‘Chandrika' released on August 24, 1950 introduced to Malayalam cinema several eminent film luminaries, the most popular among them being lyricist P. Bhaskaran.
Earlier, Bhaskaran had written a few lines in Malayalam for a multilingual song for Gemini's Tamil film ‘Apoorva Sahodarargal' (1949). The others who started their film careers with the film were producer K. M. K. Menon, scriptwriter Nagavalli R.S. Kurup, actor P. K. Vikraman Nair, and actress Sethulakshmi. This was the first Malayalam film of director V. S. Raghavan and actress V. N. Janaki, wife of MGR. Playback singer V. N. Sundaram sang his first Malayalam song in this film and was the first Malayalam film of music director Govindarajulu Naidu.
The film was simultaneously produced in Tamil also and released on September 29, 1950. ‘Chandrika' is considered the first multilingual film the original being Malayalam. Legendary Tamil stars like K. Sarangapani, T. S. Baliah and V. N. Janaki acted in both the versions.
Nagavalli wrote the dialogues for the story authored by noted dramatist N. P. Chellappan Nair. Dakshinamoorthy and Govindarajulu Naidu set to tune the lyrics penned by Bhaskaran and Thumpamon Padmanabhankutty. The name of Ambalapuzha Brothers, the nadaswaram exponents, have also been given credit in the titles. Probably, the nadaswaram duo might have conducted the orchestra for the film.
The film was shot at the famous Vauhini Studios. Camera was by N. C. Balakrishnan and editing by V. S. Rajan. Choreography was by the ‘Travancore Sisters' Lalitha, Padmini and Ragini who performed the dances also along with another dancer named Sakkubai. The dance drama ‘Sakunthalam' was an added attraction.
In spite of the presence of popular stars of both Tamil and Malayalam cinema, the film failed. Both the versions did not do well at the box office. The theme was an oft repeated one, the film had nothing new, and the unusual twists and turns in the story was nothing short of boring. The weak storyline is considered a main reason for the poor performance of the film.
Chandrika (Sethulakshmi), the only daughter of the rich industrialist Janardanan Pillai (K. N. Gopalan Nair) falls in love with Gopi (Thikkurissi), the son of the maid servant. Gopi is aware of his social status and keeps away from Chandrika. But Chandrika does not leave him. Chandrika's cousin Remani (Bharathi) also loves Gopi. When Pillai comes to know about his daughter's love affair with the servant maid's son, he becomes furious and expels both Gopi and his mother from the house. Radhamani (V. N. Janaki ), Pillai's niece plays all nasty tricks to turn Pillai against Gopi.
One night Gopi enters Pillai's house and is arrested by the police on false charges. Chandrika falls into depression, leading to lunacy, because of her failure in love and tragedy that befalls her lover. Dr. Radhakrishnan (Vikraman Nair) treats her.She is cured and nursed back to health. Chandrika marries Dr. Radhakrishnan.
Pillai's manager Shankar (T. S. Baliah) who also loved Chandrika and wished to marry her join hands with Radhamani who was in love with the doctor. They join hands and hatch a plot to wreck Chandrika's family life. They blackmail Pillai showing a letter written by Chandrika to Gopi. Professor Raan (Sarangapani) and Mohan (M. G. Menon) lend all support to the conspirators.
In jail, Gopi comes to know about the wicked plans of Radhamani and her group. Remani helps Gopi clear all misunderstandings. The charges framed do not stand and gets a release. Remani weds Gopi. Professor Raan weds Radhamani's sister Vimala (Malathi). Chandrika regains peace and happiness.
Thikkurissi, Vikraman Nair, Baliah and Sarangapani did justice to their roles. V. N. Janaki impressed in the negative role. The comic track involving S. P. Pillai failed to create a laugh. The sequences were mere repetitions from earlier films.
There were 11 songs penned by P. Bhaskaran and Thumpamon Padmanabhankutty. Some of the tunes composed by Dakshinamoorthy and Govindarajulu Naidu became hits. ‘Kezhuka athmasakhi...' by Bhaskaran and sung by V. N. Sundaram was a huge hit. The song was an imitation of a popular C. H. Athma non film number ‘Preetam aan milo...' composed by O. P. Nayyar. The other popular song in the film, written by Bhaskaran, was ‘Choriyuka madhumari nilaave...' (P. Leela). These songs were tuned by Dakshinamoorthy. Other hits from the film include, ‘Mullavalli mele vidarum...', ‘Nonthuyir vaadidum jeevithamey...' and ‘Jeevithanandam tharum...' (all sung by P. Leela and composed by Govindarajulu Naidu).
Will be remembered: As the first Malayalam film of lyricist P. Bhaskaran. As the debut film of actor P. K. Vikraman Nair and actress Sethulakshmi. The only Malayalam film in which V. N. Janaki acted and as the first film to be produced in more than one language simultaneously.