Server Sundaram

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Server Sundaram
Server Sundaram poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Krishnan-Panju
Produced by Gugan Films
Written by K. Balachander
Based on Server Sundaram 
by K. Balachander
Starring Nagesh
R. Muthuraman
K. R. Vijaya
Music by Viswanathan Ramamoorthy
Cinematography S. Maruthi Rao
Edited by S. Panjabi
R. Vittal
Release dates
December 11, 1964 (1964-12-11)
Running time
165 minutes
Country India
Language Tamil

Server Sundaram is a 1964 Indian Tamil language comedy film produced by A. V. Meiyappan and directed by Krishnan-Panju. The film stars Nagesh in the titular character as a waiter, along with R. Muthuraman and K. R. Vijaya in prominent roles. The film was adapted from a play of the same name by K. Balachander in which Nagesh had played the lead role.

Released on 11 December 1964, the film earned critical acclaim and went on to became a commercial success. At the 12th National Film Awards, it won a Certificate of Merit, besides winning a Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Film. It was remade into Hindi as Main Sunder Hoon (1971).


Sundaram (Nagesh), a poor man, comes to Madras with aspirations of becoming a film actor. However, he ends up getting a job in a restaurant as a waiter. He falls in love with Radha (K. R. Vijaya), the daughter of the restaurant owner Major Sundarrajan. Sundaram is unaware of the fact that she doesn't reciprocate the love for him, as she is only amused by his wit and humour. In the meantime, he happens to meet his friend Raghavan in the restaurant, who helps him get into films. Sundaram becomes a star overnight and believes that his stardom and popularity will help his love. Then he discovers that Raghavan is engaged to Radha. This tragedy, followed by his mother's demise, makes Sundaram understand the reality of life. In the end, he quits acting and becomes a waiter again.


“He was very passionate about theatre. He asked me to give him a role in my plays and I told him that I would write one, with him as the protagonist. That is how Server Sundaram happened,”

- K. Balachander on the development of Server Sundaram.[1]


Server Sundaram was based on a play that was written by K. Balachander, who was then a playwright.[2] The play was written by Balachander after Nagesh had requested him that he give a role in one of his plays.[1] The original play had Nagesh himself in the titular role along with Major Sundarrajan and S. N. Lakshmi who would reprise their roles in the film.[3][4] A. V. Meiyappan had acquired the rights of the play and decided to make a film based on it. K. Balachander was recruited as the writer while director duo Krishnan Panju directed the film.[5] Meiyappan decided to cast Nagesh in the film after he watched the latter's performance in the play.[6] Nagesh, who in turn was impressed with S. N. Lakshmi's performance in the city, asked Balachander to request Meiyappan to include her in the film.[7]

The film includes behind-the-scenes looks at various processes involved in film-making, such as studio interiors and song recording.[8] It was the first Tamil film to show such scenes.[9] In one sequence, S. V. Ranga Rao and Manorama are seen as actors performing a scene for a film, using the concept of film within a film.[10] The film was also considered a biographical of Nagesh's own life.[11]


Server Sundaram
Soundtrack album by Viswanathan Ramamoorthy
Released 1964 (1964)
Language Tamil

The film's score and soundtrack was composed by the duo Viswanathan-Ramamoorthy, with lyrics written by Kannadasan, V. Seetharaman and Vaali. The guitar portions for the song "Avalukenna" were performed by Philips. The music troupe for the song consisted of Noel Grant (Drums), Mangalamurthy (Accordion), Nanjappa (Flute), Fobes (Violin), Henry Daniel and Joseph Krishna.[12] According to Gopal Krishnan, in his book, Chords & Raaga, "Avalukenna" involved "a complicated arrangement of mambo and bossa nova."[13]

No. Song Singers Lyrics Length (m:ss)
1 Avalukenna T. M. Soundararajan, L. R. Eswari Vaali 05:18
2 Palum Thenum S. C. Krishnan, A. L. Raghavan, P. Susheela V. Seetharaman 09:57
3 Pattonru Tharuvar Paradi P. Susheela, L. R. Eswari Kannadasan 04:43
4 Poga Poga Theriyum P. B. Sreenivas, P. Susheela 04:26
5 Silaieduthan Intha Chinna P. Susheela 05:17
6 Thathai Nenjam P. Susheela, A. L. Raghavan 04:04


Server Sundaram was released on 11 December 1964. Nagesh's performance garnered critical acclaim. Many critics opined that it was one of the finest performances of his career. In 2014, at the fifty-years celebration of the film, The Hindu called the film as a "trendsetter" in Tamil cinema for showcasing scenes involved in film-making.[9] On the scene where Nagesh auditions in front of the film producers introduced to him by Muthuraman, Baradwaj Rangan, writing for The New Indian Express, said, "Audiences that grew up with Nagesh will cotton on to the slyness of this apparently ungrateful gesture as the most identifiably Nagesh-like among everything that's transpired during these five minutes of Server Sundaram, but every other aspect — the easy laughter, the easy tears, the easy contortions of that easily flexible frame — was as indispensable a part of the great actor's arsenal".[14] The film's success led to a Telugu-dubbed version, and a Hindi remake titled Main Sunder Hoon in 1971, in which Mehmood played the lead role.[15][16]


Award Ceremony Category Nominee(s) Outcome
National Film Awards[5] 12th National Film Awards Certificate of Merit for Third Best Feature Film in Tamil A. V. Meiyappan (producer)
Krishnan Panju (director)
Filmfare Awards South[5] 12th Filmfare Awards South Best Tamil Film A. V. Meiyappan Won


  1. ^ a b Srinivasan, Meera (1 February 2009). "Nagesh — actor nonpareil". The Hindu. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  2. ^ Kumar, S. R. Ashok (31 March 2009). "Balachander to ‘stage’ comeback". The Hindu. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  3. ^ Guy, Randor (7 March 2003). "Dialogue delivery set him apart". The Hindu. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  4. ^ V. Raman, Mohan (23 February 2012). "An actor par excellence". The Hindu. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Guy, Randor (2 May 2011). "The KB school". The Hindu. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "நகைச்சுவை நடிகராக இருந்த நாகேஷ் "சர்வர் சுந்தரம்" படத்தில் கதாநாயகன் ஆனார்". Maalai Malar (in Tamil). 9 May 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  7. ^ Rangarajan, Malathi (27 May 2010). "Courage goaded her on …". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 17 December 2014. Retrieved 17 December 2014. 
  8. ^ Baskaran 2013, p. 103.
  9. ^ a b மாதவன், பிரதீப் (5 December 2014). "அவனுக்கென்ன.. அழகிய மனம்!". The Hindu (in Tamil). Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  10. ^ Rangarajan, Malathi (11 August 2011). "Till the final stage". The Hindu. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  11. ^ Narayanan, Sharadha (18 July 2010). "Reflections of a matinee maverick". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 17 December 2014. 
  12. ^ "Harmony with strings". The Hindu. 28 November 2014. Archived from the original on 7 December 2014. Retrieved 17 December 2014. 
  13. ^ Rangan, Baradwaj (28 June 2009). "The beat is on". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 17 December 2014. 
  14. ^ Rangan, Baradwaj (15 February 2009). "A small slice of great genius". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 17 December 2014. 
  15. ^ Rajadhyaksha & Willemen 2014, p. 382.
  16. ^ Narwekar 2012, p. 176.


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