Valentine’s Day spl: Love stories are a big draw in Tamil cinema

Romance has always remained an integral part of our life. And, no doubt, cinema played a major role in highlighting it. Over the years, there have been films that spoke about love at large. On the eve of Valentine’s Day, we go in rewind mode to take a look at movies that oozed romance.

From M K Thyagaraja Bhagavathar till Sivakarthikeyan, almost every actor tried this genre.

Devadas

Made in 1953, the film focuses on Devadas and Parvati, who have been in love since childhood. Parvati’s father objects to the relationship and forces her to marry a middle-aged zamindar. Unable to cope with his failure to win Parvati, Devadas turns into a drunkard, and the rest of the film is about whether or not Devadas meets Parvati again. Directed by Vedantam Raghavaiah, it featured Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Savitri and Lalitha in lead roles.

Thaen Nilavu

Gemini Ganesan rewrote romance on screen. He was hailed as ‘Kadhal Mannan’. Though he acted in a lot of movies in romantic characters, Thaen Nilavu was special. Made in 1961 by director C V Sridhar, it featured Vyjayanthimala opposite Gemini. The film deals with young man Raj who falls in love with young woman Shanti, but she disapproves of him. Raj joins her during her father’s second honeymoon and wins her heart after a series of comical situations. The film became a huge commercial success.

Vasantha Maaligai

A Sivaji Ganesan classic released in 1972, the romantic, emotional drama was directed by K Prakash Rao and produced by D Ramanaidu. The movie was about a rich playboy and alcoholic Anand (Sivaji Ganesan). His love for his caretaker Latha (Vanisri) was the crux of the movie. How Latha transforms his life from worse to good was captured well with the right emotions. It was a huge success and ran for almost 750 days.

Anbae Vaa

Who said MGR can’t do a romantic film? Anbae Vaa was a classic act by him. Written and directed by A C Tirulokchandar, it featured Saroja Devi opposite MGR. Partly based on the 1961 American film Come September, music was by M S Viswanathan. MGR played JB, a wealthy industrialist who goes on vacation to his bungalow in Shimla, only to discover that his caretaker (Sambandam) and his wife have left for Varanasi after renting the bungalow to a family of three. He falls in love with Geetha (Saroja Devi) who comes to stay in the bungalow. Anbe Vaa was the first film produced by AVM to be shot in Eastmancolor.

Alaigal Oivathillai

An 1981 blockbuster by Bharathiraja, Alaigal Oivathillai was the debut film of Karthik and Radha. Ilayaraja’s songs were highly praised. The story and dialogues were written by veteran writer and director Manivannan.

The movie was about a young Brahmin teenager falling in love with a Christian girl, the sister of a rich, influential man in the village.

Vaazhve Maayam

Starring the most ‘romantic pair’ of Tamil cinema, Kamal Haasan and Sridevi, Vaazhve Maayam (1982) was about Rajasekaran (Kamal Haasan), a happy-go-lucky and spoilt brat from a rich family background. He comes across air-hostess Devi (Sridevi) and falls for her. More an emotional drama like Vasantha Maaligai, it was directed by R Krishnamoorthy. Songs by Gangai Amaran added strength to the film. By then Kamal Haasan had established himself as ‘Kadhal Ilavarasan’ on screen.

Mouna Ragam

Mani Ratnam was one of the very few filmmakers who could handle romantic genre with ease. Though he later made several films on romance (Roja, Alaipayuthey, OK Kanmani), Mouna Ragam was always special. It was a woman-centric film in the 1980s and the story revolved around Divya, a woman grieving over the death of her lover and is convinced into an arranged marriage with Chandra Kumar. Over a year, the couple attempt to adjust to each other’s presence and live with each other. Revathy, Mohan and Karthik were part of the cast. And Ilayaraja’s music was a major highlight.

Kadhal Kottai

A national-award winning movie, directed by Agathiyan, Kadhal Kottai gave Ajith’s career a huge boost.

The movie was about Kamali (Devayani) in Chennai falling in love with Surya (Ajith), whom she had never seen before. Their bond gets stronger through letters and phone calls. Will the lovers ever be united formed the crux of the movie. The movie won critical acclaim.

Kadhalukku Mariyadhai

Directed by Fazil, Kadhalukku Mariyadhai brought stardom to Vijay. Shalini played the female lead. The movie was about Jeeva (Vijay), a very rich young man, who meets Mini (Shalini) and they fall in love. She reciprocates his feelings, but trouble comes in the form of her tyrannical trio of brothers (Radha Ravi, Thalaivasal Vijay and Shaji Khan) who are over-protective of their little sister and take an irrational dislike to Jeeva. Ilayaraja’s songs topped the charts.

7G Rainbow Colony

Filmmaker Selvaraghavan made a name for himself capturing the emotional quotient of lover couples through his films. 7G Rainbow Colony made in 2004 was one such attempt that touched the hearts of audience. Starring Ravikrishna and Sonia Agarwal, the movie was about a neighbourhood good-for-nothing’s attempts to romance the new girl in town. With Yuvan’s songs and some feel-good scenes, 7G Rainbow proved to be a huge hit among young audience.

Kaadhal

Carrying romance in its title came Kaadhal. Balaji Sakthivel’s classic won rave reviews and critical acclaim. Starring Bharath and Sandhya, the movie was about Aishwarya, a convent-educated girl from a wealthy family in the town of Madurai falling in love with a young mechanic, Murugan, whom she encounters on the street. Faced with the imminent threat of an arranged marriage with an American groom she persuades Murugan to elope with her to Chennai where they take refuge with his former school friend in a men’s hostel.

Paruthiveeran

A rural romance by Ameer, Paruthiveeran was the debut venture of Karthi. He played a village toughie, who finally succumbs to the unconditional love of his angelic cousin. But his romance faces insurmountable challenges, including family opposition and his own delinquent personality. Priyamani played the heroine and she even won the national award for best actress for her portrayal.

Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaya

Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaayaa, directed and written by Gautham Menon, featured Simbhu and Trisha in lead roles. It was about an aspiring filmmaker who goes through ups and downs in romance when he falls for a Christian woman, who says she only wants to be friends. Music was by A R Rahman. Made for young generation viewers, VTV was a blockbuster.

Raja Rani

Seemingly inspired by Mouna Ragam, director Atlee came out with Raja Rani starring Arya, Jai and Nayanthara. The movie revolved around John (Arya) and Regina (Nayanthara) who get married despite being unable to come out of their previous relationship. How do they learn to accept each other, and eventually fall in love? This formed the crux of the film.

Pyar Prema Kadhal

A Yuvan Shankar Raja production, the movie was about two lovers, who are different in almost all ways, getting into a live-in relationship. They go through tough times as their approach towards life do not match. Directed by Elan, the movie featured Harish Kalyan and Raize Wilson in the lead roles.

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The Vijay Sethupathi – Trisha starrer was a journey down the memory lane for a couple. Directed by Prem Kumar, the story is about Ram, a photographer, who get a chance visit to his school and he decides to have a reunion with his old schoolmates. It sparks something between him and his old flame. Trisha as Jaanu won acclaims. Govind Vasantha’s songs were huge hits.

M BHARAT KUMAR