Chella Pillai (1955) K. R. Ramasami, Savithri, B. R. Panthulu, T. S. Balaiah, K. A. Thangavelu, P. Kannamba, 'Javert' Seetharaman, Pandari Bai, P. D. Sambandam, 'Kaka' Radhakrishnan, C. C. V. V. Panthulu and Vadhiraj
Showering affection or enforcing rigid discipline, which one is necessary in bringing up a child, especially if he is an orphan? This was the theme of Chella Pillai, produced by AV. Meiyappan and directed by M.V. Raman. The film was written by 'Javert' Seetharaman and the in-house composer R. Sudarshanam contributed the music with lyrics by Udumalai Narayana Kavi, K.P. Kamakshi, Ku. Ma. Balasubramaniam and V. Seetharaman.
Ramasami, a popular hero of the day after his smashing success in Velaikkari, is an orphan brought up by his brother (B.R. Panthulu) and his wife (Kannamba). Fond of the growing child, she covers for all his mischievous deeds, even petty crimes, without bothering to correct him. Soon he grows into an irresponsible young man addicted to gambling.
He meets a young woman (Savithri) who dreams of becoming a movie star. He promises to introduce her to movies. Meanwhile, the family decides to get him married to a modest young woman (Pandari Bai) in the hope that he would become a better human being.
The hero leaves home to make a movie with the young woman. Needing money for the production, he commits a theft in the shop where his brother works, resulting in the kind man losing his job.
The hero gets involved in the printing of fake notes and when the brother seeks his help, he gives him the counterfeit currency, resulting in the poor man getting arrested.
How the erring hero changes his ways forms the rest of the plot. A different kind of story for the day, Chella Pillai had good performances by Ramasami, Kannamba and Panthulu with Savithri as the aspiring star exuding glamour.
Music played its role in the film and some of the songs such as 'Podanum kulla podanum', 'Naadu nadakkira nadaiyiley namakkey onnum puriyaley', 'Madanaa ezhil raja' and 'Ooooo nigarilladha star-aaguven kalaiulagil naaney' became popular.
Most of the tunes were straight lifts from popular Hindi movies and were rendered by P. Susheela, Jikki, T. M. Soundararajan and T. S. Bhagavathi.
Editor-turned-filmmaker M. V. Raman directed the story in an interesting manner, mixing the sentimental sequences with song and dance numbers by Savithri and others.
Ramasami acquitted himself well in the role of the vagabond and excelled as usual in his drama-drenched dialogue delivery. Kannamba as the affectionate sister-in-law was as good as ever. Pandari Bai as the naive rural woman was her usual self with her soft looks.
T.S. Balaiah as the film director Yaman and Thangavelu as Avathaaram contributed to the laughs.
Well known Kannada actor and film producer Vadhiraj enjoyed a brief innings in Tamil cinema during the 1950s. His dwarf-like appearance itself raised laughs. 'Stunt' Somu, one of the earliest stunt composers in Tamil cinema, played a double role somewhat ironically as a cop and a professional gambler. The dance sequences were choreographed by Hiralal and K.N. Dhandayudhapani Pillai with a dancer, Roopamala, also taking part in them.
Remembered for: The different storyline, impressive performances of Ramasami and Savithri and tuneful music.
Keywords: Chella Pillai (1955) K. R. Ramasami, Savithri, B. R. Panthulu, T. S. Balaiah, K. A. Thangavelu, P. Kannamba, 'Javert' Seetharaman, Pandari Bai, P. D. Sambandam, 'Kaka' Radhakrishnan, C. C. V. V. Panthulu and Vadhiraj