Director: Ellis Duncan; Writer: Elangovan, T.P.S. Mani; Cinematographer: Paul Bricke, Krishna Gopal; Editor: Ellis Duncan; Cast: M.K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar, Serukalathur Sama, P.B. Rangachari, T.S. Balaiah, N.S. Krishnan, M.S. Santhanalakshmi, T.A. Mathuram, P.G. Venkatesan, P.R. Mangalam
Duration: 01:59:04; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 117.907; Saturation: 0.015; Lightness: 0.365; Volume: 0.211; Cuts per Minute: 13.193
After Raja Desingu (1936)
, this is the 2nd major South Indian historical. Set in the year 1083 AD it tells of the poet Kambar (Sama) who wrote the Kambaramayana in Tamil at Karikala Chola’s court and draws on George Cukor’s Romeo and Juliet (1936), including the balcony scene, for the love story between the poet’s son, Ambikapathy (Bhagavathar) and the Princess Amaravathy (Santhanalakshmi). However, class distinctions are maintained as the young lover fails the test of will imposed by the king as a precondition for the marriage. Shot at the East India Studio in Calcutta, the background music was by the blind singer-composer K.C. Dey, and the film was a landmark in the careers of Bhagavathar (esp. the song Bajanai seivay maname), Santhanalakshmi and Balaiah, who played the army commander Rudrasenan. Duncan was fond of ‘return’ scenes: this film opened with the victorious return of Kulothunga Chola to the city of Woriur; in his Shakuntalai (1940)
there was the Sage Kanwar’s return from pilgrimage and in Manthiri Kumari (1950)
he staged the return home of a marriage party. The scenarist Elangovan, making his debut here, initiated the trend of privileging dialogue over songs.