Tag Archives: Tamil cinema

Mangaiyar Thilakam

Award winning Tamil family drama movie “Mangaiyar Thilakam” (1955) starring Sivaji Ganesan, Padmini, Ragini, M.N. Rajam among others.

Three hour long movie, this is total emotional atyachar movie from the Tamil cinema stable of the yore. Everything that could possibly go wrong in a family goes wrong and the actors have to bear it. Sivaji is bought up by his elder brother without his parents and for him his elder brother and wife are like God.

That’s the main story and there are sub plots galore. Thangavelu has provided some comic relief with his cameo role as a drama actor/ director in love with Ragini who has danced quite beautifully in the movie. Her father is a die hard drama hater and to bring him around takes all his intellect.

Sivaji marries into a rich family with a snobbish girl Rajam who is not used to doing the household chores. So tension on that count. Sivaji is quite a good actor save for his dialogue part which is too much. Tamil and Malayalam movies have long and heavy dialogues – i guess a legacy of the theatre. Three hour with songs is too long for today’s times. The music gave the impression that a song is around the corner every second. imdb 3/10

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Edhir Paradhathu

Award winning Tamil melodramatic movie “Edhir Paradhathu” (1954) starring Shivaji Ganesan, Padmini among others.

Total tear jerker this one, right from beginning. Shivaji and Padmini love each other, then they make plans to marry, in the meanwhile he gets a chance to go to US for higher studies on government scholarship but the plane carrying him crashes and he is the only occupant, relatively unscathed save for the loss of his eyesight. Formulaic so far.

What happens next is bizarre. Padmini marries Shivaji’s father because he is rich and her family is in deep debts owing to the gambling habits of her brother. The old man finds out, he is aghast, runs away after bequeathing all his property to her.

Then he goes on a pilgrimage he finds Shivaji blind and begging somewhere, they unite and come back and Shivaji and Padmini unite, but she fobs him off saying she is already married. The dad then sends out a letter from Bombay that he has died and she can remarry.

In the meanwhile, Shivaji regains his eyesight and discovers who the real husband of Padmini is and all bedlam breaks loose. Every single minute of this movie is an emotional overdrive with long and heavy dialogues. Thankfully the you tube script which was grainy to begin with, had removed all the songs, so we were saved. Total overacting by everybody. imdb 2/10

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Andha Naal

Award winning Tamil detective movie “Andha Naal” (1954) directed by S. Balachander and starring Shivaji Ganesan, Pandaribai, Javar Seetharaman among others.

Its a nice riveting movie in the style of a fast thrilled whodunit. Rajan (Shivaji Ganesan) is shot in the beginning of the movie itself and what follows is the unraveling of the plot. Who killed him, there are plenty of them with enough motives from his brother Pattabi (T.K. Balachandran), his angry wife Hema (S. Menaka), his neighbour Chinaiya Pillai (P.D. Sambandam) to his lover Ambujam (K. Sooryakala) and lastly his wife Usha (Pandaribai).

Everybody narrates their own tale of what must have transpired alongwith their conspiracy theories. The plot moves from one scene to another with dexterity. There is enough long dialogues to bore people which is typical of Tamil and Malayalam movies. The dialogue delivery of stars in Tamil films is of another worldly order. Balachander has used little bit of Hitchcockian influence but apparently he is more inspired by Akira Kurosawa to make this film. The camera work is spectacular.

Shivaji Ganesan is brilliant as usual and shows us that he was a consummate actor, though at parts he is over acting, All others have acted quite well, keeping to the script. Though the dialogues are heavy at times, one is able to understand the substantial part of the movie for somebody like me. This one is a timeless classic. imdb 7/10

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Bale Pandiya

An old Tamil classic, rip roaring comedy of sorts. Bale Pandiya has Shivaji Ganesan in 3 roles and M.R. Radha in double roles and plenty of laughs and gags.

Shivaji’s comic timing is quite good and so is the acting of both Shivaji and M.R. Radha. There are a couple of female interests in the movie but its all about comedy of errors, impersonation, somewhat like an older version of Andaz Apna Apna.

All the three roles of Shivaji have their own sub plots but there are not boring, except for the length of the movie at 2.24 hours which used to be flavour back in those days. Good movie to revisit, the gags are contemporary. The ladies Devika & Vasanthi have overacted terribly, so nothing much to comment on that. Even Shivaji who has a propensity to overact most of the times, has done a masterful performance as three characters.

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Award winning Tamil movie Malaikallan (1954) starring MG Ramachandran, P. Bhanumati among others. Its a desi version of Robinhood story, the hero robbing the rich to help the poor. Whole lot of characters in it and quite a complicated story to narrate. But its a rich story, with superb dialogues by M. Karunanidhi in rich Tamil and superb screenplay. Malaikallan (MGR) is a robber with his own luxurious kingdom in the mountains and Poongothai (Bhanumathy) is just another girl in village. She is kidnapped by one rival gangster, and is then rescued by Robin Hood and slowly starts developing love towards the Robin Hood. Later even her father is kidnapped, but we are able to keep our sanity intact, because Abdul Kareem keeps coming and going repeatedly and by the audience is aware of his real identity. Aeons later and after a lot of twists and turns in the story, Robin Hood and the heroine are re-united again with a lot of family reunion thrown in towards the end. The comic interludes between the two police cops are quite good. Bhanumathi shines in the movie throughout and MGR is good in the disguise role, showing what an effortless actor he was. Also MGR acting is way tolerable than that of Shivaji Ganesan who is a great actor no doubt, but with too much theatricals, that gives one a splitting headache at the end of the movie. And in those days, movie time used to be not less than 2 and half hours and sometimes more also.

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Veerapandiya Kattaboman

Veerapandiya Kattaboman, a 1959 bio pic of the ruler of that same name who was against the British rule in part of south India in the 18th century. He refused to accept British sovereignty over his kingdom and waged a war against them. He was the chieftain of the small kingdom of Panchalankuruchi in Tamil Nadu. As usual the British took the help of another ruler of Pudukottai to nab him and hang him to death. Shivaji Ganesan played him in the movie of that name in 1959. The production values were quite good for a 1959 movie. The movie is too long, though and overly dramatic with lot of emotional elements added to it. Authenticity is lacking because the British officers were shown as locals speaking Tamil and that too pure Tamil not the anglicised Hindi we see in most movies depicting British officers. Moreover the costumes are way over the top so lacking the beauty of a period cinema. Gemini Ganeshan and Padmini have major roles in the movie. The best action sequence in the movie is the jallikattu scene right at the beginning, which looked quite authentic. Worth watching for Shivaji Ganeshan acting and to know about this small time ruler who defied British.

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