S.V. Ranga Rao, Madhuri Devi, S.A. Natarajan, S.V. Sahasranamam, Rajasulochana, G. Varalakshmi, C.K. Saraswathi, T.P. Muthulakshmi and Lanka Satyam
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1838-1894) is one of the venerated figures of Bengali literature. His greatest contribution is the national song, ‘Vande Mataram.’ He is also famous for his novels and plays. His Krishna Kanter Uil (Krishnakant’s Will) written in Bengali was translated into many other Indian languages. It was also made as a film in more than one language. It was first filmed as a silent version in 1927. Its first talkie version appeared in 1932 in Hindi. Expectedly, it was made in Bengali more than once and as recently as 2007 with the iconic Bengali movie star Soumitra Chatterjee in the lead.
The Tamil version was produced by actor Madhuri Devi and her cinematographer husband S. Mukherjee under the banner Madras Art Productions. It was directed by the celebrated cinematographer and filmmaker Kamal Ghosh. His finest work as a cinematographer was Chandralekha (1948), the highlight of which was the famous drum dance sequence. Many people are under the impression that it was the work of the movie wizard K. Ramnoth but it is not so, for Ramnoth left Gemini Studios along with his alter ego A.K. Sekhar in 1947 August and the sequence was planned and shot only later by Kamal Ghosh using four movie cameras. This particular sequence was directed by the lawyer-turned-filmmaker T.G. Raghavachari (‘Acharya’).
Now the film story…. A rich zamindar wishes to write a will disposing of his property and does not wish to give the entire estate to his wayward son who hates his father for obvious reasons. The rich man wishes to give a good part of the estate to one of his close relations and he has an attractive sister, a widow, Rohini. The wayward son wins over Rohini and persuades her to steal the original will and substitute it with a fake. She does so but when she learns about the villain’s intentions, she changes her mind and tries to replace the fake with the original. However, she gets caught in the act and more complications ensue leading to several interesting situations, including kidnap and murder. The script and dialogue were by the well-known writer S.D. Sundaram. Noted composer G. Ramanathan provided the music along with K.V. Mahadevan and D.C. Dutt. A. Marudhakasi penned the lyrics. The cinematography was by the noted lensman P.L. Rai and H.S. Venu (famed musician MLV’s brother) under the supervision of the director. Hiralal, the popular dance master of the day, choreographed the dances.
In spite of the impressive performances by Ranga Rao, Madhuri Devi, Sahasranamam, Natarajan and Rajasulochana, Rohini did not turn out to be a success because of the alleged financial problems.
Remembered for the interesting story, fine camerawork, deft direction and impressive performances.