Secret admirers, stalkers, kidnappers, murders – all in the name of love. Guys and a Lady going to extremes to express their affection in Tamil flicks.Dileep in Sivappu Rojakkal [Year: 1978]
Bharathiraja’s genre-shifter came with a spooky thriller so awesome for its time, kids of the 70s grew up in sheer terror of adults constantly harping on “that” Tamil movie that must be mentioned in the presence of kids. Probably one of the earliest movies that dealt with child abuse, infidelity and murderous jumpy cats. Of course Kamal carries the movie as *the* guy and Sridevi’s shrieking and screaming still echo from the late 70s.Chandru in Moodu Pani [Year: 1980]
Forget the sweet image of Prathap strumming to ‘En Iniya Ponn’, welcome to a nightmare in 80s specs – a serial killer who thinks he can clean up the ‘wrong’ kind of women. It is very unfair to call Moodu Pani a remake of Psycho. It barely brushes a certain theme from Hitchcock’s labour of love. It is a gem in its own right from Balu’s sensibilities (ambient sounds, natural conversations, songs used merely as a background). For Prathap Pothen the role of an unhappy child growing up to hate women, is a walk in the park, but watching Shoba, in a (short-lived) career defining role, is a rare treat.Kumar in 47 Naatkal [Year: 1981]
K Balachander’s adaptation of Sivasankari’s novel had a newly minted baddie from Andhra (KB was way ahead with his bilinguals), a certain Chiranjeevi, who marries a naive village belle Jayapradha for his parents’ sake. Off to France she flies with him, only to discover many truths that push her to the edge. Oh, and the guy doesn’t play well.
If you can forgive the jerky camera and the horrendous editing, it’s a movie worth watching, even to this day.
Raghuvaran in Puriyadha Pudhir [Year: 1990]
Oh, the sweet sound of Raghuvaran hamming and cramming about two hundred “I Know” into a single minute was a testament to how talented he was. Up and coming director K S Ravikumar took Bharathiraja’s swing from village romance to flawed urban relationships.Guna in Guna [Year: 1991]
Guna’s not a ‘mad’ person he’s just a obsessional Psychoneurotic who’s growing up and circumstances have led to him fantasizing about the goddess Abirami. Add a scheming uncle (Janakaraj), drugs and an unfortunate dame into the mix and Guna delivers us at the doors of a perfect storm.
Husband bumps off wife, after he falls in love with her sister. Another case of mis-place love from the Vasanth factory.Vinod in Kadhal Konden [Year: 2003]
Brilliant-loser-complicated-orphan (Dhanush) arrives late to a love story already in session (between some random actor and Sonia Agarwal), but insists he be taken seriously, so does a Guna act.
Possibly the well-received character potrayal that steered Dhanush on to a path filled with roles that are complex and award-friendly.
Another hollywood adaptation by Balu Mahendra. This was his take on Stephen King’s Misery. Jayaram plays a writer for Tamil serials, who after an accident, gets rescued only to be held hostage by his most ardent fan; turns out she is too serious a fan, who does not shy from giving him a piece of a very disturbed mind.
Based on a true incident, this time Vasanth goes raging against traditional marriage setup that force women into a wedlock, alcoholism and other abuses notwithstanding. What makes Satham Podathey a nail-biter is Vasanth’s mastery over the technical aspects of shooting such films and his no-nonsense attitude towards not effecting compromises.
Mani Ratnam’s interpretation of Ramayanam plays out how the 10-headed “villian” falls head over heals for Seetha. Mani invites you to wonder, what if Rama was a douche who happened to be on the right side and Raavanan was the nice guy on the wrong side! Sadly, many disagreed with Mani, but we all agreed our forefathers were smart enough to write a long poem featuring Stolkhom syndrome, way back when.
BTW, anyone notice the awesome play of letters between Veeraiyyan and Veerappan.
Honourable mentions: Amarkalam, Onaiyum Aatukuttiyum