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Song of the Day # 766

From: bb on:  Sun May 14, 2006 10:37 pm 

Song of the Day: All Songs from Sridharin Alaigal.

- Sathyakabali writes:

We know art is an ocean
We row for novel creation

kadal alaiyil engaLathu siRiya thOni
kalaiyulagil engaLathu puthiya baaNi

This was the slogan for Chithralaya floated by Director C.V.Sridhar and his friends (Gopu, Vincent, Sundaram and Tiruchi Arunachalam). Keeping that promise, they did bring novelty in film production. The emblem was designed by Art director Ganga.

With innovative script, extraordinary flair for comedy (with his friend Gopu as his assistant) and a greater sense for music, Sridhar made a name as a young director of classy, stylish and sophisticated films. Right from his directorial debut in Kalyaanap Parisu, it was Sridhar who brought stardom to the director (mostly behind-the-scenes man).Earlier the films were known as a Gemini, AVM, Modern theaters or Jupiter films after the big production houses or as MGR and Sivaji films after the great stars. After Kalyanap parisu, Sridhar had a huge fan following and his name was talked about among the middle class movie going audience. During the arattai kutcheri of our ammAkkAl, apart from the regular “innikku enna samaiyal? and other discussions, Sridhar’s films were discussed in detail. During my childhood days I have heard my mother’s conversations with her neighbors “puthusa oru Sridhar padam vanthirukkaamE! Innum pArkkaliyA? Sridhar padama? Appa nallA irukkum.”

Sridhar was considered an expert in song picturisation as he could transform any song into sheer poetry. The formidable Sridhar-Kannadasan - MSV combination held a magic spell on the audience and the songs contributed to the tremendous success of those films.

In 1951, 19 year old Sridhar went to AVM productions with his story “LatchiyavAthi” and met P.Neelakandan who sent young Sridhar back rejecting his story. Avvai T.K.Shanmugam was very much impressed by the story. Sridhar wrote the screenplay and dialogues for the drama. It was staged as Raththapaasam by TKS brothers. Proud TKS took young Sridhar to the stage and introduced him to the audience as the writer. Raththapaasam was one of the most successful dramas staged by TKS. It was later produced jointly by TKS and Jupiter pictures under Jupiter-Avvai productions starring Avvai T.K.Shanmugam, Anjalidevi, T.K.Bagavathy, T.S.Balaiah and M.S.Draupathi. Jupiter pictures recommended some other writer to write the dialogues for the film. It was T.K.Shanmugam who argued with Jupiter that Sridhar should write the screenplay and dialogues. Otherwise the film will be dropped. Sridhar made his entry into films as a screen writer in Raththa paasam.in 1954.Along with the films Malaikkallan, Manohara and Thookku thookki, Raththapasam became a hit and Sridhar was critically appreciated for his story and dialogues. (Later AVM produced it in Hindi as Bhai bhai starring Ashok kumar and Kishorekumar.The film gave a big commercial brake for the music director Madanmohan) Sridhar was busy writing for films like Ethirpaarathathu, Mageswari, Enga veettu mahalatchumi, Manjal mahimai, Amara dheepam, Punar jenmam and Uththama puththiran.

While working in Modern theaters as writer for the film Mageswari, Sridhar had an opportunity to improve his knowledge and skills about film production. T.R.Sundaram had a huge library of international books about great films and directors, about film production, critical and technical essays. Sridhar read those books and gained immense knowledge in film making. Modern theaters Sundaram, a lover of Hollywood films showed some films to Sridhar. One film which had greater impact on Sridhar was Waterloo Bridge - the 1940 film version of Robert E. Sherwood's play starring Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor. It was a tragic tale of a ballerina whose life is irrevocably altered in war-torn London.

