Blast from the past Columns

Aadiperukku - 1962

Chennai: 24/02/2015: The Hindu: Cinema Plus: Blast from the Past Column:
Title: Aadipperukku
Cast: Gemini Ganesan, Saroja Devi and others. Story: Maggallanban, Story Dialogue: Jaavar Seetharaman, Music: A.M. Raja, Camera: Thambu, Art: Balu, Studio: Majestic, Lyrics: Kannadasan Kotthamanagalam Subbu and Santhanam. Direction: K. Shankar.

Chennai: 24/02/2015: The Hindu: Cinema Plus: Blast from the Past Column:
Title: Aadipperukku
Cast: Gemini Ganesan, Saroja Devi and others. Story: Maggallanban, Story Dialogue: Jaavar Seetharaman, Music: A.M. Raja, Camera: Thambu, Art: Balu, Studio: Majestic, Lyrics: Kannadasan Kotthamanagalam Subbu and Santhanam. Direction: K. Shankar.

Aadiperukku is a Tamil festival that pays tribute to the life-giving properties of water. It is the worship of river Cauvery usually in floods around the Tamil month of Aadi , for bestowing peace and prosperity. However, in this movie, the name is used as an attention-grabbing device, and the river hardly finds any reference, except in the opening song, ‘Annaiyin aruley va va va... Aadiperukkey va va va…’ that shows a montage of several picturesque shots (cinematographer Thambu) of the Cauvery from its place of origin. As the song comes to a close, the visual cuts to Gemini Ganesan singing the last two lines as a poetic tribute to the festival . Meanwhile, the story of the film is just a mushy love triangle involving a poet Raja (Gemini Ganesan) and two women, Padma (Saroja Devi), and Latha (Devika). Padma’s family — a widowed mother (Rajamma) and a brother who works in the harbour — find refuge in the poet’s house. The brother, however, dies in an accident. Meanwhile, thanks to a well-wisher (C.V.V. Panthulu), Raja goes to Madras and meets a successful publisher (K.D. Santhanam) who helps him become a bestselling writer. The publisher’s daughter, Latha (Devika), falls in love with Raja. This leaves a heartbroken Padma to marry a man, who dies of a mysterious disease.

Just when Raja and Latha are all set to marry, Padma shows up. Confused, the poet walks out of the wedding hall. Unable to bear the shock, Latha’s father falls ill and the doctor says he will survive only if Latha’s marriage takes place. As a gesture of his gratitude, Raja marries Latha and soon after, has a baby who falls into a coma. Padma offers to sacrifice her life for the baby’s sake and the story ends with the baby recovering.

Written by Makkalanban with screenplay and dialogue by ‘Javert’ N. Seetharaman, the film’s lyrics were by Kothamangalam Subbu, Kannadasan, K.D. Santhanam and Suratha. Music was by A.M. Raja and Saroja Devi’s dances were choreographed by Hiralal and Rajkumar. The film was shot at Majestic Studios, which does not exist today. Produced by Madanagopal, the film was directed and edited by K. Shankar. A top editor, his talent is especially evident in the montage sequence of Raja’s disrupted marriage ceremony and Padma’s entry into widowhood — shown through the breaking of bangles, wiping of the kumkum on her forehead and removal of the thaali .

Saroja Devi performs excellently as the frustrated woman with Gemini Ganesan giving a fine performance too.

Apart from the title song, ‘Thanimayile inimai kaana mudiyuma,’ a duet, (lyrics by K.D. Santhanam, and sung by A.M. Raja and P. Susheela) became popular.

The somewhat predictable storyline, the many deaths and the lack of significance of the title did not help the film do well at the box office.

Remembered for: the performances of Saroja Devi and Gemini Ganesan.


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