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Poova Thalaiya (1969)

A still from Poova Thalaya  

Poova Thalaiya is a breezy situation comedy written and directed by K. Balachander in the year 1969, starring Gemini Ganesh, Jai Shankar, S. Varalakshmi, C.K. Nagesh, Vennira Aadai  Nirmala, C.R. Manorama and Srikanth.

The film is about a domineering mother-in-law, Parvathamma (Varalakshmi performed brilliantly), her rich son-in-law (Gemini Ganesh, who plays a widower) and her unmarried younger daughter (Nirmala). Parvathamma wishes to marry off her younger daughter to her son-in-law, so she could have control over his wealth. But the stumbling block is the son-in-law’s younger brother (Jai Shankar) who falls in love with Nirmala, and also sees through the facade of the dominating lady and takes it on himself to put her in her place.

There are many interesting developments and events before Jai Shankar marries Nirmala. Meanwhile, the widowed Gemini Ganesh meets Rajasri and they fall in love. After many comic situations, both Gemini Ganesh and Jai Shankar marry their respective brides.

Nagesh is a jutka driver and his wife is Sacchu. It is revealed that Sacchu is Varalakshmi’s daughter, but she had told the world that she is dead. Nagesh meets the rich lady in her cloth shop and she is shocked. Nagesh takes up the game to expose her.

The various situations generate lots of laughter, well-supported by brilliant dialogue from Balachander, his deft screenplay and fantastic performances by all the actors.

Varalakshmi hailed from Andhra and was an excellent singer with a rich voice. She did many successful movies in Tamil, and in this film, she excelled as a middle-aged dominating mother-in-law. She and Jai Shankar make a challenge by the toss of a coin (hence the title) and both clash every time they meet. Most enjoyable is the exchange of barbs between Varalakshmi and Jai Shankar. There are many hilarious comic situations of the two couples, Gemini Ganesh and Rajasri, Jaishankar and Nirmala; and also the hero’s cloth shop manager (Rama Rao). He has an eccentric daughter played by Manorama, who falls in love with a young man (Srikanth) who has escaped from a mental hospital.

The film was a box-office success, running for 100 days in many centres of Tamil Nadu and also all over India, and it was one of the early films of Balachander.

Music was composed by M.S. Viswanathan, with lyrics written by Vaali.  

The songs are rendered by T.M. Soundararajan, Sirkazhi Govindarajan, A.L. Raghavan, P. Susheela and L.R. Eswari. The film was shot at AVM Studios and was produced by Rama Arangannal, an active politician.

The film, even after 40-plus years, continues to be entertaining, and can be watched and enjoyed even today;this is the hallmark of a classic.

Remembered for: The interesting storyline, situational comedy, humorous dialogues, tuneful music and superb acting by Varalakshmi, Jai Shankar, Gemini Ganesh, Nagesh, Rajasri, Manorama, Srikanth and Rama Rao.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 4:31:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-columns/tamil-film-poova-thalaya/article7747085.ece

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