Song Book: Amuthavalli (1959)

1Songbook cover of Amuthavalli (1959) directed by A.K. Sekar. The lead actors M.N. Rajam, T.R. Mahalingam and Tambaram Lalitha are seen in the image. The music was by the duo Viswanathan-Ramamurthy and lyrics by Udumalai Narayana Kavi, Thanjai N. Ramaiah Dass, Kannadasan, Pattukkottai Kalyanasundaram and Muthu Koothan.

There were 12 songs in this movie:

  1. Taththuva Kalaiyudan
  2. Anbum Amaidhiyum
  3. Kannirandum Ondrai Onru
  4. Pitham Theliya Marundhondru
  5. Jilu Jilukkum Pachai Malai
  6. Kollimalai Vaazhum
  7. Kaalam Ennum Oru Aazhak Kadalinil (duet)
  8. Kangal Rendum Vandu
  9. Singara Vadivaana Thithikkum
  10. Kaalam Ennum Oru Aazhak Kadalinil (Female solo)
  11. Aadai Katti Vantha Nilavo
  12. Paasaththaal Enai Yeendra

Amuthavalli (1959) starred M.N. Rajam in the lead role. Although she started acting at the age of 9 as a child artist in Nallathambi (1949), she seldom played the lead role. Methavigal (1955) was her first film playing a female lead. She was then in a few films as the heroine (before Amuthavalli, opposite Prem Nazir), like Thai Piranthal Vazhi Pirakkum (1958), Periya koil (1958) and Kalyanikku Kalyanam (1959). She played a vamp in most of the films and received appreciation before shifting to motherly and elderly roles from the 1970s.

She married the singer A.L. Raghavan, a popular Tamil playback singer, on 2 May 1960. Both of them had started their careers on stage, at the ages of 7 and 8 respectively.

A.L. Raghavan started his acting career in 1947 with Jupiter Pictures’ Krishna Vijayam, which released only in the year 1950 as Lord Krishna. He also played Lord Panduranga in Royal Talkies’ Sudarshan (1951).


Black & White Photographs From The Cinema Resource Centre Archives (XXI)

21-1Still from the movie Kanavane Kankanda Deivam (1955) directed by T.R. Raghunath.

Kanavane Kankanda Deivam (1955) was directed by T.R.Raghunath. Gemini Ganesan and Anjali Devi played the lead roles. T.R. Raghunath, younger brother of well-known director Raja Chandrasekhar began his career as a sound recordist after getting his M.A. degree, and later joined his brother in Bombay to work as his assistant before taking up film direction. The multilingual filmmaker of today, Kartik Raghunath, is his son. The vamp role played by Lalitha was originally offered to P. Bhanumathi. The popular song Unnai Kan Theduthe was believed to be sung by Bhanumathi before P. Suseela replaced her voice, although the hiccups in the song were of Bhanumathi’s.

Black & White Photographs From The Cinema Resource Centre Archives (XX)

20-1Still from the movie Puthu Vasantham (1990) directed by Vikraman, which was also his first film. This film was a hit blockbuster and inspired many films. Seen are actors Murali and Sithara.

Puthu Vasantham (1990) was Vikraman’s directorial debut. It was a trendsetter in Tamil cinema and entered cult status for its unique story and treatment. During this period when most of the films were about romance and hailing it, Vikraman chose a different path and portrayed friendship over love. In this film, the heroine chooses friendship over her love when it comes to it. She also sacrifices her maternal home for her friends, which she had earlier refused to sell. Many films soon followed, featuring 4 friends and a 5th friend being a girl, though many of these films did not enjoy much success, as the audience found the trope too typical.


Black & White Photographs From The Cinema Resource Centre Archives (XIX)

19-1Still from the movie Satyam (1976) directed by S.A. Kanan. Seen here are actors Manjula and Kamal Haasan.

Satyam (1976) was made based on the drama Vidhi written by S.A. Kannan. The film was directed by himself and written by Vietnam Veedu Sundaram with Sivaji Ganesan in the lead role. Kamal Haasan played the role of his younger brother. Kamal was paired with Manjula for the first and only time in his career. The music was by K.V. Mahadevan. Although the film performed averagely, the song Kalyana Kovilil Deiveega Kalasam (picturised on Kamal and Jaya Chitra) is still quite popular among fans of old Tamil songs. It will definitely get listed in the collection of the best songs by K.V. Mahadevan as well.


Black & White Photographs From The Cinema Resource Centre Archives (XVIII)

18-1Still from the movie Payanam (1976) directed by Vietnam Veedu Sundaram. Seen here are actors Vijayakumar, Srikanth and Nagesh.

