Thirumalai Thenkumari (1970) TAMIL

Thirumalai Thenkumari (1970)  

The 60’s Hollywood movie, If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium, was a huge hit in India. Belonging to the ‘road movie’ genre, the film is about a group of people who go on a trip in a luxury bus. The film was the inspiration behind A. P. Nagarajan’s Thirumalai Thenkumari. This marked the first time that a film of this genre was attempted in Tamil cinema.

In Thirumalai Thenkumari, which has a religious twist, a group of passengers go on a pilgrimage across South India, including to places like Tirupati and Madurai. The cast involved many veterans who were proficient in all four South Indian languages. The comedy track by Suruli Rajan and Manorama was instrumental in the the success of the film.

Seasoned character actor V. Gopalakrishnan made a fine impression playing an orthodox Brahmin, as was Kanthimathi, whose dialogue delivery was much appreciated. The film was shot by W. R. Subba Rao, another veteran, with most of the sequences getting shot at the actual locations. Sirgazhi Govindarajan plays a saintly character, and is shown singing at each place of religious interest. There are seven such songs by Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan, with Sirgazhi Govindarajan winning awards for his contribution.

The film turned out to be a box office hit, and won many awards.

Remembered for: The music, and fine performances by veteran actors

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