Gemini Ganesan, C.A. Devika, R. Muthuraman, S.V. Ranga Rao, M.V. Rajamma, T.S. Balaiah, Pushpavalli, R.S. Manohar, K. Balajee, C.K. Nagesh, Geethanjali

Vepathur Kittu, a noted Tamil journalist and screenplay writer, worked in Gemini Studios as creative assistant to the studio’s boss and Indian movie mogul S.S. Vasan and to T.G. Raghavachari (who signed his film as Acharya). Kittu was always looking for new story ideas and was responsible for the basic content of Gemini Studios’ magnum opuses Chandralekha, Motor Sundaram Pillai and Vaazhkai Padagu.

He was a voracious reader and a movie buff who never missed a good English movie running in city theatres. He told this writer that he read a French novel (translated), which was the inspiration for Vaazhkai Padagu. The film was first made by Gemini Studios in Hindi as Zindagi (1962) under the direction of Ramanand Sagar, with Vyjayanthimala and Rajendra Kumar in the lead. The Tamil version Vaazhkai Padagu expectedly was written by Kittu, and directed by C. Srinivasan, popularly known as ‘Hollywood’ Srinivasan because he had trained at the Mecca Of The Movies. He worked for Gemini Studios for a few years and moved to Nigeria where he designed and established the Nigerian National Television Network with much success.

Vaazhkai Padagu begins with a young, attractive and unemployed woman Seetha (Devika) taking up stage acting as career. A wealthy man Kannabhiran (Balajee) is after her, and uses his henchman (Manohar) to kidnap her. During the attempt, Rajan (Gemini Ganesan) and his clever dog ‘Honey’ rescue her and the two fall in love. Rajan is the son of a zamindar (Ranga Rao), who has a poor opinion of Seetha. However, after many hurdles, the two marry. The director of Seetha’s stage troupe, Gopal (Muthuraman) too is in love with her, but she never responds. When Kannabhiran is murdered, Gopal is arrested. He has an alibi — on the night of the murder, a young woman stayed with him in his house, but then he does not disclose her identity. The woman turns out to be Seetha, and she gives them the evidence. One of the members of the jury is her father-in-law, and complications follow, with the husband leaving her and wishing to marry again. However, the truth comes out and the family is united in the end.

Vaazhkai Padagu fared well at the box-office. The film was Devika’s first for Gemini Studios. Her performance in this film was brilliant and she virtually carried the film on her shoulders. An import from Tamil theatre, she became a star playing the lead role in many Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam movies thereafter. Gemini Ganesan as the hero and Ranga Rao too give impressive performances, as does the smart dog. Aada Brathuku

The film also had pleasing music (M.S. Viswanathan and T.K. Ramamurthy, and lyrics by Kannadasan), which contributed to the success of the film.

Remembered For: The interesting storyline, good performances by Devika, Muthuraman, Gemini Ganesan and Ranga Rao. And also for the pleasing music, impressive photography and the presentation on-screen

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