When I saw ‘Boss Engira Baskaran’ in the theatre, I was awed. It was truly one of the most unique experiences that you can get. If you laughed a few seconds more into a joke, you risked , missing out another one. It was a truly cracker-jack of a movie, purely riding on Santhanam as the hero, the lovely Nayanthara and Arya as the comedian.
Rajesh was setting new benchmarks in comedy. By the end of his third film, OKOK, Santhanam had got the Best comedian award, three times, continuously, all of them, being Rajesh’s films. ( VIJAY TV AWARD.) It appeared that there was no stopping Director Rajesh in the comedy business. Was he probably the next Sundar.C?
But, that was not to last.. Over the years, Rajesh’s USP has become his greatest weakness. His scripts have become so predictable, and invariably are built around ‘Alcohol’, ‘Friendship’ and a lame love story.
Although, I was quite skeptical about going to VSOP first hand itself, I took a chance and went to the theatre. This was a film produced by ‘The Show People’, and the team of Boss Engira Baskaran was coming together again. It was an utter disappointment..
Each person has a right to see or evaluate how they wish to spend their time, so making a broad judgement wont be fair. But, this is my opinion of Director Rajesh. Henceforth, I wont even be seeing any of his films, even in a pirated print.. Saves so much time, atleast..
Director Rajesh needs little introduction today. He is definitely one of the directors who has a strong connect amongst the youth of today. Most of the movies made by him are purely comedy stuff, but with a twist.. He puts the comedian (Santhanam usually) in the place of the hero and makes the hero the comedian.. This formula has worked him good, atleast during his first few movies..
Siva Manasula Sakthi – If my memory serves me right, this movie was produced by Anantha Vikatan, at around the same time, in which they were also producing the small budgeted movie, Valmiki, somewhere around the year 2009-10. The movie did do reasonable business, and was famous for the tomboy character played by the heroine Shakthi, and the affable courier boy – Shiva.. Jeeva’s comedy with Santhanam was enjoyable, along with the rest of the movie crew. While it was good comically, it wasn’t great..
Boss Engira Baskaran : Without doubt, in my opinion, this movie sits amongst the all time great comedy movies of tamil cinema. We may not know its value now, but fifty years later, when movies of the previous decade are handpicked, surely, this movie would feature in it. The comedy strike rate was so good and frequent, that you would start laughing for the next comedy dialogue, before your body even settled down from the first. Great performances from the entire crew. Nayantara was at her prettiest.. Santhanam dominated proceedings as the ‘Thala -Thalapathi’ character.. I am instantly reminded of 2 cult movies that fit in this genre..
Sabapathy ( 1942) starring T.R.Ramachandran and his Friend, the legendary and first comedian of Tamil cinema, Kali.S.Ratnam.
Ullathai Alllitha, the greatest of Sundar.C’s films, starring Karthik and Koundamani..
Boss Engira Baskaran’s success had set in a huge surge of expectations. Henceforth, a huge amount of people went to see ‘Oru Kal Oru Kannadi’, because it was a Rajesh film. By now, a series of patterns had started to emerge, much like Premji uses that boring dialogue everytime – Enna Kodumai Idhu? Scenes would be built around alcohol, which was always there in all of Rajesh’s movies.. Although the movie could not meet the high point of Boss Engira Baskaran, it was still quite successful. Santhanam made up for a bit of the newcomer UdayaNidhi Stalin’s acting deficiencies. Nayanthara, was ironically, becoming more beautiful with age..
AND THEN CAME….CRASHHHHHHH
The Less said about his fourth film, ‘Azhagu Raja’ – the better.. People who went to see a Rajesh film ended up disappointed..
Now, today with VSOP ( Yeah Vasuvum Saravanum Onna Paduchavanga, we believe that..) is due for release. It is made with Rajesh’s best team combo and produced by Arya’s production company, effectively retaining the same team of Rajesh’s peak movie. This movie has to do well for Rajesh..
If the comedy sequences atleast match the levels of OKOK.. I think it would do well, other wise, even if not the peak of BEB..
But I think after a certain point in time, things tend to start becoming stale. Making comedy films is fine, but I think it is time, Rajesh experimented a bit more, with other genres as well.
Arya and Rajesh need to thank their stars that they are not as big and famous as KamalaHassan, because with the current political scenario being played out around alcohol, they are lucky to have missed the eyes of the guardians of Tamil culture..