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Anbe Vaa

Anbe Vaa
Theatrical release poster
Directed by A. C. Tirulokchandar
Produced by M. Murugan
M. Kumaran
M. Saravanan
Written by Aaroor Das (dialogue)
Story by A. C. Tirulokchandar
Starring M. G. Ramachandran
B. Saroja Devi
Music by M. S. Viswanathan
Cinematography S. Maruthi Rao
Edited by R. G. Gope
Production
company
Distributed by AVM Productions
Release dates
14 January 1966
Running time
174 minutes
Country India
Language Tamil
Budget 3 million[1]
Box office 3.3 million[2]

Anbe Vaa (English: Come, My Love) is a 1966 Indian Tamil romantic comedy film written and directed by A. C. Tirulokchandar. The film features M. G. Ramachandran and B. Saroja Devi in the lead roles, while S. A. Ashokan, Nagesh, Manorama, T. R. Ramachandran and P. D. Sambandam play supporting roles. Broadly based on the 1961 American film Come September directed by Robert Mulligan, Anbe Vaa was produced and distributed by AVM Productions. The soundtrack and background music were composed by M. S. Viswanathan while the lyrics for the tracks were written by Vaali.

Anbe Vaa was the first film produced by AVM to be shot in Eastman Color, as well as being their first big-budget production; they had previously focused only on modest-budget films. The film was also the studio and Tirulokchandar's only collaboration with M. G. Ramachandran. The film follows JB (Ramachandran), a wealthy industrialist who goes on vacation to his bungalow in Shimla, only to discover that his caretaker (Sambandam) and his wife have left for Varanasi after renting the bungalow to a family of three. The rest of the film revolves around JB's response to this situation that he finds himself in.

Principal photography for the film began in August 1965. Shooting for the film took place in Shimla, Ooty and at the hill station of Kufri. This was the second ever Tamil film to be shot at Jammu and Kashmir. Filming was completed within five months, the shortest duration for a film starring Ramachandran.

Anbe Vaa was released on 14 January 1966. The final length of the film was 4,855 metres (15,928 ft). It received positive reviews from critics, who particularly praised Ramachandran's performance, as he was known for doing mainly action-adventure films up until that point in his career. The film grossed 3.3 million at the box office, against a budget of 3 million. The film was also dubbed into Telugu, under the title Prema Manasulu.

Contents

  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Production 3
    • Development 3.1
    • Casting 3.2
    • Filming 3.3
  • Music 4
  • Release 5
    • Critical reception 5.1
  • Legacy 6
  • In popular culture 7
  • Explanatory notes 8
  • References 9
  • Bibliography 10
  • External links 11

Plot

JB (M.G. Ramachandran) is a wealthy industrialist who decides to take a vacation at his residence in Shimla. Upon his arrival, he discovers that his caretaker (P. D. Sambandam) has rented his house to a Bangalore-based couple, Punyakodi (T. R. Ramachandran) and Pappamma (T. P. Muthulakshmi), and their daughter, Geetha (B. Saroja Devi). The caretaker and his wife leave for Varanasi after taking the money for the rent, leaving the caretaker's daughter, Kannamma (Manorama), and brother-in-law, Ramaiah (Nagesh), in charge of the house and the guests. JB decides not to reveal his true identity, pretending to be JB's personal secretary Balu, and pays the rent for a place in his own house. Ramaiah, who has never met JB, takes the money and gives JB's room to Balu.

Balu plays continual pranks on Geetha, during the course of which he also falls in love with her. Geetha reciprocates his feelings, but circumstances and their egos prevent them both from expressing those feelings. One day, Balu pretends to suffer from chest pain, which scares Geetha, causing her to finally admit that she loves him. Later, when Geetha and Ramaiah go to Balu to enquire about his health, Balu, exiting from the bathroom, fails to see that Geetha is there. He tells Ramaiah about his prank on her, and that he was only pretending to have chest pain. Angry that she had been deceived by Balu, she begins to question whether or not his professed love for her is also deceit. Hurt, she brings her friends, who are on a holiday trip to Shimla, to the residence and tries to drive Balu out of the house. When her plan backfires and her friends start supporting Balu, she becomes spiteful and tells her parents to move forward with a planned marriage to Sekar (S. A. Ashokan), a relative and an air force pilot.

Geetha reconciles with Balu after he saves her from a wrestler named Sitting Bull. But by the time Balu confesses his love for her, Geetha's engagement is already fixed. Luckily, Sekar turns out to be a school friend of JB, and when he discovers that Balu and Geetha are truly in love, he steps aside, wishing the couple a happy life. When Balu is finally revealed as JB, Geetha, again not knowing what to believe, thinks the wedding plans are yet another of Balu's practical jokes and tries to run away. He finds her and clears up all of the misunderstandings between them. The two then get married.

