Blast from the past Columns

Pudhu Vazhvu 1957

Puthu Vazhvu

Puthu Vazhvu  

Tamil movie music great G. Ramanathan produced this film, casting the first superstar of south Indian cinema, M.K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar, as the hero. Expectedly, Ramanathan composed the music along with C.N. Pandurangam.

The story and dialogue were by the top screenwriter of Tamil cinema, Elangovan. The lyrics were by Papanasam Sivan, Thanjai Ramaiah Das, A. Marudhakasi, Natarajasundaram and Saravanabhavananda. Also, some songs of Ramalingaswamigal and Subramania Bharati were used. Expectedly, MKT sang most of the songs, doing some duets with P. Leela. Somewhat interestingly, Jikki joined him in one number. (Radha)-Jayalakshmi also rendered a solo song. Krishnan and Mathuram sang a comic duet.

The famous Bharati song ‘Suttum vizhi sudar than Kannamma’ was rendered as a ragamalika by MKT in his characteristic melodious style. It was a hit and sold well as a gramophone disc or ‘plate’ as it was known then. Somewhat interestingly and to the surprise of his fans, MKT sang a short song in which he combined lines from popular Hindi melodies such as ‘Aawara hoon’ and ‘Dada dada dada’.

The film was photographed by well-known lensman R. Sampath, while Hiralal, Sohanlal, and Madhavan choreographed the dances.

Shot at Newtone Studios under the banner Sarvodhaya Pictures, MKT directed the movie with hardly any experience. His brother M. K. Shanmugam was in charge of production.

The somewhat predictable story revolves around Vaikuntam (MKT) who lives in a village. The youth, a good singer, is in love with Nagammal (Lalitha). One day, her brother, who is against the budding romance, ties him up to a tree. A rich woman Subha (Madhuri Devi) who passes by saves him and takes him to the city where she promotes him as a singer under a new name ‘Geethamani’. Soon, fame and fortune follow. He forgets his past and even insults his aged parents, calling them beggars. Shocked by the change in him, Nagammal tries to commit suicide.

How Geethamani realises his mistakes and reconciles with his parents and Nagamani forms the rest of the plot.

In spite of the great songs, the film flopped at the box office, landing Ramanathan in financial trouble. But the songs are still worth listening even half a century later.

Unfortunately, none of the films MKT made after his release from prison (a fallout of the sensational Lakshmikantham Murder Case) fared well at the box-office.

Remembered for: the melodious songs and MKT’s singing.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2020 12:17:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-columns/blast-from-the-past-pudhu-vazhvu-1957/article6408005.ece

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