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Film Reviews in 50s and Music
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ragasuda
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 10:14 pm    Post subject: Film Reviews in 50s and Music Reply with quote

Recently I had the chance to go through back issues of a reputed weekly. I went through the issues from 50 to 65. It has still its own reputation and it has played crucial role in the patronage of classical music. It has even positively approached film making and came out with constructive articles. All said and done. It has reviewed at least one Tamil film in each of its issues. The point here has to be underlined. In almost all the reviews either the music in general or songs in particular seldom featured. And if at all it happened, mention had been made of stalwarts like G. Ramanathan, K.V. Mahadevan, and one or two other composers.

FROM 1952 TO 1965, IN THE REVIEWS OF FILMS FOR WHICH MM HAS COMPOSED MUSIC, THIS MAGAZINE HARDLY COVERED THEIR NAMES. YOU CAN COUNT HOW MANY TIMES THE NAMES OF VISWANATHAN RAMAMURTHY APPEARED IN THE FILM REVIEWS OF THIS MAGAZINE.

TO ADD SALT TO INJURY, THIS MAGAZINE HAS SARCASTICALLY COMMENTED THE SONGS COMPOSED BY MM DUO LIKE ANY THING. FOR E.G. THE MUSIC OF IDHU SATHIYAM HAS BEEN BLUNTLY CRITICISED LIKE IRAICHAL OR SOME WORD LIKE THAT.

This is not to pin point any individual event or thing or soul and hurt. But just I wanted to convey, how Mellisai Mannar has risen to such an unenviable position with so much of opposition and criticism.

Raghavendran
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parthavi
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Mr. Raghavendran,

An interesting topic.

I don't know to which magazine you are referring to but Ii have read such sarcastic comments about VR in Kalki. I think there is nothing wrong in mentioning the name of the magazine or the reviewer. In fact, I would prefer to mention the names so that the other magazines won't be suspected. The reviews in Kalki were done by 'Kaanthan' (Somaskanthan, the Assistant Editor.) Though I was only a schoolboy and had not developed my admiration for VR at that time, I remember to have felt those reviews to be in poor taste, because I could compare the reviews with those of Vikatan and Kumudham, which were written at least more interestingly.

I particularly remember two film reviews. 'Kanthan' had blasted 'Vaazhkkai Vaazhvatharkke' and had faulted the music also. He wrote that 'Aadak kaanbathu kaaviri vellam' was rhyming with another song 'odak kanbadhu poombunal vellam' ( I think it was written by Vallalaar or someone else.) He missed the point that the lyrics were written in the 'santham' of the other song (like 'kannile iruppathenna kanni ila maane' was written in the meter of Bharathiyaar's 'Kaatile Pulippathenna Kannap perumaane) but the music was different. I still remember the last line of the review.: puthaiyal padaththai eduththa Kammal Brothers idhaiyum oru padam endru eduththirukkirrargale!

Another review was that of 'Kalaikkovil.' This review was written as if the producer, director, music directors etc. spoke about the film. VR 'speak' like this: Eppodhum seyvadhu pola, indhap padaththukkum kaapi adiththththaan tunegal pottom. AAnaal endhap paattume edupadavillaiye!' What an irresponsible comment!

I also remember his lambasting 'idhayaththil nee.' I don't recall any appreciative comment about songs like 'oravu endroru sol irundhaal' etc.

The founder Kalki himself was reputed for writing comprehensive reviews, covering all aspects of a film but his tradition was given a go by, by people like Kaanthan.

The later day music directors were lucky. Not only were they praised high, but the reviewers seemed to have held the view that the music and the MD had to be praised invariably, irrespective of the quality of music they turned in for a particular film and that routine lines have to be added praising the rerecording!
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S.V.Srinivasan
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When Ananda Vikatan started a section called "Pokkisham" about a year ago, re-publishing articles retrieved from their archives, I was elated, thinking this would give readers a chance to see what reviewers those days felt about the film music, particularly V.R.'s magnificent contribution to hits of yesteryear. But I have been seeing with disbelief how the reviews those days totally ignored the music. There are reviews of so many films where there is not even a single word about the wonderful songs. In fact, I have lost interest in reading this magazine because of this.

The tragedy of many great men is that their worth is not realized at the right time. Our MSV is also a victim of this phenomenon. I don't know the reason for this sidelining of MSV and MSV/TKR. Did people those days consider film music to be degrading and below their dignity? Today all of us have such a special place in our hearts for MSV and MSV/TKR. Have people's tastes changed? Have we become more open-hearted today than we were 3 or 4 decades ago? Didn't people realize at that time that they were lucky to be living in the golden age of Tamil film music?