The legendary director V.Shantaram was the maanaseega guru for Sridhar. The 1939 film Aadmi (Hindi)/ Manoos (Marathi) produced by Prabhat Film Company is regarded as Shantaram’s finest film. It starred Shahu Modak and Shanta Hublikar in the main roles. Ganpat, the police officer saves Maina from a police raid in a brothel house. The kind hearted policeman tries to restore a life of decency by marrying her. The woman is haunted by her past and refusing a better life Maina leaves Ganpat. She is arrested for killing her wicked uncle and refuses Ganpat's offer to release her from prison. It was a moving tale of the heroic struggle of a prostitute.

Based on Shantaram’s Aadmi, Sridhar visualized the story of a film in mind and he named it Thulasi. After Kalyanap parisu, Sridhar was busy directing other films. He was tasting success with his films in the sixties. In the year 1969, Chithralaya started facing financial loss. Though Sivandha mann with nadigar thilagam was a success, the producers incurred loss due to the heavy budget in filming in foreign locales. The Hindi version of Sivandha mann failed at the box office. Much worried Sridhar now planned 2 films in 1971. Uththaravinri Ulle Vaa was a total comedy directed by Sridhar’s associate N.C.Chakravarthy. Sridhar himself directed yet another triangular love story Avalukkenru Oru manam - a tear jerker. Sridhar made a great mistake by making it in Tamil and Hindi. (which he realized years later).Bharathi gave a very good performance. Mellisai mannar gave his best in all the songs. In the preview, the movie was well received by the critics. But the movie goers did not like the over dosage of one more triangular love story from Sridhar. The film had an average run in Tamil. About one third of the Hindi version Duniya Kya Jane had to be reshot to satisfy the distributors. When the film was released, the Hindi audience completely rejected it.

Now Chithralaya was in deep financial trouble. At this juncture Sridhar revived his long time project Thulasi. He planned to make the film in both Tamil and Telugu with Chandrakala as the heroine and A.V.M. Rajan as hero in Tamil and Shobanbabu in Telugu. About 4000 feet of the film was shot with the original story and star cast. Suddenly Sridhar was worried about how the audience will accept the anti sentimental elements of the story and further financial loss if the film failed commercially. He made several changes in the original script and the title was changed to Alaigal and he brought the upcoming Kannada star Vishnuvardhan as the hero in both Tamil and Telugu. Though the story was conceived in 50s, the film Alaigal finally hit the theaters in January, 1973. Alaigal was a colossal failure for Chithralaya. The film had all the typical Sridhar ingredients. Good script, good performances by the lead actors and two good melodies. What we usually expect from the combination of Kannadasan -MSV-Sridhar- a grand treat for music lovers was not there in this film. The film had 2 superb melodies “ponnenna’ by Jayachandran and a haunting solo “oomai pennai” by Janaki. Other 2 L.R.Eswari songs are just average compared to the earlier Sridhar films. The film failed miserably. (Arangetram a big anti sentimental film was one of the big hits that year.).

Faced with a huge financial crisis, Sridhar on the advice of his friend Hindi actor Rajendrakumar approached MGR – the guaranteed box office king to do a film for Chithralaya. The failure of Alaigal was the ultimate straw to force the talented Sridhar to do a masala film with MGR. As always, MGR the perfect professional immediately understood Sridhar’s problems and finished the film in a few months. With the success of Urimaikural, Sridhar paid off his debts and revived Hero 72 as Vaira nenjam and continued his last innings with films like Oh manju,Ilamai oonjaladugirathu,Mohanap punnagai,Azhage unnai arathikkiren,Ninaivellam nithya,Oru oodai nathiyaagirathu,Thudikkum karangal,Aalaya dheepam,Thenrale ennai thodu,Naanum oru thozhilali,Yaaro ezhuthiya kavithai,Iniya uravu pooththathu and Thanthu vittEn ennai..

