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Updated: April 19, 2013 15:49 IST
Blast from the past

Ethirpaaraathathu 1955

Randor Guy
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Sivaji Ganesan in Ethirpaaraathathu
Sivaji Ganesan in Ethirpaaraathathu

Sivaji Ganesan, Padmini, Chittoor V. Nagaiah, S.V. Sahasranamam, S.A. Asokan, S. Varalakshmi, ‘Baby’ Saraswathi, K.S. Angamuthu, M.R. Santhanam, ‘Friend’ Ramasami, K. Duraiswami, Narayanasami, N.S. Ponnusami and T.K. Ramasami

Sivaji Ganesan and Padmini were a popular pair in Tamil cinema during the 1950s and even later. One of the Sivaji Ganesan-Padmini hits, Ethirpaaraathathu (1955), was not only a box office success but also established screenwriter Sridhar as a man to look out for. He rapidly became a successful writer, director and producer, creating hits in more than one language, with his own production company ‘Chitralaya.’ One of his early screenplays Ethirpaaraathathu narrates the story of star-crossed lovers Sundar (Sivaji Ganesan) and Sumathi (Padmini) in whose house Sundar, a college student, lodges. Both dream of a happy, married life, but that is not to be. Sundar is involved in an air crash and is believed to be dead. However, he survives the crash and loses his eyesight. Unwilling to face his father (Nagaiah), he tries to lead a life on his own. Destiny takes over their lives and the widowed father marries Sumathi and on the wedding night, the husband realises that his son and bride are sweethearts. Broken-hearted, he leaves home and wanders around visiting temples and holy places.

Meanwhile, the blind hero realises that his sweetheart is now his stepmother. An eye surgery restores his sight. More complications follow and when the hero tries to rekindle the old romance, the young woman and the lonely stepmother slaps him and throws him out. She reconciles herself to a life of an eternal bride, with the hero going away to continue his studies abroad. This melodrama was excellently narrated onscreen by Chithrapu Narayanamuthi, noted Telugu filmmaker who also made several Tamil movies. The melodious music was a plus point (composer C.N. Pandurangan, lyrics Papanasam Sivan, K.S. Gopalakrishnan, K.P. Kamatchi, and Surabhi, with the voices lent by P. Leela, (Radha) Jayalakshmi, Chellamuthu and Jikki). The film was shot at the Jupiter Studios, Adyar, which was then under lease to Jupiter Pictures, and its sister concern ‘Saravanabhava and Unity Pictures’ produced the film. Art direction was by the maestro A.K. Sekhar. The latter day successful filmmaker M.A. Thirumugam was then an assistant editor attached to the studio. Brilliant performances by Sivaji Ganesan, Padmini and Nagaiah in the three lead roles contributed to the success of the movie. The music also played a role and one song, ‘Sirpi sethukkatha porsilayey’ (lyrics KPK, voices Jikki and A.M. Raja singing separately), became a hit. Another song ‘Kannana kaathalar’ (voice Jikki, lyrics Surabhi) also became popular.

The film was a success and remade in Malayalam (Nithya Kannika, director K.S. Sethumadhavan), Telugu (Ilavelpu, director D. Yoganand) and Hindi (Sharada, director L.V. Prasad). All the versions faired well.

Remembered For the brilliant performances of Sivaji Ganesan, Padmini and Nagaiah, and the melodious music of C.N. Pandurangam.

"All the versions faired well" should read "All the versions fared well".

from:  D. Chandramouli
Posted on: Nov 17, 2012 at 21:20 IST
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