Perhaps Professor and other senior rasikas can throw some light on this.
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ragasuda
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Sri Rengaswami and Srinivasan,
Your feedbacks have opened gateway to more deep analysis of reviews of those days. I too was young during Viswanathan Ramamurthi period and we at that tender age grew up with the music of the duo. There was a section of people who did not lend ears (for years) to the music of VR. But our age tended us ignorance and we felt only music and nothing else and similarly Sivaji Ganesan. These two people, Sivaji and MSV, were identical in so many aspects. Both had esteemed position at the hearts of the fans who alone carried them over. The so called beauracracy and beauracrats seldom bothered about the South, leave alone Tamil Nadu. Both Sivaji and MSV were at receiving ends when it came to awards. At least acting found considerable place in reviews and hence Nadigar Thilagam could find place in media to some extent, whereas in the case of MSV, it was just opposite. As Rengaswami Sir pointed out, magazines were hesitant to include film music in their reviews. If one magazine does not write about it, then others followed suit. Almost all those reputed magazines did not bother to incl. to review the hard work put in my MDs. Here I pity all the music directors, leave alone MSV. Only on a few occasions, GR and KVM could find place, while there were so many MDS - T.R.Pappa, T.G.Lingappa, S.Dakshinamurthy, Chalapathi Rao, Sudarsan, the list goes on. But the fans played constructive role and this taste of film music buffs was the only source of strength for these mds. And the fans were mature enough to encourage all the good songs.
But now it is vice versa. There are umpteen sources available both in print and electronic media for the MDs to popularise the music. Though it is a welcome trend as far as for the MDs are concerned, the result is not encouraging. The quality leaves much to be desired (I mean the content and not the technical abilities), though occasionally there are really master piece products given by some music directors like Vidyasagar.
As Mr. Srinivasan said, at least now the artiste should be recognised at the right time.

Raghavendran
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madhuraman
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 2:42 pm    Post subject: Speak to members Reply with quote

Dear friends,
Quite a few points emerge under this thread that tries to [though in posterity] to look at the callous indifference with which TFs were reviewed by tamil press often without a reference to the components of music. To me , movie reviews were done [in magazines] by a few idiots who were otherwise unemployable. Undoubtedly the magazine 'Kalki' was utopian in outlook with nothing modern about it.For over thirty plus years now the magazine is surviving on reprinting of the works of founder Kalki Krishnamoorthy. Their circle revolved around systematic repeat of a few items - Rajaji, MS Subbulakshmi and of course 'Kalki's 'PONNIYIN SELVAN'. They never displayed resistance to oppression [in sharp contrast to Rajaji's forthright views]. Honestly readers never respected their views. Another dimension of tamil magazines was not to apprise readers on cinema. This was one domain that did not help the cause of better cinemas then. But, later with the arrival of TV and technology-aided music these magazines jumped into the bandwagon mustering support for 'copied music' with the belief that right to copy is copy right. Alas, that the men of the calibre of MSV did not raise any objection to such writings emboldened the freelance critics to speak ill of "kalai koil" songs. Most admirers of Quality music [obviously from MSV's stable] are frantically searchimg for 'Kalai koil' songs now. Fortunately they are available at Chennai.
So, ignore the ignorant and concentrate on what your conscience admires. Thanks for the opprtunity.
Warm regards. Prof.K.Raman Madurai.
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madhuraman
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 7:50 am    Post subject: Speak to members Reply with quote

Dear friends,
Not without reason I prefer to call some reviewers as idiots. A movie of the stature of Venniraaadai was criticised as of poor story line. It was the boldest of ventures by Sridhar then [for, he experimented with a totally new bunch of acting talent ] in East man colour especially when the trusted duo Vincent -Sundaram had left the Chitraalaya banner. The movie heavily rested on VR's music and CVS's skills as a narrator. Kumudham said "CVS tries to weave out a saree with very little stuff insufficient for even a handkerchief.
Later on another occasion magazine Kalki glorified IR saying 'IR veettu iddilipaanaiyum isai paadum'. The first ever human aberration ever to look for music from cooking gadgets. With people of such lopsided disposition nothing constructive can emerge. As Mr.Shankar opines, we better ignore such articulate aberrations and keep going by genuine conscience.
Warm regards Prof K.Raman Madurai
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msvramki
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear MSV yans,

Again, in today's POKKISHAM of Anandavikatan, the yesteryear review of Thangappathakkam is republished and as usual, NO MENTION ON THE SONGS or MUSIC or MSV !

