During the Second World War (1939-1945), the British Indian government imposed several restrictions on the film industry due to shortage of raw materials. A producer was allotted only 44,000 feet of picture negative, and no feature film could be more than 11,000 feet long. To produce a film, a permit from Delhi had to be obtained.
To support the War Propaganda efforts, the government asked three Tamil producers to make films highlighting the War effort and condemning the enemies. Central Studios, Coimbatore, was one of them, and En Magan (1945, 10,969 feet) was one such propaganda movie.
En Magan (My Son), based on the script by A. S. A. Sami, was directed by R. S. Mani. It was about a heartbroken, rich man who joins the Air Force to fight the fascist forces. The hero was N. Krishnamurthi, a talented table tennis player of the day. His family ran the Shining Stars Society which was involved in Tamil theatre, recording plays as gramophone discs and bringing out what were then known as ‘drama sets'. Krishnamurthi entered movies playing a major role in the debut production of Gemini Studios, Madanakamarajan (1941). He made a good impact with this film. However, he soon faded and bade goodbye to films. Somewhat ironically, just as the hero he played in En Magan, Krishnamurthi joined the Indian Army and that was the end of his movie career.
The film is about a rural rich man (Balasubramaniam) who has a son (Krishnamurthi) and a daughter (Kamala). His son goes to Madras for his education and meets a top city lawyer's daughter (Jeevaratnam) and both fall in love. However, his father fixes up a girl and this leads to problems between the old-fashioned father and the son. The crux of the story is the girl the father chooses and the son's sweetheart are one and the same (Jeevaratnam), but neither is aware of it!
In sheer frustration, the hero joins the Air Force and is posted to Burma. When the heroine comes to know that her lover had died after his plane was shot down by the enemy, she becomes a nurse with the intention of serving suffering humanity. But the hero survives and is admitted to a hospital, where he is served by none other than his sweetheart!
(Much of the storyline was inspired by the Hollywood classic, Waterloo Bridge . This film has inspired many Indian movies in more than one language, including Tamil).
Misunderstanding cleared, the lovers happily marry to live joyfully thereafter…
Jeevaratnam, a singing star of the early decades of Tamil Cinema appeared in popular films of the 1940s. She married T. S. Venkataswami, nephew of Jupiter Somu, and quit films to raise a family. She passed away some years ago.
S. Ramanathan, who was also the assistant director, played one of the supporting roles. Later he Ramanathan directed movies on his own in Madras and in Malaya, where he worked with B. N. Rao and others.
Kamala, the iconic Bharatanatyam dancer, played the hero's sister and, as expected, did a dance number.
The movie turned out to be successful even though it had many predictable features, including the storyline.
Remembered for the impressive performances of the lead stars and taut narration by director Mani.