Potpourri of titbits about cinema - P. S. Veerappa
Veteran artiste, P. S. Veerappa’s ‘audacious’ laughter ha ..ha ..haa .. was very popular with the cine-goers of yesteryears. Born in the year 1911, Veerappa belonged to Kangeyam. But he grew up in his grandfather’s house in Pollachi right from the time of his tender age. As he was never interested in studies, he came to Madras with the aim of joining cinema. When he accidentally met K. B. Sundarambal, he expressed his fervent desire to her and Sundarambal sent him to Ellis R. Duncan with a recommendation letter. Duncan was directing the film ‘Manimekalai’ at that time in which Sundarambal had an important role. And, Veerappa was introduced to cinema through that film in the year 1939. His next films were ‘Udayanan Vasavadatta’ in which G. N. Balasubramanian and Vasundaradevi were the lead pair and Jupiter Pictures’ ‘Sri Murugan’ with Honnappa Bhagwadar as the hero. MGR was also in the cast and Veerappa and MGR became friends after this film. Their friendship was in tact till end and the duo acted in many films together as hero and villain. Veerappa’s popular laughter ha ..ha ..haa .. was first tried in the film ‘Chakravarthi thirumagal’ in which MGR was the hero. As it had tremendous response, it was continued by Veerappa in all his subsequent films and it became his trade mark. In the film ‘Vanjikottai vaalibhan’, there would be a dance sequence in which Vyjayanthimala and Padmini would both be dancing, challenging each other. In this scene, Veerappa would shout, “Sabhaash … sariyana potti …”, welcoming the challenge. This particular shot evokes claps from the audience even today whenever the film is screened. And, in his another film ‘Mahadevi’, Veerappa, the villain, would chase the heroine Savithri with so much lust. In the scene in which he realizes that he could never get Savithri, he would say, “Adainthaal Mahadevi, illaiyel maranadevi …”. This dialogue gets consistent claps from the audience even today and remains popular with the cine-goers of yesteryears.
Sivaji Ganesan was a great admirer and fan of Veerappa’s acting and his ‘famous’ laughter. Sivaji had openly expressed this admiration on many occasions. Veerappa had acted as the villain with four generation heroes, starting from MGR and Sivaji to heroes like Kamal, Rajini and Vijaykant. A molded villain in movies, Veerappa was a great human being in real life. He had no bad habits. He became a producer also and produced many good films. Veerappa, who had no leaning for any political party, died in the year 1998 in the month of September. He had a daughter and a son. His son Hariharan is a film producer today.