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012. Andha Naal
Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 2:53 pm Post subject: Andha Naal - a real suspense thriller and an epic of a movie
For once let us analyze the scenario prevailed when NT made his debut & lets have a rewind of the past history of tamil cinema and the trend then. During this period, ( I mean the 50s and the 60s ), majority of the themes were oriented either towards history based characters or raja rani type movies at the one end with Makkal Thilagam as the lead hero ( of course others like Ranjan, M.K.Radha, Gemini G were also there ) and social themes made by the likes of Sridhar, Mukaa , Bhimsinghetc . But one exception was S.BALACHANDER who always used to think different , created a real suspense thriller of a movie ANDHA NAAL Yes, long before Pudhiya Paravai, rather during the formative years , Nadigar Thilagam had acted in an extordinary movie ANDHA NAAL . It was released in 1954, 2 years after his debut in cinema . A movie sans songs !! and that too from a musical genius like S.Balachander ! The core theme of Andha Naal is that of a traitor who sold his country’s secrets to the enemy country ( Japan at that time ) . Its actually an ANTIHERO type character . The story timing relates to 1943 ( in relation to World war 2). Young and aspiring Radio Engineer Rajan ( NT ) sets ambitious plans to launch low priced Radio sets to the unaffordable mass but the lack of takers and backing support for his dream concept makes him go the extreme way possible. Yes, he becomes a spy to Japanese and provides vital information from time to time through some hi-tech communicating device invented by him in a secret chamber of his but gets killed by his wife Pandaribhai accidentally while she tries to pull away the pistol out of his hands but this truth is buried by the Director . The movie starts with the mourning of the dead Rajan character and as the first information report suspected a murder , 2 detectives from police dept. start their process. One was Javar Seetharaman who also penned the story . So, a strange movie wherein the hero ? character is no more in the beginning itself ! And exactly the same day after Japan bombed Chennai in 1941, NT gets killed by a single bullet shot at his house itself . Hearing the sound , his neighbour lodges to the police dept and that’s how everything gets known . Other than his wife , his brother, his brother’s wife and a dancer were the prime suspects to the case. Interestingly, each suspect will try to accuse the other as the culprits ( except ofcourse Pandaribhai who will remain silent and crestfallen ) So its all about a police investigation and zeroing in on finding the culprit finally. Through Javar Seetharaman’s probe ( the CID ) at 4 characters who all revolved around that Rajan , S.B. deliberately misleads the audience by giving an impression from those angles as if he must have been killed like this for this reason only ….. and the movie gets into a fix at one stage wherein the police could not move further on any further clues as to who would have been the real culprit behind the killing. But the manner in which each person gets probed, the audience will conclude that yes this guy must have done this etc etc. A desperate Javer Sitaraman finally gets to read some words like : 1. Kondu vandhalum varavitalum - thai
2. Seerkondu varuvan – sagodharan
3. Uyir kaapaan - thozan
4. Kolayum seival - Pathini !! And this quote creates a spark and zeroes on his target. He finally summons all those characters and asks them to shoot a dummy of Rajan and watches them how they react. While everyone shoot without any fuss, when it comes to Pandari Bhai, she collapses and screams loudly - No no, I will not !! And now she reveals the truth on how she kills her husband NT ! Rajan meets Pandari Bhai a highly patriotic woman , who is a college student . As they meet accidentally and charmed by some good qualities of both fall in love and get married. On a business trip NT visits Japan, becomes their informer / spy and uses this method to avenge India . A significant change in NT’s attitude puzzles Pandaribhai as he starts talking anti national and his moves are very suspicious. So one night , she accidentally steps inside his room and finds all hitech communication devices and questions him strongly. When NT reveals his true identity, she gets upset with him and pleads him and ultimately warns him to give up. NT doesn’t like her poking and takes a revolver to threaten her but as he tries to grab it from him, accidentally her fingers trigger the pistol and NT dies in the process. S.Balachander, though we all know him as a musical genius and a Veena expert, he