Saturday, January 17, 2009

Visappinte Vili (1952)

Cast: Prem Nazir, Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair, Muthukulam, Nanukuttan, S.P.Pillai, Kumari Thankam, Pankajavalli, Adoor Pankajam, Ambika

ALL OUT ENTERTAINER Prem Nazir did full justice to his role

Released in August, 1952, this is one of the earliest boxoffice hits in Malayalam Cinema. Produced by K.V.Koshy and Kunchacko in Udaya Studios, the film was remade in Tamil and subsequently a dubbed Telugu version was also made. Though publicised as a ‘social’ film it had nothing to do with any social issues. It was a family melodrama with strange twists and turns far removed from reality. In spite of all this the film was a huge success.

Photography by E.R.Cooper and editing by P.V.Varghese enhanced the quality of the film. It ran to full houses for weeks and months.

Mohan (Prem Nazir), the only son of the rich landlord of ‘Lakshmi Bhavanam loses his father in childhood. The manager (Nanukuttan) manages to secure all the wealth of the family, throwing Mohan and his mother out on the streets. Soon, Mohan loses his mother also. Adopted by a kind hearted land lord of ‘Ananda Bhavanam,’ Mohan is brought up along with his children Venu (Thikkurissi) and Sarojam (Kumari Thankam) After the death of the landlord, Venu takes charge of the household.

Kamalam (Pankajavalli), the daughter of the wicked manager who cheated Mohan and his family, is married to Venu. Kamalam’s lecherous brother Ramu, who is in love with Sarojam, plays all kinds of nasty tricks to get married with the support of Kamalam. But Sarojam, who is in love with Mohan, staves off his advances. Pressurised by his wife Venu expels Mohan from the house. Ramu and his gang beat up Mohan. He seeks refuge in a nearby estate.

Meanwhile, Kamalam hatches a plot for the marriage between Ramu and Sarojam. Venu is poisoned and Sarojam donates blood to save her brother. Venu is saved. He realises his mistakes and understands the misdeeds of his wife. Mohan returns to the village. Venu gives his sister in marriage to Venu bringing the film to a happy end.

The film had all the ingredients of a typical entertainer– songs, dances, comedy scenes etc. Though the story was absolutely unrealistic it did not in anyway affect its success. The dance dramas ‘Swargavaathil’ and ‘Ramanan’ that were included were added attractions.

Prem Nazir and Thikkurissi excelled in their roles. Kumari Thankam, the glamour girl of the time was the main attraction. The comedy team of S.P.Pillai, Adoor Pankajam, Muthukulam and Vanakkutti, were reduced to mere repetitions of the usual comic scenes.

The grand success of the film encouraged the producers to remake it in Tamil, ‘Pashiyin Kodumai.’ It had Prem Nazir, Thikkurissi and Kumari Thankam in the lead roles along with other leading stars of Tamil cinema like M .S .Draupadi, and Madhuri Devi in important roles. The success of the Tamil remake paved way for a Telugu dubbed version titled ‘Aakali Piluppu.’

The Malayalam film had 12 songs penned by Abhayadev and tuned by P. S. Divakar. Some of the songs became super hits and a few have stood the test of time. Though noted actor Jose Prakash made his debut as playback singer in the film ‘Shariyo Thetto,’ released in 1953, ‘Vishappinte Vili’ was the first to be released. A duet ‘Chinthayil neerunna jeevitham…’ sung with Kaviyoor Revamma turned a super hit. Another duet sung by A.M.Raja and P.Leela, ‘Mohiniye, enn athma Mohiniye…’ was also very popular.

Will be remembered: For the songs, ‘Chinthayil neerunna… and ‘Mohiniye enn athma Mohiniye…’ Also, Jose Prakash’s first released film song was in this movie. It will also be remembered as the film in which Ambika, who later went on to reign supreme as heroine in the late 50s and early 60s, made her debut.

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