Long live the reviewers, if they are still alive, and their rasanai !!

Ramki
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VaidyMSV & Sriram Lax
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dear friends

please excuse me if i am wrong - its really useless exercise to discuss on the reviews in general , esp of various decades .(critics would have changed as well as their methods )
the reasons are they are never been reviewed by technical people , in the sense , that one cannot be master in all depts so , one cannot review , for story / camera / music etc, esp camera , music , editing requires some basic sense in those fields . barring kumudam for a short period of time , i have not seen any kuzhu reviwed the films .
coming to MM s music -most of his songs take some time to be assimilated , and in those with no cassette recorder , and very less gramaphone , the critics could not have listened to songs other than in the movie , probably after a few weeks , radio stations would have started broadcasting , and the songs get popular .and i am sure those critics would have repended , what else can be said of critic of kalaikovil songs .
during later years probably mid 80s , cassettes have become , order of the day , and the film companies / as well as cassette companies started projecting music , for repeat audience as well as for royalties .
probably the PROs would have rtequested the critics to mention on music .
and with due regards to IR , he knows how to market himself , thus music by him , had a special mention .

thats all
but as PBS or balamurali said once (i donot remember exactly
) good music is one , which stays beyond time , so all of us which is good music , and whose ?/

our MSV IS KARMA YOGI (NOT BOTHERED ABOUT THE USELESS CRITITICS) AND MARMAYOGI -
(WHEREFROM HE GOT ALL EVERLASTING TUNES )
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parthavi
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having written about the negative reviews, I would like to share a few positive reviews also:

1) Vikatan showered praises on MSV's music for Vasantha Raagam and also carried MSV's photo in the film review, something very rarely done.
Mr. Sivakumarmar has written a nice posting about the songs of this film recently.

2) For another film - I think it is 'Anbulla Appaa' - Vikatan Wrote:
'ஒரு படத்துக்குப் பின்னணி இசை எப்படி அமைக்க வேண்டும் என்று பாடம் நடத்தியிருக்கிறார் எம் எஸ் வி.'

3) Vikatan also praised MSV's music for the film 'Valaiyal Saththam.'

4) Kumudham praised MSV's composition of 'chinnanciru kiliye' ('Neethikku Dhandanai') in a refreshingly new tune, though this song had been sung in a particular tune for so many years.

Perhaps it has taken several years for the film critics of Tamil magazines to realize that the music of a film, if it is good, has to be commended, not just commented upon.
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parthavi
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Mr. Shankar,

It is true that the reviews I had mentioned were in the period when IR was the leading MD. I think that though MSV was relegated to the background for more than a decade, he made a comeback in the media during the late 80's and early 90's. I just wanted to record a few actual positive reviews, just as I had mentioned instances of uncharitable and unfair reviews.

I would cite two more, one negative and one positive from Vikatan. About '47 naatkal,' Vikatan wrote,

'எம் எஸ் வியின் இசையில் 'அதிசய ராகம்' பாடல் சிறப்பக இருக்கிறது'

In the film, 'adhisaya raagam' song is played in the radio (or cassette recorder!) The magazine has chosen to ignore 'maan kanda sorgangal,' which I was able to perceive as great song, the first time I heard it!

There was a film by London Gopal. The name of the film starts with 'Thanga...' It might be 'Thangak kalasam' but I am not sure. A lot of built up was given for this film by way of graffiti on the walls but the film proved to be a super flop. MSV was the MD for this film. Vikatan wrote about this film:

இந்தப் படத்தின் பாடல்கல் எல்லாமே மிக அருமை. பாடல்களை நீங்கள் ரேடியோவிலோ, டீக்கடையிலோ கேட்டு ரசியுங்கள். தயவு செய்து தியேட்டர் பக்கம் மட்டும் போய் விடாதீர்கள்.

To be honest, even among MSV fans, only very few have bothered to listen to MSV songs of 80's and 90's. I am grateful to Sri Raghavendran for bringing several later period songs of MSV to the limelight. I have not heard songs of Mupperum Deviyar ('panneeeril oru pournani nilaa' is a class of its own), Thappuk Kanakku etc, till the time I listened to them using the links provided by this tireless torchbearer of MSV and Sivaji Ganesan!

