Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Favorite Tamil Love Stories - I

Idhayathai Thirudaathey

No surprises here! Whether in a film about religious strife, terrorism or a girl in search of her identity, Manirathnam's romances have always been a class apart. While he has expressed his mastery over portraying all emotions, I think he is at his directorial best when portraying romance. So when he does a full-length love story, there is no surprise that it ends up being one of the best in the genre.

We're all familiar with romances where one of the lovers is stricken with a fatal illness. But Mani gives the familiar tale a remarkable twist by giving both his leads incurable illnesses. In the midst of such tragedy, he fashions a love story that is both incredibly cute and touchingly emotional.

The tricks Nagarjun and Girija play on each other are very cute and vintage Manirathnam. Their playfulness is quite familiar to us from Mouna Raagam and Agni Natchathiram but their antics are fully enjoyable. Once we know that Girija's days are numbered too(the intermission shot, where Girija strikes a mock dead pose, is one of the numerous unforgettable images in the film), the difference in the pair's attitudes towards life is brought to the fore. Their romance gains an urgency and their scenes have a new maturity as they are two people who know what's coming. And while most directors try to wring the tears out of us given a chance, Mani finishes with an open-ended climax that works better than any other climax could have.

Manirathnam has always extracted the best from his music directors but I think Ilaiyaraja's contribution was the most invaluable in Idhayathai Thirudaathey. From the opening credits, the background score is an almost physical entity in most scenes and its impossible to imagine any scene in the film without its music. P.C.Sriram ensured that every scene was poetry on celluloid and watching the film was like seeing a series of paintings created right before our eyes. Girija was phenomenal and the combination of playfulness, practicality and pathos was irresistable.

Idhayathai Thirudaathey steals my heart every time I see it (and for the record, it is the film I have seen the most number of times!)


At 10:55 PM, Blogger Raju said...

good list, balaji.. I got 4 out of 5 right in my top 10.. Was thinking about Rhythm, but it somehow appeared as a hesitant love to me.

At 11:02 PM, Blogger KayKay said...

Good choice! Kinda expected this to take the top slot! Agree, the cute interactions between the couple alone is worth multiple viewings.Whatever happened to the heroine, think her name was Girija right?
And thinking back, this movie also gave the best ever reason for a hero to be so brazen in his courtship of the heroine: living on borrowed time, he simply had nothing to lose by going all out.
Contrast that against some of your typically cocky heroes today whose amorous pursuits approach stalker-like intensities simply because they feel its their right, giving them a boorish, unlikeable air (Surya in Jillunnu Oru Kadhal's flashback scene is one example).
Thanks to you, now I have to get me a copy of Idhayathai Thirudathey!

At 12:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Mr. Balaji, I have been following your blog for quite sometime now..Its fantastic that this blog strikes the right chord in the art of conversation, be it your well coordinated writing or the very decent/likeable responses from your close knit bloggers. Full glories to you for blowing life into this blog space every other day, that our perspectives of even small things like cinema gets widened. I wont be very surprised if you assemble all these blogs one fine day and release them as a book..I cannot now stop the urge to 'belong' to this group even if thats gonna be for a short while..SKN

At 12:16 AM, Blogger Chitra said...

Happy V day, Balaji! Interesting list! I am surprised to not find Mouna Raagam, Raaja Paarvai, Moondram Pirai. I must add that I haven't watched the movies on your list. But, I would still think these were real good.

I am not a huge Tamil movie fan, and haven't watched many movies. However, I visit your blog regularly and have even blogrolled you. I guess, it is your writing style alone that keeps me a regular here. That is meant as a huge compliment! :) Great going.

At 12:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i feel mouna raagam better than the Ida Thru man...

At 12:44 AM, Blogger Bart said...

Fine choice for # 1. It is my most watched movie all time too... When Nagarjuna first goes to Girija's house and asks Girija and her sisters about whether they knew the seriousness of the disease, the dialogue on the face saying 'all these kids around and everything around is going to perish. So will I. Only a bit sooner. So what? Enjoy the moment / day instead of worrying over future'. Gem. The BGM after that (I think IR has used it in 'Nothing but wind' ) is a crowning glory...
One of the scenes that stays always (Nagarjuna gradually becoming cheerful along with the music and running around in the woods with mists disappearing slowly with sunshine....).

At 3:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel Kathaluku mariyadhai should find a place in the top five in the place of Poove unakkaga. PU is more of family sentiments than love. But KM deserves a lot for focus on love.

Why can't u come top 5 for other categories also like cop story, mass hero, village sub, heroine oriented, stylish etc. Just a suggestion

At 7:10 AM, Blogger Me too said...

Agree with anon about 'Mauna raagam' being better than 'IT'. Too many recycled scenes! And Manirathnam could've chosen a better hero! But 'Oh, papa lali' is a terrific song!!

At 7:53 AM, Blogger Priya said...

I have been a regular reader of your blog (though I haven't posted any comments in a loooong time). Great list! Mouna Raagam is one of my all time favorites and not finding that one your list was a bit disappointing. With your recent post about Agni Natchathiram, you had me reminiscing about the scenes that I really loved. Now, you've tempted me to go and rewatch some of his great movies!

At 8:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The difference between 'IT' and 'Mouna Raagam' is that the former is about how two people fall in love and the aftermath while the latter is about how two people finally fall in love...after a lot of failed attempts to bond. So 'MR' I think becomes more of a character study than a love story.

