Ranjan S., Varalakshmi, M.N. Nambiar, M. Mainavathi, M.G. Chakrapani, ‘Bombay’ Meenakshi, D. Balasubramanaiam, ‘Appa’ K. Duraiswami, A. Karunanidhi, ‘Stunt’ Somu, Ganapathi Bhat, K.S. Rajam, M.D. Krishna Bai, Kanakam, S.N. Narayanaswami
Ranjan (originally Ramnarayan Venkataramana Sarma), one of the popular heroes took his bow playing a silent Buddha in the M.K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar’s hit movie Ashok Kumar in 1941. He made a mark in Rishyashringar, paired with the ‘glamor gal’ of yesteryear Vasundhara Devi. For the film, he was renamed Ranjan by Jiten Banerjee of Newtone Studios. Later, he joined Gemini Studios where he played the dual role in the hit Mangamma Sapatham, which made him a star. Then came the turning point of his career with S.S. Vasan-Gemini Studios’ magnum opus Chandralekha (1948), which made him an action hero. Tall and athletic, he rode horses, and was active in Tamil cinema during mid-1950s. He later moved to Bombay to act in Hindi films. However, he was not able to establish himself there. En Magal was produced by Asoka Films and directed by K.V.R. Acharya (who also wrote the story), and M.K.R. Nambiar under the supervision of noted filmmaker Raja Chandrasekhar. The film had many of the leading stars of Tamil cinema of the day. The dialogue was written by Viruthai N. Ramasami, lyrics by Bharathidasan and Salem N. Velayuthasami, and music was composed by C.N. Pandurangam. Well-known singers such as (Radha) Jayalakshmi, Soolamangalam Sisters, A.P. Komala, A.M. Raja, and T.M. Soundararajan (mentioned in the titles merely as Soundararajan) lent their voices. One of his early films, T.M.S. sang a single song — a duet with S. Varalakshmi, a well-known singer and actor, who played the heroine in this film.
An autocratic zamindar’s (Balasubramaniam) son Raghu (Ranjan) has his own ideas and rules about how to lead his life. A mirasdar (Chakrapani) has a daughter named Vasantha (Varalakshmi), whom Raghu marries due to his father’s compulsion. He makes her life hell, and goes after her close friend Mallika (Mainavathi). Mallika is in love with Balu (Nambiar) and marries him. However, Raghu does not give up his desire for Mallika. Simultaneously, Raghu joins a dance troupe as a patron where he falls for a lovely dancer Ranjana (Meenakshi). She does not yield to his overtures, but tries to correct his ways.
Meanwhile, Raghu kidnaps Mallika, and keeps her in a secluded place. Her husband and his stuntman friend (Somu) rush to save her, and in the fight, Mallika throws a knife, which leaves Raghu with serious injuries. Vasantha rushes to the nursing home where she meets Mallika. How the emotional tangle is solved forms the rest of the story…
‘Bombay’ Meenakshi worked in Tamil cinema for a brief while, and being a trained dancer, she performed many dances in the film. Fight sequences among Ranjan, Nambiar and ‘Stunt’ Somu (who composed them) were good, but did not contribute to the success of the movie. Despite an impressive cast and good performances by Ranjan, Varalakshmi, Mainavathi, Balasubramaniam, Nambiar and Chakrapani, En Magal, did not do well at the box-office.
Remembered for: The impressive performances of Ranjan and emotional portrayal by Varalakshmi and Mainavathi, and attractive dances by ‘Bombay’ Meenakshi.