Cast

Lead actors
Male supporting actors
Female supporting actors
  • Manorama as Kannamma
  • T. P. Muthulakshmi as Pappamma, Geetha's mother
  • Madhavi as Mary, the nurse who looks after Geetha's parents
  • M. S. S. Bhagyam as Kannamma's mother

Production

Development

The 1961 American romantic comedy film Come September, featuring Rock Hudson and Gina Lollobrigida, and directed by Robert Mulligan, was a worldwide box office success, especially in Chennai.[3] The film narrated the tale of Robert (Hudson), an American millionaire, who arrives at his villa for his vacation. His girlfriend, Lisa (Lollobrigida), has given up waiting for him and has decided to marry another man. Robert's villa manager, Maurice (Walter Slezak), converts the villa into a hotel while Robert is away. The villa is now occupied by a group of young American girls trying to fend off a gang of boys, led by Tony (Bobby Darin).[3] A. C. Tirulokchandar, who was then a screenwriter for AVM Productions, adapted the screenplay of Come September for his film Anbe Vaa.[3]

Tirulokchandar was introduced to AVM Productions by S. A. Ashokan, who he had worked with previously as an assistant director on Vijayapuri Veeran (1960). It was Ashokan who helped Tirulokchandar cast Ramachandran in the film.[4] Javar Seetharaman also contributed to the film's screenplay,[1] as did Aaroor Das, who wrote the film's dialogues.[6] Director S. P. Muthuraman worked as an assistant director on the film.[7] The original budget was 600,000 (US$125,260 in 1966).[2][2] S. Maruthi Rao, R. G. Gope and A. K. Shekar were in charge of the cinematography, editing, and art direction, respectively.[6] Raghuram made his cinematic debut with this film, working as an assistant choreographer.[9]

Casting

"I found [M. G. Ramachandran] smiling throughout the storytelling session. At the end he said, 'I'll do it. We will be mere puppets in your hands and the credit will go only to you.' [Anbe Vaa] was a smashing hit, and I was moved when he repeated the words at the film's 100th day function."

 – Tirulokchandar, on how Ramachadran was cast.[10]

Anbe Vaa marked the first time where AVM Productions wrote a script to suit an actor's image and acting style; prior to this they had chosen actors to fit an already completed script.[11] While Tirulokchandar was writing the script, A. V. Meiyappan made the suggestion to approach Ramachandran for the lead role. Tirulokchandar found this intriguing, as the script's genre was dissimilar to what Ramachandran was noted for: action-adventure or social and family dramas which portrayed him as a champion for the downtrodden.[10]

When approached, Ramachandran readily accepted the role and was excited about doing it,[2] giving the film priority in his schedule.[2] Ramachandran gave a call sheet of seventy two days for participating in the film.[12] He was paid a salary of 300,000-325,000 for his participation in the film;[3] however, it remained his only collaboration with both Tirulokchandar and AVM Productions.[6][10]

Ramachandran initially recommended K. A. Thangavelu for the role of Punyakodi, but M. Saravanan, one of the film's producers, said that his father, A. V. Meiyappan, wanted T. R. Ramachandran in the role. M. G. Ramachandran accepted the decision and told Saravanan not to tell T. R. Ramachandran about his initial choice.[13] M. G. Ramachandran also recommended Jayalalithaa for the role of Geetha, but when the producers disagreed with that selection, Ramachandran then suggested B. Saroja Devi, who was given the role.[2]

Filming

Anbe Vaa was the first film of AVM Productions to be made in Eastman Color.[5] Principal photography for the film began with a puja[4] ceremony held on 12 August 1965. Filming was completed within five months, the quickest completion for any film starring M. G. Ramachandran.[2] Ramachandran received special permission to go by car to shoot the film in exotic locations in Shimla; a privilege allowed only to the governor of the state. Under the auspices of that permission, the entire unit went to Shimla.[2] The song "Pudhiya Vaanam" was shot in the small hill station of Kufri, located 13 kilometres from Shimla, as well as at Mall Road, Shimla.[15]

Savi, an editor who worked for the Tamil magazine, Ananda Vikatan, accompanied the production unit and published an article on the making of the film.[2] Although the story is set in Shimla, 95% of the film was shot in Ooty, with some scenes being filmed in Jammu and Kashmir,[2] making it the second Tamil film after Then Nilavu (1961) to be shot there.[6] "Naan Paarthathilae" was one of the few songs in the film that was shot outdoors, due to Ramachandran not wanting to attract attention from his large fan following.[5] During shooting in Ooty, Ramachandran personally bought sweaters for the entire cast and crew.[15]