started his career on the lines of cinema only but later took up veena seriously and rest is history. Though the theme is an inspiration from five angles on murder , the Woman in Question, based on a script by John Cresswell and directed by Anthony Asquith, SBalachander takes the story in a manner reachable to tamil audience and makes it very fascinating to watch. SB also made movies like Bommai , Naduiravil ( all thriller ) . Incidentally, it was SB who introduced KJ Yesudas through Bommai ( neeyum bommai naanum bommai song ). If SB had continued to focus on cinema, we would have seen more innovative themes . When the CID Javer Sitaraman moves to round 3 of his investigation, there arises a plethora of probabilities and possibilities thereby getting suspicion on each character. Superb camera work all through the movie. At times, the camera becomes the main characters NT and Pandaribhai ! . Really it was way ahead of times for tamil cinema. I will go one step further and say that one should watch this movie purely for camera work ! Despite a mind blowing theme and a movie way ahead of times, sadly, it did not generate enough cash flows and was not a commercial success. Guess who was the producer ? It was AVMeyappan ! who wanted atleast one song but a stubborn Balachander convinced him that a single song will not create an impact to the movie and better lets have it without any song and so be it. Though it was not a commercial hit, it elicited good reviews, won the Certificate for Best Feature Film and the Award for the Best Film of 1954 from Madras Film Fans Association. The great AVM was so passionate about this movie that he had mentioned in his autobiography that the high class intellectual society liked / appreciated this movie . Javer Sitaraman ( as we all know that Bannerman character who orders Kattabomman to be hanged finally in VPK and also that famous bootham in Pattanathil bootham movie ) who wrote the script and story performs his part extremely well. He had a unique way of dialogue delivery . The so called climax scene between NT and Pandaribhai , will have lots of verbal exchanges, quite interesting to see ! While NT will be pouring his frustration on nation and how it ditched his prospects and what made him to turn a betrayer, Pandaribhai will be all graceful and full of energy and anger personified and shoot back pin point replies to all his posers . At one stage she will emerge dominant and this makes Rajan character go berserk and the end. Again , what makes this movie stand apart and look an odd one out is the way the story was narrated wherein the audience are shown one single incident from each character’s perspective . I would consider this movie , a milestone in tamil cinema. Not sure whether such themes were handled in hindi cinema industry earlier. Our NT will be flesh and blood . One can see a young aspiring NT in stage 1 , a depressed youngster in stage 2 and finally an aggressive traitor in stage 3 . His body language will be terrific when he tries to justify his act before Pandaribhai. Look at his eyes as it will glow the moment a call comes from Japan and how restless he will be and the way he communicates with them will all be terrific ! Pandaribhai, the great lady who was incidentally NT’s first pair through Parasakthi plays her part in a splendid manner . She was one of veteran artists who excelled in every role given. See the same Pandaribhai in Deiva magan and you will feel the difference. Again amazing will be this Pandaribhai in Gouravam as someone jammed between husband and son . Though today , this may not arouse that much thrill , the suspense factor will make you sit and watch even today. Imagine such a novel theme experimented way back in the early 50s ! Right from the opening scene to the end , the movie moves at brisk pace and I bet you will not go for a tea break at any point of time ! NT was expected to portray both as a nice guy and also a wicked traitor & he does it with effortless ease and flawlessly. The greatness of him was the utter disregard for a hero image . The character also smokes and has a mild affair with a dancer. Incidentally, in the same year, NT also did the one and only movie with Makkal thilagam ( Koondu kili ) which also was a different character. NT also had a nice make up and dressing pattern. At times, he appears with a hat and a big coat ! Youthfulness pervades and a vibrant NT can be seen with enthu. One of the best movies of tamil cinema industry itself is Andha Naal.Last edited by S.Balaji on Wed Nov 29, 2006 8:56 am; edited 1 time in total
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Anbudan….. Saradha Prakash
Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 8:55 am Post subject: