'Maykkama Kalakkama? Manathile Kuzhappama? Vazhkaiyil Nadukkama? Are you confused / scared/terrified/ in life? Haven't we asked these questions at some point in our lives where destiny slaps up a life with no choices, leaving us with very few options and tough decisions to be made . But the great film director. C.V. Sridhar turned these questions in to an immortal song through the magic lyrics of Kannadasan in a movie 'Sumaithangi ' where the hero Gemini Ganesh, turned in to sacrificial pawn by his selfish family members , foregoes his love , job and ambitions just for the sake of his family and finds eternal peace by turning in to a Christian missionary priest. That the movie made in the 60s hit a golden jubilee is history ,but the magic touch by the ace director and his team sure won accolades in the film Industry and left many in the theatre with moist eyes .
Then Nilavu (Honey Moon) (1961) another movie from the stable of Sridhar belonged to a different genre .It was a rollicking romantic comedy shot in the exotic locations of Kashmir. The frolicking Gemini Ganeshan skiing in the waters of Dal lake with bubbly Vjjayanthimala sent many a heart spinning in to a romantic tizzy .The lilting tunes of A.M. Raja with his melodious voice jelled perfectly with the subtle romance. People used to tear jerkers and emotional dramas of great actors like Shivaji Ganeshan found this movie a welcome relief from the loud family fare.
1962 saw the movie' Nenjil Oor Aaalyam' another master piece of Sridhar shot in a record period of 40 days. The movie made on a shoe string budget had a story which revolved around three people Muthuraman , his wife Devika and her ex lover Kalyan kumar, the doctor treating Muthuraman . The movie entirely shot indoors introduced the veteran actor Muthuraman in to the film world . There was no looking back for him after the tremendous success of this movie. The movie though lacked commercial content had wonderful camera work with light and shade playing up the mood of the situation effectively..Though all the songs turned hits, the song' Ninaipathellam nadanthu vittal Deivam eehtumillai ' is a philosophical master piece from Kannadasan.The comic relief was provided by Thai Nagesh.
In 1964 there were films like' Kodimalar' and' Kalai Koyil ' directed by Shridar which belonged to the genre of 'Off beat' movies. Kodimalar was a story of a dumb girl played by actress Vijayakumari who later married Muthuraman in the story. .Though the film didnt do well the songs were absolutely fabulous .The haunting song' Mouname parvaiyal oru pattu pada vendum' by P.B . Shrinivas is an immortal melody with meaningful lyrics. Kalai Koyil was produced by M.S. Vishwanthan , the great music director and directed by Sridar . It iwas about the life of a Veena artist who gets caught in the bad world of drinking losing all his self respect. in the process. . Carnatic singer Balamurali krishna was the play back singer for this movie and gave wonderful songs like' thanga ratham vanthau veethiyile' while P. Susheela sang 'Deviyar iruvar Muruganukku ' with a back ground score of veena playing through out the song and the movie by veteran Veena artist Chittibabu.
Kadalikka Neramillai was another rip roaring comedy with Nagesh ,T.S Baliah, Muthuraman and Ravichandran playing the lead roles. Ravichandran was the new comer who later turned in to successful actor with many films to his credit. The film was a hit with the masses with its beautiful songs, light hearted humor and buxom beauites like Kanchana, Rajyashree and Sachu.
Later on he produced a movie' Vennira Aaddai 'where Kumari Jayalalitha( Ex chief minister of Tamilnadu) made her debut . It also saw the arrival of Srikanth in to the film indistry shifting his loyalties from the Consulate of America . The story about a young psychiatrist treating a young widow, though an unusual theme for the fun loving Tamil audience, turned in to a grand success due to the lilting songs ,music and the talented teenager Jayalalitha's acting prowess...
Meenda sorgam , Kalyana Parisu were tragic movies of 1959 but turned in to jubilee hits for its melodious songs , soulful music and understated acting by the senior most artistes like Padmini and Saroja devi.
Though later on Sridhar moved on to make commercial ventures like 'Sivantha Mann' shot in international locations ,he could not bring out the subtle romance of movies like Kalyana Parisu or Meenda Sorgam.
In the 60s when technology had not advanced much, only a strong script with good music and a clear story line could ensure the success of the films. That Sridhar could achieve it through his hard work and excellent team work speaks highly about his talent .. He won people's hearts through his immortal movies but that he is battling a debilitating stroke in the evening of his life, is sad news. .He passed away today morning bringing an end to an era where he played the roles of director, script writer and producer with great verve. May his soul rest in peace.