Blast from the Past Cinema

Athisaya Thirudan (1958)

Gemini Ganesan, Savithri, T. S. Balaiah, K. A. Thangavelu, T. P. Muthulakshmi, Baby Rajakumari, K. Natarajan, V. N. Elumalai

Ramaswamy Ganesan, more popularly known as Gemini Ganesan, was often considered to be on par with Sivaji Ganesan and M. G. Ramachandran. He owed much of his success to his romantic roles, which caused the nickname, ‘Kaathal Mannan’. Born in Pudukottai in a comfortable middle-class family, Ganesan was a relative of noted writer and director S. S. Vasan, which helped him get a job at Gemini Studios as casting supervisor. His acting career began when he debuted in a small role in Miss Malini. In the credits, his name appeared as ‘RG’. He went on to play the role of Lord Krishna in Hindi film, Chakradhari. More roles followed, and he began featuring in several films as the hero.

Athisaya Thirudan was one of his earlier films as hero. Savithri, who Ganesan met at Gemini Studios during his early days, co-starred in this film as Gowri, a flower vendor and his beloved. The film was produced by D. B. Narayana and S. Bhavanarayana, who were quite active in Telugu cinema, and directed by P. Pullaiah.

The story is about a crafty thief (Gemini Ganesan). Wicked minister Neelakalkantam (T. S. Balaiah) is out to rob the state’s finances and is also after many women. One of them, Gowri, who is in love with Ganesan’s character, takes him to a saint (Nagaiah) to give up his thieving ways. The plan works; however, in order to expose the minister, he is forced to break his promise. While trying to open the palace’s jewel safe that contains four rare diamonds, he meets an old one-eyed beggar (Thangavelu, who is actually the king in disguise). The villain finally gets exposed, with the lovers uniting with the blessings of the king.

Written by screenwriter Thanjai Ramaiah Das and with music by Susarla Dakshinamurthi, a popular Telugu composer, the film had cinematography by Annaiah and was shot at Vauhini Studios. The famous art director Goadgaunkar was part of the crew too.

The music was a major plus, with one song about Lord Muruga turning out to be a hit. Sung by T. M. Soundararajan, the song was shot on Nagaiah, who was himself a popular singer with many hit songs in Tamil and Telugu films to his credit. Gemini Ganesan’s performance was lauded, with his dancing coming in for some appreciation too.

Remembered for: The performance of Gemini Ganesan, and the song on Lord Muruga.



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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 9:40:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/Athisaya-Thirudan-1958/article14429946.ece

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