Re-visiting the king of celluloid
Y.Gee. Mahendra’s annual focus on Sivaji Ganesan was a veritable tribute to the legend.
Photo : M. Vedhan
Aural and visual fiesta: Sivaji Ethanai Sivajiyadi
The much awaited annual bonanza for Sivaji Ganesan fans was back. The packed Kamarajar Hall, proved that the actor’s charisma is intact. And as has been the norm, playing host and helming the music show was Y.Gee. Mahendra.
Y.Gee. Melody Makers presented all time hits of Ganesan, with accent on his projects for director P. Madhavan. Clippings of sequences from Sivaji Ganesan films that exemplified his versatility in a variety of roles were an added treat. The occasion was the celebration of the thespian’s 80th birthday.
Titled ‘Sivaji Ethanai Sivajiyadi’ on the lines of the popular Ganesan-Madhavan film, ‘Raman Ethanai Ramanadi,’ the entire evening was a nostalgia-filled sojourn.
The puzzle remains
A.M. Raja came alive on stage when C.A. Raja presented the evergreen ‘Amara Deepam’ piece, ‘Thaen Unnum Vandu’ in the tone and tenor of the original. A surprise came in the form of Nithya, well known actor of the stage and small screen, who joined Raja for the duet. Another singer who walked away with the applause for Bharatiyar’s ‘Odi Vilayaadu Paapa’ (‘Kappalotiya Thamizhan’) was Ananthu. Kalpana, a YGM constant, gave her best as always. T.L. Maharajan couldn’t hold his breath much but compensated with the emotions essential for the number, ‘Engirundho Vandhaan.’ Why such talents remain unrecognised and unused in cinema will remain a conundrum forever.
Of course, Saindhavi, an up and coming playback singer in films, and Vijay Yesudas whose cruise in cinema has been smooth, are exceptions. The felicity with which Saindhavi presented ‘Chithirai Maadham,’ an inimitable MSV masterpiece, with the rhythm of a running train in the background, had the audience craving for more. And it was as though Yesudas Senior himself was singing ‘Thirukovilae’ (‘Andhamaan Kaadhali’) for us — replicating the mood and voice to a T was son Vijay.
However you did notice the absence of the always-seen stage talents of the event, such as S.N. Surendar and Prasanna.
Despite the score sounding sequenced (the minus one track as the jargon goes) at times, the involved contribution of the orchestra as a whole was gratifying.
This year’s recipients of Sivaji Awards of Excellence were Vyjayanthimala Bali, Saroja Devi and K.R. Vijaya — queens of yesteryear cinema.
Tackling the frenzied crowd, whose love for Ganesan has turned into devotion, was no mean task. But Mahendra managed admirably.
Mollifying their restlessness whenever they sensed even a slight shift in the focus of the show and diverting them with delectable anecdotes and astute one-liners, he had them under control throughout.
ARS, the ever-faithful emcee of the camp, was also around chipping in info on the great actor.
Equally adept at handling large groups of people, Vyjayanthimala struck a perfect chord when she began her speech on behalf of all the awardees, in Tamil. She recalled her interactions with Sivaji Ganesan and made the right remarks as she complimented the congregation for their love for the actor.
Among the scenes beamed on the screens that evening, the most impact-making one was the natural, underplayed sequence from S.S. Vasan’s ‘Irumbu Thirai’ that had Sivaji Ganesan and Vyjayanthimala as lovers. Wish some of our filmmakers watched it for its incredible finesse and excellent essay!
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