100 years of Gemini Ganesan

Kaathirundha Kangal (1962)

Well-woven story Kaathirundha Kangal   | Photo Credit: Scanned in Chennai R.K.Sridharan

With more than 50 movies in languages such as Tamil, Telugu and Hindi, Tatineni Prakash Rao (1924-1992) is hailed as one of the most successful filmmakers of Indian cinema. Some of his hits include Palleturu (his directorial debut in Telugu in 1952), Maadhar Kula Maanikkam, Padagotti, Sasuraal, Uthama Puthiran, Amara Deepam, Ghar Ghar Ki Kahani, Charana Dasi, Suraj, Illarikam, and Engalaalum Mudiyum, a children’s film.

Prakash Rao entered films as assistant to one of the pioneers of Indian cinema, L.V. Prasad. Soon, he got his break in 1952 with Palleturu, and never looked back.

Kaathirundha Kangal was based on a Bengali story written by Malabika Roy and the film script was by M.S. Solamalai and ‘Ma.Ra’. The lyrics were by Kannadasan and Panchu Arunachalam with music by Viswanathan-Ramamurthi.

The film narrated a well-woven but, perhaps, familiar story of twin sisters (Savithri in a double role) getting separated at birth due to poverty. One is brought up by a wealthy person (Ranga Rao) and the other by the underprivileged mother (Lakshmi) herself. A doctor (Gemini Ganesan) comes to treat the ailing mother and the underprivileged twin falls in love with him, of which, he has no knowledge. On her deathbed, the mother reveals to her daughter the existence of the twin. The young woman goes in search of her sister and by sheer chance, both travel in the same train. The train has an accident and the wealthy sister loses her memory and is presumed dead.

Complications arise with the doctor marrying the other twin assuming she’s the wealthy one. A child is born and the wealthy twin turns up. How the issues are solved form the rest of the film.

Music contributed to the film’s success. Songs such as ‘Odam Nathiyiniley’ (Sirgazhi Govindarajan), ‘Kaatru Vandhaal’ and ‘Valarntha Kalai’ (both by P.B. Sreenivos and P. Susheela). The film was produced by T.K. Ramasami for Vasumathi Pictures, and was shot at Vijaya-Vauhini Studios by the lights and lens wizard and filmmaker Kamal Ghosh. N.M. Shankar edited the film while A.K. Sekhar was in charge of art direction.

Prakash Rao remade the film in Telugu as Asha Jyothi under his own production (with Sujatha playing the lead), but it bombed at the box-office.

Remembered for: Lilting music, fine direction and memorable performances by Savithri, ‘Gemini’ Ganesan, Ranga Rao and M.R. Radha.

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Printable version | Jan 15, 2021 12:42:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-columns/kaathirundha-kangal-1962/article4660395.ece

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