Today (Aug 13) is Raksha Bandhan day a festival observed in North India, which celebrates the relationship between brothers and sisters.
A Rakhi or sacred thread is tied by a sister on her brother's wrist which symbolises her love and prayers for her brother's well-being, and the brother's lifelong vow to protect her.
In Tamil Nadu though Raksha Bandhan is not celebrated, the brother-sister relationship has been eulogised on screen. From time immemorial the relationship has stood the test of time in our commercial cinema.
In MGR films he always had a loving sister for whom he would give up anything in life for their well being. Later when MGR started his own political party ADMK it paid rich dividends, as he was a symbol of elder brother to the ladies who voted for him.
Sivaji Ganesan’s most memorable film on sister sentiments was Pasamalar, where he played elder brother to the then top heroine Savithri. The film directed by Bheem Singh was the “mother of all tearjerkers”, as Sivaji made all kinds of sacrifices to make his sister happy.
Many years later his son Prabhu acted in a film called En Thangachi Padichava directed by P Vasu again about sister sentiments which worked with the masses.
Three years later Prabhu and Vasu came to make the mega hit Chinna Thambi. It was on the love of three rich brothers for their youngest sister played by Kushboo who falls for a servant (Prabhu) in the house.
Since then 'Thangachi Pasam' has been the secret formula of big heroes to woo the mass B & C audiences in small towns and villages. Taking a leaf out of MGR and Sivaji films Rajinikanth started insisting on having a “sister character” in his films who go through great emotional crisis or get raped by the villain- Naan Sigappu Manushyan, Dharma Yuddham, Padayappa and the best of the lot Bashaa.
Ilayathalapathy Vijay’s Tirupachi was a super hit only because of the 'sister sentiments'. His deep love for his sister played by Mallika made him an angry young man baying for the blood of the baddies and cleaning up the system. Later he did Sivakasi which also worked due to the same reasons.
Now Vijay is doing Velayudham, (see pic) where Saranya Mohan plays his sister. In the film Vijay metamorphoses from rural milkman who thinks the world of his sister to an avenging vigilante.
The latest we hear is that Vishal’s Vedi is loaded with sister sentiments. The film is a remake of the Telugu film Sourayam and has lots of ‘Thangachi Pasam’. In the film Poonam Kaur plays his sister who undergoes a traumatic experience due to the villain.
Says director P Vasu, Kollywood’s sister sentiment specialist: “Thangachi Pasam is part and parcel of Tamil film folklore. It has worked big time with the audiences. I always believe that films made with human emotions for the family audiences work best at the box-office”.