Monday, January 29, 2007

Thillana Mohanambal

No words to express my awe for these doyens of Tamil Film Industry.

A little bit of background on this movie. This was a story that came as a serial in a Tamil Vernacular Ananda Vikatan, written by Kothamangalam Subbu. The story was conceived and converted into a movie format by AP Nagarajan. He has directed some of the best movies on Tamil Film Industry like Thiruvilayadal, Raja Raja Chozhan, Thirumal Perumai, ThiruvarutChelvar, Navarathri. In my opinion movies like this one, can never be made here after. Interestingly, most of us would think that the reason is, no one can enact the role of Mohana. I beg to differ, I feel all it takes to enact the role of Mohana is dancing skills with a little bit of histrionic ability. I think there a lot of actresses who would be able to perform it without any difficulty. The challenge is with the other roles. Could we find an actor for Sikkil Shanmuga Sudaram (Sivaji), or T.S Balia’s role (I forget the name), Jil Jil Ramamani(Manorama) (well, I guess we could accept Kovai Sarala with a pinch of salt ‘cos I think she did a similar role in Karagattakaran, and did a good job too), Vaithi (Nagesh), Nattuvanar (Thangavelu). Well, I think there are other important roles in the movie but they are not roles for which you can never find any other actor could play. AVM Rajan, did an excellent job in the movie playing the second fiddle (literally too), but hey he knows to play the nagaswaram, so no full points for him. :-)

This is a scene where Mohana dances in the Temple for a Thillana. Most important scene in the movie. If I am not wrong, this is followed by Nalamdhana song.

What is so great about the scene?

  • Check out Baliah and Sarangapani on the Thavil, especially Baliah. Being a percussionist, I can tell the body language and the expressions cannot be more perfect than this. It makes me wonder, even with a trained eye for percussion, if he has enacted the role or does he really know to play the instrument. Let me point out the finer details, his facial expressions, and the stroke length for every single beat (the swing distance of his arm from the instrument before he strikes it), the aggression and vigor while he plays it. My god!! mind blowing!!
  • Sivaji has acted exceptionally well in this scene. I am not sure if the fingering was correct. Otherwise, I think he has scored an A in all the other departments. The way he swings his body when he blows out, the way he gasps in some air without loosing the thalam. The way he shakes his head in tune with the thillana piece.
  • There is not much I want to talk about Padmini ‘cos I would take her for granted in doing this role. She ought to perform this scene with perfection. Period.:-)
  • Other subtleties that caught my attention. Check out CK Saraswathi and party. Everybody follows the thillana with the thalam. Thangavelu with the jalra as the nattuvanar performing all the gimmicks (it looked so real, the male nattuvanars do a lot of seshtais to attract the attention of the female artiste, any dancer can vouch for this). TK Ramachandran, this was the most interesting part. A percussionist can never have his hands still even for a second when listens to music, and if it was a rhythm oriented piece like a thillana!! Notice him. You can see him playing mridangam in air. LOL!! This thing particularly impressed me from a directorial perspective. :-)


Brat said...

totally agree with your comments .. i have always noticed balliah and sarangapani .. as they seem to capture my attention more than anybody .. noticed the body language of shivaji and the rest for the first time ..

cool post ..

Zeppelin said...

machi... one helluva post after a long time da.. innum naan video paakala.. but sort of remember bits and pieces and in fact could almost visualize the whole scene, the way you have described it.. splendid writing and of course fantastic scene.. great post machan... keep 'em comin'..

ak :)

Zeppelin said...

oh btw, dont have me on your blogroll.. :((((((((

Sridhar said...


you brought the nostalgic moments. thanks for the nice post. not nitpricking but one small correction though, the actor's name is T.R.Ramachandran the great grand dady of all comedian-heroes.

M.N.Nambiar is yet another feather in the cap. The usual villaneous act that is a cake walk for him is there but watch out once he repents. Man this movie had the best talents all over and every one did their bit to the perfection.

Another trivia -- the naagaswaram was by none other than the naagaswara chakravarthi kaarakuruchchi arunachalam (for Sivaji) and the great M.P.N.Ponnusamy (for A.M.Rajan).

Do you know Aachi Manorama rates vaidhi higher than dharumi, akin to some people's like for thOga iLamayil aadi varugudhu than iLaya nila for tune, rendition and lyrics ;-)

Viji said...

wah! Great post! Thillana mohanambal is a timeless classic... :)) I especially love balayya's gestures in "maraindhirundhu", the train scene etc...

sb said...

seriously balliah vera edho plane la nadichu irukkar
Thanks man. I will try.btw, unna blogroll pannitten. :-)
yeah Nambiyar semma nadippu. ellarume indha padathula nalla nadichu iruppanga. my favourite is Nagesh. idhavida bettera yaralayum pimp role pannave mudiyadhu. in fact I would agree with Manorama, Dharumi though is an excellent bit, adhu usual Nagsh gimmics. idhu romba nalla role nu naanum solven.
Thanks. yeah train scene romba nalla comedy. adhulayum Balliah kalakkal, and yeah maraindhirundhu pattula ballaiha andha amma mandaila thavil vasikkardhu ellam semma scene. :-)

IBH said...

there is a song in 'Thiruvilaiyadal' where Sivaji plays almost all the instruments ... i forget the name os the! but in all the acts he looks as if he is professionaly playing! i tell u sivaji and his acting....shuld have been awarded an oscar in satyajit ray....u havent updated ur blog in a long time...i guess it is time :)