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Updated: March 8, 2014 19:09 IST
blast from the past

Yaanai Valartha Vaanambadi (1959)

RANDOR GUY
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Sriram, M.N. Nambiar, Miss Kumari, S.D. Subbulakshmi, D. Balasubramaniam, ‘Friend’ Ramasami, Thikkurisy Sukumaran Nair, K.V. Shanthi, C.K. Saraswathi, S.P. Pillai, M.S. Karuppaiah, Pedro (monkey) and Bheeman (elephant)

P. Subramaniam was a leading figure in Malayalam cinema, who owned the Merryland Studio in Trivandrum (now Thiruvananthapuram). Besides, he promoted Neela Productions and produced films in both Malayalam and Tamil, many of them proving to be major box-office hits. His list of movies is long, and includes Paadaatha Painnkili, Randidangazhi (two measures of rice, based on Thagazhi’s classic novel about farm labourers), Snehadeepam, Adhyapika (National Award winner), Urangaatha Sundari (a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Rebecca), Kaattu Mallika (a remake of the 1941 Tamil hit Vana Mohini), mythological stories such as Kumara Sambhavam, Swami Ayyappan, Sree Murugan, Sree Guruvayurappan, Bhaktha Kuchela etc. Yaanai Valartha Vaanambadi was his first colour offering under the banner Neela Productions, and produced in his studio in Trivandrum. He had his own story department — such as S.S. Vasan’s Gemini Studios, which wrote the story for this movie. The dialogue was by Somasundaram. Music was by ‘Brother’ Lakshmanan, well-known in those days. Lyrics were by Ku.Ma. Balasubramaniam, Kambadasan, Surabhi and Sundarakannan, and not all of them are remembered today, except Ku.Ma. Balasubramaniam, who was quite prominent in those days. Sirgazhi Govindarajan, Tiruchi Loganathan, Jamuna Rani, P. Leela, P.B. Sreenivos and Jikki lent their voices to the songs.

Selvapathy (Thikkurisy) is a rich rubber planter in Singapore and his wife Lakshmi (Kumari), who is in India gets ready to join him with their newborn, a baby girl. Selvapathy’s sister Saraswathi (S.D. Subbulakshmi) meets her. She is a widow and has a son named Sekhar (Sriram). Later Lakshmi calls on her husband’s brother Arunachalam (‘Friend’ Ramasami), the henpecked husband of Angamuthu (C.K. Saraswathi). They have a daughter named Mohana (Shanthi).

After taking leave of all her friends and relatives, Lakshmi takes the flight to Singapore with her child. However, the aircraft crashes en route in a dense forest. Waiting to meet his wife at Singapore, Selvapathy is shocked to hear about the death of the passengers on board. However, the baby survives, caught in the branches of a tree. Her screams attract a monkey (Pedro) that saves the baby from a tiger. It takes the baby to her owner Ramanathan (Balasubramaniam) who lives in a jungle. He takes the child and names her Malli (Kumari in a dual role).

Meanwhile, Sekhar, now a detective, is out to seize a gang of robbers with a vicious leader (Nambiar). Mohana, a modern young woman, is attracted to Sekhar, but he does not reciprocate her feelings. Malli grows into a lovely woman playing with the animals, and is taken care of by an elephant (Bheeman). The gang leader sees Malli in the jungle and decides to make her his own. By sheer accident, Sekhar meets Malli in the forest and both of them fall in love. However, their love affair does not run smoothly and the gang leader kidnaps Malli and Sekhar. With the help of their animal pals, both are saved, and the two marry, capturing the gang.

Kumari was one of the top heroines of Malayalam cinema for a while. Sadly, she died in her Forties.

The film was successful, being in colour. The hilarious adventures of the monkey and the elephant were a major attraction.

Remembered For The interesting storyline, impressive performances by Kumari and Thikkurisy, and of course, the elephant and the monkey that steal the show.

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