Whenever KB movies are discussed, reviewers and writers always speak about his most famous creations. You can see Thillu Mullu, Apoorva Ragangal, Ethir Neechal and Sindhu Bhairavi in every article that talks about KB. So this article is about 5 Balachander movies that you wouldn’t have watched but should give them a shot.
Punnagai (The Smile) (1971)
Punnagai is a movie about 5 friends from different backgrounds take an oath in front of Gandhi statute that they will follow the path of truth in their profession. After an accident, in which they lose one of their friends, they take different professions. The movie analyses ethical problems that each character faces and how they buckle under pressure. Wonderfully portrayed by Gemini Ganesan, Muthuraman, MRR Vasu and Nagesh, the movie had music from MSV. Nagesh’s character acts as the moral compass, chronicler and narrator of the movie – of course who else KB will use for that pinnacle character.
Naanal (Reed) (1965)
Although Nanaal appears to be quite popular with ardent KB buffs, it’s not much talked about movie among the mainstream movie fans because nobody believes that he could make a thriller.
Naanal is a movie about 4 jail birds escaping the prison to avenge the judge who sentenced them. They take hostage of his house and the movie is built around how the judge and his family escape from the hostage. Although the movie has a supporting cast that shines throughout the movie (Sowcar Janaki, Muthuraman, KR Vijaya Srikanth and of course Nagesh), Naanal is brilliant because of Major Sunderrajan (who plays the leader of the rat pack) and VS Raghavan (who plays the judge).
When Crazy Mohan wrote his first play for S.Ve.Sheker’s troupe, he was inspired by Naanal to create Crazy Thieves in Palavakkam. Why the name Naanal? – Watch the movie.
Nool Veli (Fence made of thread) (1978)
Nool Veli is an extremely controversial movie that talked about an incestuous relationship between a man and his step daughter. KB delicately deals the issue and poses moral questions to his audience that will be tough to handle.
The characters are wonderfully portrayed by Sarath Babu, Sujatha and Saritha. The movie had music from MSV. Mounathil Vilayadum Manasatchiye rendered by Balamurali Krishna is a noteworthy song in the movie. Kamal Hassan did a guest role in the movie.
Kalyana Agathigal (Refugees of marriage) (1985)
Kalyana Agathigal is KB’s expectation of what women will do due to the oppression they face. Six women who are oppressed by men and society through different ways live together and also run a band under the banner “Kalyana Agathigal”. The movie starts when a girl from a small village, Ammulu (Sarita) joins them.
The most heartening thing about the movie is that it doesn’t preach, but it just shows how women would live their life independently. There is love, betrayal and sweet sentiments laced throughout the movie. The girls make fun of each other, tease men and Saritha even puts marks for every man they see. The music was by VS Narasimhan with some interesting compositions – the most famous one is Manasukkul Utkarnthu Maniadithai. Nasser made his debut in this movie.
Oru Veedu Iru Vaasal (One house with two entrances)(1990)
Oru Veedu Iru Vaasal is an experimental movie that has two intertwined stories in the same movie. Both the stories talked about how women from two spectrums are ostracised by men. Although the linking between the two stories is contrived, the movie is an interesting experiment from KB.
The stories were written by Anuradha Ramanan while the music was by VS Narasimhan. The movie had Ganesh-Kumaresh violin brothers in the lead with Vaishnavi and Karthika (best known for her role as Kamal’s daughter in Nayakan) did the female roles.
K Balachander is an auteur par excellence who never shied away from making controversial movies. This article is just to introduce some rare gems from him that you wouldn’t have watched.