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Comedy Central

Thillana Mohanambal


Article By : Ramaa
Location : Chennai
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In the list of films which could be called evergreen entertainers, Thillana Mohanambal would definitely be at the top. The film set the grammar for complete viewing pleasure. It was the first time that the Tamil industry took a long look at the lives of performing artistes. Kothamangalam Subbu wrote the story as a series in a popular magazine in the late 1950s. The screen adaptation was excellent and the screenplay portrayed the socio-cultural milieu prevailing at the turn-of-century setting of the story in a most subtle manner. The system of devadasis and patronage by the zamindars and nawabs were incorporated so well and the actors who played the respective characters brought out the shades very well.
It is basically a simple love story between two talented but temperamental artistes. The incidents in which the lead stars apparently clash just show the depth of love each has for the other. The backdrop of professional rivalry and one-upmanship blended beautifully in fostering the romance. It also portrayed the dedication and team spirit that the artists of the era showed towards their chosen profession. For example, in the opening scene Shanmugasundaram would refuse to play the nadaswaram just because there were some distracting disturbances in a temple festival.At the same time, he would play outside a maharaja’s palace to an attentive audience. Similarly, in another scene one of the supporting artists in Shanmugam’s team would say that hands which had played accompanying him would not do so for any other no matter whatever wealth came by. Mohana’s avaricious mother

and the agent Vaithi are unforgettable negative shades in human personality. Nagesh as Vaithi brought a new dimension to the comic villain. His unique body language and ethnicity in character were a hit with the audience.

The obstacles which the lovers face are both in the form of circumstances and personalities. The misunderstandings between the lovers and the reconciliation attempts by the go-between, Jil Jil Ramamani played by the effervescent Manorama added suspense and an air of expectation. Her playing the nadaswaram and the folksy dance number are still memorable.

The wonderful lyrics by Kannadasan, especially the haunting Nalandana and the top-of-the-drawer music by MSV and Ramamurthy were great plus points for the film. Story by Kothamangalam Subbu and Screenplay and direction by A.P. Nagarajan.

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