for guns and during the shooting he was using an actual gun. During this particular incident, he was checking the gun when accidentally it went off. Velumani who was sitting nearby and in the trajectory of the bullet was hit but he had a miraculous escape. The bullet injured his thigh. The entire crowd was stunned. Nobody could realize what was happening. It took some time for everyone to regain their senses. NT was terribly upset. He had never injured a man with a gun and this accident shook him. He profusely apologized to Velumani. Velumani was taken to a hospital and his injury was treated. Though a bit shaken Velumani regained his normal self. To make amends, NT confirmed the call sheet then and there. Not only that, he decided to do the film free of salary. Scriptwriter Aroor das who was present on the occasion vividly remembers the same.

    NT & CHARITY

    That takes us to another topic. There is a talk in cinema circles that NT normally is a kanjoos and doesnt give away much. Without publicity, he had carried out so many charity works and had helped many people. He never blew his own trumpet. Not only that, he had helped many producers with this type of help. When he felt that Banthulu was not getting quick returns for Karnan, he decided to do Muradan Muthu free of cost. Another example that comes to mind is Kaaval Deivam, where he did a cameo. S.V.Subbiah was the producer of this movie and NT was to play the role of Chamundi, the character that climbs up the tree for tapping toddy. This was a guest role and NT had almost finished his work. Only few days work remained but NT was very busy. SVS and AVM Saravanan were thick friends and SVS approached Saravanan for getting the call sheet of NT. At that time NT was acting in Uyarndha Manidhan and when Saravanan told about Kaaval Deivam, NT told him that his call sheet is full. Saravanan told him that he would swap 3 days shooting dates with Kaaval Deivam. NT though initially reluctant later agreed. Thus NT took off from Uyarndha Manidhan and acted in Kaaval Deivam. After this one day SVS bought Tiffin in a tiffin box for NT. When NT opened the tiffin box, there was tiffin alright but the last box contained Rs 15000/- meant for NT. He became livid and shouted at SVS. The money was kept by SVS as salary. On hearing this NTs anger knew no bounds and he simply bombarded SVS. He told SVS if he [NT] had wanted money, then SVS need to give him Rs 1.50 Lakhs because that was the salary he was paid by AVM for UM. NT didnt accept the money and did the film free of cost. This shows how he cared for the producers. Now let us come back to the film.

    STORY & SCREENPLAY

    Bheemsingh always looked for a story and when a suitable thread came up, he used to build on that with the help of his writers team. But in the case of Baagha Pirivinai, writer M.S. Solaimalai had come up with a good story. It had a village backdrop for most part of the story that shifts to the city later culminating in an absorbing climax. Unlike the present day films when the protagonist alone is given importance, the stories of that period gave importance to all characters and Baagha Pirivinai was no exception. With a joint family and its members occupying the main plot, there were multiple characters with each one having an importance of its own.

    When Solaimalai narrated the story, what attracted Bheemsingh and NT was the fact that the hero was a handicapped person. It was 1959 and till that time NT had not done a handicapped role in its true meaning, if you could count out Thangapadhumai and Koondu Kili [characters lose their eyesight midway through and at the climax respectively]. This handicap of Baagha Pirivinai had a twist to it in the sense it was an induced one. That made it more interesting to handle. Though it is highly debatable whether electricity can impair or repair a limp, logic took a back seat purely due to the emotional quotient the film offered, which the audience simply lapped up.

    BREAK UP

    This was a movie that saw NT and Kannadasan reuniting after a self induced gap. There was a tiff off between them due to the political leanings, which led to their separation at the first place. Readers and public in general think that NT started his political career in DMK. The fact is he was never a member of either DK or DMK in the first place. He was close to the two parties due to the loyalty factor. EVR had given the title of Sivaji to him. While Annadurai gave him the required break on Stage by making him play the role of Sivaji, MuKa penned the dialogues for his debut film Parasakthi and the fact that MuKa and NT were close friends also played a part in people identifying NT with DMK. In fact NTs marriage with Kamala Ammal took place in presence of MuKa on 1st May, 1952 at Swamimalai. The subsequent period after Parasakthi saw many films getting released with the NT-MuKa combo such as Thirumbi Paar, Manohara, and Raja Rani to name a few. Though NT was moving with the leaders of the Dravidian party, his soul was not there. Having born to a father who took part in the freedom struggle, it was difficult for him to think otherwise. Moreover, the non-belief in God was something that he could not bring himself to endorse. It was an uncomfortable living for him. Things began to happen in both political and cine fields, which were, intertwined right from the beginning as for as Tamilnadu was concerned.

