Blast from the past: Chandhrodhayam (1966)

Star Cast: M. G. Ramachandran, Jayalalithaa, M.R. Radha, M.N. Nambiar, Pandari Bai, S.A. Asokan, C.K. Nagesh, C.R. Manorama, Bharathi, S.N. Lakshmi, ‘Kuladeivam’ Rajagopal

January 09, 2016 03:03 pm | Updated September 22, 2016 11:16 pm IST

MGR in Chandrodhayam (1966)

MGR in Chandrodhayam (1966)

The 1934 Hollywood classic, It Happened One Night, directed by Frank Capra, won several Oscars and was one of the biggest hits of the time. After World War II, this film was remade by his friend William Wyler as Roman Holiday, with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn in lead roles.

It Happened One Night was naturally remade across the world, and in Hindi, it was produced by AVM under the title, Chori Chori, starring Raj Kapoor and Nargis. Interestingly, Roman Holiday was also remade under the title, Nau Do Gyarah (Dev Anand and Kalpana).

AVM made the film in Tamil too—Chandhrodhayam—with MGR and Jayalalithaa in the lead roles. In Chandhrodhayam, Devi (Jayalalithaa), an innocent and beautiful heiress, runs away from her home in Selvamani Estate, a day before her engagement, causing quite a scandal. Her father, Zamindar Ponnambalam (S. A. Asokan) is disgraced.

Away from home, and all by herself in a strange unfriendly world, Devi is saved from rowdies by a reporter—an idealist and a good man, Chandran (MGR), who accommodates her at his home, until he can find her a new home.

Chandran, it is learned, works as a reporter for a newspaper named Dinakkavartchi, owned and managed by Duriothanan (M. R. Radha), an unscrupulous editor with little regard for classy news presentation. He only cares about sensationalising news, even if it means the concealment of truth. Chandran often disagrees with his employer.

Alwar (Nagesh) is a photographer, and a colleague and friend of Chandran and comes to his rescue often. Meanwhile, Chandran also wants to help another young woman Kamala (Bharathi), wounded cruelly at the time of her birth. A victim of a rich predator, Paranthaman (M. N. Nambiar), she is rescued by Chandran eventually, who, for his part, ends up marrying Devi with the blessings of the family.

Duriothanan also regrets his misdeeds and requests Chandran to start a new newspaper and choose a name for the same. The title of the film is the name of the newspaper.

The film was directed by editor-turned-filmmaker and producer K. Shankar, who also made Hindi movies. It was produced by the successful G. N. Velumani, under his banner Saravana Films, and music was by M. S. Viswanathan.

Chandhrodhayam had impressive cinematography by Thambu (C. V. Ramakrishnan)—the climax fight between M. N. Nambiar and MGR, especially, was appreciated, for being shot with the use of just one light source: a rolling, broken small table lamp.

The film was edited by Shankar and K. Narayanan, with lyrics by Bharathidasan and Vaali. One song, titled ‘Kaasikku pogum sanyasi’, rendered by MGR and Nagesh, was a hit.

Remembered for : Excellent acting by MGR and Jayalalithaa, and cinematography by Thambu.

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