Ningalenne Communistakki (1970)

Sheela and Prem Nazir in a scene from the film Ningalenne Communistakki   | Photo Credit: By Special Arrangement

Successful stage plays performed by professional drama troupes were produced as films in all Indian languages. Most of the plays staged by Kerala Peoples Arts Club, popularly known as KPAC, also became very successful on celluloid. One of its plays Ningalenne Communistakki celebrated its 60th anniversary recently.

Renowned playwright Thoppil Bhasi wrote several stage plays for KPAC. Ningalenne Communistakki was his first one to be printed and published in 1952. The play was staged the same year. It was translated to Hindi in 1960 as Utthaan and into Bengali as Tumi Amay Communist Karichi. The play was also staged in both languages.

In 1970, this play was produced as a film by M. Kunchacko, under the same title, for XL Production. The script and dialogues were by Thoppil Bhasi, who also directed the film. The film turned as huge hit as the play.

Sathyan, Prem Nazir, Kottayam Chellappan, K. P. Ummer, Sheela, Jayabharathi and stage artistes like Vijaya Kumari, Thoppil Krishan Pillai were part of the cast. One of the highpoints of the film was its music, composed by G. Devarajan.

Paramu Pillai (Sathyan) is a farmer struggling to make ends meet. He lives in a small village with his wife Kalyani (Vijaya Kumari), son Gopalan (Prem Nazir) and daughter Meenakshi (KPAC Lalitha). Gopalan discontinues his college studies and works for the welfare of agricultural labourers and small time farmers. Mathew (K. P. Ummer) is another leader of the agricultural workers union who supports Gopalan in his activities.

Valiyaveetil Kesavan Nair (Kottayam Chellanppan) is the local landlord. He is cruel and makes his workers toil like slaves. Gopalan becomes Kesavan Nair’s sworn enemy. Kesavan Nair’s daughter Sumavalli (Sheela) is in love with Gopalan.

Kesavan Nair succeeds in taking possession of the holdings of some of the poor farmers in the village. His eye now falls on Paramu Pillai’s land. His evil eye also falls on Mala (Jayabharathi), daughter of Karamban (Thoppil Krishna Pillai), a small time farmer. Gopalan saves Mala from Nair. Mala takes a liking for Gopalan but withdraws in favour of Sumavalli.

Nair’s wicked plans and his anti-labourer attitude are exposed by Gopalan and his followers. Nair decides to take revenge. Gopalan is beaten up and is hospitalised.

Nair succeeds in taking possession of Paramu Pillai’s and Karamban’s land by using forged title deeds. Paramu Pillai who was always against the policies of his son and his party realises his ignorance. He joins the party procession that moves through the village, holding the Red Flag afloat. The wicked ways, the anti-worker policies of the wealthy turns Paramu Pillai into a Communist - Ningalenne Communistakki or you made me a Communist).

Sathyan and Kottayam Chellappan impressed in their roles.

The songs written by Vayalar Rama Varma and set to music by Devarajan were huge hits. Kothumbu vallam… (K. J. Yesudas, P. Leela, Madhuri, B. Vasantha, C. O.Anto), Pallanayarin theerathu (M. G. Radhakrishnan-P. Susheela), Ambalaparambile aramathile (Yesudas), Ellarum paadathu (Susheela), Aikya munnani aikya munnani…(Yesudas, Madhuri & chorus ), Neela kadambin poovo… (Yesudas) find a place among the best songs in the language.

Will be remembered: For its excellent songs and as a very successful film adaptation of a very popular political play.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 5:39:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/ningalenne-communistakki-1970/article4203522.ece

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