    MGR who had started as a Congressman had moved away from it and he was slowly getting dragged into DMK. MuKa here also played an important role and he was able to convince MGR. By this time MGR was establishing himself as a hero who can carry a film on his own. With Malaikallan providing the required impetus, he was moving into the top bracket. Come 1956, he had Madurai Veeran, which pushed him to the stardom. NT having tasted success with his very first film was already there and by this time the greatest rivalry ever witnessed in the Tamil film Industry started taking root. That was the period when a new phenomenon called Rasigar Mandram started taking shape and soon they were mushrooming all over TN. Now a group in DMK wanted to take advantage of this as they felt that MGR would serve their interests more in the party than NT and so a move was orchestrated to oust NT from the scheme of things. Talks in private and public targeted him and it was slowly paying dividends and causing frustration to NT. One such incident took place in 1955-56. There was a cyclone that hit Tamilnadu and the damage was immense. Annadurai had asked his party men and film fraternity to collect and contribute funds and essential items for the affected public. NT who was in Virudhunagar did a tour in an open vehicle. On seeing their hero in flesh and blood, the public contributed handsomely. NT gave the collected materials to a trusted person along with his share also and asked him to handover it to DMK headquarters. Having done his part, he went for his shooting. He heard that there is going to be a public meeting where the contributors would be facilitated. But he never received any invitation and when he checked up with his home, they had not also received anything. Not losing heart, he came to Chennai on the day of function but nobody bothered to call him. To rub salt into the wound, NT came to know that the man who is going to be felicitated is MGR. The irony was NT had done the maximum collections but MGR who was not even in the scheme of things found himself in the center stage. This upset NT. Annadurai had enquired கணேசன் வரலியா? The group which had worked overtime for ousting NT told Anna that அவர் வரலேனு சொல்லி அனுப்பிச்சிட்டார்..

    On seeing NT and his plight, it was Bheemsingh who told him not to worry and asked NT to accompany him to Tirupathi. NT feeling let down by the group (on whom he had placed his faith) decided and went to Tirupathi. There were heavy rains but still he and Bheemsingh had the darshan of Lord Venkateswara. It was a early morning seva called Viswarooba dharisanam. Dinathanthi the paper that had a knack of breaking news as for as cine stars were concerned smelt this and the next day the headlines screamed நாத்திகரான சிவாஜி கணேசன் ஆத்திகரானர். திருப்பதியில் சாமி கும்பிட்டார்.

    For the group, which was waiting for an opportunity to oust him, it was God sent. Suddenly the group became vociferous and calls were made in public to remove him from the party because he had violated the party discipline (Thirupathi Ganesa! Thirumbi Paar), without even realizing that he was not even a party member. This made NT to severe ties with the leaders of DMK and its partymen. (It is another matter that the same DMK men came and asked for his call sheet for their movies. NT, the gentleman he is, heeded their request and acted in Puthaiyal and Kuravanji.)

