Konjum Kumari (1963)

R.S. Manohar, C.R. Manorama, Mohan, Ramadas, A. Karunanidhi, K.K. Soundar, V.P.S. Mani, C.S. Pandian, R.M. Sethupathi, ‘Azhwar’ Kuppusami, Mohana, Pushpamala, Rukmini, Ratnam, Indradevi, Arunadevi and ‘Baby’ Chandrakala

Updated - October 18, 2016 12:52 pm IST

Published - February 21, 2015 04:00 pm IST

R.S.Manohar, Manorama in

R.S.Manohar, Manorama in

Konjum Kumari was the film that saw the versatile star C.R. Manorama raised to the status of action heroine. The Modern Theatres film was made by editor-turned-director G. Viswanathan. Modern Theatres’ boss T. R. Sundaram was on the lookout for Hollywood stories to adapt for the local milieu, and this film was no exception, adapting a popular western movie that had enjoyed a good run in Madras.

Konjum Kumari was written by Mana, with lyrics by Karunaidasan, Nallathambi and Vali. K. Devarajan, an expert at writing comedy scenes, received a separate credit title. The music was composed by Vedha, while P. Susheela, K.J. Yesudas, Vasantha, Ratnamala, and Tiruchi Loganathan lent their voices.

Noted cinematographer Melli Irani was assisted by a prominent cameraman known for his ‘trick’ shots, S.S. Lal, with L. Balu in charge of editing.

R.S. Manohar, who started out as a hero with R. M. Krishnaswami’s Rajambal and later blossomed into villain, was the lead opposite Manorama. Manorama is an amazing talent, with more than 1,000 movies to her credit and still active in the industry.

Konjum Kumari is about Alli (Manorama), a veritable jungle queen, who rescues Rajangam (Manohar) when a gang of robbers attack him in the forest. She loses her heart to him but he turns her down. So, the rifle-toting heroine forces him to marry her at gunpoint. When the villain abducts Rajangam’s brother for ransom, it’s Alli who comes to the rescue again. How this and other events unite the couple forms the rest of the movie.

Konjum Kumari was only a reasonable success, with audiences rather reluctant to accept Manorama in the lead role. However, the film scored because of the action sequences, Manorama’s impressive performance and Manohar’s stylish presence.

Manohar was a T.R. Sundaram favourite, starring in 18 of his films, the highest by any actor working for Modern Theatres. Sundaram liked his discipline, voice, dialogue delivery and his knowledge of English. Manohar was a graduate of Madras University, worked as a clerk in the Postal Department and climbed to stardom from stage roles.

Remembered for: the fast-paced action and the performance of the lead actors.

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