I am travelling 10 years back to talk about a legend. I am reading some books on Tamil Movies in order to give some good triviae. One of them which I read recently was AVM – 60 years by M.Saravanan. Avichi Meyyappa Chettiar is a pioneer when it comes to movies in India. In fact, his family is the oldest movie making family in India. He started making movies in 1935 and established AVM studios in 1945.
Comedy has always been successful when it comes to Tamil Movies but if you make it bad, you will become a comedy in front of the audience. One of the earliest full length comedy movie is the 6th movie in our list.
Sabapathy is a comedy character developed by Pammal Sambanda Mudaliar based on Handy Andy comic character created by Samuel Lover in English literature. Sabapathy is innocent stupid servant of a not so intelligent boss of the same name. AT Krishnaswamy was a writer-producer who worked in the drama troupe and he gave an idea to AV Meyyappa Chettiar to create a moviec around this character. AVM had already given two consecutive flops and was brooding about whether to make a movie. He wanted to give a try at comedy and they both started working on the script.
The story is simple and ran around the boss-servant characters. The boss is a young man who has failed in the pre-university exams and his father is worried about his future. So he decides get his son married and after marriage the husband-wife are kept separated. The movie continues with comic extravagances of the boss servant ending up in a happy climax.
AVM roped in TR Ramachandran, who was at a high salary bracket of Rs.35 with Pragati Pictures that time. Kali N.Ratnam did the role of servant Sabapathy. Padma and Rajakantham did the lady love respectively. Sarangapani, one of the most sought after comedians of those times, did a important role of a Tamil Teacher, constantly ragged by his students.
Why it’s so special?
1. Most probably the first full length comedy of Tamil Cinema and definitely the first comedy to become a hit.
2.The hilarious pair of Kali N.Ratnam and TR Ramachandram was awesome. There are some comic scenes that are unforgettable – especially the scenes where he asks to bring soda, coffee etc.
3.The pitiest part is that these movie scenes have been repeated enormously in many other movies in different forms and ways. The ragging of the Tamil teacher and the boss-servant swap sequences while seeing the bride have been often repeated in many movies. It actually shows the versatility of the comedy scenes.
Why it makes to the list?
1. It proved that comedy can be a genre and eventually paved the way for lot other comic movies in Tamil Cinema.
2. TR Ramachandran and Kali N.Ratnam. I think they gave the red carpet to duo comedies of later years.
1. The whole movie was made with a budget of Rs.40,000. It was a resounding success and made AVM to get in to regular movie making and eventually movie mogul.
2. TR Ramachandran became a super star and MGR (then in initial times) was calling himself MG Ramachandar to avoid confusion.
3. AVM’s name made it to the title card as a director along with AT Krishnaswamy for the first time.
PS: Although the movie is very old, it is still played in Tamil Channels sometimes. May be the current movie goers will find it little bit hard to comprehend with the slow pace and editing. But the movie is absolutely enjoyable.
Youtube link not available.