Tamil cinema was happening in sets and indoor shoots were mostly preferred. Stories were revolving around well read man and a woman’s life, love, romance and hardships. Stories were talking about relationships, family and individuals. Even though these movies were watched, only the elite Tamil society was enjoying these kinds of cinemas.
Many of Tamil cinemas in 1970’s were not relatable to many of Tamil people; as most of the people are in villages and their life is totally different from the story that is running on the screen. On the screen there was Kamal and Rajini wearing long bell bottoms and fluently speaking English. They were reflecting the city culture, stories were based on city life and elite society’s relationship struggle. So the Tamil audiences were waiting to see their kind of life on screen, their life’s hardships on screen. Then comes Bharathiraja who was passionate actor accidentally becoming director of ‘16 vayathinile’. The opening song touched every Tamils heart. Until ‘16 vayathinile’ Tamil society watched sets on the screen, and then they saw natural places and their own villages on the screen in ‘16 vayathinile’. Tamil masses could connect with the movie and story.
The characters in the movie were people who they see in their day-to-day life. Village heroes and villains were like Kamal and Rajini in the movie. ’16 vayathinile’ was a path breaking moment for Tamil cinema. It broke all kinds of stereotypes. The story, the places, the music, the scenes, the characters, everything was new and was derived from the people.
Then came ‘Kizhakke pogum rail’ brought name to the director, but this movie branded Bharathiraja and Ilaiyaraja that they are fit to do only village movies. Bharathiraja unbound all these in his next movie ‘Sigappu Rojakkal’. He proved that all the stereotypes that were stamped on Bharathiraja and Ilaiyaraja were wrong. The movie is a classic psycho thriller first of its kind. Till now, Tamil cinema hasn’t made any thrillers that could even reach ‘Sigappu Rojakkal’ standard. He scripted a perfect elite businessman’s character and Ilaiyaraja with his brilliant elite western music lifted the movie as though it happens to be a Hollywood thriller. This is the only Tamil movie remade in many languages.
Bharathiraja is known for treatment of his scripts. His visuals have deep meanings and symbolize emotion in a novel and poetic way. In ‘Mudhal mariyadhai’ the Sevili character is seen dead in a pond and Sevili’s husband throws the flute in the air and shouts out her name, the shot freezes. The same time the people run to the pond, people gather at Sevili’s house, the husband goes into vague thoughts and seen mentally disturbed and she been lifted from the pond. All these happen in one scene with many parallel cuts, if he would have broken it into scenes it would have take seven scenes to show this in screen but his parallel cut technique showed the whole funeral in a single scene. The emotion of the death was enhanced by Ilaiyaraja’s BGM.
Bharathiraja has constantly entertained with his movies in all genres. His movie has reflected the life and living of the Tamils. That is why he is the most celebrated director of Tamil cinema. On this occasion we wish Bharathiraja all success.