Friday, November 4, 2011
TAMIL FILM- KATHALIKKA NERAMILLAI- A TREND SETTER IT WAS.
The release of the Tamil film KATHALIKKA NERAMILLAI in the year 1964 was an important event in the history of Tamil film industry. The film produced by Chitralaya and directed by late C.V.Sridhar, the celebrated producer director of Tamil films, was probably the first full length romantic comedy in Tamil and was a trend setter and an instant super-hit at the box office. The film, with an array of damsels, dances, disguises and witty dialogues had in it a big star cast comprising Muthuraman, Ravichander, Nagesh, Kanchana, Rajshri, Sachu, T.S.Balaih and so on.It was a wholesome entertainer and what made the comedy so enjoyable was that it was never allowed to be vulgar or fall below level.
Apart from the slick direction, and other technical values what contributed to the appeal of the film was the beautiful songs penned by Kannadasan, tuned by the outstanding duo of Viswanathan-Ramamoorthy and rendered melodiously by P.B. Sreenivos, P.Susheela,L.R.Easwari and Jesudoss.The soft number 'Unga ponnana kaigal' by P.B.Sreenivos is an outstanding melody in his remarkable sweet voice. The romantic duet 'Enna parvai' by Susheela and Jesudoss with the typical MSV beats in the background is another superb effort. The hilarious number 'Madi mele kodi katti kodi kodi nedi vetra sreemanee', with the intermittent shouting of the slogan 'Viswanathan Velavendum', by P.B. Sreenivos with the energetic background music was a trend setter and it still stands as one of the greats in the category of 'rollicks'.The song scene with the heroes staging a sort of 'dharna' singing and dancing in front of the house of their antagonist was a fresh and till then unfamiliar form of pressure tactic catching the imagination of the audience who thronged in large numbers at the theatres. Equally good are the duet 'Nalam nalaam' by P.B.Sreenivos and Susheela and the chorus 'Nenjathil' by Susheela,Jesudoss and Easwari. What made all the songs so catchy was the foot tapping , rhythmic background music so enchantingly used by the maestros MSV and Ramamurthy. The LP record of the film gives all these songs on side 2 with the side 1, for a change, giving the dialogues of the several scenes enacted by Nagesh and Saraswathy(Sachu) who dominated the comedy scenes of the film.
The film was a feather in the cap of director Sridhar who had earned a place for himself in Indian cinema with his debut film 'Kalyana Parisu' which was later made by him in Hindi titled "NAZRANA with Raj Kapur and Vyjayanhimala in the lead with music by Ravi.The songs of this film,viz., the interactive duet 'Bikhrake zulfen chaman' by Lata and Mukesh and the melodious Rafi number 'Baazi kisine pyarki were very popular besides the pathos filled 'Ek woh bhi Diwali thi' by Mukesh. The film 'Kathalikka Neramillai' itself was remade in Hindi by Sridhar titled 'Pyar Kiye Ja' with Sashi Kapur, KishorKumar and Mahmood doing the roles done by Ravichandran, Muthuraman and Nagesh. The female roles were done by Mumtaz, Kalpana and Rajshri. The music was by Laximikant -Pyarelel. In fact Rajshri had the distinction of acting also in the Telugu version of the film, 'Premichi Choodu'.Besides, she had also acted in several Malayalam films in the screen name Gracy.
An enviable feature of the film Kathalikka Neramillai was the fact that all its actors had very successful career in films with Ravichandran active till his death in July 2011. The contributions of Muthuraman and Nagesh to Tamil films were great as those of director Sridhar with so many successful films in Tamil and Hindi; Vennira Aadai, Nenjam Marappathillai, Nenjil Oru Alayam, Theen Nilavu, Saathi, Dil-e-Naadan and the remake 'Dil Ek Mandir', of Nenjil Oru Aalayam to name a few. In Dil-Ek-Mandir the roles handled by Muthuraman, Kalyan Kumar and Devika in the Tamil version were done by Rajinder Kumar, Raaj Kumar and the legendary Meena Kumari and the film had outstanding music by Shankar Jaikishen. The title song, a duet by Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur,' Dil -ek mandir hai' was extremely popular.
That also reminded me about Sridhar's Rajanikant-Kamal Hasan film 'Ilamai Oonjal Adukirathu' which was remade in Hindi in 1982 as 'Dil-E-Nadaan' with super stars Rajesh Khanna, Shatrughan Sinha,Jayaprada and Smitha Patil with music by the great Khayyam. This also was a great hit at the box office. The LP record of this film has a well designed two fold jacket with a huge centre spread in beautiful colour.
Tail piece:One of the earliest full length rollicking comedies is Satyan Bose's 'Chalti ka Naam Gadi'(1958) starring the Ganguly brothers, Asok Kumar, Kishor Kumar and Anup Kumar, with Madhubala as the leading lady and music by S.D.Burman. The film had inspired Kishor Kumar to make another film later titled'Badthi ka Naam Dhadi'!!