The 70s and 80s was a golden era for Tamil Cinema with amazing directors like K Balachandar, Bharathiraja, Mahendran, SP Muthuraman presenting innovative and creative films to Indian cinema. We at Plumeria Movies have decided to give the cinema fans a little bit of time travel to the glorious past by presenting a Column on three golden films. The three golden films for this week we chose are Aval Appadi Than, Aarilirunthu Arupathu Varai, and Sigappu Rojakal. All these three films are of different genres and each one of them has several reasons as to why it deserves to be seen by cinema lovers.
Aval Appadi Than
This was a movie that was well ahead of its time in every single way from direction, acting, camera work to editing. Aval Appadi Than’s total length was only 1 hour and 44 mins making it a trendsetter for its time as it was and is still one of the shortest Indian feature films. Usually Tamil films are made at a length of 2 hour and 45 mins at the max which would include songs as well but AvalAppadi Than was one of those films that director Rudhraiya managed to present to the audiences in less than 2 hours even with songs. Not only is this a trendsetter in terms of the length but the overall film had also been praised for its lavish filmmaking and fine treatment in its subject matter. At a time when many Indian films had over melodramatic acting, Rudhraiya has captured what is arguably one of the best performances from Super Star Rajinikanth, Kamal Hassan and Sripriya.
Films now a days have very little scope for women especially in big budget ventures and are limited to glamour roles but Sripriya’s role in this film has been sketched out so perfectly that even the present generation can relate well to her role in the film as a modern feminist. For an actor who is best known for commercial entertainers, Rajinikanth proves his mettle not just as a entertainer but as a fine actor. Rajinikanth’s role as the charming, suave advertising boss is a complete treat to watch and will definitely be a surprise for those who have not seen him in offbeat roles.
Kamal Hassan also plays a prominent role in the film as a sensitive and good hearted film maker and brings out a versatile performance as Arun. It is especially a real icing on the cake for Kamal and Rajini fans to watch the duo share a wonderful chemistry as good friends in this movie and many of the dialogues in the film are extremely powerful and convincing. Last but not least Maestro Ilayaraja brings out one of his finest compositions in the film with both an excellent background score and note worthy songs like ‘Paneer Pushpangale…’ that enhance the film and sync with the storyline.
This film has an excellent social message about relationships and women and is considered to be a cult classic in Indian cinema. This film was listed in a special report by CNN IBN recently as One of the 100 Greatest Films in Indian Cinema. For a director who has done only two films in Tamil Cinema one wishes that we could have seen more works from this creative filmmaker for the audiences to cherish.
Aarilirunthu Arupathu Varai
Aarilirunthu Arupathu Varai is one of the finest Indian drama films that fall under the category of both – commercial entertainer and it is a film that has great family values. Rajinikanth once again shines in an excellent performance as the great Santhanam who rules our heart in each and every frame. This is a Tamil film that can be related to almost every single person as the film shows the struggles that one has to go through in various stages of life to achieve success. Just as the title suggests the film depicts the various stages of a hardworking man named Santhanam from childhood to old age.
Now while it would be tempting to give away the storyline of the film we feel that those who have not yet watched this movie deserve the pleasure of watching it without knowing the details as it is all the more refreshing. Every scene in the film has been shot with sincerity and presents us real life at best in reel life. This film was extremely popular amongst females and brought Rajinikanth a huge female fan base. The rest of the cast also did a splendid job, which makes the film all the more worthy. Ilayaraja’s songs and background score make this film all the more perfect with one particular song ‘Kanmaniye…’ standing out amongst the rest. Overall SP Muthuraman has proven the magic that is possible when one decides to bring out the best from the actor Rajinikanth.
Sigappu Rojakkal is one of the few thrillers in Indian cinema with an original storyline during the 70s and deserves to be seen for its sensitive subject matter and excellent direction. Bharathiraja was known for making some of the best films in Indian cinema but was panned by critics as a filmmaker only capable of making movies with Village based themes. Bharathiraja proves many of his critics wrong in this film by bringing a modern contemporary thrilling drama Kamal Hassan shined as a innocent film maker in Aval Appadi Than and once again proves his depth and power as an actor with a totally contrast power packed performance as Dileep, an intelligent businessman. This is one of those few movies that is actually thrilling right from the first frame to the last.
The cinema fans are kept totally at the edge of their seats and one would feel like someone would suddenly appear from behind their back while watching the film. The film also has a strong message in it and depicts how few devastating events in life can totally change a person. Sridevi also plays a prominent role in the film as the female lead and does her part well. The chemistry shared between Kamal Hassan and Sridevi in the film is a treat to watch especially in Ilayaraja’s song ‘Indha Miniminikku…’ which has a beautiful tune and excellent picturization. Director Bharathiraja proves his versatility as a director in this film and shows that he is capable of directing all kinds of subjects.
We hope you enjoyed this week’s Blast Into The Past stay tuned for more film recommendations from us 🙂
A Blast From The Golden Past – article by Sudarsh Krishnan