Innalathe Tharam ( Stars of Yesteryears) is a quest in pursuit of stars who twinkled in the cinematic skies in times past and seeks answers to questions that filmgoers often ask: What happened to them? Where are they now? What do they do for a living? ; an investigative journey that tries to track down the whereabouts of thestars of bygone days & inquires into their present circumstances & means of livelihood. To be launched on the 28th of November, it will be telecast every Saturday at 7pm .
The programme focuses not on the leading lights who held centre stage, but the relatively minor stars who orbited in the penumbra region of glory and occupied the lower rungs of fame. These include character actors past their prime, promising youngsters who were eclipsed by luckier rivals,stars who got burnt out in mid-ascent and declined into oblivion.
The programme resorts to an ‘investigative story’ format in which the mystery of the artiste’s present place of residence is solved gradually. Their friends/colleagues are hunted up, who may give pointers to their possible location; the trail is followed diligently, one clue leading to the next in a journey over many miles and different roads until they finally arrive at the doorstep of the artiste, which may be in the heart of Kodambakkam or the suburbs of Madras. The crew take position with camera, lights & boom to capture the first glimpse of the faded star who is totally unaware of the plot.
Once they get over the initial shock, the show gets down to probing into their means of livelihood, the resources at their disposal .The touching tales of their starry past & ‘dim’ present is re-counted through interviews, voice overs & film clippings: of T.R.Omana who donned grey hair & wrinkles at 20 to become the eternal mother of Malayalam films, now barely subsisting on the meager rent collected from a number of small shops in her neighbourhood; Puliyur Saroja, the famous South Indian choreographer who having lost her only son, invested her savings in a school and spends the climax of her life seeking her son amongst the hundreds of boys studying in her school.
These are heart-rending tales of sorrow, poverty & deprivation, of erstwhile stars forsaken by fortune halfway thru the journey that unknowingly moistens the eye. Extraordinarily innovative in its subject, format & presentation, it pieces together the pitiful condition of the supporting cast whom the Fates left in the lurch; of the technicians behind the scenes whose lives are now forever in the shade.