Blast from the Past Cinema

Ulagam Sutrum Vaaliban (1973)

This film, starring MGR, is one of the biggest box-office hits in the history of Tamil cinema and ran for 25 weeks, not only in India, but also in places like Sri Lanka, U.S, Canada and the United Kingdom. Assisted by Pa. Neelakantan, the film was directed by M. G. Ramachandran himself for his family firm MGR Pictures Private Limited.

This commercial entertainer had several songs and dance numbers featuring both classical Indian and western styles. It also had many fight sequences that were shot abroad in the Far East, with the highlight being the climax which was set in Japan.

Written by R.M. Veerappan, Vidwan Ve. Lakshmanan and S.K.T. Sami, the film had dialogues by K. Sornam.

The story is about Indian scientist Murugan (MGR), who has recently discovered how to store a part of the energy unleashed by lightnings, and reports this in theHong Kong scientists’ conference. He subsequently announces that he would not reveal his discovery, as the world is on the brink of World War III and his research may be used for destructive purposes.

Scientist Bairavan (S.A. Asokan) accuses Murugan of false claims. Murugan then conducts a demonstration, and at the end of it, destroys the vital research notes, which upsets all the scientists. Bairavan tries to negotiate with him to sell the research to a foreign country, but Murugan refuses.

Murugan then departs with his girlfriend, Vimala (Manjula) on a world tour. He discloses to Vimala that he only pretended to destroy the research notes, and that he has kept them in a safe place. He has plans of using them further, so that his research is used for productive purposes. Bairavan, who has been following them, overhears this, and plans to steal the research notes.

While in Singapore, Bairavan shoots Murugan but he does not die. Murugan, however, suffers from a mental disorder as a result and is subsequently taken into Bairavan’s custody.

Soon, Vimala too is abducted by Bairavan, who expects the former to cure Murugan, so he can steal the research documents.

Raju (MGR), a CBCID officer and Murugan’s younger brother, arrives in Singapore in search of his brother. Here, he meets a classic dancer (Chandrakala), who soon falls in love with him.

The secret research documents are hidden in a locket; all the villains go after it, but nobody succeeds. Two guys (Asokan and Gopalakrishnan) even try to kill MGR with their own brand of weapons, but are finally killed by the same arms.

The film’s melodious music, composed by maestro M.S. Viswanathan (aided by Joseph Krishna’s orchestration), was a major highlight. There are as many as 15 songs, with many of them not finding a place in the movie. The lyrics were written by Kannadasan, Vaali, Pulavar Vedha and Pulamaipithan. The songs were rendered by S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, K. J. Yesudas, Sirgazhi Govindarajan, P. Susheela, S. Janaki, L. R. Eswari and some unnamed Japanese singers.

The film carries a message at the end announcing another film on CID Raju in Africa, but this film was never made.

Remembered for: The cinematography (V. Ramamurthi), music by MSV, dancing by Chandrakala, and fine performances by MGR, Manjula, Asokan, Gopalakrishnan, Nagesh and others.

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Printable version | Mar 27, 2020 8:27:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/ulagamsutrum-vaaliban1973/article8541302.ece

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