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On the heels of Krishna's memories of Bharathiraja, Tamil Thiravi valai recommends the

Best of Bharathiraja - Part I.

Pathinaaru Vayathinile Bharathiraja's debut feature in 1977 introduced a new genre in tamil cinema - the rural 'realist' melodrama. It also catapulted Sridevi and Illayaraja to instant stardom. Kamal is brilliant as the village bumpkin Chappani, Sri Devi and Rajini round off the marquee line up. Watch out for Goundamani in the supporting cast and also see if you can spot Bhagyaraj too!
Sigappu Rojakkal Just when you thought he was being typecast as king of the hillocks, he sprung a surprise with this slick (then) urban thriller that went one further by casting Kamal against type as a psychotic killer. Inspired by Psycho and the slasher flicks from Hollywood, SR managed to keep the audience on the edge, and the magic of the lead pair worked wonders along with Raja eerie background score and a foot tapping sound track. See if you can spot Bhagyaraj here !
Pudhiya Varpukkal Another rural melodrama from the team of Bharathiraja, Bhagyaraj and Illayaraja. Bhagyaraj is the new school teacher in town who picks on the village elder and the local bully while wooing a local nymphet in Rati. The climax introduced a new trend of showcasing the village ritual as the resolution to the problems in the screenplay, a trend that's grown from welcome to disturbing in the recent years.
Nizhalgal Semi-biographical, the screenplay draw mostly from the director's and his friends' personal experiences. A coming of age for Bharathiraja in some ways. Illayaraja's rises above himself  to provide a great sound track. Nizhalgal Ravi, Rajashekar and Chandrashekar are convincing as unemployed youth who come to grips with life and reality in urban Madras.
Alaigal Oivadhillai Communal harmony preached via the tale of two lovers of different castes who fight the odds, their families and themselves to unite under the circumstances. Karthik and Radha play the lead pair. The setting shifts to a fishing hamlet on the coast, but the director preserves his penchant for rural melodrama in slightly suburban settings.
Oru Kaidhiyin Dairy The director's urban thrillogy with Kamal (SR and Tik Tik Tik being the other two) was a huge commercial hit. Kamal plays father and son in this father versus son melodrama. The father out to avenge his wife's killers and the son , a policeman on the heels of his father. The climax, a little cinematic was sufficient to woo the audiences over. Illayaraja comes up with two great numbers!
Muthal Mariyadhai A stellar cast headed by Shivaji and Radha in a two throng tale of a village  landlord and his love for the fisherman's young daughter and the second tragic tale of his son-in-law a rapist and a murderer. Vadivukarasi in a role that makes you want to hate her is brilliant as the scenery chewing shrewish wife of Shivaji. Satyaraj makes a late appearance in an important cameo.
Vedam Pudidhu This tirade against the Brahmin community supposedly did not go down too well with the then Prez, R.V. Venkataraman who supported the Tambras call to censor the movie. But that probably helped the movie's cause at the Box Office. The movie potray a Thevar landlord (Satyaraj)'s feud with a Brahmin priest (Charu Haasan) who teaches the Thevar's son the vedas and the scriptures. Not helping his father's cause is Raja, the son of  the Thevar falling in love with Amala, the priest's daughter. Bharathiraja's message against religious bigotry is lost somewhere in the violent ending.
En Uyir Thozan A rather underrated Bharathiraja flick in which the director takes a pot shot against the mockery of the Grass root campaigning system in Indian politics. The script is laced with expletives that some might balk at, but is put to effective use in potraying the travails of a young party worker who is used by his higher-ups to serve their own cause. Vadivukarasi and Livingston take the acting honors. Illayaraja's "Eh Raasathi" just lights up the screen..
Kizhakku Seemaiyile A Paasamalar for the 90s set in the director's favorite rural settings. Radhika and Vijayakumar play the hopeless sufferables who tolerate the brackish tongue of Napolean before their children's love affair threatens to blow things up. Rehmaan's music provides valuable support to the glycerin laden script and surroundings.