Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Raathri (1961)

Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair, Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair, T. K. Balachandran, Miss Kumari, Ambika , S. P. Pillai, Bahadur etc.

Christmas Rathri,' produced and directed by P. Subramaniam under the banner of ‘Neela Productions' was released on January 28 1961, though it was planned to be released for Christmas 1960. The delay affected the collection. ‘Udaya Studios,' released their successful comedy film ‘Neeli Sali' during Christmas and this also had its impact on the verdict of the film. Perhaps if ‘Christmas Rathri' had been released as per schedule the results at the box office would have been brighter.

The story, written by T. N. Gopinathan Nair, had nothing to do with Christmas except that the climax of the film takes place on Christmas Eve. The dialogues by Muttathu Varkey were one of the main attractions of the film. The film was shot at Merryland Studios. The music by Brother Lakshmanan was another highlight of the film. It was in this film that lyricist P. Bhaskaran and Brother Lakshmanan go together. Probably, this was the only film for which they worked together.

The story revolves around Advocate George (Thikkurissi) and Annie (Miss Kumari). They are an unfortunate couple not blessed with children. The mental agony affects the health of George and he turns a chronic heart patient. He and Annie draw away from the society trying hard to hide their painful inner feelings.

Vareechan (Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair) is a kind hearted landlord. He sends Dr. Mathew (T. K. Balachandran) to Europe for higher studies. Vareechan has an hidden agenda. He wants to give his daughter Gracy (Ambika) in marriage to Dr. Mathew. And Vareechan's plan becomes easy when Mathew and Gracy fall in love with each other.

Mathew's father had died by snake bite. His goal in life now is to pursue research in treatment for snake bite and invent anti-venom to save human lives. Mathew opens a dispensary in the city where his good old friend Advocate George and family reside. Mathew takes up the challenge of curing George's heart ailment.

Mathew's visits to George's house and his friendly interaction with Annie makes George suspicious.

Mathew's research progresses and he succeeds in inventing anti-venom. This proves to be successful on animals. He now wants to experiment this on human beings. Mathew who was immersed in his research was not able to attend to Vareechan or Gracy for sometime. Mathew's long silence makes Vareechan even more doubtful. He decides to conduct Gracy's marriage with another person. Gracy leaves home to escape from the marriage fixed against her wishes.

Mathew takes up the task of experimenting the anti-venom on humans in the presence of people and he chooses Christmas Eve for the event.

Advocate George decides to take revenge on Mathew for ruining his family life and for what he suspects undesirable relations with his wife Annie.

Gracy reaches the venue and offers herself for the anti-venom experiment. She is subjected to snake bite and is given an anti-venom injection. Gracy survives and human race gets a life saving remedy against snake bites. All dark clouds are cleared. Advocate George repents over his suspicion. Vareechan decides to conduct the marriage of his daughter Gracy with Mathew. The film ends praising the Lord and the glory of Christmas.

The title of the film was rather misleading. It had a religious connotation but the film had a social theme.

There were 12 songs in the film. Unlike earlier Neela films, this one dispensed with the trend of imitating popular Hindi or other language film tunes. The devotional number, ‘Nanma Niranjoramme, athi dhanye...' (P.Leela) is considered as one of the best songs in praise of Mother Mary. The song became a super hit and still remains popular. Other hits include the Christmas song ‘Unni pirannu…' (A.M.Raja, Leela), ‘Kinavinte thambalathil...' (A. P. Komala), ‘Kanmani karayalle...' (Leela).

Will be remembered: For the good music, especially for the devotional number, ‘Nanma niranjoramme...' by P.Leela. As the only film in which P. Bhaskaran and Brother Lakshmanan worked together as a team.

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