The 72nd Venice International Film Festival, organized by La Biennale di Venezia has some interesting line up of films. But two films have caught our special attention.
The first is Visaranai (Interrogation) directed by Vetrimaran and produced by actor Danush’s company Wunderbar Films has been selected in the Orizzonti section which is an international competition dedicated to films that represent the latest aesthetic and expressive trends in international cinema. In the history of the festival Visaranai will be the first Tamil feature film to participate in the competitive category. The director of the film, Vetrimaran has earlier made critically acclaimed films like Polladhavan and Aadukalam and was the co producer of the internationally acclaimed Tamil film Kaaka Muttai (Crow’s egg).
The second film that caught our attention is Rinku Kalsy’s documentary “For the love of a man” which has been selected in the Venice classics section where a selection of restored classics and documentaries on cinema will be showcased. Rinku’s film explores the phenomenal fan for Superstar Rajnikanth.
Besides the Tamil connect between Visaranai and ” For the love of a man” there is another interesting connection. Danush, the producer for Visaranai is the son in law of Rajnikanth on whom ” For the love of man” is centered around.
Watch the trailer of the two films here:
Indian Cinema lost one of its greatest contributors on December 23rd 2014, K.Balanchander or KB sir as he is fondly known to many. The recipient of the Dada Saheb Phalke award, his career spanned for over 45 years. Besides directing over 100 films, he has also donned the role as writer, producer and even an actor. Each of his films were ahead of its times with radical offbeat themes and with strong women characters. The same was true with the many serials that he had directed and produced for the small screen. He is known for launching and mentoring several top actors and technicians in Indian Cinema including Kamal Hassan, Rajnikanth and Sri Devi.
Here is what the national newspaper The Hindu has to say about this great man.
As our small tribute to KB sir we would like to share a lobby card from our collection. It is from the film Manadhil Uridhi Vendum (1987). The film revolves around the strong willed female protagonist Nandhini (played by Suhasini) who over comes many hurdles and finally dedicates her life to her profession as a nurse.
The lobby card in itself is unique with the working still from the shoot as its image. We get to see the crew and the man himself directing the female lead Suhasini in this picture.
On this special day we would like to release a special image from our collection, a lobby card from the iconic film Baasha (1995) (Tamil)
Suresh Krishna’s Baasha is an action thriller starring Rajnikanth, Nagma, and Raghuvaran. A loose adaptation of Amitabh Bahchan’s Hum, Baasha is the story of a man who becomes a mafia don and later tries to escape that life by adopting the identity of an autorickshaw driver. Needless to say, his past catches up with him. The film enjoyed a positive box office response and is considered one of Rajnikanth’s most commercially successful films. This movie won him multiple acting awards. 20 years on, Baasha’s autodriver character has been elevated to patron saint status by auto drivers in Chennai and elsewhere in Tamilnadu.
Rajnikanth in an action sequence from Mani Ratnam’s “Thalapathi.”
On the occasion of Super Star Rajnikanth’s birthday,sharing this picture from our archive
Wishing our Thalaivar a wonderful birthday!
In May 1989, Kamal Hassan’s “Aboorva Sagodharargal,” which featured the actor in the roles of a police officer, a mechanic and a dwarf clown, was released amidst much fanfare. Directed by Singeetham Srinivasa Rao and produced by Kamal Hassan himself, the film’s cast included Gouthami, Srividya, Delhi Ganesh, Jaishankar, Nassar, Nagesh, Janakaraj and many others. The film was a blockbuster hit and is said to have completed a 200-day run at the box office, a record run in Tamil cinema then (the record was broken six years later by superstar Rajnikanth’s “Baasha”). The film’s screenplay was penned by Kamal Hassan and the dialogues were written by Crazy Mohan. “Aboorva Sagodharargal” was Crazy Mohan’s debut film as dialogue writer.
The musical score of “Aboorva Sagodharargal” was composed by Ilaiyaraaja and its songs went on to become cult classics, with tracks such as “Raaja Kaiya Vecha” receiving airplay on radio and TV channels even today. And today, we bring to you from the TCRC archives the cover of the original LP record of the film:
“Aboorva Sagodharargal” | LP record cover (front) | Tamil | 1989
“Aboorva Sagodharargal” | LP record cover (back) | Tamil | 1989
The film was dubbed into Telugu as “Vichithra Sodarulu” and into Hindi as “Appu Raja,” a year later. Both the dubbed versions enjoyed a successful run at the box office, with Kamal receiving unanimous praise for his portrayal of the dwarf clown Appu. In the movie, the episode where Appu falls in love with the daughter of the circus owner (the daughter played by Rupini and the father played by Mouli) is said to be a tribute to Charlie Chaplin’s “The Circus,” which was a silent film released in 1928. In “Aboorva Sagodharargal,” Appu goes through a Chaplinesque heartbreak in romance that is very similar to what transpires in “The Circus.”
The title “Aboorva Sagodharargal” itself is a hat tip to SS Vasan’s 1949-released feature film of the same name. That “Aboorva Sagodharargal” featured actors MK Radha and Bhanumathi in titular roles and was produced in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi simultaneously. Directed by Acharya and written by Kothamangalam Subbu, the old “Aboorva Sagodharargal” was an adaptation of the novella “The Corsican Brothers” by Alexander Dumas. The idea of brothers coming together to avenge the death of their father is the common thread running between both the old and the new “Aboorva Sagodharargal.”
