Sathyan, K. P. Ummer, Bahadur, Govindankutty, Sheela, Kadeeja, KPAC Lalitha etc

A.P. Pathrose, the Malayalam novelist popularly known as P. Ayyaneth, was famous for his novels with a social theme. Some of them were turned into films. His popular novel Vazhve Mayam was an instant hit. Produced by M.O. Joseph for Manjilas, and directed by K. S. Sethumadhavan, the film was a huge hit.

Misunderstandings and suspicion in marital life was the theme of the story. The Malayalam film Ponkathir (1953) had a similar storyline. Tamil films like Griha Lakshmi (1955) and Deivappiravi (1960) also followed the same theme with success. Vazhve Mayam was remade in Hindi by J Om Prakash as Aap Ki Kasam (1974) with Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz in the lead roles. And this film set a box office record.

Shot at Arunachalam and Revathi studios the film had cinematography by Mehli Irani and some brilliant music by G. Devarajan. Sathyan, K. P. Ummer, Bahadur, Sheela, Kadeeja, KPAC Lalitha played significant roles in the film.

The unusual love story features three neighbouring couples working in the electricity supply office. Engineer Sudhi (Sathyan) his wife Sarala (Sheela), Sudhi’s junior colleague Sasidharan (Ummer) and wife Kamalakshi (Kadeeja), and lineman Kuttappan (Bahadur) and wife Gauri (KPAC Lalitha). Sudhi loves his wife but has a complex about his physical appearance. Sudhi begins to doubt the fidelity of his wife. Insecure and jealous, Sudhi suspects Sarala of having an affair with his colleague Sasidharan. One day Sudhi sees a man jumping the boundary wall of his house. He suspects it to be Sasidharan.

Now Sudhi starts spying on his wife. He even hides himself beneath the cot in his bedroom to catch his wife’s ‘secret lover’ red handed. Sarala is stunned to see him there. Angry and insulted Sarala, packs her bags and returns to her family.

Sarala’s father makes matters worse for them. He sends a divorce notice to Sudhi and the couple decide for a divorce. Sudhi loses peace of mind and becomes irregular in his official duties. Eventually Sudhi finds that it was Sasidharan’s wife who was having an affair and not his wife Sarala. He comes to know of this when he catches hold of a man jumping the wall and identifies him as his friend Ramachandran (Govindankutty).

Sudhi repents and goes to Sarala’s house to bring her back to his life. But he is late. Sarala had married an advocate, a widower, Neelakanta Pillai (Sankaradi). Sudhi loses his mental equilibrium, life becomes miserable for him.

Years roll by. Sudhi gets a marriage invitation along with a letter from Sarala – an invitation for the marriage of Sarala’s daughter. The letter informs him that it is his daughter. Sudhi goes for the marriage and blesses the bride. He returns home and dies of a heart attack. Sarala goes to pay her last respects to her former husband and dies there. A well-directed film, Sathyan and Sheela came up with stunning performances. Bahadur and KPAC Lalitha as the couple who keep quarrelling and unite the next moment, providing a contrast to the other couples, also performed their roles well.

Songs written by Vayalar Rama Varma were set to tune by Devarajan. Some of them like the duet ‘Seetha Devi swayamvaram cheythoru…’ (P. Jayachandran, P. Susheela), ‘Kalyana sougandhika poonkavanathiloru…’(Susheela), ‘Kaattum poy mazhakkarum poy…’ (Madhuri), ‘Chalanam chalanam…’ (K. J. Yesudas), ‘Bhagawan oru kuravanayi…’ (P. Leela) and ‘Ee yugam kaliyugam…’ (Yesudas) became super hits.

Will be remembered: As a good social movie with a message, for its brilliant acting, and for its excellent music

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Manithan 1953March 9, 2013