Sampath Kumar is one of the talented, stylish and popular actors in the Kannada film industry. His father H.L.Narayan Rao was a famous stage artist. One of his sisters, Rama Ramachandra, a kathak dancer, was praised by the King of Mysore, Late Sri.Jaya chamarajendra Wodeyar. Kumar stayed with his sister in Rajasthan for a while. Later he continued his studies in Bangalore. He was very much interested in seeing films. He had acted in a few stage plays. He never dreamt of acting in films. In 1971 G.V. Iyer produced the film Vamshavruksha, based on the Sahitya academy winning novel of Bhairappa. The film was directed by B.V.Karanth and Girish karnad. Sampathkumar was granted a small role of Prithvi.The film went on to win national and international acclaim.

In 1972, S.R.Puttanna Kanagal, one of the pioneers of Kannada film industry was doing the screen test for several new faces for his film Naagara haavu .Young Kumar attended the interview in a hotel, where his expressions and dialogue delivery won Puttanna Kanagal's appreciation. Kumar was selected to play the central character in the film. Puttanna Kanagal said “This young man will definitely do justice to Ramachaari’s role”. It was Puttanna Kanagal who gave the screen name Vishnuvardhan (after the famous Hoysala king, Vishnu vardhana who built the famous Chenna kesava temple in Belur).

Puttanna Kanagal.was the one who changed the concept of film making in Kannada film industry. From Bellimoda to Masanada Hoovu, Puttanna made 23 Kannada films including Sharapanjara. Sakshathkara, Kappu Bilupu, Gejje Pooje, Shubhamangala, Upasane, Katha Sangama, Ranganayaki, Maanasa SarOvara and Amtutha Galige.

Kathaa Sangama (1975) based on three short stories was a unique experiment. In Muni Thayi, one of the stories Puttanna cast Rajnikanth early in his career. Puttanna also made films in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi. His Tamil films include Irulum oliyum, Teacharamma, Sudarum sooravaliyum.

Nagara Haavu was based on Ta-ra-su’s (T.R. Subba Rao) famous Kannada novel of the same name. The young, fiery, anger-ridden, ‘Raamachari’ came alive on the screen with Vishnuvardhan’s performance. Chitradurga, a historical fort-town in Karnataka became a tourist place after the release of the film. The angry young Ramachaari, the character Vishnuvardhan played in Nagarahaavu, is considered as his best. The film was a silver jubilee hit and he bagged the best actor award by the state in his first major role.

Owing everything to his mentor, Vishnuvardhan says, “Puttanna Kanagal Sir was the God-sent teacher for me! I have been made as an actor. I am indebted to guru Puttanaji.He used to conceptualize scenes, narrate them to me, inspire me and extract the potential till then unknown to myself. Acting in just one movie under Puttanna’s expertise is an experience of a life time.”

Shivaram, veteran actor of Kannada films who produced Gejjepooje gives an example of the spontaneity of Vishnuvardhan as an actor “In Naagarahaavu, there is a scene in which Ashwath beats Vishnu with his walking stick, suspecting his relationship with ‘Alamelu’ (Aarthi). Ashwath beat him with such an intense emotion that the walking stick broke into two pieces! Quite spontaneously, Vishnu gathered the pieces of walking stick and told Ashwath ‘Meshtre (Master) I will repair your walking stick and give it back!’ In fact, this extended dialogue was not there in the original script, but Vishnu’s spontaneous, natural reaction lent authenticity to the scene; hence the shot was retained as such!”

Three decades of career and a variety of popular roles (in romantic, action, emotional, music, comedy or a family drama) in 191 films speak high about his caliber as an actor. Vishnuvardhan finds himself truly involved with the character Some of his all-time hits are Naagara haavu, Bandhana, Naagara Hole, Hombisilu, Muthina Haara, Suprabhatha, Malayamarutha, Nishkarsha and Butayyana Maga Ayyu.He ventured into parallel cinema and acted in movies like Harakeya Kuri .The huge fan following didn't want Vishnu to deviate from his image.