    Unfortunately the groups tactics saw Kannadasan falling prey to their designs and he staunchly opposed NT. The fact that Kannadasan was supposed to contest the 1957 Assembly elections on the DMK ticket must have also played a part in his decision. [He contested from Thirukoshtiyur (the constituency was removed subsequently), but lost]. He was running a magazine called Thendral. At that point of time, he used a still photograph of NT from the film Tenali Raman. In that film there would be a scene where the king would order the execution of Tenali Raman by burying him neck deep in the sand and putting the elephant to dismember his head. Kannadasan published this still photograph (NT buried skin deep with the elephant standing nearby with its feet up) and captioned it as Sivajis Ethirkaalam with a question mark. It indirectly implied that he had no future. This evoked a strong reaction in NT camp and NT himself was pricked. So when they happened to meet at a studio within a few days of this still coming out, it led to serious arguments between them and at one stage it seemed that things would go out of hand. But nothing untoward happened. But one thing that emerged thereafter was Kannadasan would not be writing songs for NT films. While others did the job for NT films, Kannadasan started writing more for MGR. He also went to the extent of writing dialogues for MGR films with Madurai Veeran and Nadodi Mannan were the significant ones. Following years saw the rivalry between NT and MGR deepening and when two advertisements for the film Utthama Puthiran came out on the same day announced separately by two different companies with one starring NT while the other had MGR in the lead, it led to a flash point. Since that is out of our preview, we will talk about Kannadasans rift.

    By this time Banthalu had started producing the epic Veerapandiya Kattabomman. Kannadasan probably irked by this started his own movie based on the same subject. While Banthalus movie talked about the brave palayakaran of Panchalankurichy who refused to be cowed down by the British Empire, Kannadasan took up the story of Marudhu brothers of old Ramanathapuram district and named the film as Sivagangai Seemai with SSR in the title role. NTs camp didnt take this lightly and it further eroded the chances of reconciliation. The cine field and the entire Tamilnadu watched this tussle taking shape. But when the products were brought out for public scrutiny, Kattabomman went on to become a roaring success whereas SS failed miserably. Even Kannadasans flowery language failed to rescue the film. Now Kannadasan understood the folly of opposing NT, the born genius and NT on his part realized what he was missing out by not allowing Kannadasan to write for his films. Both were waiting for the opportune moment, which Baagha Pirivinai provided.

    PATCH UP & SONGS

    Bheemsingh was a person who always took a liberty with NT and he on his turn always had a soft corner for his Bheem Bhai. So Bheem Bhai could put it across and with the music duo of VR fully backing it, NT decided to accede to their wishes. But before this happened, Marutha Kasi and Pattukottai Kalyanasundaram had been contracted to write the songs. Pattukottai had written all the songs for Pathi Bakthi. So Kannadasan when contacted, told Bheemsingh to proceed with Pattukottaiyaar, as he was a good poet. But Bheemsingh stood his ground and Kannadasan agreed to write. Marutha Kasi wrote one song and Pattukottaiyaar wrote 2 songs. Nevertheless with Kannadasan coming in, most of the songs went to Kannadasan and all were gems.

    One of the song situation was about a man who is physically handicapped throwing questions at the maid servant of his home about love and affection and she replying to the same assuring him that women loved men even with their defects. The second situation was a Thalaatu song and contrary to normal practice, here was a man who was singing a lullaby to make his son sleep. Not a normal sweet lullaby but a one heavily coated with sadness and pessimism. Kannadasan came up trumps on both occasions.

    CONTROVERSY

    There were two more songs. One was the thiruvizha song Therodum Enga Seeranan Maduraiyile, where again the oyilaatam feel and melody went hand in hand. Then there was the first night song and it again brought bouquets and brickbats equally for Kannadasan. Bouquets for the simple and effective lyrics and brickbats for the same lyrics. The songs pallavi Thangathile oru kurai irundhaalum adhu tharathinil kuraivadhundo was the reason for Kannadasan getting the flak. People rather pundits questioned the line asking how Kuraiyulla Thangam can be called as Tharamana Thangam. Kannadasan later admitted that though logically what he had written was wrong, he wrote it for emphasizing the character of the hero. He cited the charanam lines Singathin Kaalgal Pazhuthupattaalum Seetram Kuraivadhundo in support of his argument. Lata Mangeshkar sang the same song in Hindi. Tuned by a Music director called Ravi, this song Thum Hi Meri Mandir won the Filmfares best female singer award for Lata. Let us go to the background of the song sequence in the story that goes like this.

