N. Krishnamurthi, V.S. Mani, K.T. Dhanalakshmi, Kulathu Mani, M.V. Raju, T.V. Sethuraman, ‘Stunt’ Somu, S. Sathyabhama and M. Nagarajan
N. Krishnamurthi, a table tennis champion of 1940s, was active in Tamil cinema for a short period during that decade and appeared in movies such as Madanakamarajan and En Magan. During that period, there was a fine arts association in the city named Shining Stars Society. It produced stage plays as 78rpm gramophone records and sold them as ‘drama sets in a metal box’, and he was very active in those plays. The glamour girl of Tamil cinema and a successful star Vasundhara Devi was a member. This Society produced a drama set about Meera, in which she sang for saint Meera.
After a short stint in movies, Krishnamurthi joined the Indian Army during the Second World War and soon faded from cinema. Today not many remember him. His most successful film was Madanakamarajan in which he played the hero’s (singing star V.V. Satagopan) companion.
Krishnamurthi played the hero in Vinodhini, which was produced on a small budget by M.A. Allappa of Mysore at Navajyothi Studios of Mysore. Many Tamil movies were shot here. (It was in this studio that a handsome young artiste named Singanallur Puttaswamy Muthuraja faced the camera for the first time and soon he blazed forth to become the icon of Karnataka and Kannada cinema as Raj Kumar. Siddhalingaiah, a top director of Kannada cinema began here as a floor boy; Tamil actor (late) Murali was his son. The MGR-V.N. Janaki hit film Maruthanaattu Ilavarasi, which brought them together, was shot in this studio. It was in this film that M. Karunanidhi’s name appeared as writer in the credits for the first time. Sadly, the studio closed due to financial problems, and today only old timers and film historians remember it)
An attractive young woman K.T. Dhanalakshmi, now forgotten, played the title role. The story was written by B.D. Mathur, S.R. Krishna Ayyangar (SRK) wrote the dialogue, and music was composed by Srinivasa Iyengar for lyrics by SRK. This film was directed by Ramjibhai Arya and SRK who were based in Bombay and directed a few Tamil films. Cinematography was by B.D. Mathur and the editing was by the well-known editor of the period Bal G. Yadhav. There were captivating dances by Lalitha and Padmini, choreographed by Sohanlal and Srinivasamurthi. That was the period when the Travancore Sisters — as they were known — performed only dances, but soon began to bag roles in films, becoming leading stars of Tamil and Malayalam cinema. Padmini also acted in many Hindi movies.
A rich man dealing in provisions (Kulathu Mani) is greedy for more money and since provisions are in short supply during the Second World War, he sells them in the ‘black market’. His partner (V.S. Mani) in this dark business is interested in the rich man’s daughter (Dhanalakshmi). She is in love with Sundar (Krishnamurthi), a CID officer. The villain indulges in many ploys such as kidnapping the heroine, and even the police officer! How he is exposed and arrested, and how the lovers unite form the rest of the film.
Comic relief was provided by T.V. Sethuraman, a well-known comedian of the day, while the action sequences were composed and performed by ‘Stunt’ Somu, who also played the villain’s henchman in this film. Vinodhini was a reasonable success.
Remembered For The handsome hero Krishnamurthi, heroine Dhanalakshmi, dance sequences of Lalitha and Padmini, and also the comic relief provided by Sethuraman.