Saturday, October 11, 2008

Achan (1952)

THUMPING HIT B. S. Saroja and Prem Nazir in ‘Achan’

This film is one of the early hits produced by Kunchacko and the first produced under the banner of XL Productions, which went on to create several box office hits in sixties and seventies. Released on Christmas Eve the film ran to packed houses at all the centres for many weeks.

The film focussed on a father’s unreserved love and affection for his children. The major success of the film paved way for its Tamil version, ‘Thanthai (1953) and Telugu version ‘Thanri’ (1953). Both the dubbed versions were huge hits. The story of the film proceeds through several strange twists and turns which was a common feature of the South Indian films of that time. The film included all the factors of an entertainer, melodrama, romance, dances, comic scenes etc. There were stage dramas, ‘kathaprasangam’ dances and melodious songs. The dialogues penned by Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair were precise. Unlike dialogues of the time, which were usually lengthy, those in this film were an exception.

The story revolved around a family. Chandran (Prem Nazir) and Balan (Gopinath) are showered love and affection by their father (Thikkurissi) and stepmother (Jayasree). But Chandran does not realise the value of this and grows into a bad boy. The fancy he takes to a street girl in his childhood transforms into a love affair later.

The girl Usha (B.S.Saroja) works as an artiste in a drama troupe owned by Nanukuttan (Sesbastian Kunjukunju Bhagavathar). Chandran marries Usha much against the wish of his father. He goes on to lead an extravagant life, gets into the company of a city rogue Mathu (S.P.Pillai) and his group.

Chandran’s father, very considerate, accepts his son despite his wild escapades and misdeeds. But Chandran still does not realise the value of his father’s affection. He demands his share of the ancestral property and his father accedes to this demand.

A drama troupe set up by Chandran flops and he all the money he put into it goes down the drain. To recover from this setback, Chandran contests in the Assembly elections but fails here too. Bankrupt Chandran becomes desperate. Meanwhile, Usha gives birth to a baby boy. But all these changes in life do not transform Chandran or his attitude towards his father. He even becomes suspicious of Usha and leaves home with his son.

This proves to be the turning point. Chandran struggles to bring up his son. He now realises the worth of his father, his love and of course value of money. He returns home and falls at the feet of his father. The father, who never carried any sort of hatred for his son accepts him.

Thikkurissi’s outstanding performance was one of the highpoints of the film. This was the only film in which veteran actor Sesbastian Kunjukunju Bhagavatahar did a comic role.

There were 17 songs in the film. Some of the songs became super hits. The most popular of them was ‘Ambili ammava thirinju nin anpinodonnu chollu ...’ sung by Thiruvananthapuram V. Lakshmi. This remains the only solo rendered by her. Later on she was heard as part of the chorus in several films. The other hits include ‘Naame mudhalali namakkini...,’ ‘Madhuram madhuramee jeevitham...’ (P. Leela), ‘Madhumasa chandrikayay...’ (A.M.Raja, P.Leela). A kathaprasangam by Pankajavalli, which also became very popular. Will be remembered: As one of the major box office hits of early Malayalam cinema. It will be remembered as the debut of Boban Kunchacko, the maiden venture of XL Productions, and first film of Thiruvananthapuram V. Lakshmi.

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