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Chirikkudukka: 1976

Bahadur in a double role in 'Chirikkudukka'

Bahadur in a double role in 'Chirikkudukka'   | Photo Credit: By special arrangement

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Prem Nazir, Bahadur, Jose Prakash, Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair, Sankaradi, Muthiah, Vidhubala, Rani Chandra, KPAC Lalitha etc.

Mistaken identity, impersonation, masked heroes and heroines were some of the integral elements of Indian cinema right from its early phase. Chetan Anand’s Hindi film Afsar (1950) based on a similar theme was a box office hit. The Maharashtrian lawyer-turned-film maker Dada Mirasi adapted interesting stories from the Tamasha, the traditional form of Marathi literature and theatre, for several Tamil, Hindi and Marathi films. The Sivaji Ganeshan hit Tamil film Sabash Meena (1958) was based on such a hilarious rom-com with impersonation as the theme. This was remade in Hindi as Dil Tera Diwana (1962) which was one of the early hits of Shammi Kapoor. In both these films, the ‘double roles’ by Chandrababu in Tamil and by Mehmood in Hindi were the highpoints.

The Malayalam remake Chirikkudukka, released on April 30, 1976, also was a huge hit. Produced by Baby under the banner of Swapna Films and directed by A.B. Raj, the film was shot at Karpakam and Arunachalam studios. The dialogues of the important scenes, written by M.R. Joseph, were translated from the Tamil film. Dances choreographed by E. Madhavan and the music by Shanker-Ganesh were the other attractions.

Sadasivan Nair (Thikkurissi) sends his wayward son Preman (Prem Nazir) to his friend Kesavan Nair (Sankaradi), a retired military officer. Pillai hoped that the stay with military officer would reform his son. Preman sends his friend Babu (Bahadur) in his place to Kesavan Nair’s house. Kesavan Nair welcomes him as Preman. A series of comic developments takes the story forward at a rapid pace. Babu lives happily in Kesavan Nair’s house but is afraid that he might be arrested for impersonation and cheating.

Preman, who stays in a slum in the city falls in love with Radha (Vidhubala), daughter of Bhaskaran (Muthiah) a blind slum dweller.

One day a police officer comes to Kesavan Nair’s house to invite Preman to act in a drama to be staged at the Police Club. On seeing the police Babu impersonating Preman, runs away from Nair’s house. Now, Babu is mistaken for Paraman (Bahadur in double role), a bicycle rickshaw driver and drunkard, who has left his home after quarrelling with his wife Kuthira Sarasu (KPAC Lalitha). The slum dwellers take him to Sarasu’s house mistaking Babu for Paraman. Helpless and unable to prove his identity Babu stays in Sarasu’s house as Paraman. At the same time Kesavan Nair’s men who were sent in search of Babu bring Paraman to Nair’s home mistaking him for Babu.

Radha’s cousin Kumar (Jose Prakash) who wished to marry her turns against Preman when he comes to know about their relationship. Kumar is the manager of rich businessman Gopalan Muthalali (T.P. Madhavan) who is mentally imbalanced after his son Chandran (Sudheer) quarrelled and left home. Gopalan Muthalali comes in contact with Preman and entrusts the charge of his business to him. Preman detects manipulation of the office accounts by Kumar and requests him to repay the money he had swindled. Kumar kills Gopalan Muthalali and creates circumstantial evidence and false witnesses to hold Preman responsible for the murder.

And now to the the climax. Preman proves his innocence in the murder case. Kesavan Nair comes to know that it was Babu who had impersonated Preman. The film ends happily with Preman and Babu marrying Radha and Malathi (Rani Chandra, Kesavan Nair’s daughter) respectively.

Bahadur impressed in the double role carrying off the comedy scenes with aplomb. Mallika as a food vendor and KPAC Lalitha also created an impact.

The songs by Yusuf Ali Kecheri and Shanker Ganesh, like Chithra kanyake nin mukham… (K.J. Yesudas), Kuliru koranu… (Yesudas), Chirikkudukke thanka…(Yesudas, Pattam Sadan, and chorus), Madura madhuram en… (S. Janaki), and Rikshawala O! …. (P. Jayachandran-P. Susheela) turned hits.

Will be remembered: As a good comedy film, for Bahadur’s double role and for the music, especially for the song Chithrakanyake nin mukham

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 5:09:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/chirikkudukka-1976/article6228471.ece

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