Cinema

Blast from the past - Kavalai Illaadha Manithan (1960)

Kavalai Illatha Manithan  

Kannadasan elevated movie lyrics to the realm of literature. Even the man on the street could understand and appreciate the meaning of his lyrics because he used simple words. Perhaps being born in the mercantile community of Naattukottai Nagarathars of Chettinad, he showed interest in movie production at which he was not successful as expected though he richly deserved it.

He made six movies — Maalai Itta Mangai, Sivagangai Seemai, Kavalai Illaadha Manithan, Vaanambadi, Ratthha Thilakam and Karuppu Panam. Even though the films had much merit and artistic and technical value, box office success somehow eluded him. One of his praiseworthy movies was Kavalai Illaadha Manithan in which his friend with whom he shared many interests, J. P. Chandrababu played the lead as a man without worries in life and who never bothered about the morrow. He believed in the philosophy of the famed British poet, Lord Byron, ‘Let us have wine and women, mirth and laughter. Sermons and soda water the day after!'

Muthu (Chandrababu), a lawyer with no care in this wicked world, makes it his mission to solve the problems of fellow human beings. (Incidentally, Kannadasan's real name is Muthaiah.) In sharp contrast, his brother (Radha) believes in creating trouble for those around him, especially the women. Their affluent father (Balaiah) believes only in money and is not bothered about other things in life. He fixes the marriage of his wayward son with a woman Sivakami (Rajam), but she is in love with a young man (Mahalingam). True to his wont, he seduces a poor woman (Rajasulochana) whom he abandons with a child.

Muthu takes all the necessary steps to correct the wrongs done by his brother (Radha) and succeeds in bringing the lovers together, and also marries a young woman (Vijayalakshmi).

Directed by editor-turned-filmmaker K. Shankar, the film had pleasing music (Viswanathan-Ramamurthi). Two songs rendered by Chandrababu became popular. One song in particular ‘Pirakkum podhum azhuginraai' became a major hit and is still remembered. Chandrababu, whose life was drenched in tragedy, infused all his emotions into this song.

Kannadasan appears (uncredited) in an early scene in academic robes as the chief guest at the University Convocation conferring degrees, advising the new graduates such as the hero.

Despite the melodious music, impressive performances by Chandrababu, Radha, Balaiah and Rajasulochana, the film was not a success. One reason was the delay in the production. Kannadasan later made a remark to his close friends that contrary to the title of the movie as ‘the man without worries', he, the producer became a much worried man in the process!

Remembered for: the music and the catchy numbers by Chandrababu, and the fine performances by Chandrababu, Radha, Balaiah and Rajasulochana.




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Printable version | Oct 15, 2021 5:21:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/blast-from-the-past-kavalai-illaadha-manithan-1960/article2600809.ece

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