At the age of 56, he can still hold his own against the young actors who are almost 20 years younger to him.Vishnuvardhan takes advantage of his age, talent and experience. His films still go on to become mega hits, as Veerappanayaka, Habba and Suryavamsha did in 1999. Vishnu's remakes have done well at the box office. Kotigobba the remake of the Rajinikanth-starrer 'Baasha' was one of his biggest hits. When he agreed to act in “Yejamaana” Vishnuvardhan was confident of its success knowing well that Tamil version was already a mega hit in Karnataka. Yejamaana was a super-hit. The Kannada film Sahukara, based on Tamil hit Muthu, featured Vishnuvardhan and Ravichandran. Aptha Mithra (Manichitrathazhu) completed one year of screening in two theatres in Bangalore and Mysore. In his recent Vishnu Sene, a remake of Tamil hit Ramana, he puts in a great performance. Vishnuvardhan and Sudeep will be playing father- son roles in Appa Maga (under production) a remake of Cheran's Thavamai Thavamirundhu.

Vishnu married actress Bharati in 1975 when she was at the peak of her career. He has two daughters, Keerthi and Chandana He has a grandson Jyestha Vardhan.

Due to the pressure from his fans, he started singing in movies occasionally. The first song he sang was in the movie Nagarahole. "EE notake mai matake" Some of his other famous songs include hegiddharu neene chenna (Sahasa simha), shashiya kandu moda helithu (Sirithanakke Savaal).thuthu anna thinnoke (Jimmi Gallu.), beda annoro unte (Sididedda Sahodara). Later he started singing devotional songs Jyothiroopa Ayappa, Vishwapremi Ayappa, Thayi Bhanashankari and Kannadave Nammamma are some of the devotional albums sung by him.

Simha Hejje, a serial on the life and achievements of Vishnuvardhan, is under progress under the direction of S. Shivakumar. The serial is presented by Vishnu's close friend Ambarish.

Vishnu received Best actor-State Award seven times, and Filmfare best actor (Kannada) award six times. Recently he received the Filmfare award for life time achievement. In January 2006, Bangalore University honored Vishnuvardhan with honorary doctorate in recognition of his completing 35 years in the Kannada film industry - the second actor in Kannada Film industry to be honored after Rajkumar.

Vishnuvardhan feels he has not yet played his best role. The urge to do a completely satisfactory role is yet to be fulfilled. Vishnuvardhan, regrets that the project Raja Venkatappa which he and Puttanna Kanagal had dreamt and would have done together did not materialize because of Puttanna’s untimely demise In actor-director Kamalhassan’s dream project Maruthanayagam,Vishnu has completed about 30% of his shooting and has been waiting for the project to be revived.


Sridhar is greatly known for introducing talented youngsters in his films. Highly impressed by the young Vishnuvardhan in Naagarahavu, Sridhar proudly introduced him to the Tamil audience in 1973.Alaigal is a sensitive story which revolves around the two main characters Inspector Raju (Vishnuvardhan) and Lakshmi (Chandrakala). Both gave an understanding, sensitive and poignant performance. The main drawback for Vishnu was the dubbing voice by actor Gopalakrishnan. Sridhar is known to extract the potentials of his actors and get what he wanted. Whether it is the smile, facial expressions, close ups and emotional outbursts both Vishnu and Chandrakala have done their best. For Chandrakala, this is her best performance in Tamil films. Sridhar’s dialogues need a special mention. Many of the dialogues bring some nostalgic memories of Parasakthi. In Parasakthi, there was the legendary Nadigar thilagam to give life to Kalainjar’s dialogues. For Vishnuvardhan, the dubbing of V.Gopalakrishnan is a big let down.