    SONG BACKDROP

    The story is set in Alanganallur, a suburban village in the outskirts of Madurai. (Bheemsingh seems to have had a special place for Madurai and especially his Paa series movies such as Baagha Pirivinai, Paava Mannippu, Paar Magale Paar had a backdrop of Madurai and even Paalum Pazhamum has a part that takes place in Madurai). The Joint family consists of two brothers. While the elder brother and his wife are at loggerheads always, the younger brother and his wife are a perfect couple. While the elder doesnt have a child, the younger is blessed with two male children. The elder of the two children Kannaiah during childhood climbs up a lamppost to remove the kite from the electric lines, where it got struck up and he accidentally touches the live wire and fells down. This results in his left limps becoming paralysed and leads to a bend in his left hand and a limp in his left leg while walking. This prevents him from studying further and he stays at the house and confines himself to agricultural work but he happens to be the pet of all except his Periamma, who always finds fault with him. Kannaiahs younger brother Mani is doing his college at Chennai. The Elder brothers wife Akilandam has a nephew and a niece at Singapore. She receives a message that they are coming to visit her and her joy knows no bounds but her husband is skeptical and is not favourably inclined towards their arrival. Kanniahs mother who regularly visits the market happens to meet a girl called Ponni, an orphan and she brings her home. Kannaiah takes a liking to her and she is attracted by his innocence. While he is in the agricultural field, Ponni comes from the Sandhai and the song comes up.

    STAR CAST

    Before proceeding with the song, let us look at some interesting information about the star cast. There were two great artists in this film who joined hands with NT for the first time. Abinaya Saraswathy or Kannadathu Paingili (as she was affectionately called) B.Saroja Devi acted as the jodi for the first time with NT. Sarojadevi made her debut in Kannada movie Mahakavi Kalidasa opposite Honnappa Baghavathar in 1955. Banthalu who had a knack of identifying the real talent saw in her immense potential and he took her for his film School Master. Though a small role, she was noticed. Meanwhile MGR looking for a good heroine material for his Thirudaathe happened to see her and booked her. He also contracted her for his own movie Nadodi Mannan. There started one of the longest duration of the same pair in Tamil Cinema and Sarojadevi went on to do 27 films with MGR, which was later broken by JJ, who did 28 films with him. Banthalu gave Saroja Devi a dancer role in a song sequence in Thangamalai Rahasiyam and later cast her opposite Chandra Babu in his Sabaash Meena and that was a role that appeared throughout the movie. By this time Nadodi Mannan was released (Aug 1958) and she had become a hot property. The next year (1959) saw the release of Kalyana Parisu and with that she had reached the Super stardom. In this background, she was approached for the film Baagha Pirivinai. When she was told that she had to act opposite NT, she was more than happy. She was the only person who was able to easily switch over from MGR films to NT films and vice versa. Just as we discussed in the previous songs, an actor was branded as an X camp men or Y camp men depending upon the roles he/she played in NT/MGR films regularly. But Sarojadevi was the only heroine who acted in both NT and MGR films simultaneously and she fitted both the Thilagams to the proverbial Tee. Again she had done a good role in Baagha Pirivinai as the Orphan girl, Ponni. This jodi continued to be the main attraction and they proved that in many films. The chemistry between the two was still intact and it was proved when NT and SD did Once More in 1997.

    MR Radha- he was also called Nadiga Vel. Basically from the stage this man introduced a new method of acting. He had a unique voice that can range from the shrill on the one side to the louder tone on the other. He was elder to NT and he too played a part in NT joining the stage troupe. Though he shared stage space with NT, it would be a surprise to many that this film was the first where they jointly worked together. NT was 7 years old in the industry and this union happened only at that time. MRR by now had created a place for himself in the Tamil film world. His stage play Raktha Kanneer, a successful one at that, was made into a film in 1954 and it catapulted him to stardom. As most of the readers are aware, he was a rationalist and he used to always induct his thoughts into the dialogue with a coat of sarcasm and wit. This was received well by the audience. Starting with Baagha Pirivinai, the combination of NT- Bheemsingh- MRR continued throughout the Paa series of movies except for a few movies say Paasa Malar etc. This movie saw MRR play an important role, which is pivotal to the story. People especially women could be seen cursing him in the theatre. His villainy was through dialogues and not by any physical activity, except in the climax when he would abduct the child of NT for circus show. He would be called as Singapooran (indicating he is Singapore returned) and this word got etched in the mind of the audience. Here in this movie too, his sarcastic dialogue on Kuzhai Puttu is a popular one till this day. பாரின்-லே அவனவன் நீராவியிலே கப்பல் விடுறான் ரயில் விடுறான் நீ என்னடானா புட்டு செஞ்சு உள்ளே விடுறே

