Blast from the Past Cinema

Puthumai Penn (1959)

Chennai: 26/08/2011: The Hindu: Cinema Pictures:
Title: Sri Gajalakshmi Pictures Pudumai Penn.
Cast: S.S. Rajendran, T.S. Baliah, 'Rlangeswaran" Manohar, S.V. Subbiah, V.K. Ramasami, C.S. Pandian, 'Sattam Pillai' Venkatraman, Loose Arumugam, Raja Sulochana, M.N. Rajam, Jayanthi, Kamala and S.R. Janaki.
Story Dialogue: Dhakshna Murthy, Songs: Marudha kasi, Music: T.G. Lingappa, Camera: Daisi Mani, Producer: N.S. Rajagopal and V.G.N. Brothers.
Direction: M. Tiruvenkadam.   | Photo Credit: Scanned in Chennai R.K.Sridharan

One of the interesting and outstanding features of Puthumai Penn was a song rendered by the hero of the movie, S.S. Rajendran. The song, ‘Kaithari’, written by Udumalai  Narayana Kavi,  highlighted the problems faced by the weaving community.  

The producers expressed their gratitude to the DMK Party for allowing the usage of this song in the film credits. SSR used to sing during the days when he was a stage artist performing in propaganda plays of the Dravidian Movement.

This incidentally is the only time that he ever sang for a film. Other songs of the film, sung by well-known artistes like T. M. Soundararajan, A. M. Rajah, P. B. Sreenivos, Jikki, P. Susheela, Jamuna Rani and K. Rani, were mostly about the problems of the working class.

Puthumai Penn is the story of a good-natured rich man getting duped by his manager Ramanathan, who misappropriates his family properties and other assets. Brokenhearted, he hands over his eldest son Manickam to a dear friend, while the younger Muthu is given to Narayanaswami, the servant of the household. With the children handed over, he walks out, destination unknown.

Manickam becomes a graduate but is unable to get a job. He is in love with his classmate Ranjani and also wins the friendship of Balu, a do-gooder. He does odd jobs to make a living.

Ramanathan, meanwhile, leads a high-flying life and when on his death bed, realising his folly, he writes a will giving all the properties back to the rightful family.

The advocate has a daughter, Vidya, a modern young woman (and the inspiration behind the title,  Puthumai Penn), who falls in love with Muthu, now making his living as a labourer. When Muthu comes to know that Vidya hails from an affluent family, he tries to distance himself. The advocate’s son is meanwhile trying to get Muthu in trouble.

Around this period, Muthu discovers the will accidentally. How the lovers eventually unite forms the rest of the story. Pudhumai Penn was produced by N. S.  Rajagopal and VGN Brothers, and was directed by M. Thiruvengadam.  While the story was penned by S. R. Dakshinamurthi, the script and dialogues were written by a noted screenwriter of the period, P. A. Kumar.

Music was by well-known music composer T. G. Lingappa, who was also known for his work in Kannada movies. It was his work there that gave rise to his name, Lingappa. Choreography was by T. C. Thangaraj and Raj Kumar, and cinematography was by Mani.

The film was shot at the erstwhile Prakash and Paramount Studios. The film did not do well despite its political themes, and only the song rendered by Rajendran made a mark.

Remembered  For:

The song sung by S.S. Rajendran, and the performances of SSR, Raja Sulochana, M. N. Rajam, T. S.Balaiah and others.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 11:09:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/a-look-back-at-puthumai-penn/article7464529.ece

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