Cinema

Mahadevi (1957)

Mahadevi

Mahadevi  

Star cast: M.G. Ramachandran, K. Savithri, P.S. Veerappa, M.N. Rajam, O.A.K. Thevar, T.P. Muthulakshmi, J.P. Chandrababu, K.R. Ramsingh, A. Karunanidhi, ‘Sattampillai’ K.N. Venkatraman, S.M. Thirupathisami, N.S. Narayana Pillai, ‘Master’ Murali, Susheela

Mahadevi (1957) was directed by actor-turned-cinematographer, Sundar Rao Nadkarni, with MGR and Savithri in lead roles. The film was written by Kavingnar Kannadasan, who was assisted by Ravinder. The film is about Mahadevi (Savithri), a princess, whose father, the king, despite being defeated in battle, is invited by the rival king to stay over as his guest. The victorious king, meanwhile, has an adopted daughter (M. N. Rajam) and a son (‘Master’ Murali). His senior commander, Karunakaran (P. S. Veerappa) is attracted to Mahadevi, but she rejects him, thereby earning his wrath and revenge. Karunakaran hatches various evil plans to get her, but in the meantime, Mahadevi falls in love with the junior commander, Vallavan (MGR). Karunakaran tries to kidnap Mahadevi with the help of his sidekick (Chandrababu), but by mistake ends up kidnapping M. N. Rajam, and in order to cover up his folly, ends up marrying her. Mahadevi and Vallavan (MGR) marry, but keep it a secret. In due course, Mahadevi delivers a son, even as Karunakaran continues to lust for Mahadevi.

His wife Mangamma (M.N. Rajam), supports Mahadevi, and protects her from Karunakaran. When Mangamma learns of her husband’s plans to kill Mahadevi’s baby, she replaces her baby with Mahadevi’s, causing Karunakaran to kill his own child. When he realises the truth, he kills himself and so does his wife. P. S. Veerappa, as the villain, made a superb impression; MGR, who was still in his early days, was equally impressive, and this film was a stepping stone for M. N. Rajam on her road towards greatness.

Kannadasan’s dialogue was a rage, with one line spoken by Veerappa, “Manandhaal Mahadevi, illayaen marana devi” becoming famous. Music was by Viswanathan-Ramamoorthy, and lyrics by Kannadasan and A. Maruthakasi. Among the singers were T. M. Soundararajan, A. M. Raja, P. Susheela, T. S. Bhagavathi and M. S. Rajeswari, whose ‘Kaaka kaaka mai konda….’, a lullaby, became a huge hit.

The film was shot at Vauhini Studios by G.K. Ramu.

Despite an interesting storyline and good performances, the film was not a box-office success.

Remembered for: Impressive performances by MGR, Veerappa, Savithri and M. N. Rajam and the famous line by Veerappa



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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 5:10:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/Mahadevi-1957/article14001528.ece

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