Sripadhashanker is hardly remembered today, but during the 1940s and the earlier decades, he was an actor. Associated with the Gemini Studios, he appeared in supporting roles in some films.
He ventured into film production and Mangayar Thilakam was one of his ventures. As he was not financially strong, he sought the help of an enterprising bank clerk, A.C. Pillai, who helped complete the film providing funds. Later Pillai became an independent producer and made movies such as Rani Samyuktha with M.G. Ramachandran and Padmini.
Sripadhashanker was closely associated with another actor K.S. Gopalakrishnan who was with Gemini Studios.
This film was based on a story by Vahininjiya Pangkadiya and Sadasivabramham (noted Telugu screenwriter popularly known as ‘Katha’ Sivabramham(!). Well-known screen-writer and filmmaker Valampuri Somanathan, G. Ramakrishnan (also a filmmaker) and D. Nagarajan wrote the script and dialogue. The lyrics were by Udumalai Narayana Kavi, Kannadasan, Marudhakasi and Puratchidasan, while S. Dakshinamurthi scored the music. Though there were as many as ten songs, only one, ‘Neela vanna Kanna vaadaa…’ written by Marudhakasi and sung melodiously off screen by R. Balasaraswathi, became a hit. There was also a satirical dance drama, ‘Ketta penmani…buddhi ketta penmani,’ written by Udumalai Narayana Kavi and sung by T. V. Rathnam. It took a dig at the modern woman in sharp contrast to the contents in the famous song ‘Nalla penmani migha nalla penmani’ sung by T.A. Mathuram in the NSK movie, Manamagal .
A melodramatic story rich in family sentiment, it was built around an ideal homemaker, played by Padmini, who virtually carried the film on her shoulders. Despite several creditable performances, her talent as an actress was not much highlighted by critics and others who focussed mostly on her beauty and dancing skills.
The heroine (Padmini) sacrifices her joy and happiness for the sake of the family and her self-centred sister-in-law’s (Rajam) child. She does not bother about her health until her death. Sivaji Ganesan as the heroine’s brother-in-law gave an equally fine performance and Rajam as the headstrong sister-in-law performed well. So did Subbaiah as the heroine’s husband.
The film was well directed by the multilingual movie maestro, L.V. Prasad. It did well and won some awards for its thematic content and Padmini’s performance. It was shot at Vijaya Vauhini Studios.
Remembered for highlighting family values and the performances of Padmini, Sivaji Ganesan, Rajam and Subbaiah.