Sivaji Ganesan, T. S. Balaiah, Lalitha, Padmini, Ragini, P. B. Rangachari, C. K. Saraswathi, M.S.S. Bhagyam and T. N. Sivathanu

Thookku Thookki was a popular folk tale and stage play. It was brought to the screen in 1935 by the famous Madurai-based Rayal Talkie Distributors with the movie pioneer R. Prakash directing it and handling the camera.

Noted star of that era C.V.V. Panthulu played the title role with K. T. Rukmini in the female lead. K. N. Kamalam and ‘Clown' Sundaram formed part of the cast. R. M. Krishnaswami (RMK), a young, talented camera assistant, was working with Prakash. This film was embedded in his mind. He turned producer in the 1950s with his Aruna Films and made his directorial debut with Rajambal. He took up Thookku Thookki as his next production, which turned out to be the biggest success of his career.

The tale was all about five maxims — 1. A father cares only for the riches earned by his son; 2. Only a mother stands by the son through thick and thin; 3. A sister values her brother only for the gifts he brings her; 4. A wife should never be relied on for she will even murder her husband; and 5. A friend in need is always a friend indeed. A prince (Sivaji Ganesan) listens to the maxims in a religious discourse and sets out to prove them wrong. He undergoes several adventures and finds more than a grain of truth in the maxims.

Sivaji as the hero came up with a fine performance, while T.S. Balaiah in the role of a North Indian Seth was superb. The scenes featuring Balaiah speaking Sowcarpet Tamil with his mistress (Lalitha, the hero's wife) were great.

What elevated this film to great success was its scintillating music composed by G. Ramanathan. The lyrics were by A. Marudhakasi, Thanjai Ramaiah Das and Udumalai Narayana Kavi.

An interesting back story about the song composing… Udumalai Narayana Kavi based in Coimbatore reached Madras by the Blue Mountain Express on the morning of the day scheduled for the song composing and recording. He was to leave by the same train from Central Station around eight in the night. In less than 12 hours, Narayana Kavi wrote five of the eight songs, which were composed immediately by G. Ramanathan, rehearsed by T. M. Soundararajan and others. An amazing feat of creativity, it vouches for the musical genius of G. Ramanathan, the poetic talent of Narayana Kavi and the captivating singing of TMS.

Many of the songs rendered by Soundararajan became popular and it was this film that laid the foundation for his glorious career. Female singers M. L. Vasanthakumari, M. S. Rajeswari, P. Leela and A. P. Komala also contributed to the richness of the music. Noted singer and actor V. N. Sundaram lent his voice to one of the songs along with TMS and others.

Remembered for: the impressive performance of Sivaji Ganesan and the songs rendered by TMS.