Blast from the past Columns

Thilakam 1959

Thilakam was a family drama about a woman, Saraswathi, separated from her husband who takes refuge in her sister’s family in Tiruchi.

Thilakam was a family drama about a woman, Saraswathi, separated from her husband who takes refuge in her sister’s family in Tiruchi.  

K.G. Narayanasami, later known as ‘Thilakam’ Narayanasami, was a fairly successful playwright of the 50s and 60s. The film rights for one of his popular plays, Thilakam, were acquired by S.L. Narayanan but later the project was taken over by A.V. Meiyappan, who produced it under the popular AVM banner. AVM Saravanan stepped into the movie world as ‘Production Executive’ under the name M. Saravanan. Thilakam was a family drama about a woman, Saraswathi, separated from her husband who takes refuge in her sister’s family in Tiruchi. Saraswathi wants her daughter Thilakam to marry her (Saraswathi’s) brother Sekhar. However, her rich uncle Sambasivam has other plans and dreams of getting Thilakam married to an elderly rich man in Bombay. Their son Gunasekharan is against these plans and tries his best to see that Sekhar and Thilakam are married. Whether he succeeds forms the rest of the film. A pretty young woman named R. Rajakumari playing a supporting role, attracting much attention for her perky looks and came to be known as ‘Thilakam’ Rajakumari. However, she faded away soon. Prem Nazir, who played the hero in 1,000 movies, played the lead with Rajam as heroine. Dance sequences in colour by noted dancer from Bombay, Helen, were a highlight, and were choreographed by K.N. Dhandayuthapani Pillai. Noted cinematographer S. Maruthi Rao, part of AVM, was the lens and lights man, while audiography was by Mukul Bose and S.P. Ramanathan. S.L. Narayanan was associate director, Krishnan-Panju the directors, with R. Pattabhiraman and Shanmugham assistant directors. As usual, the film was edited by Panju under the pseudonym Panjabi.

The lyrics were by Kothamangalam Subbu, M.K. Atmanathan, S. Rajagopal and V. Seetharaman who worked with Gemini Studios.

The in-house AVM composer R. Sudarsanam arranged the music with T.M. Soundararajan, Sirgazhi Govindarajan, M.L. Vasanthakumari, P. Susheela, Soolamangalam Rajalakshmi, S.C. Krishnan, and L.R. Eswari lending their voices. The duet ‘B..o..y…. boy-inna Paiyyan … g..i…r..l…inna Ponnu…’ sung by S.C. Krishnan and Soolamangalam Rajalakshmi became popular, and was a straight lift from a Hindi film song ‘C..a..t… cat mane billi….r..a..t…rat mane chooha…’ rendered by Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhonsle in Dilli ka Thug. However, Thilakam did not do well at the box office.

Remembered for: Krishnan-Panju’s direction and the melodious songs.



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Printable version | Aug 16, 2020 2:05:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-columns/blast-from-the-past-thilakam-1959/article6555579.ece

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