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Updated: December 14, 2013 16:49 IST
blast from the past

Pona Machaan Thirumbi Vandhaan (1954)

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Pona Machaan Thirumbi Vandhaan
Pona Machaan Thirumbi Vandhaan

T.D. Kushalakumari, Sriram, K.A. Thangavelu, Lakshmikantha, ‘Friend’ Ramasami, K.S. Angamuthu, T.K. Ramachandran, K.R. Jayagowri, Raja Wahab Kashmiri, Roja, Ranganayaki, Ganapathi Bhat, Sampathkumar, Sankaramurthi, Velappan, Ganesh Singh, Varada Bai, Rukmini and C.P. Kittan

This film is a situation comedy produced by T.S. Venkataswami, a nephew of Jupiter Somu and a member of the Jupiter Pictures unit. He worked along with his close relative in the Jupiter productions and learnt the ropes of filmmaking. Later, he branched off as an independent filmmaker with his own company Mercury Films, in which his wife, noted Tamil screen singing star and actor of yesteryears U.R. Jeevaratnam was a partner. Jeevaratnam lent her voice to this film’s heroine T.D. Kushalakumari, niece of celebrated star T.R. Rajakumari. Kushalakumari began acting in her preteens in movies such as the Gemini Studios cult film and hit Avvaiyar. She mostly did supporting roles, and in this film she was the heroine. In her 70s now, she lives in Chennai. Her mother T.S. Damayanthi acted in a couple of movies during the 1930s.

The hero was the noted actor of the earlier decades Sriram (full name Madurai Sriramulu Naidu), who was on the rolls of Gemini Studios and did a few minor scenes. Later, he played the lead role in many films, but did not reach the top of the stardom ladder. He also tried his hand at film production with disastrous results.

The film was based on Punarjanmam, a story by noted Tamil writer Thumilan. Dialogue was by V. Sitaraman, a well-known screenwriter who was in the story department of Gemini Studios. He also wrote the lyrics with N.S. Chidambaram, and the music direction was by M.S. Viswanathan and C.N. Pandurangan.

Cinematography was by the famed lensman Jiten Bannerjee while the audiographer was another big name of Tamil cinema, Dinshaw Tehrani. The film was shot at Newtone Studios and was directed by C. Srinivasa Rao, son of the senior Telugu Tamil filmmaker Chittajallu Pullaiah. He had two assistant directors who later created history in Malayalam and Tamil cinema as top filmmakers making several hits and classics — K.S. Sethumadhavan and V. Srinivasan (famous as ‘Muktha’ Srinivasan).

A young man named Sambhu (Thangavelu) is from a well-to-do family and his interest in life is only to chew betel leaves and tobacco, besides eating! He is also fond of reeling out platitudes about old times to his servant Kittan (C.P. Kittan). The young man is very fond of his sister Chandra (Kushalakumari). He is keen on getting her married to a suitable young man and keeping the couple in his house. So, he releases a peculiar advertisement asking for a bridegroom who has to send application money of Rs. 1,000 to be considered for the alliance! A young man (Sriram) who was mostly in northern India and sick of chappati-kurma, wishes to get back home. So he replies to the ad. Another person and his sister Vimala (Lakshmikantha) then come to Sambhu’s house. Not interested in the ‘ad for groom’ business, Chandra leaves the house. She meets Sriram and both, unaware of the identity, fall in love. They meet with a car accident and the rich car owner takes them home for treatment, thinking they are a married couple! Afraid of scandals, they change their names, leading to more complications. How the complications are solved forms the rest of the film.

Not surprisingly, Jeevaratnam, a talented singer with a high-pitched voice sang all the songs for the heroine, but the music did not become popular. In spite of the impressive cast and talented technicians behind the camera, the movie did not do well.

Remembered For The pleasing camerawork of Jiten Bannerjee, good direction by Srinivasa Rao and his talented assistants Sethumadhavan and Srinivasan.

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