T.S. Durairaj, K. Savithri, K. Balajee, P.S. Veerappa, V.S. Raghavan, R. Nageswara Rao, T.P. Muthulakshmi, Saayiram, Angamuthu and T.N. Kamalam

T.S. Durairaj was a noted comedian, but for some reason he never made it to the top. Hailing from Madurai, Durairaj, like many yesteryear artistes, began his career with ‘Boys’ Drama’ companies and became the sidekick of N.S. Krishnan, the comic genius. Their comedy sequences in films such as Thiruneelakantar and Sakunthalai are still fondly remembered by Tamil movie buffs. He had a characteristic way of delivering his dialogue, which evoked laughter among audiences. He turned producer like NSK, promoted Marakatha Pictures, and made a few movies, which however landed him in problems.

Paanai Pidithaval Bhaagyasaali, a sitcom, was written by Gangeyan, Makkalanban and G. Sundara Vathiyar. It is all about an attractive, naïve and illiterate young woman (Savithri) and an orphan being brought up by her loving brother (Durairaj). She witnesses a robber (R. Nageswara Rao, a well-known Telugu movie villain who died very young in the late 1950s soon after this movie was completed.) looting a rich man’s house and committing a couple of murders. He is after her. She goes through a series of adventures, involving various men but escaping them all. She meets a rich, young man (Balajee) and both fall in love. After many adventures, in the climax sequence, she walks in helped by her loving brother and marries her lover who is to marry another girl against his will. All’s well that ends well, as they say…

Though the film had an interesting story, it was not well scripted with the hero suddenly missing for a good part of the film and appearing only in the climax as if unexpected!

Savithri has an excellent role as the naïve rural belle and makes an impact. As her brother, Durairaj is equally impressive and a young woman (Muthulakshmi) falls in love with him and they are married in the climax wedding scene.

Veerappa who is after the young woman plays the villain and indulges in fights as expected but ultimately loses the woman and the fights! The film did not succeed mainly because of the weak screenplay and on-screen narration. The redeeming feature was its melodious music (S.V. Venkataraman-Saluru Rajeswara Rao). The lyrics were by Subramania Bharati, Sundara Vathiyar and Thanjai Ramaiah Das. A couple of songs, a duet ‘Solaikulley kuyilukunju summa summa koovuthu’ (voices: Sirgazhi Govindarajan and Jikki) and ‘Purushan veetil vaazha pora penney’ (voice: Tiruchi Loganathan and filmed on Durairaj) became hits. Somewhat interestingly, ‘Purushan veetil’ later came in for criticism by social activists and critics for being anti-woman. The film had pleasing photography (Kamal Ghosh, who is believed to have directed most of the film as a ‘ghost’ for director Durairaj) and the outdoor sequences in the woods and ponds are very impressive in the black-and-white format.

The film was shot at many studios, Paramount, Revathi, Gemini and Majestic. Sadly, there is no trace of them today.

Remembered for the pleasing music, fine performance of Savithri and the songs that are remembered even after half a century.