Surendranath Thilakan aka Thilakan has been in my mind for quite some time, especially since the tragic motor accident that his car was involved in, last year.It seemed that life had planned quite a number of eventful surprises for him in real life, that he could maybe reflect on, imbibe in, distill its essence, swiftly turn around and serve it to us, a hundred manifold, onscreen.
When Thilakan appeared onscreen for the first time in Periyar (1973), it was for a project directed by PJ Antony ( his only outing as a director and who was also his mentor in theatre), Thilakan had by then been a seasoned theatre professional, with close to two decades under his belt, a master of nuances and if needed, exaggeration. To debut in a related medium of expression, with two decades of experience in its fundamentals is no mean feat. Maybe that must be the reason why, try hard if you must, one cannot find a role amongst his close to 280 movies that he has been a part of, that could have been better. You could try again, but I could guarantee you that you would come up without an answer. That seems to be unique, if Imay add- a feat that comes natural to a meager handful in Indian cinema ! OK, make that international cinema.
One year since his passing, though corny as it may sound, he just doesn’t seem to have gone away anywhere, really. Everytime you listen to one his melodies, it just feels as if he is around, at work some where in Chennai or Kerala, hunched over the Harmonium or purposefully coaxing out sonic structures out of his guitar for another memorable production. Was going through the microsite Manorama Online had hosted last year ( and seems to be holding out, thankfully) and saw this list of songs he had listed as his personal favorites out of his compositions from over 300 films.
Srividya’s acting career, both in Tamil and in Malayalam, along with the two Hindi productions she acted in (AVM‘s Jaise ko Taisa/1973 and Hrishida‘s Arjun Pandit/ 1976 ) can only be termed the most diverse range an actor could ever get, across two languages.It had to be her sheer talent, an enviable mix of beauty, brains, grace and finesse that also had her genes to thank for, but let’s face it, no one had ever put it to good use like she did. And she was automatically on the radar of all the top film makers of the times as she was just starting up, imagine collaborating with Balachander on one side of the border and with A Vincent on the other !
If you have been lucky enough to watch the early films of Srividya, be it Tamil, Malayalam or Telugu, you would recall the amazement at watching this new graceful, lithe dancer with wide, expressive eyes and a smile that lit up the room in the movie’s dance performances. Srividya was a born performer – be it dancing, singing or acting under the arc lights. Her passion for dance was fueled by the singular aspect of having India’s most famous proponents of dance, onscreen and off-screen, the Travancore sisters as her next-door neighbor in Chennai.
There is a quote attributed to James Dean on acting that goes, “An actor must interpret life, and in order to do so must be willing to accept all the experiences life has to offer. In fact, he must seek out more of life than life puts at his feet. In the short span of his lifetime, an actor must learn all there is to know, experience all there is to experience, or approach that state as closely as possible. He must be superhuman in his efforts to store away in the core of his subconscious everything that he might be called upon to use in the expression of his art. ” Forget the gender – if there is one face on the celluloid screen that has even traversed way beyond the ‘experiences of life’ that James Dean so profoundly mentions in the journey of an actor, it has to be Srividya.
Born on 24 July, 1953 in Chennai, Srividya ( whom her mother wanted to name Meenakshi ) was an accomplished dancer and a singer even before she found comfort under the arc lights. Her biggest source of encouragement was her grandfather Vidwan Ayyasamy Iyer, who had already discovered the amazing, latent talent in his 3-year old grand daughter who could distinguish raagas at such a tender age.
[ Originally written for Dhool and published on 27 October, 2006 by Saravanan.N.It has been reposted here with his permission. Personally, the best tribute EVER written for Srividya and her contribution to Tamil films ]
So fades a summer cloud away;
So sinks the gale when storms are o’er;
So gently shuts the eye of day;
So dies a wave along the shore….
തകഴിയുടെ ചലച്ചിത്രമാക്കപ്പെട്ട പ്രശസ്ത കൃതിയാണ് ചെമ്മീന്. അതിലെ ഒരു പ്രധാന നടനായിരുന്നു താങ്കള്. എങ്ങനെ ഓര്ക്കുന്നു അക്കാലം.
എന്റെ തുടക്കകാലമായിരുന്നു അത്. എന്നെ സിനിമയിലേക്ക് കൊണ്ടുവന്നതും വളര്ത്തിയതും രാമു കാര്യാട്ട് ആണ്. അദ്ദേഹം ക്ഷണിച്ചപ്പോള് സന്തോഷം തോന്നി. ചെറുപ്പക്കാരനായ ബാബു ആയിരുന്നു നിര്മാതാവ്. ബാബുവിന് ഞാന് ആ റോള് ചെയ്യണമെന്ന് നിര്ബന്ധമുണ്ടായിരുന്നു. അക്കാലത്തായിരുന്നു എന്റെ വിവാഹം. എനിക്കത് വിവാഹസമ്മാനം പോലെ തോന്നി- 1964ല്. രണ്ടു വര്ഷമേ ആയുള്ളൂ സിനിമയില് വന്നിട്ട്. ഹൈസ്കൂളില് പഠിക്കുമ്പോഴേ ചെമ്മീനും പരീക്കുട്ടിയും മനസ്സിലുണ്ടായിരുന്നു. അഭിനയത്തിലും വായനയിലും താല്പര്യമുള്ള എന്നെപ്പോലെ അനേകം പേര് ഈ കഥാപാത്രത്തെ മോഹിച്ചിരുന്നു.
ഒരു കാലഘട്ടത്തെ ജനങ്ങളെ ആവോളം കോരിത്തരിപ്പിച്ച , വര്ഷങ്ങള് കഴിഞ്ഞിട്ടും പുതു തലമുറയുടെ മനസ്സില് നിറ ദീപമായി തെളിഞ്ഞു നില്ക്കുന്ന എന്റെ ജയേട്ടന് , അല്ല നമ്മുടെ ജയേട്ടന് ജീവിച്ചിരുന്നെങ്കില് ഇന്ന് 73 വയസ്സ് !
Hate is a strong word. For the one who feels it, it is at best an emotion. For the others, it is a cause for dissection, to conclude the primal reason for such a strong emotion. Most often, we encounter both these aspects ourselves, holding a particular reaction of hate under the scanner of reason long after we have experienced it.