Pasa Malar is considered to be a cult classic in Tamil cinema by any average movie buff. It is one of my all time fav movie. I don’t think the movie had the most flawless screenplay. It indeed dragged unnecessarily at parts. But the movie had towering performances by Savitri and Sivaji Ganesan. It’s a must watch film if you are a fan of either of the two. I recently bought a bunch of Telugu classics of Savitri and I got Raktha Sambandham as well. My expectations for the movie were pretty high before watching it. So did the film manage to meet my expectations? I would say yes and no. I heard ANR was the initial choice for the lead role. But he turned down the role as he was skeptical about whether the audience would accept him and Savitri as brother and sister. It was then offered to NTR and he promptly accepted it. I wish ANR could have at least played the husband role of Savitri. Because they both are known for their extremely good onscreen chemistry. Even though the movie capitalized on the brother – sister affection. Gemini played a significant role in the original. His character had slight shades of Grey and he played it to perfection. I would rate it as one of his career best performance. Just watch out the scene where he confronts Sivaji defending his co-workers when they get expelled from the factory or the scene where he argues with Sivaji that he cannot keep his ego at stake before the latter leaves the house. Class acting! I honestly could not digest an actor like Kanta Rao enacting the part. As the role demanded an actor of better caliber. He was a total miscast. NTR’s performance was over-the-top in the first half. But he was way better in the second half. Savitri was good. She is always a complete natural. I liked the minor changes made in the script. The screenplay was definitely better handled in Telugu. I liked the fact that M.N.Rajam’s character(Devika) was made to die in the middle which was a good relief. தேவையே இல்லாமால் ஜவ்வு மாதிரி இழுத்து கொண்டே போவாங்க தமிழ்ல அந்த காரக்டரை. In Tamil, she would be sent to foreign country to pursue her higher studies in medicine abruptly. She would then be seen only towards the end of climax mouthing some extremely lame and cliched dialogues “Athaan ungalukku naan paadha sevai seyalangruthukka enakku ivalavu periya dhandanaya neenga kodukkanum” LMAO! Gemini will be holding a permanent grudge against Sivaji and both would not meet until the end. But in Telugu after Devika’s demise Kanta Rao would go to offer his condolences immediately after coming to know about it. Also Sivaji after leaving the house would never try to visit Savitri. NTR will go to meet Savitri and her child and after seeing how she is getting abused by Suryakantham with his own eyes, he would write his entire property on her name. Kanta Rao and Savitri will run to NTR’s house to see him, but it would rather be too late as he would have left the city without letting them know. The music was by Ghantasala. He retained most of the tunes for the songs in Telugu which were composed by Viswanathan and Ramamoorthy for Pasa Malar. “Evaro Nanu Kavvinchi Poyedevaro“(Yaar yaar yaar aval yaro) and “Oho Vayyari Vadina“(Mayangugiral oru madhu) were the only two songs which deviated from the original, both the songs did not impress me much. I think the song “Malargalai Pol Thangai Urangukiraal” where Sivaji dreams of his sister marriage was cut in both Telugu and Hindi. I was quite glad that it got cut! It was most likely done to reduce the length of the movie. Although, I like the song it could have easily been avoided. The picturization was a letdown. I found Sivaji’s look in particular to be so cheesy. All these minor changes made the Telugu version seem more realistic. When Bhimsingh remade the film in Hindi as Rakhi which featured Ashok Kumar and Waheeda Rehman in lead roles he smartly infused all these minor changes in the Hindi screenplay. I personally did not like the Hindi version much. I thought Ashok Kumar was way too old to play the role. But he won the Best Actor Award from Filmfare for Rakhi. Dilip Kumar should have been the ideal choice for the role IMHO!
Pradeep Kumar filled the place of Gemini. I wish Bhimsingh roped someone like Sunil Dutt who has both star appeal and acting skills for the role. The casting was awful again!
