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Kadhal Mannan

Posted in Cinema, DVD, Reviews, Tamil by Suganth on February 10, 2012

A part biopic, part documentary on Tamil cinema’s most romantic star, Kadhal Mannan is a fond tribute to the charismatic Gemini Ganesan

A part biopic, part documentary on Tamil cinema’s most romantic star, Gemini Ganesan, Kadhal Mannan is a fond tribute to the charismatic star by his daughter Kamala Selvaraj. Gemini was an atypical superstar, one who managed to carve his own path to superstardom. That he could achieve it in a time when the industry was dominated by the two titans (MGR and Sivaji) only makes his feat all the more astonishing. But this film only captures his aura partially; the reason lies in its staying true to the staid conventions that filmmakers here have towards non feature film efforts. The life of Gemini Ganesan, both on and off screen, had so much drama but it often fails to come across in this video. The first few minutes, in which you see actors portraying scenes from the star’s life, resemble a typical TV serial. Thankfully, the narrative changes course and you have film personalities who have worked with actor sharing their views on him, clippings from his films and even a few recorded interviews of the actor. The celeb reminisces include Kamal Haasan (in whose career Gemini played a major role twice!), K Balachander (who gave him a different identity in his middle years), Dr Karunanidhi, AVM Saravanan, actresses Saroja Devi, Anjali Devi, singer P B Srinivos (in whose voice, Gemini conveyed the pangs of many a star-crossed lover), Cho Ramasamy, Vairamuthu, Sivakumar, Prabhu and Sathyaraj. While fascinating as anecdotes, their remarks also remain just fond remembrances. But a couple of statements transcend into being insightful as well. One of these is by Cho, who says that Gemini was an actor who brought in a western sophistication to acting when his peers were targeting mainly the masses. But the most telling one is by lyricist Vairamuthu. “His characters did not resort to titillation to evoke romantic feeling. Instead, he conveyed it all through his eyes and expressions,” he explains adding that it is for this reason Gemini cannot be equaled as a romantic heartthrob. One can only nod and agree! Despite the overtly reverential tone, what makes the DVD a must-buy for film lovers is the fact that such efforts are rarely undertaken in Tamil cinema and for this, Kamala Selvaraj deserves all the praise. It is a love letter from his daughter that the Kadhal Mannan would have approved of.

Copyright ©2012 Chennai Times

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