Cinema

Maanasamrakshanam (1945)

Maanasamrakshanam (1945).  

As the Second World War (1939-1945) was drawing to a close and the Allies were in sight of victory over the Axis, the British Indian government requisitioned leading film producers to make films, highlighting the role of British India in fighting the enemy and putting down fascist forces. The making of such ‘War Propaganda' pictures as they came to be known became imperative to established producers. Some concessions were also held out like the proverbial carrot and four Tamil producers made such films, all of them released during 1945…

En Magan (Jupiter Pictures), Burma Rani (Modern Theatres), Kannamma En Kaadhali (Gemini Studios) and Maanasamrakshanam (Madras United Artistes Corporation, a K. Subramanyam production company) fell under this genre.

Subramanyam, a staunch Gandhian, had always attacked the British in his films such as Thyagabhoomi, while Vasan was a Congress sympathiser, whose editorials in his weekly Ananda Vikatan were anti-British and pro-Congress. (The British Indian government had forfeited the magazine's security deposit for its anti-British writings).

How did the maker of Thygabhoomi handle the situation? Subramanyam's ‘War Propaganda' film Maanasamrakshanam had cleverly veiled scenes glorifying the Indian and his love for freedom. Subbulakshmi, Ramachandran, Kali N. Ratnam and V. N. Janaki played major roles. However, some of Subramanyam's friends and admirers expressed their displeasure at the patriot making this film.

Written, produced and directed by Subramanyam, the story is built around the Japanese invasion of Burma during 1941 and the troubles and tribulations of many Indians who had to leave their adopted land and walk miles through jungle, mountains and other dangerous areas with enemies on their heels. The heroine (Subbulakshmi) takes care of many children lost, and forms a band known as ‘Maanasamrakshanam Band' in India. She is deeply involved in a number of nationalistic activities and succeeds in outwitting the villain's anti-Indian activities. She also gets even with some relatives who had misappropriated her fortune.

Expectedly, SDS, the noted stage and screen star of her era, played the major role and she virtually carried the film on her shoulders.

The Nagapattinam advocate's clerk G. Pattu Iyer, a fine character actor, who was brought into films by Subramanyam, played the heroine's greedy brother. His best performance was, of course, in the Gemini Studios' 1949 hit Apoorva Sahotharargal (‘Strange Brothers') as the doctor who saves the twins….

Shot at Newtone Studios, the film had impressive photography by Thambu, a cousin of Subramanyam, with art direction by F. Nagoor and Ghodgaonkar who were popular figures of that era. The lyrics were by Papanasam Rajagopala Iyer (Sivan's brother) with the background score by the noted musician of the day, K. C. Thyagarajan.

Subramanyam's uncle C.S.V. Iyer (Thambu's father) shared the credit for direction along with his nephew which he did in some other films.

Remembered for Subbulakshmi's excellent performance and Subramanyam's deft direction and onscreen narration.


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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 9:24:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/Maanasamrakshanam-1945/article15676974.ece

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