Side note - Here is an link I came across of some old pics of 'Sivaji' shooting:

At 9:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah but Mouna ragam also had 2 different kinds of love portrayed in one movie. The Revathi-Karthik portions, which you havent mentioned and Revathi-Mohan. So its not just a character study. I didnt see IT when it was released, was not part of the mania around the movie at that time and later on saw it in bits and pieces. Hence cannot fully comment on whether it deserves to be no#1. I would say it had a little bit of everything(cuteness, emotional scenes, freshness etc.) but was'nt the best at anything.

As always, bb's list seems to be confined to the 80s and 90s :-) I think the 80s generation will always have permanent affection for Manirathnam, Kamal, Ilayaraja and the likes. And it would reflect in their lists more often than not.

At 10:54 AM, Blogger Bharani said...

//Idhayathai Thirudaathey steals my heart every time I see it (and for the record, it is the film I have seen the most number of times!)//.....same pinch IS is my fav film and everytime i see...i love it...and the only film i have watched more than 10 times :)

At 11:44 AM, Blogger Nandhu said...

balaji, how old are u?
because by the time i saw the movie not even 10 incurable illnesses culd have saved it. it was very good but the best of all time???

At 12:44 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

raju, yeah i know. based on past history i was surprised u got that many right. maybe i'm getting too predictable :)

kaykay, any talk about IT always brings a question on girija. always surprised that she appeared in no more movies...

SKN, thanks for the nice words. nicely written note that correctly expresses the sentiments of this blog and its readers :)

chitra, those r all great movies... true classics. but just didn't belong to *this* list for various reasons :)

anon, as a movie i'd agree too... but this was a list of my fav love stories and i just didn't think 'mouna raagam' fell in that category...

bart, yep that was an awesome scene...

anon, like last yr i had an unwritten that i'd pick only 1 movie with each director, actor and actress. so it was a toss-up betn 'poove unakkaaga' and 'kaadhalukku mariyaadhai' and i went with the former which i liked more :)

making lists is tough but fun. so u will surely see more on this blog :)

me too, as a movie i'd defly rate 'mouna raagam' higher too :)

priya, thanx!

anon21, i think that nicely explained why MR didn't make this list :)

vijay, spot on on that comment about the 80s gen :) those r the movies we grew up with and saw many times over. so they'll defly hold a special place :)

bharani, i think i'd have hit the 10 mark too. saw it 4 times on the big screen. only film to hold that honor :)

nandhu, 36. saw IT when i was in college and for me there was no contest that it was the best of all time when it comes to love stories :)

At 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good list :) ..except of Rythm which I thot was more of a marriage of convinience rather than actual love blossoming between the lead pair. IT ofcourse, Totally deserved to be on the top. Btw a bit of trivia...Girija was signed on to be in Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander and also shot most of the movie when the director felt she was too stunted as an actress and replaced with Ayesha Jhulka and reshot. If you observe closely, there is one song in the movie with Girija dancing with Amir and the rest :)

At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe it's cause I am the youngest of all your readers Balaji (in my late teens) and cannot really appreciate all of these films but I really think you should have given some love to Alaipayuthey.

At 5:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Girija acted in Vandanam a malayalam movie opposite to Mohan Lal. A very well made comedy that was a laugh riot.

- KP

At 10:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How come we havent gotten answers for Cinemakshari!!! pls post madi.

At 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon, here u go:
Samsaaram Adhu Minsaaram (Visu film)

Minsara Kanna (Vijay film)

Kannan En Kadhalan (MGR film)

Kadhalaa Kadhalaa(Super actor + Super dancer)

Kadhal Devadhai (Chiranjeevi-Sridevi film dubbed from Telugu)

Devadhaiyai Kanden (Dhanush film)

Kandukonden Kandukonden (2000 multi-starrer)

Kanda Naall Mudhal (2005 Love Triangle)

Mudhal Vasantham (Satyaraj film)

Vasantha Maalligai (Famous Sivaji tragedy)

At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But the film is a dubbed film and not an original

It is dubbed from 'Gitanjali'


At 5:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mudhal vasantham???
I thought that was Pandian's movie, Ramya Krishnan's debut and had the song "Aarum adu aazham illai"!! where's Satyraraj in that?

I got stuck at this clue..can somebody confirm Ram's answers?

At 5:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

never mind..remembered that Satyaraj was the villain in that movie

At 9:19 PM, Blogger Raju said...

Balaji, no.. Not that you are predictable.. Namakkulley appadi oru nalla understanding-dhan.. :)

At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi balaji
im a long time fan of girija for IT movie
thanks for your post
just came across it accidentally while googling for girija movies
apart from IT and vandanam im not sure if she acted in any other movies
would appreciate if you could add to that list

At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi prin
gitanjali was dubbed from tamil
look closely to lips and u can find out its tamil

At 7:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any idea wat happened to Girija after Gitanjali... y didnt see appear in movies after ? where is she now?? I appreciate your knowledge on her .

At 3:13 AM, Blogger Funtabulous said...

hey i was trying to do the prev cinemakshari(read find the answer and i bumped into some interesting thots n even more interesting comments n arguments.i jus wanted to share i liked this movie too and i agree with seeing feel good movies.....end of the day u dont have something to smile

At 11:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

She is working as a reporter in United Kingdom


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