Sivaji’s ‘Uthama Puthiran’ has a timeless appeal

The audience stayed on till almost the end because of two factors, actually three — their love for classics of the eternally popular actor Sivaji Ganesan, the new elements that Y.Gee. Mahendra had included in the show and his spontaneity with words. ‘Sivaji Oru Uththama Puthiran,’ at Vani Mahal, on Sunday, celebrated 60 years of the release of the immortal Sivaji Ganesan-Padmini film, inspired by Man in the Iron Mask. Scripted by the inimitable Sridhar, it was filmed by Vincent and directed by T. Prakash Rao. Three hours just melted away as if it were a travel back to the past on a time machine. Certainly there was enough for others to learn a thing or two in curating such events.

Billed as YGM’s ‘audio-visual presentation,’ the show was sprinkled with the incredible songs of the music wizard, G. Ramanathan, from Uththama Puthiran, a semi-classical ‘Kaathirupaan Kamala Kannan,’ in dancer-actor Shobana’s choreography, gracefully danced to by her students, and significant sequences with relevant anecdotes projected on the LED screen on stage.

Sivaji’s ‘Uthama Puthiran’ has a timeless appeal

Honour for the crew

A highlight of the evening was that the heirs of the cast and crew of Uththama Puthiran were honoured. So you had Ragini’s daughter Mahalakshmi, niece Shobana, G. Ramanathan’s grandson Rajhesh Vaidhya, K.S. Gopalakrishnan’s son KSG Venkatesh, OAK Thevar’s son OAK Sundar and Thangavelu-M. Saroja’s daughter Sumathi on stage.

Sivaji’s ‘Uthama Puthiran’ has a timeless appeal

P. Suseela, the guest of honour, was in her element. “Do you know that Jikki’s brother (P.G. Narayanaswamy) is also here?” she quipped. Mahendra was surprised when the gentleman rose from a row far away. He was called up on stage too.

“I would feel jittery when Sivaji occasionally dropped in at the studio to listen to my recording,” Suseela recalled, and she beautifully hummed a few lines of her solo, ‘Unnazhagai Kanniyargal…’ which Sujatha and Janaki earlier sang as a duet. Suseela complimented them. “I can sing a little but not an entire song,” she laughed when YGM asked her to continue. A.P. Balaji’s orchestra, Aradhana, did a commendable job of the ageless numbers.

Sivaji’s ‘Uthama Puthiran’ has a timeless appeal

Portions of the classical dance sequences from the film, which showcased the synchrony and fluidity of Padmini-Ragini’s footwork were screened. “Juxtaposing these shots involved nine hours of editing,” said YGM, when Sivaji Ganesan’s similar, striking mannerisms first in Uththama Puthiran and much later in Deiva Magan were beamed. Another surprise greeted the audience in the form of Rita, the actor who had danced with Ganesan, Helen and others for the ‘Yaaradi Nee Mohini’ song!

Sivaji Ganesan’s family members, including Ramkumar, were present, and the women in the group appeared visibly moved on seeing the thespian on screen.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 12:57:12 AM |

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