It is usually seen that producers and directors compete with each other to get their films released during the festival season. On most occasions these films have no connection whatsoever with the festivals, whether in the case of story or otherwise. The Malayalam filmVishukkani , released on the festival of Vishu, April 14, 1977, was one such film.
Produced by R.M. Sundaram for RMS Cine Enterprises and directed by Sasikumar, the film was a hit. The music composed by Salil Choudhary played a huge role in the film’s success. Cinematography by Williams and editing by V. P. Krishnan were commendable.
Vishukkani was the remake of the Tamil blockbuster Karpakam (1961) produced and directed by K. S. Gopalakrishnan, who also wrote the story. In fact, the success of the Tamil film enabled the producer to even build a Studio which he named Karpakam Studio. The Hindi remake of this Tamil film, Rishtey Naathey (1965) was also was a hit.
For the Malayalam version the dialogues were by Sreekumaran Thampi. The film was shot at Satya and Murukalaya studios.
Rajendra Panikkar (Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair) is a rich farmer. He lives in a village with his daughter Radhika (Vidhubala) and son Radhakrishnan (Soman). A young successful farmer Gopi (Prem Nazir) marries Radhika and Radhakrishnan marries Jaya (Sreelatha), daughter of a city wastrel, Prabhakara Pillai (Sankaradi), whose has an eye on Panikkar’s wealth. Gopi lives with Panikkar at his request and takes care of the household and the farm.
Jaya gives birth to a baby girl Ambili (Master Kumar), but her parents neglect her. Radhika, who is childless, takes care of Ambili. The child begins to consider Radhika and Gopi as her parents.
Gopi’s control over the farm and household annoys Radhakrishnan. Prabhakaran Pillai adds fuel to the fire by brainwashing Radhakrishnan into demanding his share of the family wealth. Radhakrishnan leaves the house with his wife and Ambili.
Radhika falls into depression. Ambili does not accept her parents and is sent back to Radhika. In her attempt to save Ambili from a raging bull Radhika is killed. Ambili refuses to return to her parents and opts to stay with Gopi. Panikkar forcibly gets Gopi married to his friend and District Collector Janardanan Nair’s (Veeran) daughter Rajani (Sarada), who was Radhika’s friend, so that Ambili will be taken care of. But Gopi and Ambily who live with memories of Radhika, do not accept Rajani.
Meanwhile, Radhakrishnan and Prabhakaran Pillai conspire to swindle Panikkar. But fail in their attempts. Frustrated, Prabhakaran Pillai, decides to eliminate Gopi. He sends his goons to attack him. Both Panikkar and Rajani come and save him. In the process, Rajani is stabbed. When she is dying, Ambili expresses her love for Rajani, calling her mother. And Rajani returns to life. Pillai is arrested; Radhakrishnan and Jaya repent for their mistakes.
The festival of Vishu finds a place twice in the film. Then, the titles cards of the film have images of the Vishukkani (a ritual arrangement of auspicious articles intended to signify prosperity). Maramadi, a typically Kerala agricultural sport, has also been included in the film to give it that festival feel.
The songs written by Sreekumaran Thampi and set to tune by Salil Chaudhary became extremely popular. Poovili poovili ponnonamaayi … (K.J. Yesudas and chorus), Malarkkodi poley … (S. Janaki-Yesudas), Raappaadi paadunna ragangalil … (P.Susheela), Ponnushassin upavanangal … (P. Jayachandran), Kannil poovu chundil thenu … (Vani Jayaram) and Hey munnottu munnottu kaaley … (Yesudas & chorus) have stood the test of time.
Will be remembered : For its excellent music and as a good family drama.