Thursday, 23 October 2008
REMEMBERING DIRECTOR SRIDHAR
It is almost Deepavali, and the hit song of ‘Kalyana Parisu’ (1959)
உன்னை கண்டு நான் ஆட
என்னை கண்டு நீ ஆட
உல்லாசம் பொங்கும் இன்ப தீபாவளி
“Unnai kandu naan ada
Ennai kandu nee ada
Ullasam pongum inba Deepavali” (roughly this means, let us both sing and dance and celebrate Deepavali’) will be broadcast and telecast, as it has all these years, every Diwali, for almost 50 years.
“I saw ‘Kalyana Parisu’ when I was at the impresionable age of 12. And I remembered the copious tears I shed because of the 'star-crossed lovers’ tribulations'. I loved the songs, the grace of Saroja Devi, the cruel twist of fate which prevented her from marrying Gemini when he was free. When I saw the movie again 25 years ago on DD’s weekend feature, I was still moved to tears”
This was part of my comment on fellow blogger GVK ’s post on the movie Kalyana Parisu. C. V. Sridhar, the director of the movie, died earlier this week. He was barely 30 when he directed it.
And this was the movie everyone remembered when he died – it was his first, a trendsetting movie in Thamizh which shot him to fame. It had a fantastic story line, good acting, great music, an unforgettable comedy track, and no villains. Possibly for the first time, established villain actor M. N. Nambiar played a benevolent benefactor of the heroine. The first Thamizh picture to run for 25 weeks.
And as with all first timer achievers, a lot was expected of him in his next films, and to be fair to him, he managed to justify those expectations with something new in every picture. As a young girl, I used to wait eagerly for announcements of his forthcoming pictures.
He concentrated on social themes, and his denouements always had an element of surprise, without a conventional ending. His finger was on the collective pulse of Tamilnadu, and he pulled at their heartstrings with moving stories - Nenjil Oru Aalayam, ( picturised in 20 plus days on a single set with no established actors), Meenda Sorgam, Policekaran Magal, Sumatihaangi, Nenjirukkum Varai ( no makeup for the actors in this, not even Sivaji) were some of them, and all of them hits.
But he could create a riot in comedy too. Then Nilavu in black and white, starred Vyjayanthimala and Gemini Ganesan and was newsworthy because it was the first Thamizh picture to be shot entirely on location in Kashmir.
He excelled himself with the youthful Kathalikka Neramillai in colour, with fresh faces for the main roles. Non-stop laughter from moment one with sizzling music, people saw it repeatedly in the theatre.
He directed Sivaji Ganesan in more than one movie and MGR in Urimai Kural. And Rajnikant and Kamalahasan in Ilamai Oonjaladukirathu. But he did not need stars for his movies to be hits. The story was always the star. In fact he introduced to the screen some of the famous names today, the most important one being Jayalalitha in Vennira Aadai.
Apparently he had tried Hema Malini (given her a screen test) for a role, and found her unsuitable – Homer nods! – and she went on to make her name in Hindi pictures. Later on, he did make a movie with her in Hindi, I read, but I am not sure. He remade some of his hits in Hindi - like Nazrana, Dil Ek Mandir, and Pyar kiye Jaa.
This Deepavali, the sad version of the song will be more appropriate.
உன்னை கண்டு நான் வாட
என்னை கண்டு நீ வாட
கண்ணீரும்் கதை சொல்லும் தீபாவளி
“Unnai kandu naan vaada,
Ennai kandu nee vaada,kanneerum kathai sollum deepavali "
‘Let us both, you and I, weep for times past, this Deepavali’.
Photos courtesy internet.