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Updated: September 23, 2012 17:52 IST
OLD IS GOLD

VELLINAKSHATRAM 1949

B. VIJAYAKUMAR
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Gayaka Peethambaram, Kandiyoor Parameswaran Kutty, Alleppey Vincent, Lalitha Devi, Cherai Ambujam etc.

Udaya Studios, Kerala’s first cinema studio, was established by Kunchacko at Alleppey in 1947. Kunchacko followed B. N. Reddy’s example in Telugu and brought respectability to Malayalam cinema. He distanced himself from the dominant genres of Tamil cinema, collaborated with scenarists like Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai and K. P. Kottarakkara to produce several notable films. Vellinakshatram, released on January 14, 1949, was the first film produced at Udaya Studios.

Vellinakshatram was directed by a German named Felix. J. H. Beyas .The film introduced to Malayalam cinema several artists and technicians who later became very popular, like editor K. D.George, lyricist Abhayadev, music director B. A. Chidambaranath, child actor Baby Girija, and the most popular heroine of early Malayalam cinema Miss.Kumari, referred to in the title cards as Thresiamma, her real name. She appeared as a guest artiste in a song sequence.

Popular stage and film actors like Alleppey Vincent, Gayaka Peethambaram, Cherai Ambujam, Lalitha Devi etc. played important roles in the film. But the film flopped.

The story and dialogues were by Kuttanadu Ramakrishna Pillai. Miss.Kumari impressed in the song sequence and went on to become one of the favourite heroines of both Udaya Studios and Neela Productions.

Jagadish Mills is owned by a Retired Judge (Kandiyoor Parameswaran Kutty). The manager of the mill (Mulavana Joseph) supports the Judge in expelling the other partner (Kuttanad Ramakrishna Pillai) and in taking over as the single owner of the mill. False charges are framed on the partner and he is sent to jail where he loses his mental balance.

The Judge realises his guilt and adopts Santha, (Lalitha Devi) the daughter of his partner. Santha falls in love with Mohan (Gayaka Peethambaram), a clerk in the mill. The Manager harboured a plan to take over the mill by marrying his son Ananthan (Alleppey Vincent) to Santha, the legal heir of the Judge. The Manager now begin to harass Mohan and manages to see that he is dismissed from service. The Manager’s daughter Leela (Cherai Ambujam) also loves Mohan.

The workers unite and go on strike against the management demanding that Mohan be reinstated. Mohan is taken back into service. Everyone now comes to know about the wicked plans of the Manager and the Judge. Santha comes to know about the injustice done to her own father. Issues are settled, a reconciliation is brought about. And Santha is married to Mohan.

Alleppey Vincent and Mulavana Joseph excelled in their roles.

Ten songs, written by Abhayadev, were composed by Chidambaranath and Cherai Paramu Das. The ‘flag song,’ Thrikkodi thrikkodi … (Cherai Ambujam) became a super hit.

The other hits included Prema Manoharame… (Gayaka Peethambaram-Cherai Ambujam), Jeevitha vadi poovidukayayi …. (Gayaka Peethambaram), Asha Mohanane … ( Ponkunnam Ambujam ), Raga ramyame … (Savithri Alappuzha), and Asha heenam shokadam … (Gayaka Peethambaram).

Will be remembered: As the first film produced by Udaya Studios; as the debut film of Miss. Kumari, child actress Baby Girija, actors Kandiyoor Parameswaran Kutty, Kuttanad Ramakrishna Pillai and Mulavana Joseph. It was also the debut film of editor K. D. George.

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