Blast from the past - Sahodari (1959)


Karnataka stage and screen icon Gubbi Veeranna was also a producer. During the late 1950s, he and his friend C. R. Basavaraj, a noted producer based in Mysore, joined hands and made a bilingual film in Kannada and Tamil, the Tamil version being Sahodari.

Written by noted screenwriter Murasoli Maran, Sahodari was directed by A. Bhim Singh, one of the most successful Indian filmmakers. Based on a story by Kannada writer Krishnamurthi Puranic, the film had an impressive cast — K. Balaji, multilingual star Devika, Prem Nazir, Muthuraman, Chittoor V. Nagaiah, Rajasulochana, Tambaram Lalitha, starlet Padmini Priyadarshini, old-timer S. R. Janaki, and the inimitable comedian J. P. Chandrababu.

Chandrababu was brought into the movie at a later stage for a telling reason not known to many. Sahodari was bankrolled by AV. Meiyappan who had some doubts about the film after it was almost complete. He felt it lacked the light touch and after much negotiation about remuneration, brought Chandrababu on board. The funster created the character of a typical Madras milkman of the olden days, which breathed fresh life into the film.

Before the era of packaged milk, milkmen owning cows used to visit the houses and milk their animals under the supposedly watchful eye of their customer. The milkmen were invariably bare-chested, carrying the rope to tie the animal's legs and an elongated metal container to collect the milk. They used to hold the vessel between their knees and milk the cows using both hands. A difficult feat indeed!

Chandrababu played the role of the milkman in a realistic way which was highly enjoyable. He also spoke the dialect of the milkman. A song by him (music: R. Sudarsanam, and lyrics: Kannadasan), ‘Naan oru muttalungo…', rendered in his characteristic style, became a hit and contributed to the success of the film, amply justifying AVM's viewpoint.

The importance of Chandrababu's role is highlighted by the fact that in the song book of the movie, the story in brief is narrated by the milkman.

Rajasulochana and Balaji played the lead, while Devika and Prem Nazir formed the other pair. Rajasulochana's character is pregnant and gives birth to a child. During the making of the film, the well-known star was carrying, but regrettably, while the reel-life child survived, her real-life child did not.

Nazir as her brother was active in Tamil Cinema, playing lead roles in many movies. Indeed he holds the international record for having played the lead role in the maximum number of movies in more than one language.

Handsome Balaji was also active during those years, but somehow big-time success evaded him. Soon he turned to production at which he was highly successful and also played support roles.

In spite of the melodramatic storyline, Sahodari was only an average success at the box office. However, Chandrababu's comedy, particularly the milkman song, became a hit.

Remembered for the interesting storyline, impressive performance of Rajasulochana in a difficult role, and, of course, the Madras city milkman comedy and Chandrababu's song.

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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 5:35:53 AM |

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