Theatrical Release Poster
|Directed by||A. S. A. Sami|
|Produced by||M. Somasundaram|
|Written by||C. N. Annadurai|
K. R. Ramasamy|
T. S. Balaiya
M. N. Nambiar
S. A. Natarajan
M. V. Rajamma
C. R. Subburaman|
S. M. Subbaiah Naidu
|Edited by||D. Durairaj|
|Distributed by||Jupiter Pictures|
|25 February 1949|
|180 min. (16,744 Feet)|
Velaikaari (English: The Maid) is a 1949 Indian Tamil drama film was directed by A. S. A. Sami and produced by M. Somasundaram under his production Jupiter Pictures. It was based on the play of the same name written by C. N. Annadurai (later chief minister of Tamil Nadu). This was the second film to be based on Annadurai's plays. The film script were written by C. N. Annadurai. Music by C. R. Subburaman and S. M. Subbaiah Naidu assets to the film. It stars K. R. Ramasamy, M. N. Nambiar V. N. Janaki and M. V. Rajamma played lead with D. Balasubramaniam and T. S. Balaiah played pivotal role.
Velaikaari was a socially themed story based on class conflicts and a critique of existing social customs. The hero's (K. R. Ramasamy) father commits suicide unable to repay his debts to the local landlord. The hero swears revenge. After earning wealth, he returns to avenge his father's death. He finds a dead body which looks like him in the woods and impersonates the dead man. He marries the landlord's daughter and ill treats her. He forces the landlord to realise his mistakes and repent.
Velaikkaari a trend setter in Tamil Cinema and a watershed film in its history, not only created a sensation, but also changed the course of Tamil cinema, laying the pathway for many consequences which affected the political history of Tamil Nadu. The phenomenal success of this film gave birth to a new concept, the emergence of the writer as the star of the movie, 'the name above the title', a distinctive and special feature of Tamil Cinema not seen elsewhere in the world. Velaikkaari was a stage play written by C. N. Annadurai for his friends K. R. Ramasamy and S. V. Sahasranamam. Due to differences with Sahasranamam, Ramasamy formed his own troupe, Krishna Nadaga Sabha. Anna gave this script to Ramasamy, who was closer to him. The play was a huge success and Jupiter Pictures Somasundaram acquired the rights to make it as a film. He engaged Anna to write the film script. The producer went with Anna's choice of A. S. A. Sami who had directed hits like Rajakumari (1947) as director and also offered the lead role to K. R. Ramasamy.
Vedhachalam Mudaliyar(D. Balasubramaniam) is a rich moneylender. Sarasa(V. N. Janaki) and Moorthy(M. N. Nambiar) are his children. Sarasa takes after her father and behaves arrogantly with the servants. However, Moorthy is good human being and has a soft corner for the servants maid Amirtham(M. V. Rajamma). Vedhachalam Mudaliar lends money to Sundaram Pillai(K. Mustafa). Unable to repay the borrowed money and finding it difficult to take Vedhachalam Mudaliar's insults, Sundaram Pillai commits suicide. His son Anandan(K. R. Ramasamy) witness the suicide and decide to take revenge on Mudaliar. While he sharpens the knife to kill Mudaliar, his friend Mani(T. S. Balaiah), a reformist and intellectual, advises him to sharpen his mind to take revenge. Reformed Anandan, an ardent devotee of Goddess Kali, prays to the Goddess to help him take revenge on Mudaliar. However Mudaliar becomes wealthier and becomes the owner of another estate, which infuriates Anandan.
Frustrated with the Goddess for helping the rich, Anandan abuses the Goddess at her temple. The devotees get angry with this behaviour of spoiling the sanctity and chase him away. Mani offers shelter to Anandan in a hideout where they find a dead body in a bundle. On close scrutiny, they realise that the body resembles Anandan; they learn from his diary that he is Paramanandam, son of a rich but blind landlady of Mevaar Vilasam. Mani brings Anandan to the village in the guise of Paramanandam. They host a tea party and invite all the rich people, including Mudaliar. As Paramanadham, Anandan soon marries Mudaliar's daughter Sarasa. To take revenge on Mudaliar, Anandan harasses Sarasa and spends their money lavishly. Acting like a drunkard and womeniser, he spoils Mudaliar's reputation in the society.
