Andhaman Kaithi 1952

Well received Andhaman Kaithi

Well received Andhaman Kaithi  

M. G. Ramachandran, Thikkurisi Sukumaran Nair, K. Sarangapani, M. R. Swaminathan, S.D. Subbulakshmi, P.K. Saraswathi, M.S. Draupadhi, T.N. Sivathanu, M. R. Swaminathan, M. S. Karuppaiah, K. S. Balaiah and K. S. Angamuthu

Andhaman Kaithi was one of the most successful plays in Tamil Theatre. Written by noted playwright and lyricist Ku. Sa. Krishnamurthi in 1938, it was staged successfully in many places, within and outside India (where Tamils lived) such as Malaya, Burma and Ceylon. Later, during the 1940s, it was staged with great success by the legendary theatre troupe, TKS Brothers. In 1952, it was filmed by Radhakrishna Films of Alleppey which was then a force to reckon with in Tamil film financing. At first, the film was directed by the pioneer K. Subramanyam who for some reasons walked out of it, and the cinematographer V. Krishnan took over the direction. Krishnan, a talented cameraman, was associated with S. M. Sreeramulu Naidu of Pakshiraja Studios, Coimbatore.

For the sake of the film, changes were made in the script. The story is narrated in flashback by a life convict (MGR) returning from the Andaman Islands after being released with India becoming free on August 15, 1947. However, the screenwriters (KuSa, and KS) took ‘dramatic licence’ because by 1947 the practice of sending life convicts to the Andamans was given up — during the Second World War (1939-1945) the islands were under the occupation of the Japanese. The practice was legally abolished during the early 1950s.

However, in the movie, a rich Hindu family in Karachi is forced to come to India during the riots following the Partition. While the blinded mother (Subbulakshmi), son (MGR) and daughter (Saraswathi) make their way, the father who leaves earlier to meet his unscrupulous brother-in-law (Sarangapani) is brutally murdered by his goons. The betrayed son murders the crooked uncle and is served a transportation for life sentence.

The sister is tricked into marriage by the crook but she saves herself from yielding to him and falls in love with a young man (Thikkurisi). The son working as a labourer saves a poor maid (Draupadhi) who has been raped. In the end, he marries her giving the film a reformist touch while the sister marries her lover.

MGR, drawing from his early life, came up with a fine performance. Though not a major star in 1952, MGR showed he had the potential to emerge a cult figure.

Malayalam stage and screen star Thikkurisi who was active in Tamil cinema during the 1950s was impressive, while pretty Saraswathi made a mark.

Sarangapani as the treacherous uncle was his usual self. Balaiah as the lecherous man was in top form. Karuppiah and Angamuthu provided comic relief. The music (G. Govindarajulu Naidu) was a highlight. The song, ‘Anju roopa nottu konja munney maathi miccham illay...’, sung off screen by T. V. Ratnam became a hit — it highlighted the deplorable conditions in which people lived those days. Another song by Subramania Bharati, ‘Kaani nilam vendum...’ (C. S. Jayaraman and M. L. Vasanthakumari), also became popular.

The film had a dance drama by Lalitha-Padmini-Ragini and was well received though it was not a major box office hit. However, it helped MGR to move up the ladder of success.

Remembered for the interesting storyline, pleasing music and MGR’s performance.


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