Thursday, January 28, 2010

Top 5

" But he is an ocean, how can one anyone pick from that?". " He is an institution by himself". " He is god". " Avar oru adhsiya piravi".

- Since we are normal we didnt answer any of the above when a friend asked what our top Kamal's 5 movies would be instead jumped straight at the opportunity . The restaurant we sat in hardly offered anything nice. I had gotten excited by the name and expected some local favorites( what exactly is Madurai special for anyway in terms of food), all it had to offer was regular fare and the taste nothing to remember by.

So there, we resorted back to our favorite conversation - cinema. The friend was a Kamal fan - probably posed it to answer his own. Infact all three of us were just to eager to provide our list that when we stepped out after an hour the third friend(one of my very close friends) had to stomp her legs saying she hasnt started the list yet.

Anyway here is my list which is pretty much every one else's list as well except I havent seen Kuruthi punal yet(What??? - yes, I havent. Go ahead, take a gun, watever!).

Kamal as a director comes much before the actor. I grew up in a household that was Kamal katchi during the major Kamal-Rajini fan fights then. Somehow his acting doesnt work for me. There is something about the mannerisms -anyway i dont rate him as a sub par actor, just that he isnt someone i enjoy looking at screen but this is slowly changing.

1. Hey Ram:

As a black car proceeds, a mob of muslims triy to attack the car. On getting closer, some one from the mob - Kamal's tailor sees him in car. He saves Kamal that moment. Later in the day, the same tailor who had saved Kamal's life in the morning does the worst to his wife in the night.

It is hard to forget the tailor's answer when later Kamal goes on a revenge spree. Off all the movies that came on religious fundamentalism nothing comes close to explaining the mob mentality as this one. Normal human beings turning into monsters given the moment!

Strangely I was told this film was against Gandhi when it released. It took fellow grad student's words few years later who described it as the biggest tribute to Gandhi to make me watch the film. By then I was no longer a big Gandhi Fan. Both the opinions got corrected that day. It is his biggest tribute.

2. Virumandi
Rashomon wasnt for me. This theme hit me so much better. weaving it against capital punishment was the right addition. Pasupathy gave a wonderful performance - well so did everyone.

After these two movies, I have no clue why he wont direct more. I was eagerly waiting for Marma yogi but that movie had to get cancelled!

3. Michael Madana Kamarajan
- Did you know this movie was a flop? I mean can you believe it? Its our family favorite, asmy mom puts it, " evlow thadava pathalam salikathu".

4. Thevar Magan
- one of the finest points about Kamal as a writer/Director is the way he catches the intense human moments. It always surprises me because in interviews he sounds so out of touch , so in vain yet his movies display a deep understanding. The following scene says it all when Sivaji reacts to Kamal - his son in the movie refers to his death.

5. Nayagan
This @5? but then I always view it as a Maniratnam movie. But one cannot imagine any one doing a Nayagan as well even today.

Pesum Padam gets an honorary mention as well - just for the gift wrap scene.

I wont let you guys stomp your feat - please tell me yours and none of the first mentioned bullshit answers, I hope.


  1. I will fill in my favs later.

    But who on earth told you this film was a flop???!
    The film was a massive hit!

  2. I love Kamal too

    1. Nayakan
    How can I not love him?
    2. Aval appadithan
    Kamal in his youthful stages.. WOW.. so damn hot.. i know.. i am like that.. I wished i was in that generation when i watched that movie. What charisma. It is a movie so so so ahead of its time.
    3. Hey Ram
    A very brave attempt. And so well put together
    4. MMKR - I cant forget the palakkad character.. I suspect that my love for palakkad was started by this movie
    5. Pammal K Sammandhan
    I love love love him in this. The timing.. the black comedy.. WOW

    do i have to stop with five?
    I loved aayirathil oruvan.. especially the last scene when he is carrying his bag.. what humulity.. He is THE BEST!!!

  3. @Saya:

    You mean Unnaipol Oruvan? :)

    Haha, I come from your friend's school of thought. I am a self confessed fanboy. And I echo Praveen. MMKR was a hit, not sure about the massiveness part though. And now, it's cult.

    My top 5 would be pretty much similar to yours. But special mention for the movies that he's written. Brilliant, most of them. Hey Ram, Virumandi and MMKR of course, along with Aboorva Sagodharargal, Mumbai Express, Sathi Leelavathi.

    And yes, you should watch Kuruthipunal. Now that was a massive flop! And it was better than its original- Droh Kaal(by Goving Nihalani, no less).

  4. Yes.. Unnaipol Oruvan
    Kick me

  5. anbe sivam,nayagan,mmkr,devar magan,aboorva ragam

  6. That was a comment I left in a hurry...sorry!

    Apparently, it was Nayagan was a slow starter at the box office and eventually went on to become a huge hit through the word of mouth. MMKR was a stupendous hit I am told.

    Apart from the big and the most popular films, I love these films too;

    1) Avargal: Kamal shines in his miniscule role as a Malayalee ventriloquist. Not a film from our generation, but you must watch this!

    2) Seen Nammavar?

    3) Kuruthipunal as Gradwolf mentioned.

    4) Indrudu Chandrudu

    and then Avvai Shanmugi, Mahanadi, Guna, Swathi Muthyam, Varumayin Niram Sigappu, Raja Paarvai.

    I thought I will share this song. This is probably the only video that has Kamal and Suhasini together, though not as a pair.

  7. I think I concentrated on Kamal as a director so forgot about the old movies.
    Praveen: dont sue me, i can always give the same friend's address for that:) the movie deserved to be a blockbuster.
    Saya: hot and kamal - i know the cousins more than a decade older def. found him cute:) I might have to revisit Pammal K sambandam, didnt really like it in the first go.
    GW: Aboorva Sagodharargal is masala, right? i did read recently an elaborate discussion on it and it is a good movie but i can never get myself to put masala on a pedestal.
    Soin: no hey ram? and welcome to the blog.

    Praveen: thanks for the link to that song. i have seen it before dont know rem. where though!
    have watched avargal but i am not a fan of these woman with sadistic husband stories! have to watch nammavar too but dont know if i can.

  8. I was head over heels in love with Kamal when I was a little girl.. :-) LOL ... Most of his movies are my favourites.. Here are the top 5
    Moondram Pirai
    Oru Kaidyin Diary

    There are too many ...Avvai Shanmugi, Mahanadi, Guna, all his comedies actually..

    Wonder why no one mentioned Moondram Pirai ..

  9. But he has gone ahead and done so much after your top5 right? One of the reasons the older movies didnt cross my mind was that he was mostly involved only as an actor in them so the credit probably goes to the director/ writer more.

  10. You are right Sachitha ...I was concentrating on him as an actor as he stood apart in Indian cinema then.
    Just goes on to show how old I am :-)
    Time is frozen and only the movies that one watches in her teens stays in the mind, I suppose..

  11. Hey i think these needs to be added too
    1) Anbe Sivam
    2) Tenali needs a special mention.
    3) Aboorva Sagodharargal
    4) Sathi Leelavathi
    5) Mahanadhi


  12. Anon: Mahanadi from your list that i would def. want to add to mine as well. but have huge problems with anbe sivam though.

  13. eh...I havent seen any of the movies you mentioned above...sorry- I know I know, I am terrbile - the two movies I did see of Kamal are the one with Sridevi(an oldie where she has some sort of amnesia) and the one with rishi kapoor and dimple kapadia... i love both of them,esp. the songs..but for the life of me cant remember their names..

  14. //Rashomon wasnt for me..//

    Have you seen rashomon.? It's beautiful cinema

  15. Srijith: I tried and failed:)