All Things Tamil Cinema


Maneesh talks to Sai and Arun on all things Tamil Cinema- its history, its unique relationship with the political milieu of Tamil Nadu, its evolution over the years and the cults of personalities that it has spawned.

@psynarayan    @worklifewinrep    @maneesht




  • M. K. Thyagaraja:
  • Sivaji Ganesan:
  • K. Balachander:
  • Mari Selvaraj:





0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

Informative episode.

Thalapathi soundtrack is amazing.

Lots of movies I want to watch after listening to this. Just watched 96. Great movie. Vijay Sethupathi is a treasure.

1 year ago

Tyagaraja Bhagavatar in his heyday was an absolute phenomenon. His fall was equally dramatic. He was quite handsome, coming from goldsmith caste in Tamilnad who call themselves Acharys, top carnatic musician. In 1930, 1940s Tamil cinemas used to be long 3 hours, occupied mostly with carnatic music. As a handsome top vocalist with fairly good acting skills, he was total hit with audiences and immensely popular. In his heyday he was more popular than combined popularity of later day MGR, Sivaji, Rajnikant and others. Some of his fans changed their name to his, they tattoos of his face on their bodies.

In a murder trial, he was convicted and sent to jail After a few years, his case was reviewed by Privy Council and was released.

He tried his hand at acting and directing again. However, within 3 years, the audience taste changed from mythological musical to social themes , he was not adept at catering to new tastes and was a failure as director losing all the money in the process. He died a poor and broken man.

Post Bhagavatar cinema was a fertile ground of social themes of Dravidian movement, who deftly converted all that to political popularity , votes and power.

I heard even his samadhi is so run down, only cows graze there and full of cowdung. Absolute human drama, on screen and even more so in real line. The moral would be – How the mighty have fallen.

Few weeks back a Tamil writer recounted how he met him sitting alone in Madras Egmore Railway Station unnoticed, in late 50s while 10 years back thousands of people mobbed the station to receive him. That is Tamil Nadu, land of fleeting personality cults.

1 year ago

Sorry meant to post in open

1 year ago

Although quite long, it was an engaging listen. Good stuff on MKT, early Tamil Cinema and the studios.
I do feel though that since it was told from the perspective of two guys who were probably not born and raised in TN (guessing from the botched up pronunciations of Tamil movie and song names), some nuances were missed.
I felt a few influential names were not discussed or only mentioned in passing due to lack of time perhaps? Kannadasan and NSK are two names I can think of. Speaking of NSK, the influence of other comedians such as Vadivelu on Tamil popular culture could have been discussed more.
Also, some basic errors like attributing Sippi irukku muthum irukku song to Ilaiyaraaja could have been avoided. It was composed by the great MSV. Balachander didn’t go to Ilaiyaraaja until 1985 for Sindhu Bharaivi. The duo had a fall out later and it was Balachander who, as a producer, forced Mani Ratnam to switch to a new music director for Roja, thus changing Tamil and Indian film music forever.

Brown Pundits