The production unit, composed of 20 crew members, along with Tirulokchandar, M. G. Ramachandran, Saroja Devi and Savi, initially flew to Delhi. From Delhi, they travelled to Kalka by train, then continued on to Shimla, using three first-generation Chevrolet Impalas.[15] The skating scenes in the film, involving Ramachandran and Saroja Devi, were completed in two days. Both Ramachandran and Saroja Devi were initially hesitant to perform the scene, but went through with it after they received encouragement from the local population.[15] During post-production, the sound effect of the horses' footfall in "Rajavin Paarvai" was created by Meesai Murugesan.[16]

Music

Anbe Vaa
Soundtrack album to Anbe Vaa by M. S. Viswanathan
Released 1966
Recorded 1966
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Language Tamil
Label Saregama
Producer M. S. Viswanathan

Released under the Saregama label,[17][18] the film's soundtrack and score were composed by M. S. Viswanathan, while the lyrics were written by Vaali.[19] A book containing the lyrics of the film's songs was also released.[5]

The soundtrack received positive critical reception. G. Dhananjayan, in his book The Best of Tamil Cinema, said all the songs were popular, contributing to the film's success.[2] Film critic Randor Guy of The Hindu called the songs "melodious", describing the soundtrack as one of the film's major positives. He said the song "Pudhiya Vaanam" had "a political touch", and was "brilliantly photographed by master lens man S. Maruthi Rao." He also called "Rajavin Paarvai" a "hit number."[3]

Meera Ramanathan of Behindwoods wrote, "If he [T. M. Soundararajan] gave a mellifluous and emotionally high sibling reflection in Malarthum Malaratha in Pasa Malar, he matched it with Rajavin Paarvai Rani en Pakkam in Anbe Vaa."[20] Another reviewer from Behindwoods, Rekhs, wrote that "Rajavin Paarvai [...] takes us back to not just the 60s but a time when reel life transported us to a dream world of escapism and 100% entertainment."[21]

IndiaGlitz described "Naan Parthathile" as a "timeless masterpiece from TMS-MSV-Vaali combo."[22] Regarding "Pudhiya Vaanam", IndiaGlitz wrote, "When we think of 'vaanam', the immediate song that pops into our head is of course 'pudhiya vaanam pudhiya bhoomi'. And why this song? MGR makes a wonderful appearance and enthralls the audience. Even today there is no replacement for this song from the movie Anbe Vaa. What a commanding role he has in the song!"[23] On "Love Birds", IndiaGlitz wrote, "The first thing that hits our mind talking about birds in Tamil songs, we cannot miss 'Love birds, love birds, Thakathimitha'."[24]

All lyrics written by Vaali
iTunes tracklist[25]
No. Title Singer(s) Length
1. "Adios Good Bye"   Ms. Liban Bindey 03:17
2. "Anbe Vaa"   T. M. Soundararajan 04:23
3. "Love Birds"   P. Susheela 03:39
4. "Naan Paarthathilae"   T. M. Soundararajan, P. Susheela 04:05
5. "Nadodi Nadodi"   T. M. Soundararajan, P. Susheela, A. L. Raghavan, L. R. Eswari 06:49
6. "Once A Pappa"   A. L. Raghavan and Chorus 01:19
7. "Pudhiya Vaanam"   T. M. Soundararajan 04:06
8. "Rajavin Paarvai"   T. M. Soundararajan, P. Susheela 04:34
9. "Vetkammilai"   P. Susheela and Chorus 03:33
Total length:
35:45

Release

With a final length of 4,855 metres (15,928 ft), Anbe Vaa was released on 14 January 1966, and was promoted as "an innovative entertainment film" by its producers.[6] AVM Productions sold the film's distribution rights for 3.3 million (US$688,935 in 1966),[2] which was the highest amount in the Tamil film industry up until that point.[2] Although the film had a theatrical run of 23 weeks and was a box office success,[26] AVM Productions earned a profit of only 300,000 (US$62,630 in 1966),[2] due to the film's large budget. The film was dubbed into Telugu as Prema Manasulu.[2]

On 18 April 2010, the film was screened at the South Indian Film Chamber Theatre for the Dignity Film Festival held in Chennai; other films also screened included Madhumati (1958), Kadhalikka Neramillai (1964), Server Sundaram (1964) and Thillana Mohanambal (1968).[27][28]

Critical reception

On 6 August 1966, the review in Ananda Vikatan said, "The film was an English film in Tamil... The film does not have any story. One can spend three hours in an entertaining manner with this film..."[2] Randor Guy, in his review, wrote, "The screenplay was brilliantly written by ACT. MGR's performance as the rich man posing as a tenant was impressive. Nagesh was inimitable. Saroja Devi looked glamorous in her glossy make-up and costume." He went on to conclude that the film would be "Remembered for the impressive performances by MGR, Nagesh and Saroja Devi, melodious music, interesting storyline and screenplay, picturesque cinematography which captured the beautiful landscape of the Himalayan region, and the fabulous sets in true AVM style."[3] G. Dhananjayan commented, "The film stood out for its comedy, memorable songs and dances, rich making and locations", and said that the main reason for the film's success was that it was "an out-and-out entertainer".[2]

