Tamil films in the 40s and early 50s were mostly based on history, or Hindu mythology. Though these movies were lapped up eagerly by the hungry audiences starved of entertainment, the films were lengthy, but also had tongue twisting dialogues in chaste Tamil, and a dozen songs clubbed together, shot in uninspiring, artificial indoor sets. Thus actors like T.R.Mahalingam, P.U.Chinnappa, Thyagaraja baghavathar, Honappa Bhagavathar etc had a huge fan following due to their absolute command over Carnatic music and their innate ability to churn out lengthy dialogues in unadulterated Tamil. All this changed in the mid 50s with the arrival of socially relevant films, with simple colloquial conversational dialogues, scintillating music and family-based themes, which the common man could both enjoy and connect with. Though much recognition wasn’t given to the directors of these movies, - most of them being from Andra Pradesh - there was one young director who stormed the citadels of film industry and changed the status quo. He brought a breath of fresh air, in movie making, by initiating the new concept of shooting outdoors,creating an awareness about emotions to be shot at close up and using cameras at unusual angles to let the actors speak with their body language resulting in fewer dialogues. Welcome to the grand film world of an outstanding director CV Sridhar, a passionate movie maker, whose films even after decades still have retained their bubbly youthfulness, charm, and passion. He experimented with diagonally opposite genres,- comedy, tragedy, breezy romance, unrequited love, reincarnation – many films with tragic ends or remarkable climaxes catering to an audience of myriad tastes. From being a script writer for many stage plays, it was his ‘Rathapasam’ a stage play, which when made into a movie later, brought him due recognition and appreciation in the film industry. With films like Ethiparathathu, Vidivelli,Uthamaputhiran etc for which he was a script and dialogue writer, the Goddess of Success smiled upon him, which intensified his desire of directing a film. His ambition to produce a movie was fulfilled through Kalyana Parisu, a triangular love story with a hard hitting climax. This movie also brought into limelight the talented singer AM Raja, who was a singer till then, got elevated as a Music Director and Saroja Devi, as a star heroine. He created his own banner ‘Chitralaya movies’ under which he produced some of the iconic movies like Then Nilavu, Nenjil oru Alayam, Kathalikka Neramillai etc. Film like Nenjil Oru Alayam, an extremely heart rending film with new film stars was completely shot indoors, with just 3 characters, in 25 days, an amazing feat decades back, when it took 2 years to complete a movie. This movie had no takers for distribution rights, fearing about its commercial success and Sridhar had to sell it for a paltry sum to a film financier. But it’s roaring box office collection, the film running for 25 months nonstop surprised the entire industry, thus infusing confidence among film makers to come out with quality movies instead of satisfying the front benchers. Then Nilavu, was entirely shot in exotic locales of Kashmir, where as Sivanthaman was shot in foreign countries, both movies which the audience lapped up with great relish. He owned his success to his very close childhood friend Chitralaya Gopu, his younger brother CV Rajendran, and talented camera man Vincent. While Gopu took care of the humour track in most of Sridhar’s movies, Vincent brought innovations in camera angles – things hitherto unknown to the Tamil film world. After a string of sentimental movies, it was at the insistence of Gopu, that Sridhar thought of making a romantic comedy, a genre which was unheard till then in tamil movies. Thus was born the story for Kathalikka Neramillai, where veteran actors Nagesh and Balaiah, took humour to its greatest heights through their consummate acting. Ooty varai Uravu, Utharavinri ulle va were some of the light hearted films, under Sridhar’s direction which ran full houses. It only proved Sridhar’s capability in handling comedy with the same ease as he could with sentimental movies. When producers were scared to introduce new faces in their movies, not sure about the commercial success, Sridhar was daring enough to introduce completely new faces in Kathalikka Neramillai and Vennira Aadai, movies which saw tremendous success and gave excellent actors like Jayalalitha, Ravichandran, Veenira Aadai Murthy, Vennira Aadai Nirmala, Rajyashree. Summing up, we can say Sridars success was due to his excellent script, deft direction, splendid cinematography, crisp dialogues, alluring music with apt situational songs, soul stirring music, a solid story line and above all humour- rib tickling, classy comedy. For the audience both young and old, watching his movies was a totally heavenly experience! Though the void left behind him cannot be filled by anyone else, his immortal movies that have stood the test of time, stand testimony to his greatness. Three cheers to this wonderman who had the equanimity to treat success and failures, who dared to tread into unknown territories in film making and has made the Tamil cinema world proud! Climax song of Kalyana Parisu Song from Nenjil Oru Alayam The pathos in this song is heart-rending, the camera angles heart breaking, sitar accompaniment heart piercing Song from Nenjam Marapathillai Haunting song with beautiful lighting and shadow, innovative camera angles This comedy clip from Kathalikka Neramillai is an ever green classic, where both Nagesh and Balaiah have given an excellent presentation. This song shot in Marina beach, Sridhar’s favorite spot during night, used the headlights of cars parked by the staff and what a beautiful light and shadow effect.