25 years of Dalapathy!

Rajnikanth, the small time bus conductor became an actor Rajni and then star Rajni and then Thalaivar Rajnikanth. In his journey, there were many milestones that helped him reach the pinnacle and stay on top even after so many years. If Basha is one iconic film of his long illustrated career, then Thalapathy in Tamil and Dalapathy in Telugu was a similarly important film in early 90’s that took his craze much above any other southern star and put him altogether.Arrival of Mani Ratnam did not just change the making style in India it also changed the audience outlook towards the greats like Kamal Haasan and Rajnikanth. He gave many memorable films to actors like Nagarjuna, Prabhu, Karthik, Shah Rukh Khan, introduced Aravind Swamy, Madhavan to screen and gave big hits to Abhishek Bachchan. Mani Ratnam changed the story telling style in South especially, from a dialogue bound style to visual based style.In his growth, he also gave milestone films to these already established greats as well. Nayagan for Kamal Haasan and Thalapathy for Rajnikanth. If Velu Nayakan from Nayakan was a protagonist from an antagonist background then Surya from Thalapathy was an antagonist with protagonist traits. Velu was forced by the government officials and his economic status to revolt against the system and form a league of his own. While Surya had been guided by the angst that his mother threw him out in a train as a baby to suffer and find his own living. He develops a hatred towards rich but he has ultimate gratitude towards those who stood by him and nurtured him as one among them.He is ready to anything for the person who even shows a slightest care for him. He kills a guy because he threatened his basti people and befriends the head of a mafia gang, Devaraj for bringing him out of jail, even if the guy who died belonged to his gang. In his world, gratitude rules the roost and he hates if someone points out his caste and economic status. A girl who loves him, has to leave him because he doesn’t belong to her caste and her father threatens to kill himself. In that particular scene, Mani doesn’t allow his protagonist to heroicly sacrifice but brings out his angst completely to the fore and when the character realises that the girl is married by none other than his step brother, the awkwardness of the situation is brought out in the same matured way too.In the scenes, where the husband of the mother of Surya, who realises the relationship between the estranged mother and son, keeps pushing for them to meet, directors deep understanding of the emotions is brought out. The complexity of the emotions and the greatness of his character are brought out to our notice just by nuances but not through heavy dramatic drum rolls. The tears do play big part but they never seem fake. The friendship tale is definitely inspired from Duryodhan and Karna story but the modern Devaraj and Surya, never ever try to be those mythological legends but become a more believable and everyday characters that any audience member can connect to.As a director, Mani Ratnam chose two thriving superstars from two languages Mammotty and Rajnikanth but never did he let their images take over the characters he wanted them to portray. The mastery of Santhosh Sivan with Camera and Maestro Ilaiyaraja helped him big time to achieve the quality he wanted with the visuals and supporting back ground score. The songs like Sundari, Singarala pairullo na are still famous today too. Singarala song especially brought two living legends of music on one platform, Yesudas and SP Balasubrayam. The song became a friendship anthem and a holi song too.Banupriya, Sri Vidya, Aravind Swamy, Shobana, Amrish Puri, Geetha, Jaishankar, Nagesh, Charuhasan, Nirmalamma lend their acting talent to the movie in a big way. Right from the opening train sequence to just showing the kid raised by an old woman into her arms with sun in the background. The film is laced with symbolism and greatness. May be not regraded as the best like Nayakan but this movie deserves its place among the best movies ever made by Indian filmmakers for sure. Editing by Suresh urs and art by Thota Tharani for the film are in their own league. Taking the cues from the maestro himself, lets dwell into the best cinematic experience and celebrate singing, Singarala screenullona bangarale aadenanta chudali..

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