Inspector Raju is a straightforward and tough police officer; but a kind hearted and soft spoken individual. He is a man of few words. Lakshmi is the opposite of Raju. An innocent, young, beautiful and talkative village girl who has the courage and mental strength to fight for justice. While traveling in a train to Madras, Raju happens to meet Lakshmi.Having lost her parents, she travels to Chennai without a ticket. When the TTR comes, she pleads her case but the TTR is bent on handing over her to the police.Raju pays for the ticket. Lakshmi the village girl goes around the Chennai pattinam and without food or drink she faints down. Manorama, the owner of Nalina medical agency and “social activist” takes her home, feeds her and sends her to an institution. The innocent Lakshmi goes to that place and finds out that it is a brothel house run by Nalina .

Here Kaviyarasu Kannadasan himself recites his own kavithai about “vilai maathu”. In the titles Sridhar mentions “kural koduththa kavinjarukku en nanRi!”This poem is recited on the backdrop of a few sketches about the life of a prostitute.

Song #1: Kannadasan's Kavithai

In the evening, Nalina’s brother Kumar (new face Selvakumar) enters as a customer. Lakshmi insults him and sings the song “vaangayya pEredukka”- a usual L.R.Eswari song for such situations. Insulted Kumar goes away.

Inspector Raju now comes for a raid and Lakshmi explains the situation and everyone is taken into custody. In the court, Lakshmi pleads her case. The judge is impressed by her argument and Lakshmi is released. Outside the court, Lakshmi asks Raju to help her. He gives her some money and goes away.

Lakshmi is now left alone in the city. She goes to a roadside teashop to eat. When the owner Surulirajan approaches her with “other ideas,”Lakshmi starts shouting and fighting throwing away the glasses and chairs.Lakshmi is arrested by the police constable and taken to the station. Inspector Raju confronts Lakshmi in yet another bad incident. Though Lakshmi explains her situation, Raju warns her and sends her away. Without any roof and anyone to take care, Lakshmi is walking along the streets. While returning home, Raju hears the cry of a woman and finds Lakshmi being chased by some rowdies. For the first time Raju understands her helpless situation. Since he is living alone, he feels hesitant to take her home. He promises to put her in a decent institution.Lakshmi refuses his offer and tells him that the evil elements of the society will not let her live a decent life. “Before someone can spoil my youth and beauty, I will find refuge in the waves of the ocean.” Now Raju decides to take care of Lakshmi and brings her home. The neighbors look with suspicion.”Velaikkaariyum illai, uravum illai.appa yaaru?” – asks Sundaribai

Raju and Lakshmi live as two individuals caring for each other. Raju teaches her the basic social habits of city life. For Lakshmi he is her respected “Inspector sir”.Raju is trying to find a decent job and a place for Lakshmi. When Lakshmi goes to the market, an adolescent boy in the neighborhood talks badly about Raju.Infuriated Lakshmi beats him and breaks the cycle. When Raju comes back from work, the whole colony complains about her rowdy behavior. Much angered Raju slaps her and Lakshmi promises that she will not be a problem for him anymore. The next day, one of the colony residents finds out about her arrest in the brothel. When Raju returns from duty, the whole colony disapproves of Lakshmi staying there. Raju in anger shouts back at them explaining the innocence of Lakshmi.The troubled Raju is struggling with his conscience about the social disapproval of Lakshmi. Both remain silent.Lakshmi leaves the home at night.Disturbed Raju wakes up and finds that Lakshmi has gone.

Troubled by her thoughts and her survival in the society, Raju suddenly imagines Lakshmi appearing through the door and singing a song.

Here Kannadasan wonderfully portrays Lakshmi’s mind in this song- a haunting solo by Janaki who pours out all the emotions. What the writer and actors wanted to convey in many shots, this melody by Kannadasan-MSV-Janaki does in a single song. This song reminds another SJ-Sridhar song “ninaiththAl pOthum paaduvEn” in Nenjirukkum vaari.

Song #2: oomai peNNai

oomai pennai pesach chonna uravo
ithu ninavo verum kanavo
koonduk kili pola vaazha ninaiththen
thaangum kaiyonru kanden
meendana sorgangal en vaazhvil enru
vendi varam kettu ninren...
pennin manasaatchi pesum pozhuthu
ennai nee kaana mudiyum…
paalum silar kannil neeragath theriyum
kaanum kan seytha thavaru….

