Blast from the past: Ore Iravu (1951)

Penned in a night: Ore Iravu  

Starring: K. R. Ramasami, A. Nageswara Rao, T. K. Shanmugham, B. S. Saroja, Lalitha, T. S. Durairaj, T. S. Balaiah, and T. P. Muthulakshmi

At his disciple Ramasami's request, Annadurai sat up one night and wrote a play and at dawn, it had been written to the last scene with hardly any corrections! The time-frame too was a single night and narrated the events taking place on that night. The hero wore only one costume right through! Hence, for more than one reason Anna titled the play, Ore Iravu!

AV. Meiyappan met Anna who agreed to write the screenplay and dialogue for Rs. 10,000. A week later, he came to the AVM Studio and stayed at No. 10 (Meiyappan's office, now renovated and modernised!). Seated on a mat at a desk without legs, Anna wrote the screenplay, while the dark hours of the night ticked away. When Meiyappan and Neelakantan called on him the next morning they found the Ore Iravu script ready and written on 300 sheets of paper.

Meiyappan gave Pa. Neelakantan the break he had been waiting for and with Ore Iravu began his long and successful career as filmmaker with several box-office hits.

Ramasami played the same role he had played on stage. The story is about a thief, the illegitimate son of a rich zamindar (Shanmugham) who had seduced the mother (Saroja). Poverty drives him to take to stealing. Indeed Anna dealt with the eternal problem of “the haves and the have-nots” in this film. He did this in his Velaikari too. In an interesting turn of events, the thief breaks into his father's house at night when his stepsister (Lalitha) is about to commit suicide! Of course, one is not aware of the real identity of the other.

Lalitha played the zamindar's daughter and Akkineni Nageswara Rao, her lover.

Others in the cast included noted screen villain and character actor T. S. Balaiah as the blackmailer, well-known comedian T. S. Durairaj, and yesteryear star B. S. Saroja.

Ore Iravu had many songs and in true AVM fashion, a dance drama “Shiv-Shakthi”. The dancers were Lalitha-Padmini, and Kumari Kamala (‘Baby' Kamala, now a young woman!). It had a Tamil folk dance (Kurathi dance) too. Interestingly for this dance, a song rendered by M. L. Vasanthakumari, “Ayya Sami... avoji sami...ayya rayyaa vayyaa you comeayaaa...!”, adapted from a popular Hindi film song, “Gorey...gorey...”, was used and it turned out to be a hit. The dancer was a noted starlet — Lakshmikantham.

One of the songs which became popular was “Tunbam nergayil nee.....” It was penned by none other than Bharathidasan (pseudonym of Kanaka Subburatnam, voices V. J, Varma and M. R. Rajeswari.)

T. K. Shanmugham also contributed a song written earlier and used by him in one of the TKS Brothers' plays. “Enga naadu...ithu enga naadu...!” was about India and the problems the country faced.

A song by Bharathiar, “Kottu murasey...kottu murasey...!” also found place and was rendered by K. R. Ramasami and T. S. Bhagavathi.

Ore Iravu was released in April 1951 with much expectation what with the AVM banner, Annadurai's script based on his hit play, dance dramas and melodious music but, it did not do well.

Remembered for: Annadurai's interesting storyline and dialogue, impressive performances by Ramasami and good music (R. Sudarsanam)

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2021 1:12:06 PM |

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