    Just as we discussed earlier, during those days all characters in the story had equal importance and especially Bheemsingh movies specialized in this. Balaiah as the head of the family, SV Subbiah as his brother and father of NT and Nambiar, MV Rajamma as his wife, CK Saraswathy as the scheming Akilandam (wife of Balaiah), Nambiar as the younger brother of NT, (who falls prey to the machinations of MRR and his sister enacted by Gemini Chandra), everyone had a meaty role and everybody played their part to perfection. Balaiah would be his usual self நாளைக்கு மாட்டு பொங்கல். மாட்டுக்கு பொங்கல். உனகில்லெ , which he tells to tease his wife.

    NT AND CHARACTER ESSAY

    When it comes to acting do we need to say anything about NT? For an artist like him, you need to only write such a character and he would do full justice to his role. Kanniah gave him ample scope to exhibit his talents and he came out with flying colours. The bend arm and leg was a challenge to him. He relishes such things and worked on it. Critics and detractors alike tried their level best to pinpoint the faults in his walk and gestures but they ended up without success. Not for him the different gaits and gestures. From the introduction scene when he falls into the water tank while trying to tie the buffalo in the shed, till the climax fight when he regains the normal limps by another accident, it was limpness personified (if it could be put like that). There were many scenes where he would have done it so casually but so effectively that you would simply love this man. The way he asks Balaiah about the dhoti (இவ்வளவு சின்ன கரையா இருக்கு. இன்னம் கொஞ்சம் பெரிய கரையா வாங்கிருக்கலாமிலே ), his repeated peeping when he is not allowed to go near his brother when he comes back, his complaint about MRR to Nambiar, his fears that his brother is slowly moving away from his family, his affection and expectation from his brother .ஏன்டா தம்பி எனக்கு நீ பட்டணத்திலிருந்து எதாவது வாங்கிட்டு வருவே-ன்னு நினைச்சேன். என்னை மறந்திடியா; பரவாயிலே

    His immediate replies to his aunt and MRR when they make fun of him, you would not find a better actor. Not only that, this film also emphasized the fact that physical handicap need not be a deterrent and the person can be positive in his outlook. In that way the NT character was etched in a positive manner that was evident throughout the movie. When the village girls make fun of him, he replies back in the same coin. Ditto when his aunt and MRR make fun of him. There is a scene where MRR tries to threaten NT with the dog, his replies would be tit for tat. MRR says அமெரிக்காலே பொறந்து லண்டன்லே வளந்து
    for which NT replies இப்போ அலங்காநல்லூருக்கு பொறுக்க வந்திருக்கு

    Even certain scenes (the earlier one to establish his role falling down on trying to climb the ladder, his inability to pick up the water glass while eating), would have been done to establish the fact how the affection Ponni has for Kanniah turns into love.

    SONG COMPOSITION

    Now coming back to the song, Kannadasan when told about the situation understood the same and came out with sandhangal. He was told about the character names and he made use of it in the song (during those days, most of the character names would get reflected in the song. It shows the involvement the artists and technicians had in the making of the film). Kannadasans wifes name was Ponnamma and so Ponni became Ponnamma to rhyme with Kanniah. The character is a villager with no educational background and he is innocent to the core. So his doubts are basic and simple. Though he is positive, he has an inferiority complex when it comes to women, because of his physical defect. The girl though she is also not educationally qualified, nevertheless has a worldly knowledge that is reflected in her answers. If his questions have an expectancy tone underneath, her replies underline the affection and love she has for him.

