Sunday, October 9, 2011

Nandanar (1935 film)

Nandanar (Tamil: நந்தனார்) or Bhakta Nandanar is a 1935 Tamil film directed by Manik Lal Tandon. It marked the film debut of the carnatic singer and stage artist K. B. Sundarambal. She was paid a then unprecedented One lakh (1,00,000) Rupees as salary for this film. This was also the first film for Ellis R. Dungan.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

 

Production

K. B. Sundarambal had retired from stage performances in 1932 after the death of her husband S. G. Kittappa. Hassandas, a textile magnate from Madras and a member of Chellaram business family was keen on making a film with Sundarambal in the lead. She was initially reluctant to star in the film and refused even the recommendation of her mentor S. Satyamurti. Hassandas persisted and to discourage him she offered to act in the film in he could pay One lakh Rupees. Hassandas agreed to pay her and the film was made.[7][8][9][10]
The film was directed by Manik Lal Tandon with Ellis Dungan shooting many scenes in his absence.[6] Sundarambal was cast as a man – the untouchable saint Nandanar. The same story had earlier been the subject of a 1932 Tamil film of the same name. Carnatic musician Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer was cast as the landlord Vedhiyar. He was paid 3000 Rs as salary. The script had a scene where Iyer's character would prostrate before Nandanar. Due to the prevailing social norms and her respect for Iyer, Sundarambal refused to do the scene. Director Tandon filmed a compromise by changing the scene such that both prostrated before each other.[1] The completed film cost three Lakh (3,00,000) Rupees to make and was 18000 feet long.[8][9] Tunes of three songs from the 1934 Hindi film Chandidas were reused in this film.[11]

Plot

Nandanar is the story of the untouchable saint and Nayanar of the same name.

Cast and crew

 Reception

The film was released in 1935 amid great expectations from the public. It failed at the box office and received mixed reviews from the critics. Kalki Krishnamurthy made fun of it in Ananda Vikatan by claiming buffaloes and palm trees had acted well in the movie.[12] He wrote the number one actor in the film was the coconut tree, number two was the buffalo and number three, the kid goat. The Tamil news paper Dina Mani also gave it a bad review.[13] Writing in the April 1938 issue of the Eelakesari Pudhumaipithan explained the reasons for its failure:
..Nandanar was released. It had beautiful scenes and melodious songs. They had made it at enormous expense. But it was not able to distinguish itself. Why? because it had a female (Sundarambal) playing a man. In a stage play, one can appreciate things like make up or facial expressions. But in a movie you have to depict Nandan's story realistically. However we try we can not picture Sundarambal as Nandanar. If we kept seeing Sundarambal and not Nandan, how can we experience Nandan's story and how can the film succeed?[14]
However it received favorable reviews in the 15 July 1935 issues of The Hindu, Tamil Nadu, Sudesamithran and Cinema Ulagam.[13] Viswanatha Iyer was criticized by conservative brahimins of his hometown Kumbakonam for acting in the film.[1]

