Big success on small screen

IT IS creditable to note that the 7th Channel Communication has just created a new record. It has just successfully completed the longest ever daily Tamil soap ..... on DD Podhigai on December 31, 2000. The serial "Ethanai Manithargal", ran into 502 episodes.

The production house was established in 1985 by Manicam Narayanan. Hailing from a family of photographers, he took to video film making and emerged the first non-DD producer to make serials for Doordarshan. A tireless worker, he has four movies and several Tamil TV serials to his credit. Not surprisingly, many awards have come his way.

In their cosy office on Edward Elliotts Road, people behind the many successful serials are busy trying to come up with more clean and wholesome entertainment.

The mega serial "Ethanai Manithargal" can be viewed and reviewed in two parts. The first part stars Sivakumar as the principal character. He is the head of the idealistic paper 'Alaigal', founded by his father. His wife Moon Moon Sen (Vijaya) dies shortly after marriage, in a car accident.

On one occasion, he has an opportunity to listen to Valarmathi, chief editor of his paper, much to the fury of his first cousins who help him in running the press. He eventually marries Valarmathi. While driving down to Ooty to complete some work, he meets with another accident.

He chances to meet his first wife (who is believed to be dead) and daughter there. On the advice of an astrologer, his former wife moved out of his life.

She had been told that it was better for her husband's speedy recovery and health if they lived separately.

Hearing of his second marriage, she wishes to stay out of his life and commits suicide. Meanwhile, Valarmathi leaves for an unknown destination. His daughter takes to ascetism after her lover goes abroad for seven years. Left alone, he dies of a massive heart attack.

The paper is then run by his money-minded cousins. The second wife reads of his death in the paper. By then she has given birth to a daughter. She grooms the daughter be a fearless journalist.

With the help of a neighbour (Sumitra) and an architect friend (Sarath Babu), Valarmathi and her daughter are able to retrieve the paper as legal heirs, revive it and run it on values and principles dear to the founder's hearts. All's well that ends well.

The title song by Chitra is melodious. The beautiful lyrics are penned by Kanmani Subbu (he is Kaviarasu Kannadasan's son). "Vedham Pudhidhu" Devendran's music is of high standards.

The story and dialogues are by Ramaneevan. The dialogues are excellent in several places. The casting of Moon Moon Sen is a refreshing change but in the latter half, she looks much older than Sivakumar.

On closer scrutiny, you can find no villainous characters in the serial. It is only that Sivakumar's cousins cannot reconcile to what they dub are his old-fashioned principles and ideas.

Among themselves, they exhibit extraordinary loyalty. The characters are etched out well. The serial may appeal only to the older audience. There is no pep for the youngsters.

Quite evidently, at Vishranthi, the senior citizen's home in the city, the tea-time was changed to coincide with this serial's telecast time, 2.45 -3.15 p.m.

All the artistes have done justice do their roles but veteran Sivakumar steals the show with his outstanding performance. According to Dr. Ashwathaman, senior radiologist in Chennai. "Ethanai Manithargal" is a neat serial that the entire family can watch together.

For Mrs. Lakshmi Ramachandran, who runs a creche and a tuition academy at Nungambakkam, the lovely signature tune of the 7th Channel Communication forces her to rush to the TV set. I shelve all my work to watch the serial, she says.

And the most inspiring part of the serial for Mrs. Ramachandran was when Sivakumar and Valarmathi decide to run the press when the workers threaten to strike work. This is the sort of determination needed to reach the top of the world.

The title song is irrestitable for Mrs. Rajashree Narayanan, a housewife.

After packing off her family of doctors for work, she relaxes by watching the serial.


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