I think the budget should have probably been an obstacle. The movie was made in a shoestring budget. When Amaradeepam (not necessarily my fav movie) got remade in hindi as Amardeep by Sivaji productions. It featured a host of stars with the likes of Dev Anand, Padmini, Ragini, Vyjayanthimala and Pran enacting the key roles… I bet all of them were highly paid actors of their time. இந்த படம் எடுக்கும் போது மட்டும் ஏன் அவ்வளவு கருமித்தனம்னு உண்மையாகவே விளங்கவில்லை.
Overall in terms of performances I conclude Pasa Malar is by far the best out of the three versions. Sivaji and Savitri literally lived their roles. Savitri apparently underwent a crash diet and lost weight to look convincing in the climax. She used to have only one meal a day for two months. அவ்வளவு சிரமம் எடுத்து அவங்க நடித்த படம். But if you notice the climax she would be having perfectly manicured nails. lol. Wish Bhimsingh had paid attention to such trivial things. I thought Aroor Das’s dialogues could have been a tad more pragmatic.
I think the first time I watched the movie I was so young… I was just 14 or 15 years old. I wept like no tomorrow after watching the climax. இந்த படத்தை பார்த்து அநேகமாக அழாதவர்களே இருக்க முடியாது. It may seem ludicrous, but I rather felt unfortunate for not having any siblings for first time in my life. அப்படி ஒரு தாக்கத்தை ஏற்படுத்திய திரைப்படம் பாசமலர் !
[Sivaji Ganesan and Savitri] Malarnthum Malaratha – Pasa Malar
[NTR and Savitri] Chandurini Minchu – Rakthasambandham
[Ashok Kumar and Waheeda Rehman] Ya Meri Manzil – Rakhi
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In yet another occasion when Naushad heard someone praising MSV as “Naushad of South India”. He humbly corrected the speaker that he is “MSV of North india”. It is an example that great achievers never allowed success go to their head.
The recent homage paid by a Music director to MSV is under criticism because it was hyped to hilt. It was advertised in the promos with an air of superiority that nobody had a better understanding of the nuances of MSV’s music than him. The show failed to meet the raised expectations of the music lovers and they have been voicing their disappointment.
Mannar received such huge accolades during his lifetime itself from a composer he held in very high esteem.
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Things I liked about the movie:
The supporting cast being given adequate scope to prove their talent is a rarity. It is needless to mention about Sundari bai. But Sugumari was a revelation. She was in full form! I don’t remember liking her in any movies before SNSM. Even though her character had grey shades, I really loved her acting. She was so natural and spoke the Brahmin dialect well. Her body language was fun to watch. She was amazing. Both Sundari Bai and Sugumari really got into the skin of the character. YGP was so irritating. But that was the purpose of his character. If he accomplished it actually means he did his part incredibly well. His characterization was not implausible, there are indeed many men like him in our society. It is a sick truth.
The music was unique. I loved the way MSV experimented, the movie had just two songs but both the songs were remarkable. The haunting Kandathai sollugiren, I doubt if any other singer would have been able to sing like him. Its one of the best ever songs sung by him. Veru idam thedi poovalo was another soul touching melody. Vani did complete justice to the song. The background score was rich.
When I watched the movie first time I was so young and could not appreciate Srikanth much. I don’t know how Bhimsingh even thought of casting him in that character. lol. Because Srikanth is a Brahmin. But he was not given a Brahmin role in a Brahmin subject, as anyone would have expected. He was cast in a completely contrasting character. A rich middle aged man who speaks Madras local Tamil slang. The movie did not have a separate track for comedy and all the lighter moments were infused in his character. I thought his character was so adorable when I watched the movie recently. He was actually very good.
After reading the novel. Sundari bai pours water on Lakshmi’s head and says she has become pure. ‘Kuzhandha nokku unnum nadakala’. She regrets she could have handled the situation wisely. It is an imaginary scene. It is not practical can happen only in stories. The way fantasy and reality is differentiated is beautiful. The scene really touched my heart.
I loved the platonic relationship portrayed in the movie between Srikanth and Lakshmi. But I felt the climax was kind of abrupt. The scene where Lakshmi pleads with Srikanth to sleep with her appalls you. May be we can say realistic because she feels insecure and doesn’t want to loose him at any cost. But why should a woman stoop that low, losing her dignity, tarnishing the beautiful relationship and proving she is no different from others.