 References

  1. ^ a b c Blast From the Past – Nandanar 1935, The Hindu 08 February 2008
  2. ^ Baskaran, S. Theodore (1996). The eye of the serpent: an introduction to Tamil cinema. Chennai: East West Books. pp. 80. http://books.google.com/books?id=PhFlAAAAMAAJ.
  3. ^ Baskaran, S. Theodore (1981). The message bearers: the nationalist politics and the entertainment media in South India, 1880–1945. Chennai: Cre-A. pp. 119. http://books.google.com/books?id=PhFlAAAAMAAJ.
  4. ^ National Film Development Corporation of India (1998). Indian cinema: a visual voyage (Hardback ed.). Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt of India. pp. 127. ISBN 81-230-0646-2, ISBN 978-81-230-0646-8. http://books.google.com/books?id=9uJkAAAAMAAJ.
  5. ^ Rajadhyaksha, Ashish; Willemen, Paul (1994). Encyclopaedia of Indian cinema. British Film Institute. pp. 309. ISBN 0-85170-455-7, ISBN 978-0-85170-455-5. http://books.google.com/books?id=nOZkAAAAMAAJ.
  6. ^ a b He transcended barriers with aplomb, The Hindu 01 February 2002
  7. ^ Blast From the Past – Nava Yuvan (1937), The Hindu 06 June 2008
  8. ^ a b Film News Anandan (2004) (in Tamil). Sadhanaigal padaitha Tamil Thiraipada Varalaaru. Chennai: Sivagami Publications. pp. 28:5.
  9. ^ a b Arandhai Narayanan (2008) (in Tamil). Arambakala Tamil Cinema (1931–1941). Chennai: Vijaya Publications. pp. 60.
  10. ^ Markovits, Claude (2000). The global world of Indian merchants, 1750–1947: traders of Sind from Bukhara to Panama. Cambridge University Press. pp. 141. ISBN 0-521-62285-9, ISBN 978-0-521-62285-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=DutV94n8_X4C.
  11. ^ Baskaran, S. Theodore (1996). The eye of the serpent: an introduction to Tamil cinema. Chennai: East West Books. pp. 45. http://books.google.com/books?id=PhFlAAAAMAAJ.
  12. ^ Velayutham, Selvaraj (2008). Tamil cinema: the cultural politics of India's other film industry (Hardback ed.). New York: Routledge. pp. 115. ISBN 978-0-415-39680-6. http://books.google.com/books?id=65Aqrna4o5oC.
  13. ^ a b Baskaran, S. Theodore (2004) (in Tamil). Chithiram Pesuthadi. Chennai: Kalachuvadu. pp. 35. ISBN 81-87477-75-x.
  14. ^ Baskaran, S. Theodore (2004) (in Tamil). Chithiram Pesuthadi. Chennai: Kalachuvadu. pp. 62. ISBN 81-87477-75-x.


Movie that was marketed well From Nandanar



The folk myth of a low-born farmhand, Nandan, and his deep devotion to Lord Nataraja of Chidambaram has been familiar among Tamilians. It was written as a musical titled “Nandan Charitram” by Gopalakrishna Bharathiar in the early 19th Century. Bharathiar’s work was immensely popular as Harikatha.

Later, it was made into a play and a silent film in 1923 and 1930. When cinema began to talk and sing Tamil in 1931, it was produced as a film thrice, in 1933, 1935 and again in 1942. The most successful of them all was made in 1942 by Gemini Studios. Well-known Carnatic musician and one of the votaries of the Thamizh Isai Movement M. M. Dhandapani Desikar played Nandan. Famed Tamil film star Serukalathur Sama played the Brahmin landlord.

The film was directed by Murugadasa (A. Muthuswami Iyer), a pioneer of Tamil cinema. S. S. Vasan produced it, one of his early ventures after he had launched Gemini Studios in 1941. Murugadasa and Vasan used some of the original compositions of Gopalakrishna Bharathiar and Carnatic music maestro (known as Thamizh Thyagaiah) Papanasam Sivan composed the songs that are not in the Gopalakrishna Bharathiar musical. The music directors were M. D. Parthasarathy and S. Rajeswara Rao who were on the studio rolls. Some songs became popular like “Sivalokanaathanai kandu sevithiduvom…” in raga Nathanamakriya (Bharathiar composed it in Senjurutti), “Vazhi maraithirikkirathey…” (Thodi), “Ellorum varungal…” (Bilahari; Bharathiar sang it in Behag), “Pitham theylia marundhondru…” (Shankarabharanam), “Ayeey mettha kadinam…” (raga maalika; Bharathiar composed it in Punnaagavaraali), “Varugalaamo…” (Maanji) and “Chidambara dharisanam…” (Mukhari, Asaveri by Bharathiar.) Desikar’s singing talents were fully exploited by Vasan. A stickler for quality, he recorded some songs by the famed musician many times and shot them again and again. Not surprisingly, Desikar was upset and even felt hurt. (Desikar told this writer in later years that for sometime they were not on talking terms!)