Coming to know of the love between Amirtham and Moorthy, Anandan creates a rift between his father-in-law and brother-in-law. Moorthi leaves the house, meets Amirtham and promises to marry her after getting the help of his friend at Madras. However, on coming to know that he is penniless, Moorthy's friends spurn him. Amirtham's father Murugesan, who is a loyal servant to Mudaliar's family, plans to get her married to an old man to avoid further embarrassment to his master. When Amirtham comes to know this, she leaves the home on her own. Balu Mudaliar(Pulimoottai Ramasamy), a rich man who become mentally disturbed after the death of his daughter, meets Amirtham. He thinks she is his daughter Sumirdham and provides her shelter at his place. At this doctor's request, Amirtham helps in Balu Mudaliar recovery, who treats her like own daughter and permits her to continue to live at his house even after his recovery.
Murthy gets wrong information that Amirtham is dead through her neighbours in the village. Vexed with life and to get peace, he lands in an ashram run by Yogi Hariharadas(M. N. Nambiar in another role). However, he soon comes to know the frauds of the yogi and during an altercation with Moorthi, Yogi dies; Moorthhy is accused of the murder and lands in prison. Mudaliar gets disheartened with the mishaps to his children. Mani brings Anandan as a North Indian lawyer to Mudaliar, and Anandan fights Moorthy's case in Court.
Arguing beautifully in court, he establishes that, Yogi was a fraud and criminal wanted by the police; the death was not preplanned or intentional; it happened during self defence. That court acquits Moorthy and he is released. When Moorthy asks Anandan to name his fee for this great help. Anandan asks Moorthy to Marry Balu Mudaliar's daughter. Moorthy meets Amirtham, who is now known with a different name and is surprised that she looks similar to Amirtham. After the marriage takes place, Anandan reveals to Mudaliar that his son Moorthy has married Amirtham, a servant's daughter, and he(Anandan) is the son of the servant Sundaram Pillai. Berating Mudaliar about his arrogant attitude, money mindedness and treating people badly, he shows how it harmed poor people. Mudaliar regrets his behaviour and mistakes and apologises to Anandan and Amirtham. The family is united.
- K. R. Ramasamy as Anandhan - Sundaram Pillai son and take revenge Vedachalam Mudaliar he disguise Paramanandham.
- T. S. Balaiya as Mani, Anandhan's friend
- Janaki Ramachandran as Sarasa, Vedhachalam Mudaliar's daughter and Sister of Moorthy
- M. N. Nambiar as Moorthy- Saras's brother/Hari Hara Dossan alice Pandara Pakkiri
- S. A. Natarajan as Public Prasicutor
- M. V. Rajamma as Amirtham, Vedhachalam Mudaliar's house maid and Moorthy's lover
- D. Balasubramaniam as Vedhachalam Mudaliyar
- K. Mustafa as Sundaram Pillai
- K. S. Angamuthu as Muthayee
- P. K. Saraswathy as Sundara Ghosh
- M. S. Bhakkiyam as bhakkiyam
- M. M. Radha Bai as Anandhan's Mother
- Pulli Moottai Ramasamy Ayyar as Balu Mudaliyar
- S. Sivanandhan as Chokkan
- N. Krishnan as Balu Mudaliyar's Servant
- Ponnusamy Pillai as Murugan
- A. S. A. Sami- Director
- C. N. Annadurai - Story, screenplay, Dialogues
- C. R. Subburaman & S. M. Subbaiah Naidu - Music
- Udumalai Narayana Kavi -lyrics
- Masthan - Cinematographer
- P. P. Choudhry & M. Kuttibhai - Art directors
- D. Durairah - Editor
- Vedhandham Ragavayya & K. R. Kumar- Choreographers
Kalki Krishnamurthy in his magazine Kalki issue date 19 June 1949 wrote, Velaikkari is not a film to be commented on, but a great film which came to reform society. The film's dialogue's becomes famous and popular. Some rhetorical lines like Sattam Oru Iruttarai. Athil Vakkeelin Vaadham Oru Vilakku! Aanal adhu ezhaikalukku ettatha Vilakku (Justice is a dark room, in which the lawyer's arguments are like the light, but the poor cannot reach it) and Kathiyai Theettathey, Un Puththiyai Theettu (Don't sharpen your knife but your mind) become very famous and are used even today among the common public and politicians. The films final message Ondre Kulam, Oruvane Devan (One community and one god), become a popular rhetoric of the political party C. N. Annadurai founded. Even when the play was staged, Kalki Krishnamurthy was amazed with the dialogues and scenes and appreciated Annadurai as Aringar (Meaning an Intellectual), which become a prefix for Annadurai since then. He also gave the title of Bernard Shaw of South to Annadurai after watching the film.
