Pasupuleti Kannamba, M. K. Radha, A. Nageswara Rao, S. Varalakshmi, T. R . Rajani, T.R. Ramachandran, M. R. Swaminathan, K.S. Angamuthu, Kumari Vanaja, Lakshmikantha, C.V. V. Panthulu, ‘Appa' K. Duraiswami, T. E. Krishnamachari (TEK) and ‘Jayakodi' K. Natarajan
Kannamba, the successful bilingual star who immortalised the role of Kannagi in the 1942 Tamil version of ‘Silappadhikaram', was also a successful producer. She made movies in Tamil and Telugu under the banner Sri Rajarajeswari Film Company. Earlier, she ran a successful Telugu Theatre group, named after her family deity, Rajarajeswari.
Sowdhamini was a star-studded Tamil movie with Kannamba expectedly playing the title role, Radha her hero, and the iconic Telugu star Nageswara Rao their young prince. The singing star Varalakshmi played the prince's love interest.
Written by the noted writer of the day Udayakumar, the film had music by the actor-turned-composer S.V. Venkataraman. The lyrics were by C. A. Lakshmana Das. Thanks to her close association with the Gemini Studios boss S. S. Vasan, Kannamba produced all her movies at the same studio, making use of the brilliant team there.
Ellappa was the cinematographer, assisted by T.V. Singh Thakur who later became a noted cinematographer in Kannada cinema. A royal couple (Radha and Kannamba) have no children, and in answer to their prayers a sage (TEK) gives them a mango which when eaten will bless them with a child! Meanwhile, a seductive dancer (Rajani) comes along and the king falls prey to her wily ways.
The queen becomes pregnant, but the dancer and her friends spread rumours about the queen's chastity. The king believes it all and banishes her at once. She is saved by a kind cowherd in the woods — soon the queen gives birth to a lovely boy. The king undergoes many difficulties created by the dancer and loses his sight. How the prince (Nageswara Rao) growing in the woods succeeds in restoring his vision and destroys the villains, and how the family is reunited form the latter part of the film.
A predictable storyline, the film was directed by Kannamba's husband, Kadaru Nagabhushanam. It also won a State Award for 1949.
Talented comedy star Ramachandran and vivacious Lakshmikantha make a pair, singing and dancing, and providing comic relief.
Rajani, an attractive dancer who appeared in lead roles in films such as Madanamala, played the vamp here and performed scintillating numbers choreographed by Anil Kumar Chopra and Vempati Satyam.
Radha and Kannamba made a dignified pair, tall and regal-looking. As the young lovers, Nageswara Rao, not yet a super star, and Varalakshmi impressed much. Soon they would hit the headlines as the lead pair in the Ghantashala Balaramaiah bonanza, Balaraju (Telugu), one of the biggest hits of the decade.
The music was melodious with the songs rendered by Varalakshmi and Kannamba.
Remembered for the fine performances of Radha, Kannamba and Nageswara Rao, who were well supported by the popular character actors of the day Duraiswami, Swaminathan, Natarajan and TEK.
Keywords: Tamil movie Sowdhamini