Cinema

Chakravarthi Thirumagal 1957

Box office success Chakravarthi Thirumagal

Box office success Chakravarthi Thirumagal  

M. G. Ramachandran's career was on an upswing in the 1950s. And, in 1957 alone, he had as many as four movies — Chakravarthi Thirumagal, Mahadevi, Pudumaipithan and Raja Rajan. Chakravarthi Thirumagal was directed by Pa. Neelakantan who soon became close to MGR and directed him in more than 17 films with many of them becoming hits. Written by the first star writer of Tamil Cinema, Elangovan based on a story by the forgotten screenwriter P. A. Kumar, this film had Anjali Devi as the female lead supported by S. Varalakshmi, P. S. Veerappa, N. S. Krishnan, T. A. Mathuram, Thangavelu, T. P. Muthulakshmi, Lakshmi Prabha and veteran character actor E. R. Sahadevan.

The film had pleasing music (G. Ramanathan) with lyrics by a galaxy of poets — Thanjai Ramaiah Das, Pattukottai Kalyanasundaram, K. T. Santhanam, Subramania Bharati, Ku. Sa. Krishnamurthy, Ku. Ma. Balasubramaniam and ‘Clown' Sundaram.

The film had intimate scenes between MGR and Anjali which thrilled moviegoers of the day.

A folklore about kings, queens and princesses, the film was produced by RM. Ramanathan Chettiar, one of the investors in the then active Newtone Studios, in Kilpauk, Madras.

Promoted by the well-known art director-filmmaker F. Nagoor, well supported by his professional colleagues, noted audiographer Dinshaw K Tehrani and cinematographer Jiten Banerjee, this studio was financially supported by the superstar and legend of Tamil cinema, M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar. Ramanathan Chettiar, a close friend of MKT, was one of the financiers. A rich Naattukottai Nagarathar from Chettinad, he was interested in sound recording and sat at the sound mixer, recording the sound and mixing tracks. In some movies, his name was credited as the audiographer. Besides, he produced movies like this one under his banner Uma Pictures.

A king arranges three competitions for young men seeking the hand of his lovely princess (Anjali Devi,) and a prince (MGR), who seeks her hand, wins the competitions and weds her. Earlier, the princess and her companion (Varalakshmi) go horse riding, and by sheer chance, they happen to meet the hero. The princess, who doesn't reveal her identity, falls for him, and so does her friend. The friend is ambitious and plays many evil games to get her dream man. However, her designs get exposed and after many interesting events, the couple are united in marriage. The film had many songs, some of which became popular. A song and dance sequence ‘Aaadavaanga annaathey' sung off-screen by Sirkazhi Govindarajan, Jikki and P. Leela, with words such as ‘gummaalu' was a hit. Sohanlal and Thangaraj choreographed the dances by Ragini, E. V. Saroja and G. Sakunthala.

The cinematography was by noted lensman V. Ramamurthi. One of his assistants was Karnan who later rose to become a successful cinematographer and producer-director, making ‘curry westerns' featuring Jai Shankar such as Ganga and Jambu.

One of the assistant directors credited as ‘Mohan' rose to become a successful filmmaker under the name Mohan Gandhi Raman. He was also active in the south Indian film workers movement and hailed from a family of Congress Party loyalists. The film was successful at the box-office.

Remembered for: the interesting storyline, good music, song and dance sequences and taut on-screen narration.

M. G. Ramachandran, Anjali Devi, N. S. Krishnan, T.A. Mathuram, S. Varalakshmi, P.S. Veerappa, K. A. Thangavelu, P. B. Rangachari, R. Balasubramaniam, T. P. Muthulakshmi, Susheela, E. R. Sahadevan, Lakshmiprabha (E. V. Saroja, G. Sakunthala dance)

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2020 11:41:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/Chakravarthi-Thirumagal-1957/article14677017.ece

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