blast from the past Columns

Anbu 1953

Chennai: 16/04/2015: Cinema Plus: Blast from the Past Column:Title: Anbu 
Cast: Sivaji Ganesan, Padmini and others. This is a Natesh Art Pictures production release.

Chennai: 16/04/2015: Cinema Plus: Blast from the Past Column:Title: Anbu 
Cast: Sivaji Ganesan, Padmini and others. This is a Natesh Art Pictures production release.

M. Natesan was a well-known costume maker who soon became the costume designer for Newtone Studios, a beehive of film production in those days. Before long, he promoted his own production company, Natesh Art Pictures, and made quite a few movies, including the MGR-Saroja Devi starrer En Kadamai that had a good run.

Anbu was based on a story by Natesan, who also produced and directed the film. The dialogue was by Vindhan. The music was composed by T. R. Paapa and the lyrics were by Papanasam Sivan, Ka. Mu. Sheriff, Kambadasan, Suratha, and Nanjil Rajappa. Anbu was shot at Newtone Studios and Citadel, both of which do not exist today. Noted cameraman G. Vittal Rao was in charge of cinematography. The dances were choreographed by Hiralal, Gopalakrishnan and Dhandapani. S.A. Murugesan, a close associate of Natesan, was in charge of editing.

Anbu was all about the emotional problems a woman faces when she becomes a young widow. Thangam (Rajakumari) is married to a man old enough to be her father, Rajamanickam Mudaliar (Duraiswami) who has two children from his deceased first wife. The daughter is Lakshmi (S. Padma), and son, Selvam (Sivaji Ganesan). Thangam’s husband dies when she is expecting her baby. Selvam falls in love with a rich girl Malathi (Padmini), while a playboy (T.S. Balaiah) does his best to separate them. When Thangam’s child is born, ugly rumours are spread by Lakshmi that the father of the child is Selvam and the two had an incestuous relationship. Malathi believes the rumours and starts tormenting Thangam. How the young widow surmounts the problems forms the rest of the story.

Rajakumari, who has always been associated with glamorous roles, gives an excellent performance as the tormented widow. Sivaji is as usual impressive. This film came soon after his spectacular debut in Parasakthi (1952).

Anbu created history in the most unexpected manner, leading to a legal dispute for defamation between the film producer and the publisher of noted weekly, Kumudham . The weekly’s review of Anbu was written in an interesting format with the characters talking about their roles and what they think of the movie. This was indeed unusual for Tamil cinema but landed Kumudham in a legal dispute.

Then it was at the intervention of V.C. Gopalratnam, who was the legal adviser for the Kumudham group, that the matter was settled with Natesan amicably.

Remembered for: the different kind of story and the performances of Rajakumari and Sivaji Ganesan.


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