Uthama Puthiran (1940 film)

For the 1958 film, see Uthama Puthiran (1958 film). For the 2010 film, see Uthamaputhiran (2010 film). For other uses, see Uthama Puthiran.
Uthama Puthiran (1940 film)

Theatrical poster
Directed by T. R. Sundaram
Produced by Modern Theatres (Salem)
Written by D. V. Chari (dialogues)
Screenplay by T. V. Swami
Story by N. Mian
Starring P. U. Chinnappa,
M. V. Rajamma,
T. S. Balaiah,
N. S. Krishnan,
T. A. Mathuram,
T. S. Krishnaveni,
Kali N. Ratnam
Music by S. Velsamy
Cinematography P. V. Krishna Iyer
Edited by P. P. Varghese
Release dates
  • 24 October 1940 (1940-10-24)


Running time
212 minutes
Language Tamil

Utthama Puthiran is the 1940 Tamil language movie directed by T. R. Sundaram and P. U. Chinnappa, M. V. Rajamma, T. S. Balaiah played the lead roles. It was the first Tamil film in which the leading actor P. U. Chinnappa played a double role.


Uthama Puthiran was adapted from Hollywood film The Man in the Iron Mask, which was based on the novel of the French adventure fiction maestro, Alexandre Dumas.[1] The film was produced and directed by the Salem based movie mogul, T. R. Sundaram, it proved successful and established the singing star of the 1940s, P. U. Chinnappa. The film featured him in dual roles and thus made him a first Tamil actor to feature him double roles. The double action scenes of Chinnappa was shot by Bodo Gutschwager, a German technician.[2] There was a sequence of the twins engaged in a duel while singing a duet, throwing challenges making it one of the rare scenes in Indian cinema.[3]

M. V. Rajamma, Kannada theatre and film actress, played the heroine.[4] Uthama Puthran was her second film with Chinnappa, the first being Yayathi (1938).[3] T. S. Balaiah portrayed the negative role. The film had supporting cast featuring NSK, Mathuram, Kali N. Ratnam, and P. A. Periyanayaki.[3]


The music was composed by S. Velsamy. Even though the British Indian government banned the Tamil rebel poet Bharati’s work, Sundaram had the actor render the famous song "Senthamizh Naadenum Podhiniley" and got away with it.[3][2]

Themes and influences

Uthama Puthiran adapted from Hollywood film The Man in the Iron Mask which was based on novel of same name notably became the first Tamil film to feature an actor in two roles.[3] The story of identical twins was used often in Tamil cinema, and Dumas himself used it to write his famous The Corsican Brothers which was also adapted into Tamil.[5] The Gemini Studios version Apoorva Sagotharargal (1949) with M. K. Radha playing the twins was a box office hit.[2] M. G. Ramachandran played the twins in a rehash of the film titled Neerum Neruppum, which did not do as well.[6] The film was remade again in 1958 with Sivaji Ganesan.[2][7] Uthama Puthiran also was the inspiration behind Imsai Arasan 23m Pulikesi, a 2006 historical comedy film starring comedian Vadivelu as the twins.[8][2]


  1. 1 2 Dhananjayan 2014, p. 34.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Dhananjayan, p. 35.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "Uthama Puthiran 1940". 2 May 2008.
  4. "M. V. Rajamma, the favorite 'Amma'". Kalyanamalai.
  5. "Uthama Puthiran — Making history with historicals — Tamil Movie News". IndiaGlitz. 19 September 2006. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  6. Guy, Randor (17 March 2011). "Arts / Cinema : A trailblazer". Chennai, India: The Hindu. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  7. Randor Guy (5 January 2013). "Blast from the Past: Uthama Puthran 1958". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  8. "Friday Review Chennai / Film Review : Messages in a light vein — Imsai Arasan 23rd Pulikesi". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 14 July 2006. Retrieved 20 April 2012.


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