Lakshmi’s accent was a put off in some sequences. Eg: Avaa shonaa, Avar shonaare. lol. The sho was really irritating. Why can’t she talk in a normal tone? Like sonnaa or chonnaa eh? :P
Nagesh gave one of his best. I particularly liked his scene with the the college students who throw flak at his novel, the way he defends the protagonist was thought provoking. I think JK himself wrote the dialogues. I’m one of the few who happens to prefer Nagesh – the character actor than Nagesh – the comedian. He is such a gifted actor. =)
It is just sad that right when Bhimsingh started to shift his focus towards parallel cinema he died. :(
Bhimsingh’s earlier films were mostly big budget multi-starers. Of course, the music and acting were always great in his movies. He brought out the best of Sivaji and Savitri IMHO! But I hate his woman characterizations, because they mostly eulogize men folks(read husband) as gods. I would like to give a classic example, in Paarthal Pasi Theerum Sivaji tells Savitri that he has found Gemini and goes to fetch him home. She feels so happy and sings “Andru oomai pennallo” cheerfully, towards the end of the song when Sivaji returns home this is the dialogue Savitri would say ‘Enge en deivam?! Avar kaalgal enge?!! Avar kaalgala en kaaneerala abhishekam senja dhaan en manasu aarum !’. It makes me cringe. Why such glorifying male chauvinistic dialogues have to be employed? It makes no sense. I really pity the actresses those days. They were undoubtedly so talented but were given only that kind of roles and had to mouth such silly dialogues. Again in Pathi Bakthi the way Gemini suspects Savitri for no reason, that whole sequence and the climax is beyond ridiculous. Why should woman be portrayed that stupid? Even though he is my favorite director I will always criticize him for it. I wish he did more meaningful movies like SNSM and ONNP.
Sila Nerangalil Sila Manithargal – Kandathai Sollugiren – MSV
Sila Nerangalil Sila Manithargal – Veru Idam Thedi Poovalo – Vani Jairam
Oru nadigai Paarkum Nadagam – Ethanai Malargal
Oru Nadigai Paarkum Nadagam – Nadigai Paarkum Nadagam
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I would say……
50% because of Gemini.
50% because of the ungrateful industry.
She should not have touched even a drop of alcohol under any circumstance in life. No matter how frustrated she was with her life.
ஜெமினி நடித்த சுமைதாங்கி திரைப்படத்தில் “மயக்கம்மா கலக்கம்மா” என்ற பாடலில் ஒரு அருமையான வரி வரும்.
“உனக்கும் கிழே உள்ளவர் கோடி, உள்ளதை நினைத்து நிம்மதி நாடு”
கண்ணதாசன் மிக அழகாக எழுதி இருப்பார். அந்த ஒரு வரியை மட்டும் வாழ்க்கையில் சாவித்திரி நினைவில் வைத்து கொண்டிருந்தால். எவ்வளவு நல்லா இருந்திருக்கும்!
என்னை பொறுத்த வரைக்கும் அவங்க வாழ்க்கையில் எதை இழந்திருந்தாலும் “சுய நம்பிக்கையை” மட்டும் இழந்திருக்க கூடாது. என்ன இல்லை உண்மையிலேயே அவங்க கிட்ட? அழகு இல்லையா? திறமை இல்லையா? பெயர் இல்லையா? புகழ் இல்லையா? பணம் இல்லையா? கடவுள் எல்லாத்தையும் அள்ளித் தானே கொடுத்திருந்தார். எல்லாவற்றுக்கும் மேல் சிவாஜி கணேசனுக்கு இணையாக கருதப்பட்டவர் சாவித்திரி. “நடிகையர் திலகம்” என்று எல்லோராலும் போற்ற பட்ட ஒரே நடிகை. யாருக்கு கிடைக்கும் அந்த அரிய பட்டம்?! She was adored by both the critics and audience. அவங்க திருமண வாழ்கை – அவங்க வாழ்க்கையில் சந்தித்த ஒரே சறுக்கல். அதை என்னனு சொல்றது யானை தன் தலையில் தானே மண்ணை வாரி கொட்டிக் கொள்வது போல் அவங்க வாழ்கையை அவங்களே கெடுத்து கிட்டாங்கனு சொல்வதா? இல்லை விதின்னு சொல்வதா?