    The poet in him came out with comparisons (uvamaigal) that were simple, yet thought provoking. His personal life happenings had often got reflected in the songs he wrote. He had a feeling that his wife (not from a rich family) may have felt bad, as she had not brought any great seer varisai from her home. This is because Kannadasans brother AL.Srinivasan had got married from a rich family and he had received the seer varisai traditionally associated with Chettinadu families. He puts his question

    தாயாரின் சீதனமும்

    தம்பிமார் பெரும்பொருளும்

    மாமியார் வீடு வந்தால் போதுமா; அது

    மானாபிமானங்களை காக்குமா


    She consoles him by replying to the adhangam. See how Kannadasan had given an answer. Simple lines, which highlights the life style of Tamil women, belonging to the lower strata.

    மானமே ஆடைகளாம்

    மரியாதை பொன்னகையாம்

    நாணமாம் துணையிருந்தால் போதுமே; எங்கள்

    நாட்டு மக்கள் குலபெருமை தோன்றுமே

    நாட்டு மக்கள் குலபெருமை தோன்றுமே


    Having talked about the status factor, the hero now explores the mind of women in general and this girl Ponni in particular about the mindset of women with regard to handicapped persons. He is aware that she is affectionate and caring towards him but he wants to find out whether the sympathy transcends to love. He asks her whether women would ever think of marrying specially abled persons.

    அங்கம் குறைந்தவனை

    அங்கம் குறைந்தவனை

    அங்கம் குறைந்தவனை

    அழகில்லா ஆண்மகனை

    மங்கையர்கள் நினைப்பதுண்டோ பொன்னம்மா; வீட்டில்

    மணம் பேசி முடிப்பதுண்டோ பொன்னம்மா

    மணம் பேசி முடிப்பதுண்டோ பொன்னம்மா


    Hurt by the notion that women normally do not marry such men, she replies him explaining the rationale behind womens feelings. She affirms him that women dont go by external or physical attributes but they look only for affection from the men. For this Kannadasan the genius, makes use of a simple uvamai but how effectively conveys

    மண் பார்த்து விளைவதில்லை

    மரம் பார்த்து படர்வதில்லை

    கன்னியரும் பூங்கொடியும் கண்ணையா;

    கண்ணிலே களங்கமுண்டோ சொல்லையா

    கண்ணிலே களங்கமுண்டோ சொல்லையா


    SINGERS

    As readers must be aware, the song was by TMS and P.Leela. It should come as a surprise to at least to few of the readers. The reason being instead of PS, it was PL. There was no specific reason for the change. PS had rendered songs for the same film. MSV always tried to use some good voices in his films. PS was the undisputed queen of TFM and there was no question of MSV replacing her. PL was one of the leading playback singers in TFM earlier and she continued to be the no 1 in Malayalam cine field till 70s. So MSV used her for this song and she proved that she is adept in singing rural based folk songs also. What we can say about TMS? The way he rendered the song is a treat to hear, never mind even if you are listening to it for the 1000th time. Even without the visual, if we hear the song, you will get lost in its beauty. The intermittent humming by TMS in between the charanams takes the cake.

    The tune of the song was simple but what lifted the song was the same simplicity and the background humming (reflecting that of the farmers engaged in the field) that had a haunting melody to it. Not only that, in between the charanams, a shepherd crosses them with his flock of goats. The lullaby he uses to goad his flock is so lilting and haunting and it is so especially when he finishes, the volume comes down to a feeble note before resuming. With the use of minimum instruments, Mellisai Mannargal had created a song that was received with great enthusiasm. When the movie got released, all the songs became Super hits. This was the first movie that had its songs released in the vinyl record. It sold like hot cakes. It is almost 55 years old but still the songs even if heard today is refreshingly fresh. For the benefit of readers the songs are

