Veedu ( film) | Revolvy
The film is widely considered to be one of the best films of Balu Mahendra. Oru Viral Krishna Rao · Chandra Mohan; Nair Raman; Director Bala as postman .. Personal life She got married to actor Prakash Raj in and the couple has two .. contributions, she was well known for her "anti-divorce counselling" work. Following the passing away of Balu Mahendra, Director Bala talks of his relationship with the veteran filmmaker. Balanathan Benjamin Mahendran (20 May – 13 February ), commonly known as .. Their relationship was explored by K. G. George (Mahendra's junior at the FTII) in his Malayalam film Lekhayude Maranam Oru Flashback.
The duo's choices always remained vastly different, even when it came to choosing genres. Sethu Bala, who made his debut in with Sethu, has directed just seven films though he has been around for almost a couple of decades. There have been long interregnums between his films, largely because of his wavering in the matter of choosing his cast, especially for the lead roles, and for the leisurely pace of work.
Also, Bala has had to struggle extremely hard right from the time he directed his first shot and has always faced a dearth of financiers and distributors for his films - they have never fit the commercial slot and there was no guarantee of success at the box office.
The director endured his most taxing times right from the beginning of his career as there were no takers for Sethu and he had to run from pillar to post to convince producers and later the distributors to evince interest in his project. Sethu was loosely based on a real life story of a wayward young man who falls in love with a meek woman but is unable to cement the relationship and this turns him into a stark, raving lunatic. In the final denouement, he is cured of his malady but on reaching the woman's house, he finds that she has committed suicide.
He then decides to return to the asylum which had housed him. Sethu had its fair share of disturbing cinema, with some mental asylum scenes shot in a green shade by cameraman Ratnavelu appearing grossly exaggerated and with a few sequences which even appeared repulsive. The film, however, was a turning point for its hero Vikram as it ended his lean trot in the industry and his emaciated look in the film was to be a precursor for more such roles in the future.
Sethu which appeared all set to disappear from the scene after a few days of release suddenly picked up steam and turned into a box office hit. Nandha The success of his debut film enabled Bala to rope in Suriya for his next film Nandha which explored the link between a hot headed young man who had murdered his father when still a minor and a village headman who tries to nurture him.
The romantic element in the film came in the form of a Sri Lankan refugee Kalyani Laila who develops a crush on the hero. He, however, is too embroiled in the intrigues involving his mentor to reciprocate her feelings.
Director Bala talks of his close relationship with the late Balu Mahendra
Nandha too had a bloody climax and ends with the deaf-mute mother poisoning her son Nandha and ending her own life as well. Both the films had little of "commercial" elements and even discerning audiences could have found some of the scenes of graphic violence quite revolting. Pithamagan had as its central protagonist a gravedigger who has no interaction with civilization, having been raised in the jungles.
The film narrated a raw, brutal story of friendship and treachery and was suffused with gory scenes of violence and bloodshed. It had disturbing visuals of the brutalization of Shakti Suriya by the villains and showed Chintan Vikram extracting his revenge by slaughtering the landlord responsible for his friend's death in a most macabre fashion.
Titled 'Azhiyatha Kolangal' it was a coming of age movie about adolescent boys, their escapade, their sexual awakenings and their obsession for a comely teacher. The movie was rumored to have shades of 'Summer of '42' but it was also autobiographical. A dusky Shobha would play the role of Indhu teacher. Salil Chaudhary, Salilda, had scored the music.
I recently watched a clip of "Summer of '42" and Salilda's music, dare I say, is inferior. The movie shocked many viewers in conservative Tamil Nadu. While Balu went mostly for subtlety he too, like Mahendran in 'Nenjathai Killathe', gave ample space for the plain ribaldry of the ever redoubtable Vennira Aadai Moorthy. Shobha would become the first scandal in Balu's life. A torrid affair ensued.
Even as Shobha went on to earn the National Award her personal life was on a slide. It is said that she would act like a truant child around 'uncle' Balu Mahendra. One day Shobha committed suicide and Balu was suspected as having played a role.
Shobha was the victim not he. He added that stung by the controversy he vowed silence until after a year when he "threw down Moondram Pirai" as answer. Kamal Hasan earned a National Award for his heart rending performance in the famous climax. A third factor in the success of the movie was then sex goddess Silk Smitha. Kamal rebuffs Smitha's seduction and thus lends credence to the fact that he could have an asexual, sort of platonic, love with a nubile girl.
Their relationship, to be sure, was anything but platonic or even the implied paternalism of 'Moondram Pirai'. Of the many movies that Balu directed only two standout for not just being uncompromising but even artistic integrity. The puckish old man played by Chockalinga Bhagavathar was a hit. Yet, compared to Satyajit Ray's 'Mahanagar' it will remain a valiant effort not an achievement. Balu's talents as director are way overrated.
Fear of old age haunts any man let alone an artist. Balu made his one other uncompromising movie 'Sandhyaragam'. Literally meaning 'song of the twilight hour'. If Scorsese has a fetish for gangster movies Balu's fetish was making movies themed about extra marital affairs.
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He would plagiarize 'Mickey and Maud' to deliver a laugh riot in 'Rettaivaal Kuruvi' where a photographer will have two wives. Then he would turn to the subject again in a a Tamil remake of Mahesh Bhatt's 'Arth' as 'Marupadiyum'. When the heroine walks out on her husband, a movie director, learning of his affair with an actress a song wails in the background "a woman wishes to be garlanded but once, can she live with a man who garlands a woman a day, would such a marriage be civilized".
After 'Marupadiyum' he made forgettable movies most of which bombed in the box office. Mounika, who starred in a movie as a nymphet, would go on to become his second wife. She would support Balu in his lean years when he was reduced to making short films, based on short stories, for the drab national television. Balu Mahendra made movies that were either 'inspired', albeit uncredited, or totally plagiarized.
Lets remember that Balu sat on the jury for National Awards. For a man who took pride in his work and had a healthy ego to end his movies with a sign off 'A film by Balu Mahendra', this plagiarism, par for the course in Indian movies, will remain a blot.
Even after many directors, including childhood friend Bharathiraja, deserted Ilayaraja, who had grown titular and stale, Balu stuck by his friend. Ilayaraja had run out of steam by the early 90's and his scoring for Balu's movies made after that had mediocre music and thanks to Raja's antics about lyric writers there were not much decent lyrics either. When an artist sacrifices perfection for the sake of relationship art suffers.
Mediocrity creeps in and finally destroys. We cannot speak of a Balu Mahendra 'oeuvre'. Anyone who sets Balu's directorial abilities on a pedestal has not probably had even a modicum of introduction to Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Aravindan, Shahji, Ray, Benegal, Girish Karnad and others. His last movie 'Thalamuraigal' bombed at the box office. Few quoted the last words of the movie: I was surprised to see that chauvinism in Balu, a man who made movies in Hindi, Malayalam and Kannada besides Tamil.
The man had lost his creative juices a decade back and the last movie only confirmed that the creator had died before the body died.
Veedu (1988 film)
He was no intellectual. Like many of his compatriots he had not much to say beyond films, specifically the technical knowledge of movie making, and a smattering of literary taste. In the later years he would have another paramour after Archana. In another interview he would extol that his legal wife Akila epitomized the ideal Indian woman and needs to be worshipped.
She could've done well with a little less worshipping. Balu's extra-marital affairs were front and center to not just his life but to his movies too.