“Late Kaviyarasu had an extraordinary capacity to use crisp and punching words, bringing the entire essence of the screen play in a few lines. He was an authority in composing situation specific songs”
- MSV said reminiscing about Kaviyarasar.

This song is picturized (like “en annai seytha paavam” in Sumaithaangi) with Vishnu imagining Lakshmi entering the room and singing…Lakshmi suddenly making an appearance through a portrait… superimposing shots..masked shots… Cinematographer U. Rajagopal and Editor N.M.Sankar have done full justice in picturizing this wonderful song by Janaki. U. Rajagopal worked with the legendary director V. Shantharam in movies like Janak janak bayal bhaje and with Marcus Bartley in films like Chemmeen.Rajagopal strated working with Sridhar from Vennira aadai (when A.Vincent left to pursue direction in Malayalam films).

In the middle of the night, Lakshmi finds a place in a lorry and sleeps down. In the morning, she wakes up in Salem at Thengai Srinivasan’s bungalow.Thengai is a middle aged businessman, a devotee of Lord Muruga and a well respected philanthrophist in the society.Lakshmi is now employed as a servant-maid helping Thengai’s wife.Lakshmi stays in the outhouse. One day when his wife is away, the so called philanthropist and muruga bahkthar Thengai tries to misbehave with Lakshmi. Knowing the real intentions of Thengai, Lakshmi slaps him and shouts. With nobody in the house, Thengai puts the jewelry in her trunk and Lakshmi is charged with theft.

Vishnu is appointed as a special investigating officer in Nalina medical agency case. Manorama, the owner is involved in several illegal activities of black marketing and sales of low quality medicines. Her factory is in Yercaud .Vishnu comes to Salem to investigate the case. He goes to Salem jail to meet the jailor about the arrest of some lorry drivers in the case. On his way to Jailor’s room, Vishnu is shocked to find Lakshmi as one of the inmates in jail.Lakshmi tries to meet him but Vishnu goes away. Lakshmi is released and finds out that Vishnu is staying in Yercaud on special duty. Freed from jail, Lakshmi travels to Yercaud in a bullock cart. Enjoying the nature and the scenic beauty of Yercaud hills, the jubilant Lakshmi starts singing ”pachchai ilai pole pattu siRagaalE aagaayam sellum paRavaigaLE”.MSV brings in L.R.Eswari to sing this happy one..L.R.Eswari obeys her master and brings out the innocence and happiness of Lakshmi in this song. Asking the birds and nature, Kaviyarasar in turn describes Lakshmi’s feelings to find a good soul to take care of her.Lakshmi sends these birds as messengers to take her message to God:

Song #3: pachchai ilai pOlE

achcham enbathillaiye aasai enbathillaiye
enrum ungal vaazhvil viduthalaiye
paasam koLvOr ungalaip pole
bhoomiyil undo sollungal
sattam enbathillaiye thittam enbathillaiye
enRun ungal geetham viduthalaiye..
bhoomiyai konjampaarungal samiyidaththil kelungal
ezhai pennai nenjiledukkum nallavar undo sollungal
kaathal enbathennavo paasam enbathennavo
kandu kollum neram varavillaiye?

When life has been full of struggles….runnning from place to place to live with honor where is time for her to thinka about paasam, love and sontham. How beautifully Kaiyarasar describes the feelings of a poor orphaned girl! I really miss that golden era of situation based melodies by Kannadasan-MSV-Sridhar!!!

