Sunday, September 30, 2012
Monday, July 30, 2012
Cast: Anandan, Natarajan, Paravur Bharathan, Vaikom Mani, S. P. Pillai, Geethanjali, Shanthi etc.
Jungle movies, like those that had characters like Tarzan were extremely popular worldwide. Several such movies, with the jungles as the backdrop, were produced in various Indian languages. And most of them proved to be very successful too. Aana Valarthiya Vaanambaadi (1959) and Kaattu Maina (1963), films in the genre produced by Neela Productions, also set the box-office ringing.
Prompted by these earlier successes Neela Productions came up with another jungle movie, Kaattu Mallika in 1966, which also turned a huge hit.
Shot at Merryland Studios,the film was directed by P. Subramaniam. The story and dialogues were by the noted novelist Kaanam E. J. A few sequences and characters in the film resembled the Tamil movie Vanamohini (1941) produced by South India United Artists Corporation and directed by the noted Hindi film comedian Bhagwan.
The stunt scenes, shot under the direction of Pulikeshi, were highpoint of this adventure movie. Cinematography by E .N. C. Nair and editing by M. Gopalakrishnan were commendable. Also impressive were the folk dances choreographed by Parthasarathy. The film marked the debut of lyricist Sreekumaran Thampi. The music was by M. S. Baburaj.
The hero of this film, Anandan, a Tamil actor, stood out in his adventurous role. This was also the Malayalam debut of the popular South Indian actress Geethanjali. Comedian S. P. Pillai acted in double role.
The other artistes in the film included Paravur Bharathan, Vaikom Mani, and Shanthi.
The story of the film veers around two tribal groups settled in two mountain ranges in Kerala. Chemban (Natarajan), the chief of Pulippara Mountain takes a fancy in Mallika (Geetanjali), the daughter of the chief of Aanappara Mountain. But Mallika does not like Chemban, who is an enemy of her father. Mallika is saved from Chemban several times by an unknown person. And Mallika falls in love with this Unknown Hero, who is actually Vikraman (Anandan).
Veeran (Paravur Bharathan) supports Chemban in all his wicked plans. At the insistence of Veeran, the chief priest of Aanappara lays down a condition for Mallika’s marriage. The bridegroom has to fight and win over a hungry tiger. This is seen as a trap to kill Vikraman. The wicked plan fails. Vikraman kills the tiger in the fight. But the people begin to play dirty tricks and manage to send Vikraman away from the mountains.
Mallika and her father are trapped by Chemban and kept under custody. Mallika manages to escape with the help of her friend Thamara (Shanthi). Vikraman returns to find Mallika all alone and struggling in the jungle.
Disguised as tribal fortune tellers, Kuravan and Kurathi, Vikraman and Mallika, enter Chemban’s camp. Vikraman takes on Chemban and his men in combat and defeats them. All the innocent tribal men kept under custody by Chemban, including Mallika’s father are freed. Vikraman marries Mallika bringing the adventurous jungle story to a happy end.
Anandan impressed in the fight scenes. The comedy scenes involving S. P. Pillai were also appreciated.
Ten songs written by Sreekumaran Thampi were tuned by Baburaj. Thamarathoniyil aalolamaadi …(K. J. Yesudas-S. Janaki) , Avalude kannukal … (P. B. Sreenivas ), Penney nin kanniley … (Kamukara Purushotaman-B.Vasantha), Pandathe paattukal … (Kamukara ) became very popular.
The other hits include Kalyanamakaatha ….(Janaki) and Maranathin nizhalil …(Kamukara).
Will be remembered : As the debut film of lyricist Sreekumaran Thampi and popular South Indian actor Geethanjali
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
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Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Social evils like dowry, divorce, polygamy etc. were subjects for Indian cinema right from its early years. In 1937 ‘Bombay Talkies' produced the Hindi film ‘Jeevan Prabhat' that had an unusual theme - misunderstanding and a biased attitude towards infertility. The film narrated how such an issue dealt with wrongly can lead to another social problem like polygamy.
The Malayalam film ‘Kuttikuppayam' (1964) produced by T. E. Vasudevan for Jayamaruthi Pictures was based on a more realistic approach to the evils of this social issue.
Based on the novel ‘Kanneer Panthal,' the script and dialogues were by the novelist Moidu Padiyath himself. Directed by M. Krishnan Nair, the film ruled the box office and is still considered as one of the best musical hits with some excellent scores by M. S. Baburaj.
This was the debut film of Philomina. This was also the debut Malayalam film of playback singer L. R. Easwari also.
The film explored the stigma attached to infertility. It was always assumed that the cause for this was the wife. The practice of confirming the cause by proper medical examination was very seldom followed in Kerala.
The film pointed a finger at this misunderstood idea and the injustice meted out to women on account of this.
