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Sabapathy 1941

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hilarious Sabapathy
hilarious Sabapathy

T. R. Ramachandran, Kali N. Ratnam, K. Sarangapani, R. Padma, C. T. Rajakantham, P. R., Mangalam, Hiranaiah

Handy Andy is one of the popularcomical characters of Englishliterature created bySamuel Lover . He had the knackof doing everything wrong! Tamiltheatreperson, PammalSambandam Mudaliar, wroteseveral `farces', built around a`Handy Andy-ish' servant Sabapathy,the `Man Friday' of a notso-bright young man by thesame name. Such farces wereenacted by Sambandam Mudliarwith his troupe, SugunaVilas Sabha, and proved popular.A. T. Krishnaswamy, theneglected but talented writerdirector-producer (Arivali, Vidyapathi,Manam Oru Kurangu)suggested to AV.Meiyappan, with whom he wasworking in Pragathi Pictures, tomake a comedy built aroundSabapathy.Those were days of the SecondWorld War. Life was grimandso, people loved a goodlaugh. AVM agreed, and A. T.Krishnaswamy wrote the film,based on Mudaliar's farces. T.R.Ramachandran, who was withPragathi on a princely salary ofRs. 35 per month, was cast ashero, while comedian and characterartiste Kali N. Ratnamplayed Handy Andy. `Lux Soap'beauty R. Padma played thehero's educated wife, whoteaches her husband English.The slim and saucy Rajakanthamplayed the Man Friday'sheartthrob. Another noted comedianof the day, K. Sarangapani,played a Tamilragged by his students. Duringthat period, Tamil teacherswere the butt of jokes becausethey were considered inferiorto those who taught English!For the first time, AVM'sname appeared as director inthe credits, along with A. T.Krishnaswamy, though the filmwas written and directed by thelatter. Padma was active in Tamilcinema during the 1940's,but never made it to the top;she is barely remembered today.But Rajakantham made it ascomedienne with Kali N. Ratnamand the pair was only nextin fame to the legendary N. S.Krishnan and T. A. Mathuram.Contrived humour, jokesbuilt around wrong usage ofEnglish, and those making funof Tamil teachers - this wasSabapathy. However, moviegoerslapped it up, making it abig success. T. R. Ramachandranachieved star status withthis film and was mentioned inthe same breath as N. S. Krishnan.For a while, even MGRcalled himself `M. G. Ramachandar'to be different!Sabapathy placed AVM firmlyon the ladder of success, andhe was well on his way tobecoming a movie mogul. Italso brought A. T. Krishnaswamyinto prominence as a talenteddirector and comedy writer.Produced at around Rs.40,000, Sabapathy was a boxofficesuccess. It is oftenscreened on Tamil TV channelsand quite familiar to folks eventoday, 60-plus years after it wasmade.Remembered for : Thecomedy sequences of T. R. Ramachandran,Kali N. Ratnamand Sarangapani.RANDOR GUY


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