Blast from the past Columns

Maamiyaar Mecchina Marumagal (1959)

A poster of the movie.  

In the bygone decades of Tamil cinema, many stories dealt with middle-class families having problems with daughters, sons, widowed sisters and such others. The audiences could easily relate to them as most of them were familiar with such situations. Known as ‘family subjects’ in the south Indian movie lingo, many of these films proved successful at the box office. One such film was Maamiyaar Mecchina Marumagal, produced and directed by Krishnan-Panju under the banner AVM Productions. It was made at the AVM Studios which was then a beehive of activity.

Written by Kalaipitthan (the song book does not provide any credit for the story writer), the lyrics were by Udumalai Narayana Kavi and Kavi Rajagopal; the film was photographed by the lens and lights maestro S. Maruthi Rao, then part of the AVM team.

The film was edited as usual by ‘Panjabi’ — S. Panchapakesan of the Krishnan-Panju duo. The costumes were by K.A. Rehman, while the dances were choreographed by K.N. Dhandayudhapani Pillai.

The music was composed as usual by the AVM in-house composer R. Sudarsanam with the AVM Studios Orchestra.

The production manager was the young AVM Saravanan who had just stepped into film production. As usual, R. Pattabhiraman and R. Vittal were the assistants in the direction department.

The hero was the brilliant Tamil actor S. S. Rajendran, who passed away recently. Blessed with a handsome personality, his best assets were his Tamil diction and inimitable dialogue delivery.

(This writer had the privilege of directing SSR for a TV documentary on the Tamil star and singer K.R. Ramasami, Nadippisai Pulavar Ramasami, which he wrote, directed and produced for NFDC and Doordarshan Kendra, Madras. The main onscreen narrators in this documentary were M.N. Nambiar and S.S. Rajendran. In the documentary, SSR narrated a long-running dialogue spoken by KRR in a play Lanka Dahanam (he was Bhaktha Hanuman). The dialogue was in high-flown, alliterative Tamil, full of puns on Ravana’s ‘ patthu thalai’ (ten heads). He pounds Ravana that he was no great when compared to Rama, playing on the word ‘ thalai’, one by one! (Like ‘ unakku veeram patthalai’!). Rajendran spoke all the lines after so many years in one ‘take’, which was astonishing!)

Besides being an actor-star, director, and producer, he was a politician and a member of the Indian Parliament. Not many are aware that he began his career as a leading playback singer for Modern Theatres, singing for G. Ramanathan.

The successful star actress C.R. Vijayakumari was one of his wives.

Maamiyaar Mecchina Marumagal tells the story of an affluent and childless woman (G. Varalakshmi) who yearns for a grandchild. The nephew she is bringing up (SSR) falls in love with a poor girl (M.N. Rajam). His aunt rejects the match because she thinks the girl won’t bear a child. The couple marry against her wishes and get thrown out of the mansion. How they beget a child, win over the matriarch and become a happy family again forms the rest of the story…

Varalakshmi, a bilingual star and producer, lives the role in style.

The film had pleasing music and out of the many songs, ‘Ranga Ranga Ranga,’ a lullaby written by Kavi Rajagopal and sung off-screen by M.L. Vasanthakumari and Sirgazhi Govindarajan, became a hit and was used in the film twice. The others who sang for the film included T.M. Soundararajan, A.P. Komala, and S.C. Krishnan. The film fared well at the box office.

Remembered for: the interesting storyline, excellent direction by Krishnan-Panju, fine performances by Rajendran, Rajam, Varalakshmi, and others, and the pleasing music.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 2:15:17 PM |

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