A few things before I go to the next movie.
I hope some of my readers would be thinking why I am running around 50s and 60s in the movie list and not with the later years. The first set of movies (may be 15-16) will be till 1969, the next set will be from 1970 – 1989 and the last set will be 1990 – current running period. So wait for some more nice movies to come.
Now for the next movie in line.
Krishnan – Panju, the most successful director duo have made some wonderful movies that are blockbuster hits and at the same time critically well received. But they were never spoken in the breadth of other famous directors of those times (like CV Sridhar). In fact, I have 3 of their movies in my list. The most obvious reason I could see is that the lead actors have become more famous than the director duo in those movies. If it was MR Radha in Rattha Kaneer, Parasakthi announced the arrival of greatest Tamil actor of all times, Sivaji Ganesan and Nagesh in Server Sundaram
Parasakthi was one of the most controversial movies of those times. Those days were full of historical movies and commercial entertainers, even the elusive social genre movies had cliched characters and political correctness. Parasakthi was the first movie to break the shackles and tried to talk about social problems openly in main stream cinema.
The story had a backdrop of World War II. Three rich brothers from war torn Rangoon, travel to India to meet their widowed sister. Fate plays the game, separating the family. Gunasekaran, one of the brothers becomes a protector to his sister (Kalyani) without knowing the original identity while she is struggling to save herself and her child from hunger. All the men including a priest ask her body as a price for helping her. She gets dejected and eventually tries to kill herself with the child. All end up in court and the family is reunited.
Parasakthi was directed by Krishnan – Panju and produced by National Pictures. The music was composed by Sudarsanam and Maruthi Rao wielded the camera. The cast included Sivaji Ganesan, SS Rajendran, SV Sahasaranamam, Sri Ranjani and Pandari Bai. The most important of all which became the prime reason for success of the movie were the dialogues of the movie written by M.Karunanidhi (the present CM of Tamil Nadu).
What so special about the movie?
1. The wonderfully written dialogues. Karunanidhi was part of the newly formed DMK party which had Dravidian ideologies at its roots. He used the characters of the movie as the mouth pieces of propagating dravidian thoughts. The movie had fiery monologues shunning the social problems of those times like casteism, cheating through religion, black marketing, poverty, women abuse and the rich-poor divide.
2. The acting and mainly the dialogue delivery of Sivaji. Nobody expected a newcomer to perform so well and the long monologues were new to Tamil Cinema. He became a instant hit and the final court scene is still considered to be a master piece.
3. The wonderful performances of the supporting cast. Sri Ranjani, Pandari Bai, the evil priest and SS Rajendran especially were aptly casted characters.
Why it makes to the list?
1. The first movie to openly talk about the social problems and created a big impact showing that movies can be used as an social medium too ( and succeed in it).
2. The movie which brought the dialogue culture and showed the might of pen. The dialogues were so successful that the producers released Gramaphone records and books after the movie’s success. The dialogues were considered to be so provocative that there was a special censor board to censor the movie before release.
3. I have only one word for the third reason – Sivaji
1. Although an old trivia – the name Sivaji was given by the Dravidian leader EVR Periyar after watching his portrayal of Maratha leader Sivaji, in a stage play.
2. Sri Ranjani or Sri Ranjani Jr was a Telegu actress who started her career in Bhishma in 1941. She made some memorable portrayals in Tamil including of forlorn wife of MR Radha in Rattha Kaneer. She also did the role of blind girl in the remake of City Lights – Raji En Kanmani. She passed away in 1970.
3. The songs of Parasakthi were based on some famous Hindi film songs of those times . Sudarsanam rehashed the tunes of Sunehre Din (1949), Babul (1950), Dopatta (1951) and even an Urdu song by legendary Ghulam Haidet from a Pakistani movie, Akeli (1952).
4. Although the movie was said to be produced by National Pictures, it’s a partnership production between AVM & National Pictures. AV Meyappa Chettiar, was involved in the script discussion and publicity of the movie. The movie was completely shot in the AVM Studios. A memorial has been erected for Sivaji in the AVM Studios, where he shot the first scene. The first dialogue he spoke was “Success”.
5. Incidentally, Sivaji’s grand son was launched as Junior Sivaji in a movie by the name ‘Success’. The movie was a disaster and of course the grand son too.
6. I will reserve the trivia about Krishnan-Panju for their next movie in the list.