Ellaam Unakkaaga (1961)

Sivaji Ganesan, Savithri Ganesh, T.S. Balaiah, S.V. Ranga Rao, Chittoor V. Nagaiah, T.R. Ramachandran, M.S. Sundari Bai, S.A. Natarajan, S. Rama Rao, Ganapathi Bhat, C.K. Saraswathi, K.V. Shanthi, Susheela, Thangaraj, T.P. Harisingh, Nataraj and Radhabai

Updated - July 12, 2014 07:29 pm IST

Published - July 12, 2014 07:18 pm IST

Ellaam Unakkaaga

Ellaam Unakkaaga

A star-studded production by Saravanabhava Unity Pictures, Ellaam Unakkaaga was based on a story written by Telugu screenwriter and lyricist Acharya Athreya with dialogue by K. S. Gopalakrishnan, who later carved a niche for himself in Tamil Cinema.

It had Sivaji Ganesan and Savithri (credited as ‘Savithri Ganesh’) as lovers. Paasa Malar, their earlier film in which they played siblings, created history. The same stars doing intimate scenes in Ellaam Unakkaaga , according to critics, didn’t go down well with filmgoers and it was believed to be the main reason for the film flopping at the box office despite the cast, pleasing music, dance sequences and fine direction by Adurthi Subba Rao.

The screen storyline is somewhat predictable. It’s about two men Anandan (Sivaji Ganesan) and his friend Venkatachalam (Balaiah). Venkatachalam’s daughter Sarala (Savithri) loses the ability to walk in an accident. A doctor tells the father that he treated a young woman in a similar situation, who in the process of bearing a child got cured and began to walk! Accordingly, Venkatachalam marries his daughter to Anandan with a secret understanding between the parents that if Sarala does not get cured within two years, the marriage would be dissolved and that Anandan will be the free to marry any other woman! They marry and live a happy life and have a child, but she's not cured of the problem. However, Anandan refuses to give her up…

What happens to the various problems of the characters forms the rest of the film. There are many complications that did not contribute in any manner to the understanding of the story by moviegoers…

The south Indian film music maestro, K.V. Mahadevan, assisted by Pugazhendi scored the music. The lyrics were by Kannadasan, Marudhakasi, Thanjai Ramaiah Das, Ku. Ma. Krishnan and Kothamangalam Subbu.

The songs were rendered by noted playback singers T.M. Soundararajan, A.L. Raghavan, P. Susheela, Soolamangalam Rajalakshmi and Rajeswari. The dances were choreographed by the well-known nattuvanar, P.S. Gopalakrishnan.

The film was made under the management of A.K. Balasubramaniam and G. Sundaram (one of the partners of Unity Pictures).

Sivaji Ganesan and Savithri were excellent, but their love sequences at that time came in for much criticism! Character actors Ranga Rao and Chittoor Nagaiah were their usual selves, playing elderly roles. T.R. Ramachandran and S. Rama Rao provided light entertainment, while C.K. Saraswathi and K.V. Shanthi played supporting roles. Shanthi from Kerala was also active in Tamil theatre and appeared in quite a few films, but did not make it to the top as expected.

The film was shot in Adayar at Neptune Studios, which was taken on lease by Jupiter Pictures when it shifted from Coimbatore to the state capital. The studio was later acquired by M.G. Ramachandran and became Sathya Studios; and now, it houses the MGR-Janaki College of Arts and Science for Women.

Despite the impressive performances, the film did not fare well at the box office mainly because of the wrong casting of the lead pair.

Remembered for: the fine performances.

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