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Bharatirajaa (b. 1944)

Real name Chinnaswamy. Successful Tamil director and scenarist; also worked extensively in Hindi and Telugu. Born in Allinagaram, Madurai, TN. Joined films having apparently been obsessed with Sivaji Ganesan’s movies during his childhood in a peasant family. Assisted K.S. Sethumadhavan? (1968), P. Pullaiah and Puttanna Kanagal (whose influence he acknowledges). Début with Pathinaru Vayathinile, scored by his childhood friend Ilaiyaraja, establishing both composer and lead star Sridevi? in the Tamil cinema. It was remade in Hindi as Solva Sawan. Went on to adapt the middle-class melodramas of C.V. Sridhar and K. Balachander into a new genre of the rural ‘realist’ film based on folk ritual (often featuring the local village deity as dramatic pivot, as inFil Vedham Pudithu), while introducing technocentric fantasy elements. His reliance on emotionally heightened psychodrama, with nature itself or its invocation through ritual playing a crucial part in the narrative, elaborates the Kanagal? style, as at the end of Kizhakke Pokum Rayil when, in the nick of time, the hero saves the heroine from being sacrificed to placate the flooding river. This work, notably after the controversial and critically acclaimed Karuthamma (1994), has been recently revalued in the context of the relative absence of a New Indian Cinema in Tamil. Most of his non-Tamil films are remakes of Tamil hits (e.g. Lovers remakes Alaigal Oyvathillai; Savere Wali Gadi remakes Kizhakke Pokum Rayil). Best-known work, Sigappu Rojakkal, is a slasher film directed against women. It was remade with Rajesh Khanna in Hindi as Red Rose and triggered protests from feminists in Bombay and Delhi. Introduced several new actors in Tamil, e.g. Radha, Revathi, Radhika, Rekha, Bhagyaraj? and Karthik.

FILMOGRAPHY: 1977: Pathinaru Vayathinile; 1978: Kizhakke Pokum Rayil; Sigappu Rojakkal; Solva Sawan; 1979: Puthiya Varpugal; Niram Maratha Pookal/ Niram Maradha Pushpangal; Yar Gulabi; 1980: Red Rose; Kallukkul Eram; Nizhalgal; Kotha Jeevithulu; 1981: Alaigal Oyvathillai; Tik Tik Tik; Seethakoka Chilaka; 1982: Kathal Oviyam; Valibame Vaa; 1983: Mann Vasanai; Lovers; Pudhumai Penn; 1984: Oru Kaithiyin Diary; 1985: Ee Tharam Illalu; Muthal Mariyathai; Savere Wali Gadi; Yuvatharam Pilichindi; 1986: Kadalora Kavathaikal; 1987: Vedham Pudithu; Aradhana; 1988: Jamadagni; Kodiparakkuthu; 1989: En Uyir Thozhan; 1991: Pudhu Nellu Pudhu Nathu; 1992: Nadodi Thendral; Captain Magal; 1993: Kizhakku Seemayile; 1994:Karuthamma; 1995:Pasumponn; Anthimantharai.