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Updated: April 5, 2014 18:50 IST
Blast from the Past

Nil Gavani Kaadhali - 1969

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Nil Kavani Kadhali
The Hindu
Nil Kavani Kadhali

Jaishankar, C.K. Nagesh, Bharathi, Jayanthi, M.N. Nambiar, ‘Major’ Sundararajan, Vijayalalitha, Senthamarai, Dhanaraj, Henry Daniel, Varadachari, V.R. Thilakam and Malathi

Jaishankar (Shankar Subramaniam) was one of the successful action heroes of Tamil cinema and known as its ‘James Bond’. He hailed from an upper middle-class family of Mylapore, and his father was a judicial magistrate. He studied at Vivekananda College where he took his Honours Degree and then did Law for a year before giving it up to join the well-known business group Simpsons and went to Delhi. Right from his college days, he was interested in theatre and was a member of the noted Cho’s Viveka Fine Arts drama troupe. He was mostly doing only walk-on roles and while he was in Delhi, he got an opportunity to be the hero in a play written by Kalki. He resigned his job and came down to Madras to devote himself to a creative career. Joseph Thaliath Jr., the enterprising filmmaker and son of a judge from Trivandrum, cast him as hero in his film Iravum Pagalum and gave him the screen name Jaishankar. This film became a box-office hit, and Jaishankar firmly established himself as an actor, playing many roles in Tamil films, most of them hits.

This film Nil Gavani Kadhali was a gripping thriller with Jaishankar playing CID Shankar, a successful CID officer. Under this name, he played the lead role in many films produced by Modern Theatres that were successful.

‘Chitralaya’ Gopu (Satagopan, the alter ego of the successful Indian filmmaker C.V. Sridhar) wrote this film. It was directed by C.V. Rajendran, Sridhar’s cousin, and worked with him as his assistant, gained experience and the knowledge of successful filmmaking, and branched off on his own. He made many films in more than one language (such as Kannada) and he was successful.

This film’s cinematography was by P.N. Sundaram, one of the leading lensmen in the industry, trained by Aloysius Vincent, the iconic cinematographer.

A gang of diamond smugglers led by a wily chief (Nambiar) is assisted by Babu (Major Sundararajan). His niece (Bharathi) meets the CID officer (Jaishankar) and hands over a packet at an airport lounge to be handed over to her uncle. Her friend (Jayanthi, a top heroine of Kannada cinema) meets the hero’s close pal (Nagesh) and falls in love with him. The two pairs go through several adventures and expose the villains.

The film moves at a very fast pace and is well-narrated on screen by Rajendran, aided by Sundaram’s cinematography and fine editing by master editor N.M. Shankar. Another plus point was the music created by melody maker M.S. Viswanathan, assisted by Govardhan. Lyrics were by the maestro Vaalee. Henry Daniel who used to assist MSV plays a role in this film.

The picture had melodious songs, and the song and dance number, ‘Kangaluku Enna’ (sung by L.R. Eswari) was brilliantly picturised. This song became a hit while the other songs became popular.

The title of the film was a take-off from the traffic signal ‘Stop Listen Proceed!’ which was adapted wittily for this film. The dialogue of Chitralaya Gopu also contributed to the interest in the film.

Though it was not a box-office hit, it fared well.

Remembered For The music, interesting storyline, impressive performances by the actors, taut direction, cinematography and editing.

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