In Yercaud, Lakshmi finds the police station and meets Vishnu who refuses to talk to her and puts up a hard face. When he returns home, Lakshmi follows him and pleads with him to listen to her. When Lakshmi tells that she could find a safe place only in jail and that she did not commit any crime, the anger in Vishnu now turns to caring and Lakshmi finds a few drops of tears running down his cheeks. Saying “intha oru thuLi kanner pOthunga enakku”, Lakshmi decides to leave Vishnu now understands the struggles of a young woman to live with honor in the society. Vishnu now decides to take care of Lakshmi forever and says “nee poyitenna intha kanner sasvathamaagidum Lakshmi. Intha ulagaththula unakku idamillaama irukkalaam. Aanaa intha veettula namma rendu perukkume idamirukku.”

So far in the film, Sridhar has done a straight forward storytelling of the struggles of Lakshmi, building up situations which force Lakshmi ultimately to take asylum in the jail. Sridhar thus focuses on the evil environment within which she is condemned to live and raises some relevant questions through Lakshmi.He did not include a separate comedy track or unwanted songs. It is a hard, raw and face hitting narration for the common audience.

Earlier Vishnu gave shelter and cared for Lakshmi as a kind hearted man. Vishnu for the first time looks at her as a young and beautiful woman. And now we see the subtleties introduced in the film. Sridhar is adept in telling such romantic situations. One can see the naaNam in the facial expressions of Lakshmi.With happiness all around, Vishnu and Lakshmi go to the park. Sitting under a tree both exchange the subtle feelings through their eyes. Rajagopal’s camera moves around their faces and focuses on the beauty of the nature around. The dialogues follow:

ennenga en mugaththaiyE pAththukkuttu irukkeenga?

Un kangalila minnal palichchidura puthumai, un kannaththila vasantha kaala azhagin inimai, un ithazhgalila valainju neliyara punnagaiyin malarchchi, un mugaththila maari maari erpadura varna jaalaththin kavarchchi, ithai naan rasikkalenna naan manushane ille?

Ungalukku kavithai kooda ezhuthath theriyumaa?

Nee en munnadi irunthaa kaaviyam kooda ennala ezhutha mudiyum
Aanaa antha kaaviyaththoda kathanayagi neeyaththaan irukka mudiyum

Paaththiyaa? eththanai malargal irukku. athukku sirikkath theriyumaa? athukku uyirillai unarchchiyillai, aanaa intha malarukku?

Sridhar builds up subtle and sensitive romantic environment for the great melody to follow.

Against the backdrop of Yercaud’s scenic beauty and with his beloved Lakshmi by his side, Raju becomes a poet himself singing the grand melody ponnenna poovenna

The camera captures the hills, huge and tall Eucalyptus trees trees, Raju and Lakshmi walking together, close up shots of Lakshmi with naaNam kalantha punnagai, Raju admiring her beauty,evening sun shining through the trees, sala sala neerOdai. Lakshmi plucking a piece of grass and biting it with a smile at Raju. Kavinjar’s lyrics, MSV’s melody in the voice of Jayachandran and Sridhar’s picturisation all make this song an audio visual treat. It is poetry on the screen. No wonder the song remains immortal after three decades!

Sensing the greatness of this melody, MSV gives this to the newcomer Jayachandran.who brings all the bhavam and right emotions to the song. This song became an all time hit for Jayachandran and topped the charts in 70’s in AIR and SLBC.

Song #4: ponnenna poovenna kaNNE

ponnenna poovenna kanne
un kannadi ullaththin munne
oru kalyaanap pennaaga unnai
puvi kaanaamal pogaathu penne

maargazhiyil maalaiyile
malarnthathoru malligai poo
yaar varuvaar yaar parippaar
yaar arivaar ippothu

oor kolam poginra poon thenralum
oliyodu nadai podum neerodaiyum
sugamaanathu suvaiyaanthu
un vaazhvum athu pola uyarvaanathu

sevvaana megangal kuzhalaagumaa
senthuram vilaiyaadum mugamaagumaa
nadai podumaa isai paadumaa
nam vaazhvum athu pola ..

The song ends with the anthi nera sevvaam behind.