On 16th September 1977, Tamil film audiences watched their cinema change with the release of Bharathiraja’s debut feature film “16 Vayathinile” starring Kamal Hassan, Sridevi, Rajnikanth, Kanthimathi and Goundamani. The film is now considered to be a landmark venture in Tamil cinema, as it spurred numerous filmmakers to return to their roots and base their stories in the villages of Tamilnadu. At a time when films meant sets and studios, Bharathiraja is said to have shot all of “16 Vayathinile” outdoors. The movie also marked the debut of veteran comedian Goundamani and was Superstar Rajnikanth’s first colour film. It went on to win 4 Tamilnadu State Film Awards, 1 South Filmfare Award and 1 National Film Award, across various categories. Bharathiraja’s powerful depiction of village life was the highlight of his directorial debut, which is still remembered for Rajnikanth’s stylish portrayal of the character Parattai, Kamal’s heartwrenching potrayal of the character Chappani and Sridevi’s delicate performance as Mayil.
The film had a musical score composed by Ilaiyaraaja and singer S Janaki won a National Award for Best Female Playback Singer for her rendition of Ilaiyaraaja’s evergreen classic “Senthoora Poove.” Given below are the photographs of the original LP record of “16 Vayathinile.”
LP Record cover (front) of “16 Vayathinile” | Tamil | 1977
LP record cover (back) of “16 Vayathinile” | Tamil | 1977
In 1979, Bharathiraja remade the film in Hindi. The Hindi version was titled “Solva Sawan” and starred Sridevi, Amol Palekar and Kulbhushan Kharbanda.
We at TCRC have a large number of still photographs shot during the production of various films that have been made by Tamil filmmakers across the years. We are in the process of digitizing, sorting and cataloguing them. One of the films for which most of this work has been completed is C Rudhraiya’s “Aval Appadithan” starring Kamal Hassan, Rajnikanth, Sripriya and Saritha. In fact, the header image that you see at the top of this page is a production photograph from “Aval Appadithan,” which was released in 1978.
The movie, praised by many for being far ahead of its times in terms of both treatment and technique, had numerous English dialogues and frequently employed jump cuts (two or more shots taken from only slightly different angles being placed sequentially, so as to communicate the passing of time in an abrupt manner). Shot in black and white, “Aval Appadithan” had only three songs, all of which were composed by Ilaiyaraaja.
One of the songs, titled “Paneer Pushpangale,” was written by Gangai Amaren and was sung by Kamal Hassan himself. Now, we’re used to Kamal singing his own songs. But it’s quite refreshing to hear Kamal croon a ‘Raaja Sir’ (as Ilaiyaraaja is known in the Tamil film industry) number from that era. In fact, when we heard the song for first time, we couldn’t even identify Kamal’s voice. Check it for yourself. Here is “Paneer Pushpangale” from “Aval Appadithan”:
This week, we bring from you yet another gem from the TCRC archives. Given that the Prakash Raj-produced, Radha Mohan-directed “Gouravam” has just released, we thought it would be fun to revisit the original “Gauravam” starring Sivaji Ganesan, Nagesh and ‘Major’ Sundarrajan, which was released in 1973. Interestingly, in the old “Gauravam,” Sivaji plays the role of Rajnikanth, a senior lawyer. When seen against that fact that superstar Rajnikanth’s original name is Shivaji (Shivaji Rao Gaikwad), the nomenclature system seems to come fulls circle! Given below is the photograph of the original LP set of Sivaji Ganesan’s “Gauravam”:
“Gauravam” | LP Record | Tamil | 1973
“Gauravam” was directed by ‘Vietnam Veedu’ Sundaram and the music was scored by MS Vishwanathan. “Vietnam Veedu” was Sundaram’s first stage play for Sivaji Ganesan’s theatre company Sivaji Nataka Mandram. The play was staged for the first time in 1965 and was a massive hit. It was later turned into a movie as well.
Last week, we at TCRC had posted Arul Mani’s review of Baradwaj Rangan’s “Conversations with Mani Ratnam” and had promised to bring you some behind-the-scenes photos of the Rajnikanth-Mammootty starrer “Thalapathi.” So, here we go.
Cinematographer Santosh Sivan with director Mani Ratnam on the sets of “Thalapathi.”
Contact sheet featuring Mamootty’s look test for Mani Ratnam’s “Thalapathi.”
Rajnikanth in an action sequence from Mani Ratnam’s “Thalapathi.”
Mani Ratnam with Rajnikanth on the sets of “Thalapathi.” Photo Courtesy: Indian Express Archives
Today, we revisit Arul Mani’s rather balanced review of Baradwaj Rangan’s book “Conversations with Mani Ratnam” for Tehelka (click on the image to read the full story).
We at TCRC happen to have, in our archives, contact sheets of Mammootty’s look tests for Mani Ratnam’s “Thalapathi.” We’re working on digitizing this absolutely gorgeous piece of film memorabilia, which also features director Mani Ratnam and cinematographer Santosh Sivan in some candid shots. So, do watch this space for updates!