Thanipiravi (1966)

Updated - September 12, 2016 07:42 pm IST

Published - May 21, 2016 03:33 pm IST

Chennai: 31/03/2016: The Hindu: Cinema Plus: Blast From the Past Column: Title: Thani Piravi
M.G.R., J. Jayaalalitha. and others.

Chennai: 31/03/2016: The Hindu: Cinema Plus: Blast From the Past Column: Title: Thani Piravi
M.G.R., J. Jayaalalitha. and others.

Cast: M.G. Ramachandran, Jayalalithaa, S.A. Asokan, M.N. Nambiar, V.K. Ramasami, C.K. Nagesh, C.L. Anandan, Devaki , C.R. Manorama, Tiruchi Soundararajan, Athithyan (Stunt), ‘Sandow’ M.M.A Chinnappa Thevar

Thanipiravi was produced by ‘Sandow’ M. M. A. Chinnappa Thevar, under his banner, Devar Films. He also played the role of a criminal in the film, whose voice we keep hearing, even though we can’t see him, an idea seemingly inspired by Bond films.

The story shows a criminal group in Chengalpet, operating under the leadership of the unnamed villain (Thevar) and his main disciple Mayilsami (Tiruchi Soundararajan). In the same town lives Muthaiah (M. G. Ramachandran) a modest man, who along with his father Ratnam (Asokan) runs a small metal forge, making tools such as axes, spades and shovels. He loves his mother (P. K. Saraswathi) and sister Sivakami (Revathi) more than anything in the world.

The local police office, Nambiar, is out to stop the dacoit gang and nab its undercover leader. Muthaiah’s sister Sivakami and Nambiar’s brother Ravi (C. L. Anandhan) fall in love and get married.

Muthaiah comes to know that his father is also a member of the dacoit gang being hunted. Meanwhile, the leader of the gang and his assistant kill each other. In order to find out more about the gang, Muthaiah puts on the disguise of the gang leader and works underground. One day, he saves Radha (Jayalalithaa), the daughter of the police officer, from goons and they fall in love. She later accidentally stumbles upon Muthaiah, while he is putting on the disguise of the gangster, and begins to distance herself from him. After many twists and turns, the gangsters caught, and the lovers united.

In the initial portions of the film, MGR takes on the role of a political activist and sports a beard and beret like the famous Cuban revolutionary, Che Guevara. MGR drops the Che get-up after his sister gets married.

Based on a story by Madurai Thirumaran, the film was written by Aroor Das. Cinematography was by N. S. Varma (who passed away recently). The film was edited and directed by M.A. Thirumugam.

The film, with seven songs, had music by K. V. Mahadevan, and lyrics by Kannadasan. The song that MGR sings while working on the forge, ‘Uzhaikkum Kaigaley….’ (voice: T.M. Soundararajan; lyrics: Kavignar Kannadasan), conveys his leftist philosophy, highlighting the role of the worker in building society. The song became a big hit.

Nagesh, a cycle rickshaw-driver, and his lover Manorama, with V. K. Ramasami as her father, provide comic relief. This film ran for only 10 weeks and was not a box office hit.

Remembered for: Music, performances by MGR and Jayalalithaa, and the comedy track.

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