T. R. Ramachandran, Kali. N. Ratnam and K. Sarangapani in Sabapathy
Directed by A. V. Meiyappan
A. T. Krishnaswamy
Produced by A. V. Meiyappan
Written by Pammal Sambandha Mudaliar
Starring T. R. Ramachandran
Kali N. Rathnam
R. Padma
C. T. Rajakantham
K. Sarangapani
Music by Saraswathi Music Troupe
Cinematography P. V. Krishna Iyer
Edited by M. V. Raman
Release dates
14 December 1941
Country India
Language Tamil

Sabapathy (Tamil: சபாபதி) is a 1941 Tamil comedy film directed and produced by A. V. Meiyappan and A. T. Krishnaswamy, starring T. R. Ramachandran, Kali N. Rathnam, C. T. Rajakantham and K. Sarangapani.[1] The film is regarded as Tamil cinema's first full-length feature comedy film.


Sabapathy was one of the early hits of Tamil film pioneer A. V. Meiyappan. He entered the Tamil film industry as a director with his 1935 film Alli Arjuna which bombed at the box-office. His other early ventures too were average grossers. A. T. Krishnaswamy made a suggestion that Meyyappan should make a film about one of Pammal Sambandha Mudaliar comedy farce dramas. Meyyappan accepted it and hired actor T. R. Ramachandran (then working at Pragathi Pictures for a 35 Rs monthly salary) as the hero and comedian Kali N. Ratnam as a simpleton (based on the Handy Andy character created by Samuel Lover). R. Padma, then famous as a model for Lux Soap, was chosen as heroine. Pammal sambandha Mudaliar wrote the story and screenplay, while P. K. Krishna Iyer was the cinematographer. Produced at the cost of Rs. 40,000, the completed film was 15,400 feet in length.[1][2]


T. R. Ramachandran with 'Lux Soap' R. Padma in Sabapathy

The film tells the story of a happy-go-lucky young man Sabapathy and his man servant (also named as Sabapathy). Sabapathy, son of a rich socialite and politician, Rao Sahib Manikka Mudaliar, neglects his studies and repeatedly fails his high school examinations. To make matters worse, his marriage is arranged with Sivakami, daughter of a friend of his mother, Thribura Ammal. While Sabapathy's father initially rebukes Sivakami for distracting Sabapathy from his studies and Thribura Ammal for her decision to marry off Sabapathy before completing his high school studies, he relents when he finds that Sivakami was actually assisting Sabapathy in his preparation for the examinations. The film ends with Sabapathy eventually clearing his high school examinations with the help of his wife.

The film begins with the introduction :

"..Sababathy Mudaliar is the son of Rao Sahib Manikka Mudaliar and a pet of his mother Thiribura Ammal. He is studying in the Matriculation class. He is a fool with some intelligence. His man servant is a even greater fool. Both their names are the same. The antics of these two gems forms the foundation of this story.."[3]

Cast and crew


The film was a box office success - the first for Meyyappan, who went on to become a movie moghul. The jokes about Tamil teachers and the name confusion between the hero and the simpleton were well received by the audience. The film bought acclaim to the director A. T. Krishnaswamy and the hero T. R. Ramachandran. The comedic duo of Kali N. Rathnam and C. T. Rajakantham also became famous rivaling the fame of NS Krishnan- T.A. Maduram. As of 2009, it is still popular and is regularly shown in Tamil T.V. Channels.[1][4]


  1. 1 2 3 Guy, Randor (23 May 2006). "Blast from the Past - Sababathi 1963". The Hindu: Friday Review. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
  2. 1 2 Film News Anandan (2004). Sadhanaigal padaitha Tamil Thiraipada Varalaaru (in Tamil). Chennai: Sivagami Publications. pp. 28:27.
  3. Arandhai Narayanan (2008). Arambakala Tamil Cinema (1931-41) (in Tamil). Chennai: Vijaya Publications. p. 32.
  4. Guy, Randor (28 July 2006). "AVM, the adventurer". The Hindu: Friday Review. Retrieved 2008-04-26.
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