Jabbar (Prem Nazir) marries Zubaida (Ambika) against the wish of his mother (Philomina) who had plans to bring her niece Safia (Sheela) as her son's bride. Zubaida is accused of being infertile by her mother-in-law and other members of the family.
Jabbar loves his wife but gradually falls to the constant taunts, manipulations and emotional blackmailing over not having a child and blaming his wife for that. Jabbar finally decides to get separated from his wife.
Jabbar marries Safia, while Zubaida's father Kareem (Kozhikode Abdul Rehman) forces his daughter to marry Siddique (Madhu) The marriage broker does not tell Siddique that Zubaida had married earlier. When he comes to know of this he sends Zubaida back home. After Kareem dies, Siddique brings back Zubaida and they leave to Madras where Siddique gets a job.
Zubaida gives birth to a child. Jabbar comes to know of this from a relative and is shocked. He gathers courage and undergoes a medical examination that confirms his infertility. At the same time Safia becomes pregnant. His own cousin (Murali) is held responsible for this.
Jabbar reaches Madras in search of Zubaida and Siddique and meets them at a festival ground. Zubaida's child was on a merry go round. Suddenly the machine goes out of control. Jabbar jumps in to save the life of Zubaida's child but gets injured fatally. Jabbar breathes his last in the presence of Zubaida.
Ten songs written by P. Bhaskaran were set to music by Baburaj.
Most of them turned super hits. ‘Oru kotta ponnundallo…,' ‘Pullimaanalla mayilalla…' (L. R. Easwari and chorus), ‘Kalyana rathriyil kallikal…,' ‘Innente karalillu…' (P. Leela), ‘Velukkumbol kulikkuvan …' (A. P. Komala), ‘Ponvala illenkilum…' (K. P. Udayabhanu), ‘Thottilil ninnu thudakkam…,' (P. B. Sreenivas), ‘Ummakkum baappakkum…,' ( Easwari), ‘Virunnu varum virunnu varum…' (Uthaman- Leela) went on to become immortal hits.
Will be remembered: As a good social movie with a strong message. As the debut film of actress Philomina and the debut Malayalam film of singer L. R. Easwari. And for its excellent music.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Crime and suspense have been favourite subjects of Indian cinema. Stars in roles of CID (Criminal Investigation Department) officers were very popular quite early in Indian cinema. Ashok Kumar, Devanand, Dharmendra, Jeetendra, Joy Mukherji, Biswajit in Hindi; MGR, Sivaji Ganeshan, Krishna, Jayshankar, Rajkumar, Shobhan Babu in South Indian films are just some names who made CID roles memorable.
The silent film ‘Detective Kumar' (1928), directed by Athawale, was the first ‘detective film' in Indian cinema. The Hindi-Marathi bilingual film ‘Geetha' (1940) is considered the first sound film in the suspense-thriller genre. The Tamil film ‘Digambarasamiyar' (1950) was the first in this category from the South, while ‘Avakashi' (1954), produced by Neela Productions, in which, incidentally, the hero was not a CID officer, was the first of this kind in Malayalam.
‘CID' that had popular star Prem Nazir in the lead role was a huge hit. In fact, Prem Nazir went on to play such characters in several films and even had a film titled ‘CID Nazir' (1971).
‘CID' was the debut film of director M. Krishnan Nair.
Sudhakaran Nair (Prem Nazir), a CID officer is assigned with the tough and adventurous task of suppressing a gang of thieves. Rudrapalan (Muttathara Soman) is the chief of the gang and he gets support from Vallabhan (Kottarakkara). Vallabhan is the estate manager of Mukunda Menon, a rich planter (Jose Prakash). Vallabhan's wicked eye is on the wealth of Menon and his only daughter Vasanthi (Miss Kumari), a college student in a faraway town. Vallabhan kills Mukunda Menon and the crime is falsely framed on the gang of thieves.
On her train journey back home Vasanthi meets Sudhakaran and falls in love with him. Vallabhan influences Pankajam (Adoor Pankajam), the servant of Menon and makes her tell Vasanthi that her father wanted her to marry Vallabhan. Vasanthi decides to sacrifice her love for Sudhakaran and fulfil her father's last wish.
The investigation of Menon's murder is assigned to Sudhakaran. Rudrapalan's adopted daughter Valsala (Kumari Thankam) and her aide Pichu (S. P. Pillai) are arrested by the police while attempting to cheat people. Rudrapalan's men decide to target Sudhakaran and reach Vasanthi's house in search of him. Vasanthi, who runs away at the sight of the thieves reaches Vallabhan's house. Here she is shocked to see her faithful servant Pankajam. Vasanthi realises the true character of Vallabhan.
Vallabhan attempts to kill Pankajam, but she escapes. She informs Sudhakaran about the murder of Menon. In the meanwhile, Valsala and Pichu escape from the police custody with the support of Vallabhan and his men. Valsala falls in love with Vallabhan.