Gemini and Savitri might have made a good looking pair on screen. But he was no match to her. The age difference between the two was sixteen years! It’s quite unbelievable eh?! Yes, its true Gemini was exactly 33 years old when he made his debut in films. Unlike many actors he never made attempts to hide his age. He was married already and was in a live in relationship with actress Pushpavalli. Also had a few children. As he always mentions his life was an open book. She did the biggest blunder of her life when she decided to settle as his second wife. Both did love each other immensely. A few factors separated them.
He married Juliana at the age of seventy-nine. He said he married her because he needed company in one of his interviews. If it was just for that, why couldn’t have he adopted her as his daughter?! What a disgusting man he was ! Honestly, she was half his age. Eww!
I have not seen her daughter talking anything remotely bad about her father in any of her interviews. She maintained a good relationship with him until his death and she has a cordial relationship with her half sisters. Rekha was diplomatic and did not badmouth him in the show with rendezvous with Simi Garewal in STAR WORLD. He doesn’t seem to have cared for Rekha or her siblings in any manner. Yes he and Pushpavalli may had differences. But still I don’t know how any daughter could forgive such a father.
Savitri’s career in the Tamil industry virtually got over by 1965. It’s indeed an overlooked fact. Her film offers started to decline after 1965. She just had a few odd releases like Thattungal Thirakkapadum, Kandhan Karunai, Saraswathi Sabatham etc to name a few. She had actually signed them all before 1965. They were just delayed releases. She did continue to act as pair with NTR and ANR till 1970. She was not paired opposite Sivaji for six years after the release of Thiruvilaiyadal.(1965 – 1971) Praptham (1971) was their last release. They stopped acting after Praptham for reasons best known to them. He teamed up with K.R.Vijaya and Jayalalitha. He also did a lot of movies with Padmini after her comeback in the late 60s as well. (Note: Padmini was five years older than Savitri) As far as MGR is concerned, no matter how old he was he preferred working only with young heroines. He ran around trees with actresses who were nearly one fourth of his age. Yes, you can say quite pathetic. After Jayalalitha made her entry he even stopped acting with Saroja Devi. Jayalalitha got replaced by Latha and Manjula later. It was how the Tamil industry functioned in the late 60s. Glamour was the order of the day. Savitri had put on some weight in the late 60s. It might be one of the reasons why she was not able to sustain her position in the industry. Both looks and talent are equally important to survive in the tinsel world. Its an undeniable fact. The standard of movies definitely started to deteriorate right from the late 60s, that’s a different story. The golden period of Tamil cinema was between 1951 -1965 in my opinion. Even directors like Sridhar started to bad-mouth her. He cited Savitri’s weight as the reason for the failure of Manase Mandiram. Both Nenjil Oru Alayam and Dil Ek Mandir, the original Tamil and Hindi version were huge musical hits. Savitri did look fat in the movie. (She did the film shortly after the birth of her second child Satish.) But the reason for its failure in Telugu is because the overall movie was poor. It was Sridhar who actually needs to be blamed for it . Because his direction in the Telugu version was not up to the mark. I was so pissed off when he gave such a lame excuse. It was ridiculous to say the least. Because both Devika and Meena Kumari were quite obese too indeed. I think Padmini and Saroja Devi were pretty clever because both retired from the movies as soon as they started to loose their market. They knew they would be relegated to do pathetic character roles soon. So did Vyjayanthimala ! She bid adieu to movies when she was at her peak. Padmini quit films in 1971. She went back to America. She did make a comeback in the eighties again. It was due to Fazil’s efforts. Kannadathu Paingili settled at Bangalore. They all lead a peaceful life. But Savitri on the other hand chose to venture into direction side. I suppose she never wanted to quit the industry and wanted be an active part of it always. There was nothing really wrong with her decision. She was obsessed with her profession. But if she really wanted to leave her stamp as a director, she should have opted for unique stories like K.Balachander and made some innovative and challenging films. I would have appreciated her more had she experimented. She directed five movies and most of them were remakes. (Praptham – Mooga Manasulu, Kuzhanthai Ullam – Chinnari Pappalu, Chiranjeevi – Neerkumizhi, Vintha Samsaram – Vietnam Veedu.) She produced her own movies and burnt her hands severely.
