Blast from the past: Nichaya Thamboolam 1962

Sivaji Ganesan, Jamuna, S.V. Ranga Rao, P. Kannamba, Chitoor V. Nagaiah, K. Malathi, M.N. Nambiar, Rajashri and S. Rama Rao

Published - May 02, 2015 08:24 pm IST

Nichaya Thamboolam

Nichaya Thamboolam

Benningalavaley Srivatsa Ranga (1918-2010), the director of Nichaya Thamboolam , was so named as he hailed from the erstwhile Mysore state and belonged to a small town near Bangalore called Benningalavaley. His father, who ran a successful drama troupe, was also a good photographer and that was how Ranga got drawn to cinematography. For a while, he worked with the well-known cinematographer of the day Krishna Gopal (KG, who was responsible for the Gemini Studios Color Lab), and thanks to him, worked as a lab man at Gemini Studios. His first assignment as a cinematographer was the successful Tamil film Bhaktha Naradar (1942). He was also associated with famous filmmaker B. N. Rao before establishing his own studio, Vikram Studios, in Madras and later a colour lab in Bangalore, the first in Karnataka. Here, he made Amarashilpi Jakkanacharya (1964) in more than one language, and won laurels. Ranga made mythological and folk movies in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi, that were big hits.

Ranga was the chief cinematographer, producer and director of Nichaya Thamboolam that had Sivaji Ganesan and Jamuna playing the lead roles. The latter hailed from Hampi and was with the popular stage unit Praja Natya Mandali, whose hit play Puttillu paved her entry into cinema. Soon, she became a sought-after actress and acted in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi movies. A beautiful woman, she carried this film that has her facing problems from her in-laws.

Interestingly, the film that has dialogue by Viruthai N. Ramasami, carries no credit for the story writer. The film was about a senior police officer's (S.V. Ranga Rao) spoilt child (Sivaji Ganesan). Pasupuleti Kannamba plays his kind-hearted mother. The son is attracted to a poor teacher’s (Nagaiah) daughter (Jamuna) and marries her. It turns out that the in-laws are already related. When this girl was born, the two families had entered into an arrangement that she would marry the rich man’s first-born son and exchanged the Nichaya Thamboolam !

Cut to the present. Problems arise between the newly married couple and when their child is born, the hero suspects her fidelity and walks out on her. More complications ensue with the hero being charged with the murder of his friend (Nambiar) as the wife takes it upon her to save her husband. In the climax, it is revealed that the man alleged to have been murdered is very much alive. All’s well that ends well, and the couple and the two estranged families live happily thereafter.

The film had brilliant performances by Sivaji and Jamuna, and was a success at the box office though it did not have the proverbial 100-day run. One of the major plus points for the success was the melodious music by Viswanathan-Ramamurthy. Most songs were hits with the well-shot ‘Padaithaney', rendered by T.M. Soundararajan and filmed on Sivaji, remaining popular till today.

S.V. Ranga Rao, P. Kannamba, Nagaiah and K. Malathi all lent excellent acting support.

Remembered for: the melodious music, with ‘Padaithaney’ becoming an immortal melody, and the brilliant performances of the artistes.

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