    1. பிள்ளையார் கோவிலுக்கு வந்திருக்கும்

    2. தேரோடும் எங்க சீரான மதுரையிலே

    3. தாழையாம் பூ முடிச்சு

    4. தங்கத்திலே ஒரு குறை இருந்தாலும்

    5. ஒற்றுமையாய் வாழ்வதாலே உண்டு நன்மையே

    6. ஏன் பிறந்தாய் மகனே ஏன் பிறந்தாயோ

    7. ஆட்டம் ஆட்டம்

    Normally in Tamil movies, handicapped characters were/are used to evoke some cheap comedy, which is to say the least, is disgusting. But Baagha Pirivinai changed it and such specially abled persons felt that they have been projected fairly. In fact on a personal experience, I have met a person who had a problem with his hand, waxing eloquent about this song. It seems that he was averse to marriage but when he saw the movie, he changed his mind and got married, he told me.

    PICTURISATION

    The song can be watched for the sheer genius of NT. When the song starts, he listening to the lullaby puts up a dance like jumps but he never falters in his step. Same way when the song finishes, if you check he would encounter an uneven piece of land, which would climb up and then come down. See how he manages those steps. After coming down, he crosses a small stream of water and he walks on stones placed to cross and at the end uses his leg to splash water on Saroja Devi. Watch it to relish it.

    Another thing (though it would sound like clich) is how he as an actor never thought about his image. During the song, he sits on top of a buffalo and sings. Imagine a top Hero, acting as a handicapped person, with a typical village hairstyle riding on the back of a buffalo. He was Kanniah in the movie and if Kanniah had to ride on a buffalo, so b it. Thats why we still cherish this great man.

    The movie was released on Oct 31st of 1959. It was Deepavali and as it always happened most of the time, another NT film Aval Yaar got released on the previous day (30.10.1959) but Baagha Pirivinai was a hit from Day 1, Opening show. It was a stupendous success. In Madurai, it was released in Chintamani Talkies and it ran for 216 Days. If we leave out MKTs Haridas, this film held the record of having run for the highest no days in regular shows for so many years and even now (after 55 years), this movie still holds the record for any Black & White movie as for as the no of days are concerned.

    This success was a very sweet one for Bheemsingh. He had started his career as an assistant and is rumoured that he directed the movie Panam (2nd movie of NT 1952) but N.S.Krishnan put his name in the directors slot. So his official first film was Ammaiyappan. Adopted from an English story, the screenplay and dialogues were written by MuKa. At the same time, Modern Theatres was producing Sugam Enge and it was also adopted from the same English story and Kannadasan wrote dialogues. While Sugam Enge became a hit, Ammaiyappan failed. His next film was Raja Rani and again MuKa wrote it. It also failed to make a dent in the Box office when it was first released [but on re-releases went on to collect huge revenues]. But Bheemsingh was not unduly perturbed and he had confidence in his craft. Then Pathi Bakthi happened in 1958, which was a 100-day movie and Baagha Pirivinai celebrated Silver Jubilee. It seems that Bheemsingh always used to say that such sentiments (If the initial two films flop, then the directors luck is bad) should not be given importance.

    But in spite of film evoking positive response on this front, the same thing was a deterrent for many heroes (read Hindi heroes). Seeing the success of the movie, Bheemsingh wanted to remake the movie in Hindi. But top heroes were hesitant to do the movie. One they had to act as a handicapped person throughout the movie and second, the role was de-glamourous. But one hero realizing the potential of the story and the character said yes when approached and he is none other than Sunil Dutt. Nutan was paired opposite him. Though they had acted together earlier, this movie gave the biggest break for them as for as their pairing was concerned. Named Khandaan, Bheemsingh himself directed the movie. It was a Super duper hit.

    While talking about the Hindi film, one more interesting info is there. G.N.Velumani, the man who had produced the Tamil movie had initially come forward to produce the film in Hindi also. But when Hindi heroes were backing out, Velumani also had second thoughts about the Hindi production and he went for a jungle-based story. So producer Vasu Menon, who was expressing a desire of producing the movie willingly took over and the movie made huge profits for him. The profit margins were so good that Vasu Menon built Vasu studio in Chennai out of it. Velumani who had opted out of the Hindi project went ahead with his movie Rajkumar but it was a big flop and Velumani did suffer a huge loss out of it. A sad irony - Velumani disowned his own baby in pursuit of greener pastures, and he ended up as the loser.

