D. Yoganand (1922-2006) was a prolific, bilingual filmmaker who was most active from the 1950s to 1970s and was well trained in editing, cinematography and allied areas. He had made several hit films in Telugu and Tamil and had the unique distinction of directing all the top names of the day such as MGR, Sivaji Ganesan, S.S. Rajendran, Gemini Ganesan, N.T. Rama Rao, A. Nageswara Rao, K Balajee, K. Savithri, P. Bhanumathi, Padmini, Vyjayanthimala, B. Saroja Devi, Jayalalitha, Anjali Devi, Pandari Bai, and Devika. Quite a formidable list that! An excellent track record that any filmmaker would be proud to claim for his own. A humble, modest gentleman , he was involved in the Indian Freedom Movement as a radical activist.
Later, he moved into the world of fine arts. He worked as an assistant to many filmmakers before he went on to make some of his own movies such as Marumagal in 1953 (made as Ammalakkalu in Telugu in 1954) in which he cast N.T. Rama Rao and Padmini as the lead pair.
Tall, slim, and handsome, Yoganand was a popular figure in the movie world of old Madras and much respected for his technical expertise. He also had an excellent track record in Telugu cinema. Some of his other movies include Ammalakkalu Thodu Dongalu (1955), Jayasimha (1956, Waheeda Rehman’s debut), Pelli Sandhadi (1960), Vummadi Kutumbham (1968), Mooga Nomu (1970) and Vemulavada Bheemakavi (1976). His Tamil films include General Chakravarthi (1978), Justice Gopinath (1978), Rani Yaar Kuzhandhai (1972), Thangaikkaga (1971), Paasamum Nesamum (1964), Parisu (1963), Paarthiban Kanavu (1960), Madurai Veeran (1956), Kaveri (1955) besides Marumagal.
Anbu Engey was made in 1958 with S.V. Ranga Rao, S.S. Rajendran, K. Balajee, Pandari Bai, Lakshmiprabha, T.R. Ramachandran , Suryakala, Manoramaand Devika (in a supporting role). A family drama, it circled around a rich man (Ranga Rao) with two sons (Balajee and SSR) and a daughter (Mainavathi). The father was a gambler and the elder son (Balajee) a womaniser who loved drinking. He however ends up marrying a traditional Pandari Bai who takes it upon herself to reform the family. The multilingual and actress Devika was cast in a minor role as the family maid who takes care of the younger son (Rajendran) and the two marry with the blessings of the family. Music was by Vedha and two songs ‘Meley parakkum rockettu…Jamunarani’ and ‘Dingiri Dingaley (TMS)’ topped the charts. The songs were rendered by T.M Soundararajan, P Susheela, Jamunarani and Jayalakshmi of Radha-Jayalakshmi fame. T S.S. Rajendran as the younger son excels, after his successful debut in Muktha Srinivasan’s Muthalali. Pandari Bai gave a dignified performance as the wife. The film was reasonably successful and even after 50 years, its songs are still remembered by film buffs.
Remembered For: Its family oriented storyline, excellent music by Vedha, its two songs with Baila music (which, in turn, was influenced by Portuguese music).