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Updated: April 12, 2014 17:44 IST
blast from the past

Dayalan (1941)

RANDOR GUY
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P.U. Chinnappa, T.R. Mahalingam, K.V. Jayagouri, Kali N. Ratnam, P.S. Gnanam, P.G. Venkatesan, K.K. Perumal, S.S. Kokko, E.R. Sahadevan, V.M. Ezhumalai, T.M. Ramasami, N.V. Krishnan, C.T. Rajakantham, Ramani, ‘Baby’ Jayalakshmi, dances by Kulkarni and party, Rohini Dhanam and Usha Bala (later, T.R. Rajani)

This film was a joint production of the Salem-based T.R. Sundaram-Modern Theatres and Kasi Maharaja Productions with the story contributed by Kasi Viswanatha Pandian, the Elayaraja of Ettayapuram. The dialogue was written by Kuppusami Kavi, with lyrics by Maharaja Vathiyar, about whom little is known today.

P.U. Chinnappa, one of the top heroes of Tamil cinema of the early decades played the title character Dayalan while singing actor T.R. Mahalingam played a supporting but major role as a prince. K.R. Jayagouri, an attractive woman played the love interest of the hero. She was active in those years but did not make it to the top…

The story was all about King Arputhavarman (Ramasami) whose deceased wife left behind a son Dayalan (Chinnappa). The king marries Manorama (Bhagyalakshmi) who gives birth to Bharathan (Mahalingam). The king had been bringing up a young girl called Padmavathi (Jayagouri), and the prince and the girl grow up together and fall in love. A palace servant, Dunmathi (Perumal) poisons the mind of the king and becomes the Prime Minister. His son Prathapan (Sahadevan) takes after his villainous father and both plan to take over the kingdom. The evil Minister makes the king believe that his son Dayalan is planning to have him murdered to take over the kingdom. The king sentences his son to death.

However, his loyal friends save him and he escapes from the prison. The king and the wily minister spread the rumour that Dayalan had passed away in prison. However the evil designs of the minister, his son and his henchmen do not succeed and they are destroyed by Dayalan and his loyal followers. Finally, Dunmathi and his gang are killed, and peace is restored. The king confesses to his faults; Dayalan and Padmavathi marry and ascend the throne.

A predictable tale, perhaps, but Chinnappa as Dayalan attracted much attention with his agile movements in stunts. He was well-trained in art forms such as silambaatam and kusthi (wrestling). He had his own style of dialogue delivery, and sang well too. Mahalingam, a major Tamil cinema star in the making, in a supporting role sang quite a few songs in his high-pitched voice that was similar to that of Tamil theatre icon S.G. Kittappa’s. K.K. Perumal, one of the regular actors of Modern Theatres’ movies, played the evil Minister in his characteristic fashion with his well-trained voice and delivering dialogue with verve. Sahadevan, the noted villain of that day also did his part well. The comedy track was handled by noted comedian Kali N. Ratnam and his companion Rajakantham, along with Ezhumalai, Kokko and others.

There were quite a few dance sequences performed by the noted dancer and well-known choreographer of the day Kulkarni, his team and dancers such as Rohini and Bala. Before Vazhuvoor B. Ramaiah Pillai began to dominate the choreography space of Tamil cinema, Kulkarni was active and in demand both in Tamil and Telugu cinema.

All the songs were lifted from Hindi and Bengali films, and interestingly the songbook mentions even the names of those songs as the source. There was one raagamaalika sung by Chinnappa dedicated to Lord Krishna in Carnatic music, which became popular.

P.G. Venkatesan, an excellent singer known as ‘Saigal of South India’ also sang a couple of songs, including the last one in the movie, which was about the celebration of Pongal.

The film was directed by A. Mithra Das who was active in those early years, he later worked with the well-known Tamil film personality R.M. Krishnaswami (RMK). Today not many remember him.

The film was only an average success at the box-office.

Remembered For The performances by Chinnappa, Perumal, and melodious music and well-choreographed dances…

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