Actors’ Directors Special- Friday Spl. Article by Naveen
Though popular stars normally stay away from direction for obvious reasons, most of them have had a penchant to wield the megaphone.
The latest to be bitten by the direction bug is Dhanush, who has started ‘Power Paandi’ starring Rajkiran in the lead. This week, let us have a look at top actors and their directorial ventures.
M G Ramachandran, fondly MGR, the yesteryear numero uno star of Tamil cinema, had directed three films- ‘Nadodi Mannan’ (1958), ‘Ulagam Suttrum Vaaliban’ (1973) and ‘Maduraiyai Meetta Sundarapandian’ (1977).
‘Nadodi Mannan’ was an adventure film directed, produced by and starring MGR in dual roles. It had Bhanumathi and Saroja Devi as heroines, while P S Veerappa and M N Nambiar played the villains. Upon release, the film was blockbuster and ran for 100 days in major cities. The movie was taken in black and white for 2 hours 8 minutes and 16 seconds. The rest was taken in Geva Color.
‘Ulagam Suttrum Valiban’ had MGR, M N Nambiar, Manjula, Latha and Chandrakala in key roles. It was one of MGR’s all-time blockbusters and completed a 217-day run at the box office.
Maduraiyai Meetta Sundarapandian’ is the last film of MGR. Nambiar, P S Veerappa, Latha and Padmapriya played key roles. It is the story of a brave prince named Sundharapandhiyan (MGR) who saves a kingdom of the hands of terrible king.
Kamal Haasan, besides a top actor, is a well known director too. His directorial ventures include ‘Chachi 420’ (1997), ‘Hey Ram’ (2000), ‘Virumandi’ (2004), ‘Viswaroopam’ (2013) and the upcoming ‘Viswaroopam 2’ and ‘Sabaash Naidu’.
‘Chachi 420’ is a Hindi film, and a remake of ‘Avvai Shanmugi’ and was the first film directed by Kamal Haasan who also starred as the main character. Actors include Kamal Haasan himself in the lead and also playing a double role, Lakshay Gulia, Tabu, Om Puri, Johnny Walker, Paresh Rawal, Rajendranath Zutshi, Ayesha Jhulka, Nassar and Baby Sana. The executive producer is Sab John aka John E.
‘Hey Ram’ is a 2000 Indian period crime drama film simultaneously made in Tamil and Hindi. The film was written, directed and produced by Kamal Haasan and he also starred as the protagonist in the film. Its soundtrack and background score were composed by Ilaiyaraaja. The semi-fictional plot centres on India’s partition and the murder of Mahatma Gandhi by Nathuram Godse. The film was selected by India as the its submission to the Oscars in the year 2000, but was not nominated.
‘Virumaandi’ is written, co edited, produced and directed by Kamal Haasan and performed in the title role. The film revolves around the interview of two prison inmates, firstly Kothala Thevar (Pasupathy) life sentence inmate and secondly Virumaandi (Kamal Haasan) who is sentenced to hang. The criminals express how they feel about the direction their lives have taken and how they have ended up where they are. It revolves around the controversy of the death penalty.
‘Viswaroopam’ is written, directed and co-produced by Kamal Haasan, who also enacted the lead role. The film has Rahul Bose, Shekhar Kapur, Pooja Kumar, Andrea Jeremiah and Jaideep Ahlawat in supporting roles. Produced simultaneously as a bilingual in Tamil and Hindi and dubbed into Telugu language as ‘Viswaroopam’, the film featuresda soundtrack composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, with lyrics produced by Vairamuthu and Haasan himself, while Javed Akhtar translated them for the Hindi version.
Vijayakanth, when he was fast rising the political ladder, wielded the megaphone for a film titled ‘Virudhagiri’ in 2010. It was written and directed by Vijayakanth, making his directorial debut, besides playing the title character as well.
The film, co-starring Madhuri Itagi, Arun Pandian and Mansoor Ali Khan among others, released on 10 December 2010. It was said to be a remake of the English movie ‘Taken’.
Sathyaraj directed his first film in 1995, ‘Villadhi Villain’, which had him in three distinct roles. Nagma and Radhika played his heroines. The film was also his 125th starrer. It was dubbed in Hindi under the title ‘Ek Aur Dharmatma’ and in Telugu as ‘Sastry’.
‘Thalaimagan’ marked Sarath Kumar’s directorial debut. It was also his 100th starrer. It had Sarath Kumar, Nayanthara, Seema Biswas, Vadivelu, Mukesh Tiwari and Vijayakumar in key roles. In this flick, Sarath played Dheeran, a journalist who fights against evil forces.
Silambarasan made his debut as (co)director with ‘Manmadhan’, which was also directed by A J Murugan. Simbu started another directorial venture ‘Kettavan’, which could not take shape fully.