The industry did not lend her the much needed support when she was financially in a low position. It did not treat her kindly and did not even respect her talent. It did absolutely nothing to rescue her. How painful would it have been for her to do all those crap mother roles in the C grade movies in Tamil, especially for someone who has always craved to be versatile. Don’t think I’m blaming the Tamil industry alone. The Telugu industry was equally horrible to her. I reiterate how many movies did NTR and ANR work with Savitri in the 70s? Sivaji, NTR and ANR could have at least cast her in the double role subjects. Couldn’t have they? Its needless to mention about Gemini; but he at least had a valid reason. They were not able to work together because of their personal problems. He did act in the movie Alaudhinum Arputha Vilakkum where she acted as Kamal Hassan’s mother. But both did not appear in any shot together. If you observe attentively the director would have used some editing tricks. Actually, their shots got filmed separately. I don’t have to mention but it was an unbearable movie. Same goes to “Sivaranjani”, the Sripriya starrer. The reason I bring them here is both did not have any big grudge against each other. Because there was no necessity for Gemini to do those movies. He could have easily avoided them.
I happened to read an article from Ananda Vikatan dated 29/11/1981 were Sivashankari has written about Savitri’s last days. It was re-published in Ananta Vikatan recently. It can be found here. For people who have difficulty in understanding/reading Tamil I have provided a rough translation here.
Even though it was depressing to read about it, contrary to some of the media reports it is evident that she did not die because of alcohol addiction.
To conclude the turn-up of events in her life was truly miserable and unfortunate.
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Tags: Actress, Akkineni Nageswara Rao, ANR, சாவித்திரி, ஜெமினி கணேசன், సావిత్రి, Films, Ganesan, Ganesh, Gemini, Mahanati Savitri, Movies, N.T.Rama Rao, Nadigaiyar, Nadigaiyar Thilagam, Nadigayar, Nadigayar Thilagam, NTR, Rinkster, savithiri, Savithri, Savitri, Sivaji, Tamil, Telugu, Thilakam
Eerie film. Nambiar’s look as a 109 year old man in the second half was utterly terrifying. The performances by Kalyan Kumar and Devika were good. Just like most of the Sridhar films, the comedy did not appear out of place in this movie too. (Venniradai is probably the only sridhar film with a boring comedy track!) Manorama’s slang was enjoyable. (நாகேஷை பார்த்து அவர் ‘என்னங்கறேன்ன்ன் …’ ஒரு மாதிரி இழுத்து இழுத்து ஓவ்வொறு வார்த்தைக்கும் கடைசியில் ‘ங்க்றேன்‘ போட்டு பேசுவது வித்யாசமாக மட்டும் இல்லாமால் ரசிக்கும் படியும் இருந்தது.) As a kid I was scared to watch both Yaar Nee and Nenjam Marapadhillai. Yaar Nee in particular because it used to be telecast mostly during night in Sun TV. I always saw it alone. So I never managed to watch the complete film and used to switch off in the middle out of fear. அப்பறம் ஒரு நாள் மத்தியானம் அந்த படத்தை பார்த்தேனு நினைக்கிறேன். கிளைமாக்ஸ் சப்புனு போச்சு. I felt stupid. இந்த படத்தை பார்க்கவா இவ்வளோ பயந்தோம்னு. ஏன்னா கடைசில பார்த்தால் ஜெயலலிதா பேயே இல்லை. hehe.
I would say all Devika’s good performances were with Sridhar. He brought out the best out of her IMHO!
நெஞ்சம் மறப்பதில்லை, சுமைதாங்கி மற்றும் நெஞ்சில் ஒரு ஆலயம் – மூன்று படங்களும் ரொம்ப overact பண்ணாம குறிப்பா ஓவரா கொஞ்சாம நடிச்ச படம்.
