Blast from the past - Pizhaikkum Vazhi (1948)

Pizhaikkum Vazhi  

T. S. Durairaj was a talented comedian in Tamil Cinema who, however, did not receive the recognition he deserved. The main reason was he was a contemporary of the iconic comedian, N. S. Krishnan, with whom he was teamed often, the most famous film being Ellis R. Dungan's Sakunthalai. It was only after the temporary absence of NSK from the scene, following the ‘Lakshmikantham Murder Case', that Durairaj came into his own in films such as Meera. At first, NSK, his wife Mathuram and Durairaj were cast in the film. But after the sensational case, NSK was in prison for 30 long months; so he and Mathuram had to be dropped, and Durairaj got to play the main comedy role.

Not many are aware that Durairaj was successful at horse racing and part-owned winning horses such as ‘King Master' and ‘Win Master' which were popular names in Guindy and the South Indian racing world during that time. He tried his hand at production with mixed results, and Pizhaikkum Vazhi was his first attempt which did fairly well. It had a number of comedy and character actors who contributed to its success.

The hero (Durairaj), a wastrel, thinks cheating could be a way of life in a world of dopes, gullible and naive folks. It becomes his motto, and hence the title! He becomes a fake disciple of a fake swami (Swaminathan), and cheats gullible people of their money.

T. A. Jayalakshmi, (the heroine), another talented and attractive actor of her day, did not also receive the attention she deserved. Early in her career she played minor roles, also doing dances, and appeared in a single sequence lasting just a few minutes in the Gemini Studios magnum opus, Chandralekha. She was also associated with the famed theatre group of the day, TKS Brothers, and played major roles. She played the lead role in the AVM hit, Naam Iruvar (1947). Soon she married the AVM unit production manager Vasu Menon who later became a successful producer of Hindi films and owned Vasu Studios in Kodambakkam.

One of the attractions of this film was the three songs rendered by the iconic Carnatic musician D. K. Pattammal. Those were, ‘Enga naatukku entha naadu eedu…', ‘Kottai kattatheydaa…' and ‘Mudalai vaayil...'

The wastrel spends his time playing cards with his vagabond pals, and one of the songs in the opening sequences is based on playing cards. It had lines like ‘Aass (ace) meley jackia…' and ‘Thuruppu (trumps) illaamey paruppu vegumaa….?' This song sung by Durairaj and others became quite popular.

The film, including the lyrics, was written by T. K. Sundara Vaathiyar, (Aswathama composed the music) and made at Modern Theatres, Salem, and directed by R. Mithra Das. He directed a few films and later was associated with noted cinematographer, producer-director R.M. Krishnaswami (RMK) in running a Madras city studio. Sadly few remember Mithra Das today.

T. S. Balaiah, Kali. N. Ratnam, M. R. Swaminathan and K. K. Perumal, well known actors of the day with a flair for comedy, lent excellent support.

Remembered for the music and the songs rendered by DKP, and the comical sequences featuring well-known stars.

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Printable version | Jan 15, 2021 9:13:25 PM |

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