Director: T.R. Sundaram; Writer: Modern Theatres Story Dept., Murasoli Maran; Cinematographer: W.R. Subbarao; Cast: M.G. Ramachandran, P. Bhanumathi, K. Sarangapani, P.S. Veerappa, K.A. Thangavelu, M.G. Chakrapani, M.N. Rajam, P. Susheela, Waheeda Rehman, Vidyavati, Bhupati Nandram, O.A.K. Thevar, K.K. Soundar
Duration: 02:31:11; Aspect Ratio: 1.825:1; Hue: 345.744; Saturation: 0.260; Lightness: 0.389; Volume: 0.192; Cuts per Minute: 8.228
The 2nd major adaptation of the popular orientalist fantasy (the 1941 version starred N.S. Krishnan) and one of Modern Theatres’ best- known films, featuring MGR and his elder brother M.G. Chakrapani. When the soldier Sher Khan abducts the dancer Marjina (Bhanumathi) to Amir Kasim’s palace, Alibaba (MGR) rescues her. The woodcutter Alibaba, who is Amir Kasim’s brother, has been disinherited but is quickly reinstated after discovering the magical cave full of jewels. When Amir Kasim goes after the jewels, he is apprehended and killed by Abu Hussain (Veerappa), chief of the thieves. Alibaba and Marjina eventually get the thieves and the gold. The first South Indian Gevacolor feature is remembered mainly for MGR’s swashbuckling stunts (it is one of the star’s most characteristic 50s genre films), the elaborate group dances and Bhanumathi’s very popular song-and- dance routines (e.g. Unnai vidamatten, and Azhagana ponnutham before she tells the bandits to get into the barrels). Although the tale and costumes are pseudo-Arabic, Alibaba’s wife incongruously refers to Yama, the Hindu god of death. Irises and wipes in the film add to its sense of anachronism. This is probably the Hindi star Waheeda Rehman’s screen debut as a dancer.