I feel that I should update my collection of MSV songs and enrich my enjoyment.

There is no point in lamenting over the fact that there are no film song collections for MSV (except perhaps, 'Legends - Viswanathan-Ramamurthy' by HMV.) The fact remains that in the current period, there is not much commercial demand for MSV songs. It is up to people like us to hold the torch for MSV. But we are a handful. That is the reality.
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VaidyMSV & Sriram Lax
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dear srs

sorry -probably i didnot put it right
all i wanted to convey is we should not give too much importance , as most of them are biased , inadequate .
even in Hindu , i donot think ,music is mentioned in all the reviewS , inspite of the fact Mrs YGP is well learnt critic , because focus has always been on acting (may be after Nt arrival ) , story dialoGues (after elangovan ,anna ,and Mk and later we got on directions , and screenplay .Unfortunately the music was never considered as front liner .
pls be sure , we are hear to share your feeling
what review , or certificate is required than MASTERs most of the songs are still alive and active , after 40 years of composition .

MSV songs are beyond any critics review . i am sure many of you would have read SUBBUDUs comment in IDAYAm PESUKIRATHU - infact he criticised IR , and spoke very high of MSV , and his control over the musicians under his command . and Most of his favorite songs are MSvs only .
so if we are worried about reviews what more we require than from subbudu .

there is one MP3 titled OLD IS GOLD ever green hits of VR
from sare ga ma -M 47049 -50 EXCELLANT SONGS
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ragasuda
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear friends,
While discussing this topic, Shri Rengaswami Sir has praised me so much. I deem it a duty to bring into limelight, those gems to the present generation. Thank you Sir, but it is Mellisai Mannar who is guiding us through and he is the strength of our energy.
What my feeling while reading those reviews was, why music did not find mention in film reviews. This is a million dollar question for which there is no answer. Because in almost all other languages, reviews did have a line or two on the contribution of music to a film except in our Tamil. This applies to almost all the magazines and reviewers in general, though we are indebted to those who did not fail to include this art in the film reviews which was very occasional in those days. May be it was the fault of connoisseurs of film music, particularly fans of Mellisai Mannar including me, who did not raise their words of discontent ! ... no ... no question of fault of theirs .. because they might have been at their tender ages during VR's period like us who could hardly find any resource or method to express their feeling or who might not have matured enough to independently take decisions or write to magaines or adopt any other such methods ....
Then what went wrong?

Raghavendran
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madhuraman
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:10 am    Post subject: Speak to members Reply with quote

Dear Friends,
Despite being an item of looking back, the non-inclusion of music in TF reviews especially of the era that had real music needs being seriously understood for the ramifications behind. Why suddenly reviewers chose to devote space to eulogize MDs after a point of time is quite obvious. A stage came when even healthy criticism sparked off irate remarks from certain quarters implying that things were orchestrated to suit certain interests.People who were work conscious did nothing of image building -an art that proved more rewarding than genuine effort. It can all be summarised as cultural decadence, What else?
Warm regards Prof.K.Raman Madurai.
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s ramaswamy
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

This is a topic close to my heart. I had asked my elder sister who was in high school or college whether msv tkr combo had been featured by any magazine during the duo's peak period and she could not say for certain..

The reviewer in Kalki during the mid 1950s till the 1970s was Kanthan who hardly wrote anything about the film's music. But I distinctly remember his review of Panakkara Kudumbam where he had praised all the songs especially pointing out to the song "Ithu varai neenga paartha paarvai" as a very good no.

Ramaswamy
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Vatsan
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:28 pm    Post subject: Resp. Reply with quote

This is the first time I am visiting this thread and what revelations. Parthavi, I am well and truly disappointed with the "VR speak" on kalaikOyil....the reference to VR confessing to copying tunes and despite that, the songs being lacklustre. "Low class" and "crass" are the words that come to my mind immediately plus several more that occupy the lowest rung in my collection of invectives!!! Even lowly vermins would exhibit a greater taste and sense in music !!! The collective consciousness of the human race plummets when sensitive and profound art is trampled upon and smothered by "faculties challenged" reporters who make a living out of mindless criticism. I am sure this apology for a reviewer had a fan base as well. Looks like the foundation stone for taking Tamil Film music down to the current cross-currents of cacophony was already laid then !!! WHAT A TRAVESTY !!!!

The moderator may choose to remove / edit my post if he deems it too offensive. That is alright with me, but where else would I be able to vent my feelings with regards to such crassness !!!!!
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