blast from the past Cinema

Vettaikaaran (1964)

Vettaikaaran (1964)  

MGR and Savithri play the leads in Vettaikaaran, a story of an estate owner (MGR), who is a hunter, and spends his time taking down wild animals. He lives in his estate along with his mother (M.V. Rajamma), and falls in love with Savithri, the daughter of another estate owner (M.R. Radha).

M. N. Nambiar takes on a double identity as Ramu and Somu. But he keeps it a secret, and makes the world believe that his father has two sons, with Somu being a spoiled child. Initially, everybody believes him, but ultimately, the truth and the true identity of Ramu is exposed. He has his eye on the estate, and waits for the right opportunity to steal the documents. MGR and Savithri’s son (‘Baby’ Shakila as a boy) also shows a keen interest in hunting, just like his father, and starts going on hunting trips even as a small boy into the woods. His mother and grandmother are upset, but MGR encourages him to pursue his passion. While on one such expedition, MGR tries to shoot a tiger, but it escapes unhurt, and later tries to take revenge on him by stealthily entering the estate. (This part of the film is inspired by one of the adventures in Jim Corbett’s book Man-Eaters of Kumaon.)

In the meantime, Nambiar kidnaps MGR’s child and takes him to the forest, and the mother goes into the forest in search of him. Nambiar threatens to kill both of them if he does not get the estate papers. And, as expected, the hero comes in at the right time to save them, and after an intense fight between MGR and Nambiar, the latter falls prey to an ambush of tigers. MGR takes home his wife and son, and they live happily thereafter.

Vettaikaaran was produced by ‘Sandow’ M.M.A. Chinnappa Thevar and directed by M.A. Thirumugam, the younger brother of Thevar. This film was a box office success and ran for 25 weeks at several cinemas. The film was written by Aaroor Das, who has worked with MGR and Thevar in many movies.

Music was one of the main reasons for the film’s success at the box office. Composed by maestro K. V. Mahadevan, there are six songs in the movie, with some becoming big hits.

One song, ‘Unnai Arindhaal’, became a superhit, and is still remembered by moviegoers after several decades. Other songs which became hits include ‘Medhuvaa medhuvaa thodalaamaa’. Nagesh and Manorama played the funny couple, and their duet, ‘Seettu kattu raja’, was also popular.

The romantic sequences between MGR and Savithri created a sensation those days, and was yet another reason for the film’s success. Cinematography was by N.S. Varma, with the film being edited by M. A. Thirumugam and his team.

Remembered for: The interesting storyline, romantic sequences between MGR and Savithri, and super hit songs.


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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 2:21:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/mgr-bhanumathi-and-saroja-devi-in-vettaikaaran-1964/article8261292.ece

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