So last year, I waited for one of the hyped musical-romance movie. Needless to say, I went to watch the movie the first weekend it got released. And not only that, I dragged my unwitting friend who knew nothing about the movie too. That too to an early morning show. I was very disappointed with the movie. But since I had dragged my friend along, I talked about the color scheme of the movie, the cinematography, the occasional brilliance in dance moves. But by and large the movie left me disappointed because there was no passion for each other in the movie. But when I came to social media, (which is a different world altogether) I see people praising it to moon and back. The director’s first movie dealt with love in same fashion. The drummer will be so into his craft that he will ignore his crush and even in this movie, two adults choose their career (or passion, as they call it) over companionship. Both were clear about it from the start of the movie, and it didn’t pack a punch when they left each other for their passion which made the story pretty much ordinary. I couldn’t get my head around it. May be I am old.
When it comes to romantic musical genre, I guess the directors have it easy to write the movie. The conflict is already there and you just have to build around it. Or you can cut short lot of your scenes so that the music director and lyricist can do that for you. But there was one movie which got released before I was born which did justice to the genre. I hope people know about the movie as much the songs are popular even today.
Kaadhal Oviyam was released in 1982. Directed by Bharathiraja and music helmed by none other than our Ilayaraja, the film starred Kannan and Radha as lead characters. Known for his eagerness to create new identities, I am guessing that the male leads name was changed to bring the mood to film and the audience. The movie revolves around a blind singer and a dancer in the same town, attracted to their shared interest in each other’s craft. The blind man knows about the lady only through her anklet sounds and falls for her. Some wonderful songs along the line make the sequence enjoyable and believable.
The girl has interest in dance but she is not “allowed” to practice her craft. She is about to get married to a person who doesn’t know anything about her craft. But the blind singer, who has no way to see her, falls for her because of her craft and her rhythm. He starts composing song for her, which he did only to the deities. In short, he falls for her character. True to the genre, this relationship is show through a series of songs; both sensual and over the top love feelings. Here are some links.
As usual the caste angle comes up and the lovers are forced to elope. In a turn of events, the lady wants the man to sing for money. Basically begging using his talent. When they are having this conflict, the girl is abducted by some stoners and the bling lover is left helpless only with his voice and music to take refuge. He is adopted by a well known singer who adopts the hero and gives his eye-sight back. (I don’t know how it is possible but the movie has to end right?)
The girl is rescued and is married off to a Jamindhar who takes care of temples.
Our man is obviously haertbroken because there is no point in having eyesight when he cannot he his lover. He accepts one last program and guess what, it is in the same temple where his girlfriend’s husband is caretaker. What follows is a potpourri of emotions, music and love and passion overflowing. In the final act where both the lovers meet, they don’t hug or kiss. But they pay tribute to what brought them closer. He sings and she dances. The movie ends in a sad note.
It should be mentioned that I was blown away by the performance of lead male. He was obviously not tamil. But the perfectionist in Bharathiraja should have made him toil so hard that the emotions came alive in the screen. I would rate his performance a notch above Kasi Vikram. And above that, Bharathiraja has this obsession towards close ups. Given the lead character is a singer and almost all songs were sung by his character in the movie, it is surprising that a non-native speaker lip synced perfectly for all songs. Except for that dud of the hero in “Kangalal Kaidhu Sei” all Bharathiraja heros were good at this part.
The movie didn’t even get a film fare award for all this hard work. The wikipedia page says the movie was a hit but I doubt it did well in box office. There was no reason for the lead character to go missing after the movie if it was a huge success. But I wonder why we don’t make such soulful films these days. The art of screenwriting is gone, I fear. And since everybody who has a jio sim and facebook live feature in their mobile phone becoming a reviewer, the directors now a days choose a easy way out.
However, if anybody asks the definition for musical romance, I would say this is the best example for it. What comes close to this is “Sagara sangamam”. That is for another post.