Vasanthi is kidnapped and brought to Rudrapalan's camp. Sudhakaran follows them. ‘Orderly Vava' (S. P. Pillai, in his second role), assistant to Sudhakaran, enters the secret camp in the guise of Pichu. Vallabhan kills Valsala and Rudrapalan when he comes to know that they are plotting against him. Vallabhan and the thieves are arrested. Vasanthi marries Sudhakaran.
The film had nine songs written by Thirunainarkurichi Madhavan Nair and tuned by Brother Lakshmanan. ‘Kaimuthal vediyathe…,' ‘Nillu nillu chollu chollu…' (P. B. Sreenivas ), ‘Kaanum kanninu punyam nalkum…,' ‘Kaananam veendum thalirthu…' (P. Leela), ‘Kaliyallayee kalyana bhavana…,' (Kamukara Purushotaman- Leela), ‘Varuvin varuvin …' (Sarojini) were the most popular.
Will be remembered: As the debut film of M. Krishnan Nair. And as the first Malayalam film in the ‘detective' genre.
Monday, February 13, 2012
‘Jungle movies' in India started with the silent movie ‘ King of Forest' (1926), produced by Royal Arts, with Jilloobai and Udwadia in lead roles. The Tamil film ‘Vanaraja Karzan' (1938) produced by Wadia Movietone jointly with Madras United Artists Corporation was the first film in this genre from the South. ‘Vanamala' (1951), the first jungle movie in Malayalam was followed by another one in this series, ‘Aana Valarthiya Vanambadi' (1961) produced and directed by P. Subramaniam under the banner of Neela Productions.
The unusual success of this Malayalam-Tamil bilingual film prompted Neela Productions to make ‘ Kaattumaina' in 1963.
The film was a huge hit. The Tamil version of the film, with the same title, was also a success. Shot at Merryland Studios and some forest locations in Kerala, the film was directed by P. Subramaniam..
Popular artists like Prem Nazir, S. P. Pillai, Jose Prakash, S. P. Pillai, Santhi, Sheela etc. starred in the film. C. L. Anandan, who became a star in South Indian cinema with his performances in Tamil films ‘Vijayapuri Veeran' (1960) and ‘Veerathirumakan' (1962), played the main role in the film. A master in wrestling and martial arts, Anandan impressed in his debut Malayalam film. An elephant, named Velayudhan, that featured in the film also proved a hit. The music composed by Brother Lakshmanan was excellent.
The story revolves around the tribal groups who inhabit two mountain ranges, Thenmala and Vanmala. They live peacefully under the rule and order of their chiefs. Maina (Santhi) is the adopted daughter of the Thenmala chief. She is in love with Veeran (Anandan), son of the Vanmala chief.
Neeli (Sheela), niece of the Vanmala chief, and Maina are good friends. The peaceful life here ends when dispute arises between the tribals.
Veeran and Maina meet each other secretly despite orders not to meet. Maina and Neeli also manage to retain their friendship. Prabhakaran (Prem Nazir), a young geologist, and his assistant Kadan Narapillai (S. P. Pillai) reach the mountain ranges in their search for mica deposits along the mountain ranges. Prabhakaran and Narapillai happen to save the life of the Thenmala priest from an accident. They become guests of Thenmala.
Maina supports Prabhakaran in his exploration and becomes attached to him like her brother. Prabhakaran is saved from an accident by Neeli. And they fall in love.
The Vanmala chief keeps Prabhakaran and Narapillai in prison when he comes to know that they are guests of their enemy. Veeran frees Prabhakaran at the request of Maina. Neeli is suspected for this and she is held captive by Vanmala. Veeran begins to suspect Maina's relationship with Prabhakaran.
Misunderstandings are cleared when Maina is identified by Prabhakaran as his own sister, separated in childhood. Prabhakaran finds rich mica deposits in the some caves of Vanmala. Neeli and Maina are married to Prabhakaran and Veeran respectively.
The enmity between the two groups melts and they unite.
The songs written by Thirunainarkurichi Madhavan Nair were tuned by Brother Lakshmanan. Some of them became very popular like, ‘Malamukalil maamarathil…' (Kamukara Purushothaman), ‘Vaa vaa vaa vaa vanarajavey…' (K. P. Udayabhanu-P.Susheela), ‘Kaattikurinji kaattikurinji…' (Susheela), ‘ Paadaan chundu vidarthiyathey …' (P. Leela) are some of the hits. The other songs include ‘Naanathal paathi virinja (Kamukara-Gracy), ‘Mayappetti undu…' (Mehaboob), and ‘Kazhuthil chippi undu…' (Leela-Renuka).
Will be remembered: As the Malayalam debut of actor C. L. Anandan, for its excellent music, immortal songs and as a successful ‘jungle movie.'