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Classic Movie Article - Thangappadhakkam
Tamil Movie Thangappadhakkam
Sivaji ganesan

The legendary Sivaji Ganesan rewrote the rules of playing different characters on screen. He belonged to the age of theatre-trained actors and hence his delineation of characters usually had an element of exaggeration.

Yet, if we look at his films from the perspective of the period in which he acted, we can safely conclude there can be no equal for him. He also had a wonderful sense of body language and dialogues. He knew when to project each so as to achieve maximum impact. In a historical film like Veerapandia kattabomman, the modulation of dialogues was given importance while in films like Deivamagan and Thangappadhakkam, his internalization of the character made them memorable. Let us take a look at Thangappadhakkam.

The film deals with the turbulent life of Chowdary, an honest police officer. What was so different about the cop’s life? The main thrust of the story is that of a highly misunderstood man resulting in his own son becoming his sworn enemy. Chowdary is successful in his police service, has a devoted wife and is blessed with a son. But his apparently stern attitude while bringing up his son sows the seeds of animosity. The son grows up to be a crook indulging in unlawful activities. Chowdary’s warnings fall into deaf ears. On one occasion, the son embezzles the funds from his employer and takes refuge in his father’s home. Chowdary lays a clever trap to nab him with the help of his force. The son goes to jail and Chowdary’s wife suffers a stroke and becomes invalid. On release from the prison, the son swears revenge on Chowdary. He tries to extract his revenge but Chowdary becomes a martyr while foiling his son’s anti-national tie-up with foreign mercenaries. Chowdary is awarded the police medal or Thangappadhakkam.

It is a simple story told in a powerful manner. Sivaji breathed life into the character so much so that several of his successors have imbibed his style in playing the upright police officer. His body language was awesome in variety – as the loving husband, the affectionate father, the dutiful officer or the heart-broken man. In every frame, there was novelty which kept the audience glued to their seats. The supporting cast of K.R. Vijaya, Srikanth and V.K. Ramaswamy also did their parts well. Songs in the film were superhits like the soulful Sumaithangi saindhal, or the lilting Nalladhoru kudumbam.

Moral of the film is that raising children is a different ballgame altogether. One cannot take children for granted and that one cannot expect them to tread a certain path unless we make the attempt to convince them fully. The film is especially relevant for today’s era.

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