Pavithra Srinivasan of [32]

Legacy

M. G. Ramachandran, who specialised in films based mainly on action and family subjects, handled a comedic part for the first time in his career in this film, proving his ability to handle that genre.[2] Anbe Vaa was one of several films featuring Ramachandran which he used to propagate his ideologies during his election campaigns.[33] The film inspired several later films in Tamil, which focused mainly on conflicts between lovers, as well as entertainment aspects, notable of which include Kushi (2000), Lovely (2001), and Thiruda Thirudi (2003).[2][34] The film was one of the first South Indian films to be shot in Shimla, inspiring many other films to choose Shimla as a shooting location, notably the Telugu film, Desamuduru (2007).[35]

Mani Ratnam,[36] M. S. Guhan's daughter Aruna Guhan,[37] Prabhu Deva, and Sundar C. all ranked Anbe Vaa among their favourite films.[38][39] The costumes that Ramachandran used in the film,[40] as well as the carriage used for "Rajavin Paarvai", are preserved at AVM Studios.[21] Uma S. Maheshwari of The Hindu included "Pudhiya Vaanam" in her list of the "Immortal songs of TMS",[5] and also among lyricist Vaali's best songs in their collection, "Best of Vaali: From 1964 - 2013".[42]

In popular culture

References to Anbe Vaa are made in various films. The 1988 film Puthiya Vaanam, starring Sivaji Ganesan, was named after the song of the same name.[43] In Raja Kaiya Vacha (1990), Raja (Prabhu) is seen watching "Rajavin Paarvai" on television.[44] Films like Rajavin Parvaiyile (1995),[45] and Love Birds (1996), were also named after the songs from Anbe Vaa.[46] In Unakkaga Ellam Unakkaga (1999), Kundalakesi (Goundamani) imagines himself as M. G. Ramachandran in "Pudhiya Vaanam" by dancing with children, the result of which is him being mistaken for a kidnapper by the police.[47]

In Dhool (2003), Vikram's character, Aarumugam, echoes a single line, "Pudhiya Vaanam", to signal his arrival to his friends.[48] In 2005, another film called Anbe Vaa, starring actors Thendral, Sridevika and Vivek in the lead roles, was released; while its critical response was average,[49] it was a box office success.[50] A song with the same title as the film is used in Thotta (2008).[51] A clip from the song "Love Birds" is featured in the Venkat Prabhu film Saroja (2008).[52] Scenes from the film were interposed in Villu (2009).[53] A portion of "Rajavin Paarvai" is used in the song "Vaa Machi" from Onbadhule Guru (2013).[54]

In 2002, a quiz programme called Pudhiya Vaanam Pudhiya Bhoomi aired on DD National and DD Podhigai to help develop tourism in Tamil Nadu.[55] In 2009, a television series titled Anbe Vaa aired on STAR Vijay every Monday-Thursday at 8:00 pm IST.[56]

Explanatory notes

  1. ^ Sylvian's references and trivia about the film are credited to the book by M. Saravanan, titled AVM 60 cinema.[5]
  2. ^ a b c The exchange rate in 1966 was 4.79 Indian rupees () per 1 US dollar (US$).[8]
  3. ^ G. Dhananjayan and Saravanan state in their books that M. G. Ramachandran was paid 325,000,[2][5] whereas The Economic Times states that he was paid 300,000.[1]
  4. ^ Puja is a prayer ritual performed by Hindus to host, honour and worship one or more deities, or to spiritually celebrate an event.[14]
  5. ^ TMS is an acronym for T. M. Soundararajan.[41]

References

  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Dhananjayan 2011, p. 235.
  3. ^ a b c d e
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c d e
  6. ^ a b c d e Dhananjayan 2011, p. 234.
  7. ^ Ramachandran 2014, p. 86.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b c
  11. ^ Ramachandran 2014, p. 147.
  12. ^ Saravanan 2013, p. 170.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Lochtefeld 2002, pp. 529-530.
  15. ^ a b c d
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ a b
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ Saravanan 2013, p. 178.
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^ Chaudhry 2012, p. 57.
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^ Rajadhyaksha & Willemen 2014, p. 98.
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^ Clip from 19:00 to 19:10.
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^
  52. ^ Clip from 1:33:48 to 1:34:00.
  53. ^
  54. ^
  55. ^
  56. ^

Bibliography

External links

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