In the movie version, the charanam lines are repeated. It is sad indeed that the available cassette and the movie versions, the song fades out in the last charanam

Raju and Lakshmi go back to Chennai. Nalina is arrested and sent to jail. Raju gets promotion as DSP and decides to marry Lakshmi in a week. Sridhar now prolongs the story. The villain Selvakumar is waiting for revenge. When Vishnu is away on a special duty, Kumar takes away Lakshmi to his place. In the ensuing fight, Lakshmi is raped and the enraged Lakshmi murders him. She goes and surrenders to Raju and collapses at his feet. Raju is shocked to find Lakshmi injured by knife. She is treated and after recovery her trial begins. Raju, the main witness is questioned by the public prosecutor. He has no other way but to explain the earlier situations about Lakshmi.- the arrest at a brothel house, her rowdy behavior in a tea shop and her jail term and finally ending up in murder. Struggling Vishnu now resigns his job and the next morning appears as the main witness for Lakshmi giving a detailed explanation of her struggles in the society to live with honor. A long dialogue for Vishnu, in the dubbed voice of V.Gopalakrishnan.

"Ezhaiyaaga,anaathaiyaaga,than perrOrgalai pari koduththu vittu, thunbangalai manathile sumanthu kondu, pizhaippirku vazhi thEdi intha nagaraththukku vanthaval aval. avaludaiya iLamai,,thanimai,azhagu ivaithaan deyvam avaLukku aLiththa thaNdanai. than penmaiyai kaapaarrik koLLa , anaagareega manithargalidamirunthu, aval vilagi vilagi odinaal… thalarnthaal...thaviththaal... silar avaludaiya udalaip paarkka ninaiththaargal. naan avaludaiya ullaththai paarththen. Silar avaludaiya kavarchchiyai kasakka ninaiththaargal. naan avaludaiya kangalin kanneerai thudaikka ninaiththen. silar avludaiya azhgai parikka ninaiththaargal. naan avalukku paathugaappu alikka ninaiththen. karpu silarukku vilai porulaaga irukkalaam. aanaal aval athai than pokkishamaagak karuthinaal.athai kaappaarra aval samuthaayaththil patta innalgalai naan paarththen….unarnthen…." it goes on .

Though Vishnu brings out all kinds of emotions..passion and anger, the dubbing voice fails in a big way in the emotional court room scene.

The dialogues bring back nostalgic memories of Parasakthi.The great genius nadigar thilagam giving life to Kalainjar’s dialogues, made that moment written in Tamil film history!

Lakshmi is released.Raju is waiting outside the court. Setting aside all her fears and worries about the society, Raju and Lakshmi walk together to start a new life.

The title credits P.B.Srinivas as one of the singers. It seems there was a PBS song recorded for this film. I could not recall any PBS song in Alaigal.The VCD I have has only 4 songs. I will greatly appreciate if anyone can share more info about that song.

Sridhar was not at his best while making this film. With much more fine tuning and trimming, he could have written a polished screenplay. Financial worries kept him away from thinking in the right direction. For Chandrakal, this her best performance in Tamil.Vishnuvardhan did justice to the role as an actor. Sridhar made a mistake of choosing Gopalakrishnan for dubbing. He might have thought that Gopalakarishanan’s voice will suit the role of the soft spoken Raju. Gopalakrishnan could not bring the right tone,anger and emotions in many places especially in the courtroom scenes. (intha vasanthai pEsumpOthu pongi ezha vENdaamO? manap paadam senju oppikkiRa maathiriyaa seyarathu?)Any other actor with a stage experience in social and historical plays would have made Sridhar’s dialogues more enjoyable and memorable. The court scenes would have touched the viewer’s mind as it happened in Balaji’s Vidhi in the 80’s. Somehow the film failed to impress the audience. The trendsetter of the 60’s was now forced to make a commercial film with MGR to rescue Chithralaya from its financial troubles.

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall
Confucius -Chinese philosopher

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