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Updated: February 16, 2014 17:19 IST

OLD IS GOLD: MANASAKSHI 1954

B. VIJAYAKUMAR
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The cover of the songbook for the film
Special arrangement
The cover of the songbook for the film

Prem Nazir, Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair, Jose Prakash, P.A. Thomas, S.P. Pillai, Rajasulochana, T. R. Omana, etc

Most of the social movies of the 1950s had unusual twists and turns. Malayalam film producers and directors also followed this trend that was popular in the Tamil and Telugu films of the day. Manasakshi, released on August 20, 1954, was a compilation of sequences from such social films. Produced by Akhileshwar under the banner of Ishwar Productions, the story was developed by the ‘story department’ of the production company. Dr. P.S. Nair and actor- lyricist-writer Vaanakkutti (real name Raman Pillai) wrote the dialogues for the film. Directed by G. Vishwanath, the film was shot at Central Studios, Coimbatore. The story of Ammaye Kaanaan (1963) closely resembled this film.

Cinematography was by K.Gopal, editing by the director himself, and music by a new composer SGK Pillai, but the songs were imitations of popular Hindi tunes.

Prem Nazir, Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair, P. A. Thomas, S.P. Pillai, played significant roles in the film. Popular Tamil actress and dancer Rajasulochana was introduced to Malayalam cinema in this film. This was also the debut Malayalam film of playback singer T.R. Gajalakshmi.

Nanu Panicker (Pallom Joseph) who worked in an estate in Ooty entrusted his savings to his brother Pachu Panicker (P.A. Thomas) a document writer in his native village. Pachu Panicker swindled this money forcing Nanu Panicker to work as a ferryman for his livelihood. Lakshmi (Rajasulochana), the only daughter of Nanu Panicker, falls in love with Soman (Prem Nazir), whose father Sreedharan Kartha (Jose Prakash) was indebted to Pachu Panicker. Pachu Panicker wanted to marry his daughter Sarala (T.R. Omana) to Soman.

Soman gets selected for Civil Service and leaves for Delhi. Lakshmi becomes pregnant and out of shame, Nanu Panicker attempts suicide. He is arrested and sent to jail. Lakshmi joins an arts troupe ‘Kalalayam,’ owned by Kuttan Pillai (S.P. Pillai) of which Rajasekharan (Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair) is a member.

The arts troupe produces a film with Lakshmi as the heroine. Lakshmi becomes a popular actress and adopts the screen name Madhuri. She gives birth to a son, but the baby is sent to an orphanage by Kuttan Pillai who does this without Lakshmi’s knowledge.

Pachu Panicker’s daughter Sarala who is a teacher in the orphanage school brings up Lakshmi’s child without knowing the truth. Sreedharan Kartha calls Soman back intending to unite him with Lakshmi. But they could not find her. Soman is appointed as magistrate. Pachu Panicker decides to file a suit against Kartha to recover his dues. Sarala hides the debt document given by Kartha and Pachu Panicker fails to file the complaint. In desperation, Pachu Panicker attempts to murder Kartha and is arrested.

Rajasekharan attempts to molest Lakshmi and in the ensuing scuffle he is stabbed to death. Lakshmi is arrested for murder. The case comes before Soman. He recognises Lakshmi and refers the case to the Sessions Court.

Soman resigns as magistrate and appears in the Sessions Court to defend Lakshmi. He is able to prove that the killing was in self-defence. Soman, Lakshmi and their lost child reunite.

Prem Nazir and Rajasulochana impressed and formed a popular romantic screen pair. They became a hit pair in Tamil films right from Prem Nazir’s first Tamil film Thai Piranthaal Vazhi Pirakkum.

Ten songs written by Abhayadev were set to tune by SGK Pillai. Enthinaay virinjidam…(T.R. Gajalakshmi), though a direct copy of the C. Ramachandra composition Ye zindagi usee ki hai ….(Lata Mangeshkar) in the Hindi film Anarkali (1953), and the folk number Neeli penne Neeli penne…(Jose Prakash-Thomas Pallom) became hits. The other popular songs from the film were Maala korkoo Radhey…, Pooja cheyvoo njaan sada…(both duets by LPR Varma-Gajalakshmi) and Pratheekshakal naale niravedidaam… (Varma).

Will be remembered: As the debut Malayalam film of Rajasulochana, singer T.R. Gajalakshmi, and as composer SGK Pillai’s first film.

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