Velaikaari was a stage play written by Annadurai. It was originally written for K. R. Ramasamy's drama company by Annadurai. M. Somasundaram of Jupiter productions decided to make a film based on the successful play. Annadurai wrote the script and dialogues for the film. This was second film to be made based on Annadurai's plays after Nallathambi, which was released only three weeks prior to Velaikaari. A. S. A. Sami, was chosen by Annadurai to direct the movie. Also per Annadurai's recommendation, his friend K. R. Ramasamy was hired to play the hero. The play's original screenplay based on class conflicts and was partly inspired by the Bhawal case for the twists in the plot. Some plot elements based on Alexandre Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo (1934) were added by A. S. A. Sami , which were accepted by Annadurai for the film version.. Staying in an ordinary room, Anna wrote the screenplay and dialogues (Over 1000 Pages) in just three days.
The film's concept was inspired from a newspaper article about a devotee in a small town breaking the statue of Goddess Kali frustrated with no gain from his prayers at the temple for many years. The story line had the frustrated hero(K. R. Ramasamy) throwing sacred objects and abusing the presiding deity at a Kali Temple which created controversy. Some religious groups even clamoured for a ban on the film!. However, the film turned out to be a hit and of historic importance. Anna's brilliant Tamil dialogues contributed significantly to its success. Janaki Ramachandran and M. V. Rajamma played the female lead roles in the film. The supporting cast included M. N. Nambiar, T. S. Balaiya and S. A. Natarajan.
This commercial and critical success ran for 100 days. The powerful link between Tamil Cinema and the politics of the state was established through this film. Hence, it can be called as a watershed film which led to changes to Tamil cinema and State Politics. The film become a trend setter for its powerful and beautiful dialogues and for its strong approach on social issues and beliefs. The same route was followed by M. Karunanidhi, heir to C. N. Annadurai in films and Politics, in various films including Parasakthi (1952) and Manohara (1954).
The 100th day function of the film was chaired by writer Va. Ramasamy at the theatre in Coimbatore. On Velaikaari, Annadurai said that the movie "made it clear that greed and avarice of the rich did not pay in the long run... Some of the elementary principles of the Socialism and Stressed that we should depend upon our own labor for our progress and well-being and not some unknown factor". Velaikaari made direct references against the suppressive landlords who traditionally allied with Jawaharlal Nehru and Gandhi. After the success of the film, the producers presented a Morris Car to the writer C. N. Annadurai.
The music composed by S. M. Subbaiah Naidu & C. R. Subburaman Lyrics were by Udumalai Narayana Kavi. Singer is K. R. Ramaswamy. Playback singers are M. M. Mariayappa, T. V. Rathinam, K. V. Janaki, A. P. Komala & P. Leela.
The song Innamum Paaraa Mugam Enamma sung by K. R. Ramasamy was remixed in the year 2012 by Manachanallur Giridharan in his devotional album titled OM NAVA SAKTHI JAYA JAYA SAKTHI, which was also sung by Giridharan himself.
