M.R. Radha, T.R. Radharani, S.A. Asokan, Chittoor V. Nagaiah, S.D. Subbalakshmi, A.K. Mohan, P.D. Sambandham, T.R. Saroja, Sukumari, Leela, T.K. Sampangi, S.S. Natarajan and Sadan
T.R. Radharani was a tall, attractive and graceful dancer who appeared in the song and dance sequences of well-known movies such as Aduthaveettu Penn and Aadavantha Deivam. A resourceful woman, she established Rani Productions under which she produced Kannadi Maligai.
She played the lead in the movie in which she cast top stars of the day such as M.R. Radha, Asokan, Chittoor V. Nagaiah, S.D. Subbulakshmi, Sukumari and Sadan. The movie was made by newcomers about whom not much is known today.
Kannadi Maaligai tells the story of Karunakaran (Nagaiah), a rich zamindar with his wife (Subbulakshmi) who leads an unhappy life thinking of their lost kid. His manager Ratnam (Asokan) saves a young female worker, Rani (Radharani), who works in the rich man’s tea estate, from the clutches of a mysterious hooded man who is believed to have magical powers! Ratnam gives her protection, the two fall in love, and she gives birth to a daughter who is taken away from her soon…. Ratnam has a friend Dr. Manohar (Radha) and they both indulge in many villainous deeds. Ratnam abandons Rani…
A livid Rani spends her time dressed as a man, wearing an eye-mask, looking for villains like Ratnam, who tries to marry another rich woman. Rani is befriended by a group of kind-hearted tribal people who give her protection. After several murders and robberies, Ratnam and Manohar blame the masked leader of the gang (Rani) for the crimes. Rani takes it upon herself to expose the villains and finally finds that Manohar is the hooded man who attacked her in the estate! She also finds the other member of the robber gang is none other than her lover, Ratnam!
She also discovers that she is the lost daughter of the rich man owning properties, including the Kannadi Maligai (mansion of mirrors). She is also able to trace her missing daughter. The villains are exposed and as they say, all is well that ends well….
M.R. Radha as the villainous doctor, with his characteristic style of dialogue delivery and punch lines, is brilliant. During the 1960s and even afterwards, Radha appeared in every other Tamil film for which he received a fixed salary of Rs. 60, 000.
Asokan as Ratnam is his usual self and the climactic fight between him and the eye-patch wearing leader (Rani in disguise) is excellently photographed. The film has many picturesque outdoor locations (cinematographer Chitty Babu) with many of the sequences shot in and around the Hoganekal area. The film is in black and white, and yet the landscape sequences are brilliant.
T.R. Saroja, Radharani’s sister, also dons a major role and so does Sukumari, the popular multilingual star-actress. A.K. Mohan as the police officer looks handsome but somehow did not make much progress in his career.
Radharani, mostly seen with an eye-patch and in men's clothes, looks attractive and her performance is quite impressive.
The film was written by Sami and directed by Sami-Mahesh about whom nothing much is known today.
This film was dubbed into Telugu as Addala Meda, but did not make much of an impact.
Kannaadi Maaligai despite its interesting storyline, good performances and picturesque photography did not do as well as expected.
Remembered for: the interesting storyline, captivating cinematography and good performances by Radharani, Radha, Asokan, Nagaiah and others.