A breezy comedy, Marunattil Oru Malayali, released on September 24, 1971, was remade as Sree Rajeswari Vilas Coffee Club (1976) in Telugu by Aluri Chakrapani, producer- director-journalist, co-owner of Vijaya Studios and founder of Chandamama Publications. The resemblance of the Malayalam film with his super hit Telugu/Tamil bilingual Missamma/Miss Mary (1955) might have prompted Chakrapani to go for the Telugu remake. In the bilingual film the un-married hero and heroine pretend to be married in order to get a job, which was ‘reserved for married couples.’ Here the heroine, a Christian, poses as a Brahmin girl. Produced by T.E. Vasudevan under the banner of Jayamaruthi Productions based on a story written by himself under the pseudonym V.Devan, and directed by A.B. Raj, Marunattil Oru Malayali was shot at Syamala, Prakash and Bharani Studios. The dialogues were by S. L. Puram Sadanandan, editing by B.S. Mani, cinematography by P. Dutt and music, which was the highpoint of the film, composed by V. Dakshinamoorthy.
Prem Nazir, Sankaradi, Adoor Bhasi, S.P. Pillai, Govindankutty, Vijayasree, Sadhana were cast in important roles.
After his pre-university exams, Mathew (Prem Nazir), who belongs to a conservative Christian family in Alappuzha, leaves for Madras in search of a job. Despite his efforts he fails to get one. That is when he finds a vacancy for the job of a ‘supplier’ in Lakshmi Nivas Hotel owned by Seshadri Iyer (Sankaradi). But Iyer has a condition that only a Brahmin would be appointed. Mathew gets the job posing as a Brahmin and introducing himself as Vilwadri Iyer. Not able to perform his duties successfully Mathew is dismissed from the job. Taking pity on him, Seshadri Iyer’s daughter Geetha (Vijayasree) recommends him for the post of Accountant when she comes to know that he has passed the pre-university exams. Geetha falls in love with Mathew believing that he is a Brahmin but Mathew tries to keep away from her as he understands the consequences that can follow.
Narasimham (Adoor Bhasi) the chief cook who hails from Mathew’s village recognises him but agrees to keep his identity a secret.
With Mathew’s sister’s marriage proposal underway the boy’s uncle Chandy (Alummoodan) comes to Madras along with his daughter Sosamma (Prameela). In attempt to salvage the tricky situation Mathew introduces Narasimhan as Mathew and Chandy who has not seen Mathew before believes this. The story follows several hilarious twists and turns. Geetha does everything to please Mathew, who in turn cleverly manages to keep his true identity intact.
Meanwhile, Sosamma falls in love with Narasimham thinking he is Mathew and get married. Finally, in a crucial situation Mathew is forced to reveal his identity to Geetha and Seshadri Iyer. Now, Iyer narrates an interesting parallel to his early life in Madras and that of Mathew. Iyer reveals that he is actually Pathrose, who had to pose like a Brahmin and live like one due to circumstances similar to that of Mathew. The film ends on a happy note with the wedding of Mathew and Geetha.
Prem Nazir and Vijayasree were at their romantic best. The hilarious comedy scenes involving Adoor Bhasi, S.P. Pillai and Sadhana (as hotel supervisor Vittal and servant Rajamma respectively) created waves of laughter. Also impressive were the classical and folk dances choreographed by E.Madhavan.
Music was an integral part of this film and an important factor for its roaring success. Songs written by Sreekumaran Thampi and set to tune by Dakshinamoorthy turned timeless hits. Manassilunaroo Usha sandhyayal… (K.J. Yesudas-S.Janaki), a ragamalika in Poorvi Kalyani, Sarang, Sreeranjini and Amrutha Varshini ragas, Ashoka poornima vidarum…(Yesudas), Govardhanagiri kayyiluyarthiya…(Janaki), Swargavaathil ekadasi…(P. Leela) and Kaali Bhadrakaali…(P. Jayachandran-Leela) are still fresh even after so many years.
Will be remembered: As a hilarious comedy, for its music, especially for the song Manassilunaroo Usha sandhyayal…