blast from the past Cinema

Orey Vazhi 1959

N. Vasudeva Menon, better known as N. Vasu Menon began his career in a humble manner, working in the production department of A. V. Meiyappan, who was taking giant leaps as producer. Menon also worked with noted filmmaker A.T. Krishnaswamy, who was then with AVM. By dint of sheer hard work, Menon became a producer and established Vasu Films. His second wife was T.A. Jayalakshmi, the noted star of early AVM movies such as Naam Iruvar (1947). Orey Vazhi marked his debut as producer.

With superhits such as Khandan, the Hindi remake of the Tamil hit Bhaga Pirivinai, Menon zoomed ahead as a top-ranking producer and went on to establish Vasu Studio in Saligramam, Vadapalani. The studio functioned with production facilities such as sound recording and film editing for many years after his demise. Orey Vazhi, made under the banner of Vasu Films, was written by well-known screenwriter, actor and filmmaker ‘Javert’ N. Seetharaman. The lyrics were by Kannadasan, and the music was composed by R. Govardhan. A dance-drama written by Thanjai Ramaiah Das and choreographed by the leading ‘Nattuvanar’ K.N. Dhandayudhapani Pillai and Thangappan was performed by the duo Sayee-Subbulakshmi. Not many are aware that today’s icon Kamal Haasan worked with Thangappan in his early days as his assistant.

The cinematography was by Thambu (C.V. Ramakrishnan), nephew of the pioneer K. Subramanyam. The film, produced at Gemini Studios, was edited and directed by K. Shankar who made many hits. The make-up was by Sahadeva Rao Thapkhirey, the leading make-up man of Gemini Studios. (He was a cousin of Dada Saheb Phalke, the father of Indian cinema).

In Orey Vazhi, a man sells his family property to educate his brother Mohan, who goes on to become a lawyer. A judge’s daughter marries the intelligent lawyer. Soon, problems arise in the family when the marriage of a woman related to them is stalled because the prospective groom’s greedy family demands more money. Many misunderstandings, twists and turns later, happiness is restored to the divided family.

Prem Nazir, who had an international record of playing hero in more than thousand films, played the lead and Rajam was his heroine. The Nazir-Rajam pair was very popular and appeared in a number of movies, most of which fared well at the box office.

Sriranjani Jr. as usual played the long-suffering woman, while Muthukrishnan, who made an impression in Modern Theatres’ Valayapathi, played a major role. T.S. Balaiah and S.V. Sahasranamam were very impressive as always.

The playback singers were C.S. Jayaraman, T.M. Soundararajan, A.M. Raja, A.L. Raghavan, M.L. Vasanthakumari, P. Leela, T.S. Bhagavathi, P. Susheela, and S.C. Krishnan.

Remembered for: the fine performances of the lead pair, Nazir and Rajam, and veteran stars Balaiah and Sahasranamam, and the taut narration of director K. Shankar.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 4:44:53 PM |

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