B for Bhaskar
M Bhaskar graduated from The Presidency College, Chennai and joined as an assistant director to CV Sridhar in 1964. He worked with him until 1975. Most of the websites report that he worked as a second unit director for a Hollywood production produced by 20th Century Fox. It was tough to identify the movie, and I gave up after a search.
Although he started his direction career with an innocuous movie titled Innum Oru Meera, his breakthrough came in his second movie when he made a growing actor by the name Rajinikanth as his lead actor. He was impressed with Rajinikanth when he saw him in Aarupushpangal, but none of the actors was ready to play the villain for Rajinikanth. Finally, Srikanth accepted to play the antagonist, and Bhairavi happened. Superstar title for Rajinikanth was first used in this movie.
Post-Bhiaravi, Bhaskar didn’t receive any offers, and so, he produced and directed Soolam under the Oscar Movies banner. Soolam was a masala entertainer that made some real profits and Bhaskar adorned the title of “Soolam” Bhaskar. He made more than 20 movies in Tamil, Hindi and Telugu. He continued to produce and direct films in Tamil, and his last release was Thotta that had Jeevan and Priyamani in the lead.
M Bhaskar’s work as the Tamilnadu Film Producer’s Council’s secretary is well appreciated in the industry. He was instrumental in making the council cash positive, and he also worked as CBFC Chairman in Chennai. He passed away in 2013, and he had a movie with newcomers in production titled Oodhari.
Breakout Movie: Theerpugal Thiruthapadalam
M Bhaskar is known for his moral dilemma thrillers and drama. But it started with Theerpugal Thiruthapadalam. The movie is about Radha (played by Ambika) is a hysterical possessive woman who loves her husband Rajesh (played by Sivakumar) and daughter (played by Meena). One day, when Rajesh returns home after work, he finds Radha sleeping in a dilapidated state and a dead body in their study room. He discards the corpse, but Radha doesn’t have any inkling of what happened. The rest of the story is about how Rajesh finds the truth about his wife and the dead body.
When you watch the movie, you will be surprised at the way M Bhaskar jumps into the conflict and sucks you into the narrative. The movie analyses the moral dilemma of the characters and interestingly doesn’t shy away from discussing infidelity (in fact, the 80s movies were more open about these issues). Although the film meanders into unwanted comedy sequences and has a usual twist (wouldn’t have been a typical twist in that era), the movie is definitely worth a watch.
The movie was a big hit for M Bhaskar, and he started making similar films like Thandikapadatha Nyayangal (dealt with infidelity) and Oru Sumangaliyoda Katha (Malayalam). He moved on to courtroom dramas like Pournami Alaigal, Sattathin Thirappuvizha etc.,
Youtube link to the movie
Movies to watch