Back to Dir. Mahendran of 80s. These are the films which defined my school days and my taste. Even those days, I watched this film multiple times. This film was very new and modern and very much ahead of its time to me, why even now. I didn't even know what love is. Definitely I felt this film stood out from the rest. When I was watching I could feel I was in some new world. Not much cinematic moments like other films, not great stars, still didn't know how we (and everyone) knew about this film when there were no big casts. Theatre was full house when I watched it. When I came out, I certainly felt I missed something inside the theatre and wanted to go back. I still remember, I used to ask so many questions about this film to my parents.
After I finished my college, whenever I find time, I tried to watch this film having fond memories about the film, that's when I really started to appreciate it. Even now, I have a personal copy of this film, very privy and an intimate one. Also these are the films which made me like 'Mike' Mohan a lot. A very modern and novel approach to film making with Maestro's music providing the life line right from the titles till the end, not just for songs, as we hail today.
Suhasini and Mohan were in love, due to some misunderstanding, she could not marry him, instead marries Pratap, who is her family friend (close to her brother). When he was her friend, Mahendran shows their relationship beautifully and the moment she marries him, suddenly everything stops. They are on their honey-moon and he has big hopes on his married life and wanted to make her happy. This is not the honey-moon which we usually see in films with dream scenes. She has not yet recovered from her love and tries to detach herself from him (didn't we hear this story line somewhere else, I mean afterwards?
). That's where the song starts, Mandram vantha thendralukku oops, sorry, it is Hey ThendralE ini naaLum paadi vaa. Legendry P Susheela takes a cake walk in this trendy song. Brilliant!
If any aspiring musicians/music directors want to compose a guitar-based song, this is a perfect composition to look for. A real blast of bass guitar, lead guitar, violins with staccato and vocal harmony and what not. Please don't forget the tune, but. Musically it will fill pages, if I start writing about Maestro, so let me stop here. The best highlight of the song is, it is a female solo that too with a positive lyrics when she is not positive about her life. Why then a female is singing? That's where these directors stand out. The lyrics says, 'nizhal pOl unai thEduvEn, vaLarum sugamE, inimEl, inimai, ini yEn thanimai'. Definitely she/her mind cannot sing these lines, only someone who loves her can sing. Since she is alien to any male except her lover, the song comes from his husband's heart in the form where she will not feel alien to this song. The real gems of a line is; rasiththEn azhagai, rasikkum manathai'.
This confirms that he was in love with her even before marriage, but Mahendran subtly/implicitly expresses that in just one line.
Few breath-taking visual moments; Song starts in a delightful chorus symbolically telling his heart is filled with full of expectation about his married life. Gush of violins play mirroring the confusion in her heart which shows up in her face. Guitar then starts to pacify both their rapid hearts asking them to calm down. That's how you pick the instruments and that's how you play it. He always looks at her with the expectation of atleast a smile from her, but she is not ready and every time it kills him, yet he tries to keep it calm and down. Beautiful play of guitars and violins in the interlude takes him to a small dreamy happy moments with her, but she always finds Mohan in him. He tries to talk her and make her feel easy, still she is not convinced and irritates him. @2:16 he throws the flower out of frustration. Mahendran uses the second interlude beautifully. Again gush of violins as she is imagining a bike ride with Mohan, but she realizes it is Pratap and not Mohan, looks again, it is Mohan again, she could not believe. That's where the violin staccato plays explaining the sluggish motif, that what she is imagining is not going to be true, yet the interlude culminates with a mellow chorus with Mohan and Suhasini going/fading away in the bike clearly explaining that it was in the past. You have to note that Mahendran did not shoot that scene with Mohan and Suhasini are coming towards the camera, since that was in the past, he is just showing it as the last bye. Brilliant stuff!
Excellent cinematography by Ashok Kumar (National Award winner for this film).
During second charanam, Pratap tries to jump (just for the sake) from the mountain, but she stops him, indirectly asking him for some more time. The war between hearts is brilliantly shot in every scene by JM/Ashok Kumar. Non expressive faces, they can't show frustration as both of them know each other very well and also know what the actual problem is. He too does not want to disturb her as he knows that her heart is still somewhere. She knows that she has to forget her past and focus on her present, so that Pratap will be happy, but she could not do. Very tough and walking-on-glass situation. @3:50 he tries to share what he just enjoyed reading as she is a big lover of reading books, but now she is least interested. He again throws his cigarette out of frustration. That is the maximum expression he can share, mind you she is a sister of his close friend too. He too is in a very delicate position. Don't we feel their pain? The stunning highlight of the song is when it ends. Ripples from a stone thrown into a pond.
Should I say more? This song is just an example why J Mahendran is the greatest of greats. The way he uses Maestro's music to perfection (with every possible details) like no other makes him the best director musically too. Very aesthetic song, yet very real. It's so difficult I say!
Can we find a better situation in our films which is so close to real as this one or can we find a better visuals for this situation or can we find a better music for this situation?