The camerawork is mention-worthy. It adds the right ambiance and mood for the story. The shots especially where Devika wanders as a spirit in the desolate bungalow was picturized exceptionally well. Unlike the other movies of its time it did not look shoddy.
MSV shares his experiences on working with Sridhar:
இயக்குநர் ஸ்ரீதரும், எம்.எஸ்.வியும் பல வெற்றி படங்கள் இணைந்து பணியாற்றியுள்ளனர்.
‘மனுஷன் என்னைச் சக்கையாய்ப் பிழிஞ்சு எடுத்துடுவார்‘ என்று நினைவுகளில் மூழ்கிப் போகிறார்.
‘நெஞ்சம் மறப்பதில்லை‘ ஸ்ரீதரின் கற்பனையில் உருவான வித்யாசமான கதை.
“பூர்வ ஜென்ம நினைவுகளை மையமாக கொண்ட கதை ‘நெஞ்சம் மறப்பதில்லை‘. படத்தில் ‘டைட்டில் ஸாங்‘ வேண்டும். ‘நெஞ்சம் மறப்பதில்லை‘ என்றே பல்லவி இருக்க வேண்டும். ஹான்ட்டிங் ட்யூனில், பாட்டை கேட்பவர் நெஞ்சம் மறக்காதபடி அமையவேண்டும்” என்றார் இயக்குநர் ஸ்ரீதர்.
‘நெஞ்சம் மறப்பதில்லை‘ என்ற பல்லவிக்கு மட்டும் – அந்த இரண்டு வார்த்தைகளுக்கு மட்டும் கிட்டத்தட்ட இரனூற்றைம்பது ட்யூன்களை மாற்றி மாற்றி போட்டு காட்டியிருப்பேன். ஸ்ரீதருக்கு எதுவும் சரிப்பட்டு வரவில்லை. இப்படியே சுமார் ஆறு மாதங்கள் ஓடி விட்டன. மற்ற பாடல்கள் எல்லாம் ஒலிப்பதிவாகி படத்தின் படப் பிடிப்பே முடிந்துவிட்ட மாதிரிதான். இந்த ஒரே ஒரு பாட்டு மட்டுமே பாக்கி. நான் மூளையை கசக்கி கொண்டிருந்தேன்.
ஒரு நாள் திடீரென இந்தப் பாடலுக்கு ஒரு மெட்டு தோன்றியது. இயக்குநரிடம் பாடிக் காட்டினேன். ‘இதுதான்… இதுதான் எனக்கு வேண்டும்‘ என்று மகிழ்ச்சியில் குதித்தார் ஸ்ரீதர்.
ஒளிப்பதிவு செய்தோம். அந்தப் பாட்டு இன்றைக்கும் பிரபலமாக இருக்கிறது என்றால் அதற்க்கு முக்கால் பங்கு காரணம் சுசீலா தான். அவர் அன்றி வேறு யார் அந்தப் பாட்டை பாடியிருந்தாலும் இவ்வளவு சிறப்பாக வந்திருக்காது என்பது என் தனிப்பட்ட கருத்து.
லதா மங்கேஷ்கரை மிகவும் கவர்ந்த பாடல்களில் இந்தப் பாடலும் ஒன்று. இதை அவரே சொல்லியிருக்கிறார்.
P.B.Sreenivas – Nenjam Marapathillai Adhu Ninaivai Ezhapadhillai [Sad version]
An absolutely haunting number. The genius of MSV !
The Title Song was the highlight of the movie. Personally speaking I equally like both the solo and duet version of the title song sung by PBS and P.Suseela.
I’m surprised that MSV has not mentioned anything about the sad duet version with PBS ! His rendition of the song was indeed equally soulful, if not better. =)
Nenjam Marapathillai – Nenjam Marapadhillai Adhu Ninaivai Ezhapadhillai – P.Suseela
The prelude and the humming at the beginning is pure class. Its apparently one of the favorite songs of Lata Mangeshkar.
Nenjam Marapathillai – Azhagukkum Malarukum Jaathi Illai – P.B.Sreenivas & S.Janaki
Beautiful chords towards the end ! PBS said in an interview in Podhigai TV that the sangathis of the song are very difficult to sing.
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