L for Liaquat Ali Khan
I almost completed my post on Lenin for L, but he is probably famous because of his other craft – editing and also active as a director (he made a movie last year). I wanted to point someone so discrete but played a huge role in the rise of an actor and politician through his dialogues and films.
If you analyse the rise of Vijaykanth, there will be two people (surprisingly they are both from Islam) – Ibrahim Rowther (Manager and Producer) and Liaquat Ali Khan (Dialogue writer and Director). Vijayakanth’s movies were known for fiery dialogues that touched the hearts of people and at the same time, had an anti-establishment tone. Liaquat Ali Khan started collaborating with Vijayakanth from Poonthotta Kavalkaran. If I am not wrong, this is the first movie produced by Ibrahim Rowther, and it started a string of films written by Liaquat Ali Khan with Vijayakanth in the lead and produced by Ibrahim Rowther.
Liaquat Ali Khan became a director in 1989, and surprisingly it was not a political movie. Paatukku Oru Thalaivan, a love story that had Vijayakanth and Shobana in the lead with some fantastic songs by Ilaiyaraaja (Ninaithathu Yaaro, Azhagiya Nadhi Ena). I am convinced that Vijayakanth was ready to start his political life as early as 1991 and Captain Prabhakaran could have been the start of everything. Post Captain Prabhakaran, his movies were carefully chosen by Ibrahim Rowther that promoted him as a do-gooder and a fighter for the downtrodden. Liaquat Ali Khan played a prominent role in projecting this image through his writing. The movies include Pulan Visaranai, Captain Prabhakaran, Maanagara Kaaval and the pinnacle was Ezhai Jaathi
Break-out movie: Ezhai Jaathi
Ezhai Jaathi was an interesting experiment from Vijayakanth and Liaquat Ali Khan. The film is about Subhash Chandra Bose (Vijayakanth), son of Udayar (Vijayakumar), a prominent industrialist who controls the politics and industry in the state. Subhash always gets into altercations with police and local politicians to help the downtrodden. He wants to become a Police officer as he thinks that power will help him to help the poor. He gets into a fight with a Member of Parliament, Thilakavathi (played by Jayaprada). Later, Subash finds out that Thilakavathi is controlled by the local MLA to do nefarious activities. The rest of the movie is about how Vijayakanth becomes a politician, rescues Thilakavathi and eliminates the MLA and his goons.
The movie was filled political undertones and MGR references that touted Vijayakanth as the next MGR. In fact, the climax sequence was modelled on MGR’s appearance after his gunshot wound. The fiery dialogues were the backbone of the movie. Ezhai Jaathi wasn’t a super hit, but it did make an impact in the political life of Vijayakanth. Liaquat Ali Khan continued to write dialogues for Vijayakanth and joined his political party, DMDK. After Sudhish (Vijayakanth’s brother-in-law) became prominent in the party, both Ibrahim Rowther and Liaquat Ali Khan were sidelined. Liaquat Ali Khan joined AIADMK in 2006 and campaigned against Vijayakanth. He acted in few movies as the villain, and he was also part of the South Indian Writers Association.
YouTube link to the movie
Movies to watch
- Paatukku Oru Thalaivan
For his writing
- Captain Prabhakaran
- Poonthotta Kavalkaran
- Pulan Visaranai
- Makkal Aatchi