    The movie was brought back to limelight in 1977 when 16 Vayadhinile was released. Naturally people started comparing Sappani with Kanniah. Everybody was talking about the inspiration factor. But most of the people are not aware that the inspiration for Kamal came by not watching the movie Baagha Pirivinai but enacting the movie. Yes, Bheemsingh did the remake of Baagha Pirivinai in Malayalam after 18 years. Titled Nirakudam (meaning Niraikudam in Tamil), Kamal and Sridevi did the lead roles. The movie got released in 1977 before 16 Vayadhinile. So having done the remake in the same year, it was smooth sailing for Kamal in 16 Vayadhinile.

    Before signing off, let me add my personal note. Since it was released in 1959 (I was not even born), I saw it much later in 1971, when it was released in Madurai- Vellaikannu. Later saw it in Ganesha, when I could relate it to more. i saw it many times after that. As said earlier, it was a Silver Jubilee hit and crossed 100 days in many centers. The Cast and the crew visited most of the cities in Tamilnadu, where the victory celebrations took place. It seems Bheemsingh had remarked that his showcase had started overflowing with trophies. Overflow it did when the subsequent Paa series movies Paava Mannippu, Paasa Malar, Paalum Pazhamum and Paarthhal Pasi Theerum all went on to celebrate jubilees one after another.

    Here is the lyric part

    ஆண்:

    தாழையாம் பூ முடிச்சு

    தடம் பார்த்து நடை நடந்து

    வாழையிலை போல வந்த பொன்னம்மா;

    பெண்:

    பொன்னம்மா

    ஆண்:

    என் வாசலுக்கு வாங்கி வந்தது என்னம்மா

    என்னம்மா

    பெண்:

    பாளை போல் சிரிப்பிருக்கு

    பக்குவமாய் குணமிருக்கு

    ஆளழகும் சேர்ந்திருக்கு கண்ணையா

    ஆண்:

    கண்ணையா

    பெண்:

    இந்த ஏழைகளுக்கு என்ன வேணும் சொல்லையா

    ஆண்:

    சொல்லையா

    (பாளை ---)

    ஆண்:

    தன்னானே தனனே ----

    தாயாரின் சீதனமும்

    தம்பிமார் பெரும்பொருளும்

    மாமியார் வீடு வந்தால் போதுமா; அது

    மானாபிமானங்களை காக்குமா ; அது

    மானாபிமானங்களை காக்குமா

    (தாழையாம் பூ முடிச்சு)

    தன்ன----

    பெண்:

    மானமே ஆடைகளாம்

    மரியாதை பொன்னகையாம்

    நாணமாம் துணையிருந்தால் போதுமே; எங்கள்

    நாட்டு மக்கள் குலபெருமை தோன்றுமே

    நாட்டு மக்கள் குலபெருமை தோன்றுமே

    (பாளை போல் ---)

    ஆண்:

    அங்கம் குறைந்தவனை

    அங்கம் குறைந்தவனை

    அங்கம் குறைந்தவனை

    அழகில்லா ஆண்மகனை

    மங்கையர்கள் நினைப்பதுண்டோ பொன்னம்மா; வீட்டில்

    மணம் பேசி முடிப்பதுண்டோ பொன்னம்மா

    மணம் பேசி முடிப்பதுண்டோ பொன்னம்மா

    பெண்:

    மண் பார்த்து விளைவதில்லை

    மரம் பார்த்து படர்வதில்லை

    கன்னியரும் பூங்கொடியும் கண்ணையா;

    கண்ணிலே களங்கமுண்டோ சொல்லையா

    கண்ணிலே களங்கமுண்டோ சொல்லையா

    (பாளை போல் ---)

    ( தாழையாம் பூ முடிச்சு)


    அன்புடன்

  16. Likes Gopal,S. liked this post
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