K Balachander, An Apoorva Raagam, K Balachander, Rajinikanth


K Balachander’s Apoorva Raagangal was known for a riddle which was the fad of the town those days. It was something like this - if my son's mother-in-law's daughter is my wife then what is the relationship between my wife's daughter and my son? It truly was complicated but had the right kind of hooks. Balachander’s films always had that unique selling point besides his avant-garde themes. They were different and brand new which went on to earn him a loyal patronage.
In his career spanning one hundred odd films, the veteran had handled assorted premises and topics. Middle class people, their psyche, emotions and relationships ruled the centre stage in his films. This perhaps is the reason for his projects to strike a chord with the majority. The screen play screamed of intelligence and novelty.  
If in Apoorva Raagangal, it was about unusual relationships, it was about a woman standing up to her principles, slaying her husband in Achchamillai Achchamillai and Arangetram was all about a woman succumbing to sell her body to protect her family. 
We in fact wonder if the directors of today could conjure up such daring, interesting, challenging and radical themes in their films. 
Women invariably occupied centre space in his films and the character of the men would actually draw mooring from them. Such a strong portrayal of women has become a rarity now. KB never objectified women in his films and there would always be a feeling of awe of his women characters when you get out of theatres.  They were all simple, relatable, loving, caring, strong and stood for their beliefs but all the same retained their alluring feminine side. Nizhal Nijamagiradhu, Avargal and Nool Veli are just a few examples. Saritha, Sujatha and Sridevi are quite fortunate to have been in KB’s films who translated his vision on to the silvers screen with aplomb. Kamal and Rajini had a glorious time portraying varied roles under KB’s powerful writing.  
And mind you, KB never shied away from talking for the society or for handling topical issues boldly. Thaneer Thaneer in 1981 was about the drought situation prevailing all over in Tamil Nadu then and Varumaiyin Niram Sigappu delved on the unemployment crisis bordering on leftist principles. 
It’s not today that we get to watch psychological disorders in films. Way back in 1982, more than three decades ago, the veteran had discussed about multiple personality disorder in Agni Saatchi which found just a few takers for its complex theme. Saritha was at her superb best in the film. 47 Naatkal showcased the plight of innocent sparsely read woman caught in a frightening marriage in foreign soil. 
LOVE, the omnipotent and the omnipresent emotion of Tamil cinema assumed magical proportions with his Maro Charithra and Ek Dujhe Ke Liyae which was a blockbuster in those days running to several weeks. Love was very strongly in the ‘air’ then and was glorified magnificently. 
KB is always musically inclined and the ‘transcending times’ quality of songs from his films stands testimony to this. He had worked with Viswanathan, Ilayaraja, Rahman and others. His musical acumen brought out the best from them. His leaning and soft corner towards Mahakavi Bharathi is evident in many of his films that would either have a song from the great poet or strong references to the Mundaasu Kavignan.
This Dada Saheb Phalke Awardee’s rich repertoire can never be contained or discussed in such a short write up and when it comes to discussing the veteran’s work, it is not even ‘Vaanamae Ellai’ but beyond that. Just like his film’s title Apoorva Raagangal, he is rarest among rarest film makers who have given cinema a lot of purpose.
Get well soon sir! We are waiting!

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