Payanam (1976) was written and directed by Vietnam Veedu Sundaram with music by  M.S. Viswanathan and songs written by Kannadasan. Vietnam Veedu Sundaram who worked as a service boy at United Amateur Artists run by Y.G. Parthasarathy, got interested in drama and cinema, and wrote many stage plays before moving to the big screen. His play Vietnam Veedu became very popular and attained huge success and he got the prefix to his name. He wrote for the film as well, when it was made with the same name under the direction of P. Madhavan.

Black & White Photographs From The Cinema Resource Centre Archives (XVII)

17-1Still from the movie Pattanathil Bhootham (1967) directed by M.V. Raman and written by Javar Seetharaman who plays the role of the Genie in the film. Pictured here is the comedian Nagesh in the song Ulagathil Siranthathu Ethu.

Pattanathil Bhootham (1967) has Jaishankar, Nagesh and K.R. Vijaya in lead roles. The film’s music was composed by R. Govardhanam, though it might be mistaken for MS Viswanathan’s work. Govardhanam was assisting the duo Viswanathan-Ramamurthy most of his career. He is often referred to as an unsung hero of Tamil Cinema music. A trombone was used in the song Ulagathil Siranthathu Ethu (the image above is from this song). The film was also famous for a notoriously written song by Kannadasan who wanted an appointment with the then Chief Minister Kamaraj, he penned the lines, “Andha Sivagami Maganidam,” as Sivagami was the Chief Minister’s mother.


Black & White Photographs From The Cinema Resource Centre Archives (XVI)

16-1Still from the movie Pattanathil Bhootham (1967) directed by M.V. Raman and written by Javar Seetharaman who plays the role of the Genie in the film. Seen here is the actor/comedian Nagesh.

Pattanathil Bhootham is a Javar Seetharaman written fantasy-comedy film inspired by the Hollywood movie Brass Bottle (1964). Seeetharaman, who started his career as a lawyer, joined Gemini studios in 1940s to pursue his career in films. His performance as Inspector Javet in the movie Ezhai Padum Paadu (1950) (directed by cinematographer/director K. Ramnoth) became very famous and thus his name got the prefix ‘Javet,’ later becoming Javar Seetharaman. Javar wrote the screenplay For S. Balachander’s benchmark film Andha Naal (1954). It was also his first work as a writer.

Black & White Photographs From The Cinema Resource Centre Archives (XV)

15-1Still from the K. Balachander directed Manmatha Leelai (1976) in which Kamal Haasan played the lead role.

Manmatha Leelai (1976) Directed by K. Balachander struggled to get a Censor certificate upon its release. The film was criticized a lot for it’s bold content then, but later became a cult classic. The film became a huge hit at the box office. It was actor Radha Ravi’s first Tamil film. He was credited as M.R.R. Ravi then. This film also featured actor Y.G. Mahendran and his father Y.G. Parthasarathy (who had his own drama troupe United Amateur Artistes) working together for the first time in a movie. Manmatha Leelai was dubbed in Telugu as Manmatha Leela (1976) and in Hindi as Meethi Meethi Batein (1977)

Black & White Photographs From The Cinema Resource Centre Archives (XIV)

14-1Still from the movie Kizhakku Vasal (1990) directed by R.V. Udhayakumar. Seen here are actors Revathi and Vijaykumar.

Kizhakku Vasal (1990) was director R.V. Udhayakumar’s 4th film. It was his 2nd collaboration with Karthik after Urimai Geetham, which was his first film. The shooting for this film was plagued with various problems. The set which was built for the film was burnt, and MS Madhu, storywriter for this film, suffered from fits after witnessing the fire. Actress Sulakshana was admitted to a hospital due to a nosebleed. RV Udayakumar was hospitalised due to a car accident, and he went into a coma for one month. After recovery, Udayakumar completed the climax of the film. All the songs in the film were written by Udhayakumar himself and was a big hit with Maestro Ilayaraja’s music. The film ran for 175 days in Chennai’s Devi Bala theatre.


Black & White Photographs From The Cinema Resource Centre Archives (XIII)

13-1Still from the film Kavikuyil (1977) showing Sridevi and Sivakumar. Rajnikanth for the first time played a positive role as Sridevi’s brother in this movie. The music was composed by Ilayaraja. This still is from the popular song from this movie, Chinna Kannan Azhaikiran sung by Balamuralikrishna.

Kavikuyil (1977) was the 10th film by the director duo Devaraj-Mohan. They worked together for 17 films until 1980, before splitting up. Devarajan directed a few films independently like Ayiram Muthangal (1982), Rajathi Rojakkili (1985) and Isai Paadum Thendral (1986). Devaraj-Mohan’s first film was Ponnukku Thanga Manasu (1973) which had actor Vijaykumar playing the lead role for the first time. Most of their movies had Sivakumar starring as the hero. Devaraj-Mohan assisted P. Madhavan before starting their career independently.