A.C. Tirulokchandar is one of the most successful filmmakers who made many memorable movies in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. An M.A. degree-holder, he hails from a well-to-do Arcot Mudaliar family and wanted to write the IAS exam and never thought of taking up any job. A voracious reader even in his schooldays, he wrote short stories in Tamil and published them in some of the prestigious magazines like Kumudham . One of his classmates was Balasubramaniam, son of noted filmmaker of the day, R. Padmanabhan. Balasubramaniam introduced Tirulokchandar to his father, who kindled his interest in cinema. Tirulokchandar started working with him in Newtone Studios under the name A.C.T. Chandar. Then he worked in Citadel Studios (no longer in existence) for Joseph Thaliath Jr. and wrote the screenplay for the hit film, Vijayapuri Veeran , an adaptation of The Three Musketeers . He was introduced by actor S.A. Asokan to AVM Saravanan, and became very close to the AVM clan. Here, he made his debut as filmmaker in the AVM hit Veera Thirumagan (1962). Soon, he soared ahead, and over the years made more than 25 films, and directed all the top stars like Sivaji Ganesan, MGR, Gemini Ganesan and Ravichandran. Athey Kangal was a suspense-rich murder mystery, written and directed by ACT, with dialogue by T.N. Balu. The film was produced by AV. Meiyappan, under the banner Balasubramaniam and Brothers.
A rich family, consisting of brothers and a sister (Kanchana), takes care of a native doctor ( vaithian )-cum-musician. On the day one of the brothers is to leave on a holiday with his wife (G. Sakunthala), the wife finds him hanging from the ceiling. He has been murdered, says the top cop (‘Major’ Sundararajan). Later, there is a murder attempt on the widow, but she escapes. However, the incident leaves her mentally disturbed. A doctor (Balajee), close to the family, reminds the top cop not to disturb the widow by questioning her, thereby creating a suspicion that he had some involvement in the murder, deliberately creating a red herring. A singer (Ravichandran) moves into the house as a tenant, bringing along an Anglo-Indian woman (Nagesh dressed as a woman), and a member (Sambandham) of the family falls in love with the fake ‘girl’! Kanchana and the singer fall in love and she receives phone calls threatening to kill her. Her lover, takes on the task of exposing the killer who turns out to be the native doctor, and the hero explains it all in the climax. Ravichandran and Kanchana as the lovers perform well.
Asokan as the eldest brother does his role with impact and so does Nagesh as the Anglo-Indian girl in disguise. The film did fairly well at the box office. However, its Telugu version Avey Kallu, did not fare as well as expected.
Remembered for: the tight narration and deft direction of ACT, and the impressive performances of the cast.