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Updated: April 6, 2013 18:00 IST
BLAST FROM THE PAST

Thirumazhisai Aazhvaar 1948

Randor Guy
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Thirumazhisai Azhwar
Thirumazhisai Azhwar

M.M. Dhandapani Desikar, Trichur Premavathi, Vidwan Srinivasan, P.B. Rangachari, S.V. Subbaiah, R. Balasubramaniam, T.S. Durairaj, D.V. Narayanaswami, M.R. Swaminathan, K.K. Perumal, M.S. Devasena, P.K. Saraswathi, P.S. Sivabhagyam, K.S. Angamuthu, ‘Master’ Padmanabhan, T.K. Kalyanam, C.R. Lakshmi Devi, A.K. Srinivisan, K.R. Rajagopalan, M.S. Raghavan and K.K. Radha

Thirumazhisai is a sacred town near Chennai and the film narrates its mythological tale about a venerated sage being seduced by a temptress sent by Lord Indra. She becomes pregnant. The foetus is removed from her womb and thrown into the bushes. It is saved by the Lord and becomes a male child who later blossoms into the Aazhvaar!

During the early decades of Tamil Cinema, whenever a story of a saint was planned, the automatic choice to play the role was the brilliant Carnatic musician M.M. Dhandapani Desikar. The songs rendered by Desikar such as ‘Thamarai pootha thataakam’, ‘Inba kanaa ondru kanden’ and ‘Jagajanani’ are timeless classics.

During the 1940s, two friends, M. Chakravarthi Iyengar of the famous business family of old Madras city, MD Brothers, and a successful automobile spare parts dealer C. Kannan Pillai, joined hands to produce this movie based on the life of Thirumazhisai Aazhvaar and expectedly Dhandapani Desikar was cast to play the title role.

There were many songs in the movie penned by Papanasam Sivan, S.D.S.Yogi and T.K. Sundara Vathiyar, and composed by S.V. Venkataraman and T.R. Ramanathan. The songs were all in Carnatic style, mostly rendered by Desikar.

The dances by Premavathi (as the queen) and Saraswathi (the seducer) were composed by R.T. Krishnamurthi. R. R. Chandran was in charge of the camera. The script was written by P.S. Chettiar who jointly directed the film with the famed D.S. Kotnis. The film was shot at Shobhanachala Studios in Alwarpet which later became Venus Studios.

Despite its credentials and cast, Thirumazhisai Aazhvaar did not do well mainly because of the problems the producers faced during its making and later with distribution.

Remembered for: for the music of Dhandapani Desikar and the religious tale associated with the Aazhvaar…..

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