As a marketing strategy, Vasan announced a trail-blazing Rs. 10,000-prize song contest for Nandanar. The moviegoer was asked to choose ‘Ten Best Songs’ in the order of merit and drop the answer sheet along with the counterfoil of the cinema ticket in a box provided at movie houses where the film was being screened. Vasan had the pre-chosen list of the songs deposited in a sealed envelope with the Indian Bank, First Line Beach (now Rajaji Salai), well before the prize scheme was announced. This was the first time such a scheme was introduced in South India and it contributed to the box-office success of the film.

Nandanar was a major success. When the 60-plus-year-old film was screened recently by Vintage Heritage (a society which screens old movies), it drew large crowds to the surprise of many. Obviously, classics never fade or pall. Nandanar is undoubtedly one of them…


Remembered for: Its music and first-of-its-kind song-prize scheme!



Movie that was marketed well From Nandanar



The folk myth of a low-born farmhand, Nandan, and his deep devotion to Lord Nataraja of Chidambaram has been familiar among Tamilians. It was written as a musical titled “Nandan Charitram” by Gopalakrishna Bharathiar in the early 19th Century. Bharathiar’s work was immensely popular as Harikatha.

Later, it was made into a play and a silent film in 1923 and 1930. When cinema began to talk and sing Tamil in 1931, it was produced as a film thrice, in 1933, 1935 and again in 1942. The most successful of them all was made in 1942 by Gemini Studios. Well-known Carnatic musician and one of the votaries of the Thamizh Isai Movement M. M. Dhandapani Desikar played Nandan. Famed Tamil film star Serukalathur Sama played the Brahmin landlord.

The film was directed by Murugadasa (A. Muthuswami Iyer), a pioneer of Tamil cinema. S. S. Vasan produced it, one of his early ventures after he had launched Gemini Studios in 1941. Murugadasa and Vasan used some of the original compositions of Gopalakrishna Bharathiar and Carnatic music maestro (known as Thamizh Thyagaiah) Papanasam Sivan composed the songs that are not in the Gopalakrishna Bharathiar musical. The music directors were M. D. Parthasarathy and S. Rajeswara Rao who were on the studio rolls. Some songs became popular like “Sivalokanaathanai kandu sevithiduvom…” in raga Nathanamakriya (Bharathiar composed it in Senjurutti), “Vazhi maraithirikkirathey…” (Thodi), “Ellorum varungal…” (Bilahari; Bharathiar sang it in Behag), “Pitham theylia marundhondru…” (Shankarabharanam), “Ayeey mettha kadinam…” (raga maalika; Bharathiar composed it in Punnaagavaraali), “Varugalaamo…” (Maanji) and “Chidambara dharisanam…” (Mukhari, Asaveri by Bharathiar.) Desikar’s singing talents were fully exploited by Vasan. A stickler for quality, he recorded some songs by the famed musician many times and shot them again and again. Not surprisingly, Desikar was upset and even felt hurt. (Desikar told this writer in later years that for sometime they were not on talking terms!)

As a marketing strategy, Vasan announced a trail-blazing Rs. 10,000-prize song contest for Nandanar. The moviegoer was asked to choose ‘Ten Best Songs’ in the order of merit and drop the answer sheet along with the counterfoil of the cinema ticket in a box provided at movie houses where the film was being screened. Vasan had the pre-chosen list of the songs deposited in a sealed envelope with the Indian Bank, First Line Beach (now Rajaji Salai), well before the prize scheme was announced. This was the first time such a scheme was introduced in South India and it contributed to the box-office success of the film.

Nandanar was a major success. When the 60-plus-year-old film was screened recently by Vintage Heritage (a society which screens old movies), it drew large crowds to the surprise of many. Obviously, classics never fade or pall. Nandanar is undoubtedly one of them…


Remembered for: Its music and first-of-its-kind song-prize scheme!
Source
http://www.hindu.com/cp/2008/05/30/stories/2008053050431600.htm

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