|1||Oridam Thanile Nilaiyillaa Ulaginile||P. Leela & K. V. Janaki||Udumalai Narayana Kavi||04:37|
|2||Innamum Paaraa Mugam Enammaa||K. R. Ramaswamy||02:35|
|3||Aada Varuvaayaa Kannaa||T. V. Rathinam||01:59|
|4||Neethan Allaamal Thunai Yaar||K. R. Ramaswamy||01:36|
|5||Ulagam Palavitham||A. P. Komala||02:56|
|6||Laali Laali Suba Laali Laali||T. V. Rathinam & P. Leela||01:38|
|7||Singaara Pann Paaduven||M. M. Mariayappa & K. V. Janaki||02:15|
|8||Eppadi Vaazhven Inimel||K. R. Ramaswamy||03:04|
|9||Vaazhiya Needoozhi Paguttharivaalar||T. V. Rathinam & K. V. Janaki||03:53|
|10||Ulagatthile Unnadhamaai Uyarndha||T. V. Rathinam||01:19|
In the film, Mani(T. S. Balaiah) advises Anandan(K. R. Ramasamy) of four methods to take revenge: Aduthu Kedukkum Padalam (Spoiling someone's reputation by being with them), Panam Pazhakkum Padalam (Spoiling their money), Manam Parikkum Padalam (Spoiling their reputation) and Kan Kuththum Padalam (Hurting his eyes through his own hands), which were interesting and intelligent. A few scene from the film resembled Hollywood film The Count of Monte Cristo (1934) (e. g. the hero in jail deciding to take revenge on the people responsible for his jail term after escaping from there). The climax scene of Anandan entering the Court as a lawyer is inspired from the Hollywood film The Life of Emile Zola (1937). Even the hero's makeup was similar to the Hollywood film's hero Paul Muni.Though the M. N. Nambiar had acted in several films earlier, his role as a fake godman(Tamil as Poli Chamiyaar) Yogi Hariharadas in the film was greatly appreciated. It was the first film in Tamil cinema, which featured Court room scenes, which then became a trend to include such scene in later films. The success of the film and its dialogues brought in fame and credit to the dialogue writer in Tamil cinema. After this film, the dialogue writers were paid better and the audience also started noticing in Tamil Cinema began with this film and set a trend. A dance by Lalitha and Padmini featured in this film.
The film was a commercial and critical success. Its dialogues became famous among the audience. Some of the rhetorical lines like " "Sattam Oru Iruttarai. athiley vakkilin vaathamoru vilakku. anaal athu ezhaikku ettaatha vilakku" (lit. The law is a dark room. In which the lawyer's arguments are like the lamp light, but the poor cannot get it) became famous. The 1981 Tamil film Sattam Oru Iruttarai was titled after that particular piece of dialogue. The popular reception Velaikaari received was the beginning of the long association between the Dravidian Movement and Tamil Cinema. The dialogues and scenes promoting atheism led to some controversy and demands for banning the film.
The film was later remade in Hindi as Naya Aadmi (1956), Telugu as Santhosham (1956) with N. T. Rama Rao playing the lead role in both languages by the same producer. The Telugu version failed while the Hindi version worked at well Mumbai. The film was also made in Kannada as Malli Maduve (1963) by M. S. Kasi for Jupiter Pictures with Rajkumar and Udayakumar and the film succeed. The completed film was 16,774 feet in length.
- Dhananjayan 2014, p. 78.
- Dhananjayan 2014, p. 79.
- Film News Anandan 2004, p. 28-52.
- Dhananjayan 2014, p. 80.
- Innamum Para Mugam REMIX by Giridharan
- Guy, Randor (7 December 2007). "blast from the past - Velaikari 1949". The Hindu. Retrieved 2010-01-15.
- Gangadhar, V (10 December 1998). "One for the masses!". Rediff.com. Retrieved 2010-01-15.
- Naryanan, Aranthai. "Tamil Cinema through the eyes of a politician". tamilcinema.com (in Tamil). Retrieved 2010-01-15.
- Guy, Randor (29 September 2000). "An antithesis on screen". The Hindu. Retrieved 2010-01-15.
- Film News Anandan (2004). Sadhanaigal padaitha Tamil Thiraipada Varalaaru (in Tamil). Chennai: Sivagami Publications.
- Dhananjayan, G. (2014). Pride of Tamil Cinema: 1931 to 2013. Blue Ocean Publishers.
- Velayutham, Selvaraj (2008). Tamil cinema: the cultural politics of India's other film industry (Hardback ed.). New York: Routledge. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-415-39680-6.
- Baskaran, S. Theodore (1996). The eye of the serpent: an introduction to Tamil cinema. Chennai: East West Books. p. 104.
- Naryanan, Aranthai. "Tamil Cinema through the eyes of a politician". tamilcinema.com (in Tamil). Retrieved 2010-01-15.