100 years of Gemini Ganesan

Yaar Paiyyan 1955

Some decades ago in Tamil Cinema, the story material invariably came from Bengal. Bengali literature, Bengali theatre and Bengali Cinema were the favourite hunting ground for Tamil film producers, directors and screenwriters. Indeed, there were even ‘story brokers’ based in Madras often visiting Calcutta and staying in touch with their friends there to look for story material. It was considered a matter of prestige for Tamil filmmakers to announce that their film story was from Bengal.

One such story imported from Calcutta was Yaar Paiyyan written for the screen by Sridhar. It was adapted from a well-known Bengali story, ‘Sekelar’ written by Sriyuktha Jyothirmaye Roy.

It is an interesting tale woven around a cute kid named ‘Poori’ (Daisy Irani). Not knowing who his parents are, the kid has been looking high and low to get back to them. Seated in a park bench beside the hero (Gemini Ganesan), the kid asks his name and as soon as he replies, he proclaims that the hero is his father!

This creates complications in the hero’s life and ruins his plans of marrying his sweetheart (Savithri). The president of a hospital for the mentally ill with a not-so-mentally-strong daughter creates more problems for the hero.

After many interesting twists and turns, the truth emerges — the kid is the illegitimate child of a soldier (Mustafa) and the abandoned mother commits suicide, leaving the child behind. The hero and the heroine are so attracted to the child that they decide to adopt him.

Yaar Paiyyan was directed by noted filmmaker T.R. Raghunath, the younger brother of Raja Chandrasekhar, another noted filmmaker of yesteryear. (His son Karthik Raghunath is now into making films.)

Raghunath, a double graduate of the Madras University, began his life as a sound recordist at Srinivasa Cinetone working under Meenakshi Narayanan, wife of noted filmmaker A. Narayanan. Later he moved to Bombay and emerged as a successful independent filmmaker.

The music was by S. Dakshinamurthi who composed the music for many Telugu films and the cinematography was by Aloysius Vincent, who later became a multilingual filmmaker. Ganga was the art director, while the film was produced by T.A. Govindarajan, one of the brothers of T. A. Mathuram.

Gemini Ganesan, Savithri and Daisy Irani contributed to the success of the film. Daisy Irani was the most famous child artiste of South Indian Cinema. Sarangapani, T.R. Ramachandran and NSK-TAM contributed their own brand of comedy. V.K. Ramasami and Nagaiah played guest roles.

The film was shot at Vijay-Vauhini Studios and fared well at the box office.

Remembered for the interesting storyline, excellent performances by Daisy Irani, Gemini Ganesan and Savithri.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 2:34:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/yaar-paiyyan-1955/article4130095.ece

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