Thyagi (1947)

V.N. Janaki, N. Krishnamurthi, V.S. Mani, ‘Stunt’ Somu, K. Devanarayanan, K.S. Angamuthu, Thodi Kannan, Kolathu Mani, T.V. Sethuraman, C.K. Nagaratnam, V. Saroja

Published - July 30, 2016 03:48 pm IST

Vaikom Narayani Janaki, better known as V. N. Janaki Ramachandran, was the daughter of Papanasam Rajagopala Iyer, the elder brother of celebrated musical genius Papanasam Sivan. Her earliest film was Savithri (1941), in which she played the role of Shantha Apte’s friend. Janaki shot to fame after playing the role of a gypsy dancer in Chandralekha (1948). It was while working in Raja Mukthi that she fell in love with her co-star MGR, and got married. After marriage, they acted in the box-office hit, Mohini (1948).

In Thyagi , directed by Ramjibhai Arya and S. R. Krishna Ayyangar, Janaki played the lead role.

The film was about the upliftment of dalits and dealt with the issue of the oppressed gaining entry to Hindu temples.

The story goes thus. A rich zamindar’s heir apparent (N. Krishnamurthi), who is educated abroad, falls in love with Janaki, a dalit girl. Janaki faces many difficulties in her life due to her caste.

With only a brother to support her, the rest of the film deals with her efforts to gain entrance into a temple, fighting against forces like the temple priest (Kolathu Mani), who discriminates against her.

The story and dialogue was written by S.R. Krishna Ayyangar and the lyrics and music were by Papanasam Rajagopala Iyer, and S. V. Venkataraman and T. R. Ramanathan respectively.

The patriotic lyrics with social values made the songs in the film popular.

The film was reasonably successful at the box office, mainly because of its social reformist content. Janaki won praise for her performance.

Remembered For: Social reformist content, impressive performance by V. N. Janaki, and also the pleasing music with socially-relevant lyrics.

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