Sivaji Ganesan, Pandari Bai, S.V. Ranga Rao, ‘Sowcar’ Janaki, S. V. Sahasranamam, Malini, N.R. Sandhya, K.R. Chellam, T.K. Ramachandran, T. R. Ramachandran, Chalam and others
Kumbakonam Jayarama Mahadevan was the eldest son of noted criminal lawyer K.S. Jayarama Iyer of Mylapore, Madras. Mahadevan did his graduation at the famed Loyola College. His father wanted him to be a barrister and sent him to England. But for many reasons, he did not complete the course. Widely read, he was drawn to movies and worked for a short while with the south Indian movie pioneer S. Soundararajan of Tamil Nadu Talkies. Later, he joined Gemini Studios as a Production Controller and learnt direction under K. Ramnoth, A.K. Sekhar and S.S. Vasan. Indeed he was considered for the role of Sasankan, the steel-hard villain of the Gemini Studios’ magnum opus Chandralekha (1948). A camera test was done and he was found to be too soft and syrupy to play the villain! Finally, Ranjan walked away with the role.
For Gemini Studios, he directed Rajee En Kanmani (1954) with T.R. Ramachandran and Sriranjani Jr., an adaptation of the Charlie Chaplin classic City Lights (1931). Though the film was well-made with a ballet sequence shot for the first time in Tamil Cinema, it did not do well, and for some practical reasons Vasan, the Gemini boss, deleted the ballet scene from the release print. (He felt the sequence was too highbrow for Tamil moviegoers.)
Later, Mahadevan promoted his own production company Sudharshan Pictures, under which he directed Aval Yaar.
Mahalakshmi (Pandari Bai) is the daughter of a rich banker (Sahasranamam) who wishes that she should marry a young man (Gopi). However, a noted lawyer of that town, Sathasivam (Sivaji Ganesan), a widower, wishes to marry her and to save her father's reputation she marries him and soon loses her father. The couple have a son (Chalam, the noted Telugu actor). The lawyer’s nephew Bhoopathi (T.R. Ramachandran), not worldly-wise, has a friend (T.K. Ramachandran) who wishes to exploit him for his money. Bhoopathi has a sweetheart (Malini). Thanks to the marriage, the lawyer’s safe keys are now handled by Mahalakshmi which upsets the villain. He drives a wedge between the lawyer and his wife. Suspects his wife, the lawyer turns her out of the house. The innocent woman without her husband’s knowledge takes the child away. She loses the child who is brought up by a rich couple (S.V. Ranga Rao and Sandhya). This upsets Mahalakshmi who loses her mental equilibrium. Years pass and Mahalakshmi, completely cured, takes care of a young girl Vijaya (Sowcar Janaki) under a new name Ponni… Her son goes to England to become a barrister about which his mother has no knowledge. The villain creates fake letters as if written by Mahalakshmi and threatens to publish them in his third-rate ‘yellow’ magazine unless she pays a huge price. When she goes to meet the villain to persuade him to hand over the letters, he is found murdered. She is arrested and charged with murder. By now lawyer Sathasivam has become a judge and the case comes up for trial before him. How the truth comes out and happiness is restored forms the rest of the plot. Devipriya wrote the story, and Vidwan Ve. Lakshmanan, the dialogue. The lyrics were by Subramania Bharathi, Papanasam Sivan, Pattukottai Kalyanasundaram, Lakshmanan and V. Seetharama. Saluru Rajeswara Rao of Gemini Studios composed the music and an array of singers, A.M. Raja, S.C. Krishnan, P.B. Sreenivos, P. Leela, Jikki, T.V. Ratnam and Kumari Abhayam, lent their voices. The famous Orissa musician and choreographer Raghunath Panigrahi, who lived in Madras for a few years, sang some songs in flawless Tamil!
The film was shot at Golden Cine Studios with V. Ramamurthi handling the camera. Despite excellent performances by the cast, the film did not do well.
Remembered for: the interesting storyline, fine performances by the top artists, excellent direction by Mahadevan and pleasing music of Rajeswara Rao.