Directed by Muktha Srinivasan
Produced by M. A. Venu
Story by A. K. Venkat Ramanujam
Starring S. S. Rajendran
M. N. Rajam
T. K. Ramachandran
C. T. Rajakantham
Music by K. V. Mahadevan
Cinematography K. Ramachandran
Edited by T. Vijayarangam
Rathna Studio
Distributed by M. A. V. Pictures
Release dates
  • 22 October 1957 (1957-10-22)


Running time
160 minutes
Country India
Language Tamil

Mudhalali (English: Proprietor) is Muktha Srinivasan's 1957 Tamil directorial debut. This drama film was produced by M. A. Venu under M. A. V. Pictures. The movie stars S. S. Rajendran and debutante Devika in the lead roles, while M. N. Rajam, A. Kannaiyan and T. P. Muthulakshmi play in supporting roles. The film's soundtrack and background score were composed by K. V. Mahadevan, while the lyrics for the songs were written by Ka. Mu. Sheriff.

K. Ramachandran and T. Vijayarangam handled cinematography and editing respectively. The film is based on a stage play of the same name originally written by Venkat Ramanujam. Film development started during the making of Sampoorna Ramayanam, whose own production was temporarily shelved. The film was released on 22 October 1957 with a length of 160 minutes. The film became a hit for its soundtrack and story line, running for over 100 days and establishing the career of actors S. S. Rajendraneandvika and director Muktha Srinivasan. The film was remastered in Malayalam under the same name in 1965 starring Prem Nazir.[2]


Vasanthan (S. S. Rajendran) goes to America to further his education. During his absence, his widowed mother Karpagam (C. T. Rajakantham) manages their glass factory in Salem with the help of manager Balu (T. K. Ramachandran), who has a relationship with Vasanthan's niece Kokilam (M. N. Rajam). Since Vasnthan's mother does not understand how to manage the factory, Balu brings everything under his control and swindles the company by various means. Vasanthan returns to India several years later. He lands at Bombay en route to Madrastin order to reach Salem. While there, he meets a hotel boy, Poongavanam (R. Pakkirisamy), who causes Vasanthan to relaize the need to understand the life of a worker before becoming a factory owner. He informs his mother that he has to go on another tour and will arrive in Salem in two months, but lands in Salem as a worker under the pseudonym Varadhan. He joins the factory with the help of Valli (Devika), who works in the factory with her father.

Slowly, Vasanthan comes to understand the misdeeds of Balu in managing the factory, and learns of his niece Kokilam's relationship with Balu. Meanwhile, Vasanthan and Valli fall in love. Vasanthan's mother becomes desperate to find her son and starts spending money to trace him. Vasanthan decides to reveal his true identity and goes out of town. Balu has an eye on Valli, and when she does not accept his lecherous advances, he throws her and her father out of the factory quarters. They leave in search of Varadhan, who has left Salem. When Vasanthan returns, his mother becomes happy. He meets the workers and promises changes since he now understands the misdeeds of the manager. Gradually, he starts addressing all the workers' issues. Manager Balu is kept in his place and brought under control. Unable to accept his reduced status, and being under excessive control, Balu starts spreading rumours that Vasanthan is not the real owner, but an imposter. Varadhan has come as Vasanthan. Even Vasanthan's mother starts doubting this, since Vasanthan (who was found of Kokilam before going abroad) is not behaving as before with her. Vasanthan proves that he is the real owner and exposes all of Balu's misdeeds. With the help of a Cycle - rickshaw puller, he traces Valli in Madras (who had gone there search of him) brings her back, and marries her.


Box office

M. A. Venu who produced Sampoorna Ramayanam at the same time, had only 10 days in a month to shoot that film, since many artists involved were busy with other commitments. In order to make use of the remaining 20 days, Venu bought the rights for the stage play Mudhalali and chose Srinivasan to make his directorial debut.[3] Unlike most films, this film's production was completed in four months and two days within the budget of 2 lakhs.[3][4] Pramila, who was given the screen name Devika, made her acting debut.[5] Rajendran was paid 7000, Both Devika and Srinivasan were paid 5000.[3] The film grossed 20 lakhs with the first release.[3]


The film's soundtrack and background score were composed by K. V. Mahadevan, while the lyrics for the songs were written by A. Maruthakasi and Ka. Mu. Sheriff. Playback singers are T. M. Soundararajan, M. S. rajeswari & Jikki. The song "Aerikkaraiyin Mele" was well received and it was composed in Arabhi raga.[6] Other popular songs include Engirundho Vandhan en Idhayam Kavarndhar.. Enga mudhalali thanga mudhalali and Pakkuvamai kudumabatthan

No Songs Singers Lyrics Length(m:ss)
1 Yeri Karaiyin Mele T. M. Soundararajan A. Maruthakasi
2 Yavanna Ranithaan Jikki Ka. Mu. Sheriff
3 Yengirundho Vandhar M. S. Rajeswari
4 Kunguma Pottukkara T. M. Soundararajan & M. S. Rajeswari
5 Chikkanama Vazhum
6 Enga Mudhalali Thanga
7 Aasai Kalyanam M. S. Rajeswari

Recognition and awards

The film received a certificate from the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil (Best regional language film) for the year. The concept of an owner understanding the struggles of the workers and working for their welfare appealed to everyone.[7]


  1. Dhananjayan 2014, p. 120.
  2. "mudhalali". spicyonion. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Dhananjayan 2014, p. 121.
  4. "A celebrated veteran of the south indian film industry Hindu". Hindu. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  5. "Blend of grace and charm". Hindu. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  6. "Valour and worship". Hindu. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  7. "5th National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 2 September 2011.


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