SEARCH

Features » Cinema Plus

Updated: October 8, 2009 18:24 IST

Madanakamarajan (1941)

Randor Guy
print   ·   T  T  
Madanakamarajan: Remembered for: the entry of S. S. Vasan into film production, pleasing music, interesting onscreen narration, and an impressive performance by K. L. V. Vasantha. Photo: Special Arrangement
The Hindu
Madanakamarajan: Remembered for: the entry of S. S. Vasan into film production, pleasing music, interesting onscreen narration, and an impressive performance by K. L. V. Vasantha. Photo: Special Arrangement

When S. S. Vasan acquired in court auction the Motion Pictures Producers' Combine (MPPC) Studios from K. Subramanyam, he renamed it Gemini Studios and set himself up as producer. A company based in Dindugal having as many as 20 partners called Dindugul Amirtham Talkies hired Gemini Studios for producing a popular folk tale 'Madanakamarajan' in Tamil. Expectedly, with so many partners milling about, misunderstandings arose. To save the movie from closing down, Vasan took complete control of the production, pumping funds and supervising its making.

B. N. Rao (real name Balakrishnan Narayanan Nair), a popular director of that day, went ahead with the film. Vasan was present both inside the studio and on location, observing the process of filmmaking and absorbing every nuance. This stood him in good stead when he began to direct pictures on his own, creating hits and classics.

K. L. V. Vasantha, then a successful and attractive heroine with hits such as Bhoologa Ramba and Rambaiyin Kaadhal, played the female lead, while the hero was popular Carnatic musician V. V. Satagopan. During those early years of Tamil Cinema, many musicians were brought into movies - G. N. Balasubramaniam, Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer, Musiri Subramania Iyer, T. N. Rajaratnam Pillai, Kalakkad Ramanarayana Iyer and Satagopan. However, most of them were better musicians than actors and went back to their own world of music after a few films. Satagopan too followed the same route after movies such as Madanakamarajan, Nava Yuvan, Venuganam and Adhirshtam. Though handsome and blessed with an excellent voice, his films except Madanakamarajan did not fare well, and he soon bade farewell to cinema.

A prince and his friend set out in quest of adventure; they meet their sweethearts on the way;parrots perched on a tree predict bad luck for the travellers - the tale was well woven for the screen by noted Tamil writer and playwright B.S. Ramaiah. The friend accompanying the hero was a well-known, handsome table tennis star, N. Krishnamurthy. After playing the lead in movies such as En Magan, he bade goodbye to movies and joined the Army. Earlier, he was connected with a popular amateur drama group of Madras City, Shining Stars Society, which made 'drama sets' in those days.

The music (lyrics Papanasam Sivan) by M. D. Parthasarathy was also an asset to the film. One song in particular sung by Satagopan, 'PremaPremanee illamal', is still fondly remembered by old timers.

B. N. Rao, in films since the silent cinema days and trained in Bombay and Calcutta, was an expert craftsman and a good editor. This reflected in the onscreen narration of the film. The film was advertised by Vasan as "Produced for Dindugal Amirtham Talkies At Gemini Studios," though effectively it was the first venture of Vasan as producer. However, officially the first Gemini Studios production was a Telugu film Jeevan Mukthi, a remake of the Tamil hit Bhaktha Chetha (K. Subramanyam). Interestingly, while the Tamil version was a major hit, the Telugu film flopped miserably and it was not released in many Telugu speaking centres. Well, that's movies, as they say..

Remembered for: the entry of S. S. Vasan into film production, pleasing music, interesting onscreen narration, and an impressive performance by K. L. V. Vasantha.

More »
More »
More »
More »

O
P
E
N

close

Recent Article in Cinema Plus

Aamir Khan

Up close to Aamir

Nude posters, super-secret plot… Aamir Khan sure knows how to build up buzz around a film. Archita Kashyap collars him with some frank questions and gets some franker answers »