|Directed by||A.V. Meiyappan|
|Produced by||A.V. Meiyappan|
|Written by||Story: M. V. Raman
Screenplay: K. Mugunthan
Dialogue: P. Neelakandan
M. S. Draupadi
T. R. Ramachandran
S. V. Sahasranamam
|Narrated by||M. V. Raman|
|Music by||R. Sudarsanam|
|Cinematography||T. Muthu Samy|
|Edited by||M. V. Raman|
|Distributed by||AVM Productions|
|Running time||170 min|
Vazhkai (Tamil: வாழ்கை; English: Life) is a 1949 Black-and-white social guidance film film produced and directed by A.V. Meiyappan with his company AVM Productions. The film starred Vyjayanthimala in her screen debut with M. S. Draupadi, T. R. Ramachandran and S. V. Sahasranamam forms an ensemble cast along with many actors appearing in other significant role.
Upon release the film was well received where it won the Best Tamil Film Award at the 1st Film Fans' Association Awards with Vyjayanthimala and M. S. Draupadi bagged Second Best Tamil Actress and Third Best Tamil Actress Awards respectively. It also broke some box office record in South India.
The film was simultaneously released in Telugu as Jeevitham. Following that the film was later remade in Hindi as Bahar (1951) directed by M. V. Raman. Vyjayanthimala played the lead role in all the films along with A.V. Meiyappan as the producer.
Murthi (S. V. Sahasranamam) comes to a village. He deceives Meenakshi (M. S. Draupadi) and has sex with her. After going back to his home town he tries to marry Mohana (Vyjayanthimala), who loves Nathan (T. R, Ramachandran). Lakshmi discovers she is pregnant and goes to meet Murthi, who pretends ignorance. She jumps into the sea in a suicide attempt. A passerby saves her and she delivers the baby. She leaves the baby with Nathan. He takes care of the baby and faces a lot of problems. Learning about the baby, Mohana gets suspicious. Finally the actions of Murthi are exposed and he accepts Meenakshi as his wife.
- Vyjayanthimala as Mohana Shivashankaralingam
- M. S. Draupadi as Meenakshi
- T. R. Ramachandran as Nathan
- S. V. Sahasranamam as Murthi
- K. Sarangkapani as Shivashankaralingam
- P. A. Subbaiah Pillai as Velayutham Pillai
- K. Ramaswamy as Veerasamy
- M. S. Karuppaiya as Vinayagam Pillai
- V. M. Ezhumazhai as Asampavitham
- P. D. Sambantham as Seeni
- S. R. Janaki as Ambujam
- K. N. Kamalam as Sivapakkiyam
- G. K. Saroja as Lakshmi
- Lalitha as Dancer in special appearance
- Padmini as Dancer in special appearance
Vazhkai was the first film to be shot at the new AVM's new studio at Chennai. For the lead female role A.V. Meiyappan wanted to launch a new face. When M. V. Raman the story writer of Vazhkai spotted Vyjayanthimala performing Bharata Natyam in Chennai Gokhale Hall, impressed by her talent he later recommended her to Meiyappan. Vyjayanthimala who happens to be the daughter of the leading Tamil actress Vasundhara Devi was just 13 years old when Meiyappan approach her for the film. Furthermore, Kannada actress Pandari Bai was considered for the other female role. However she was later replaced by M. S. Draupadi as she was rejected by Meiyappan who feels her Kannada-tinged Tamil accent will not suit the audience. However the actress later essayed that role in the Hindi version two years later in Bahar (1951) under the screen name Padmini.
The film's story line was inspired by few Bollywood and Hollywood films. Hollywood film such as Bachelor Mother released in 1939, where the protagonist Polly Parrish, played by Ginger Rogers, who found a baby and search for the baby's father. Furthermore Bollywood films had also inspire the film, 1942 Bollywood film, Kunwara Baap which was later remade with the same name also had the similar plot.
- Aasai Kollum
- Ezhaikku Edhu
- Annaiyae Nee Ennai
- Gopaalanodu Naan (Singer: M. L. Vasanthakumari)
- Un kann Unnai (Singer: M. S. Rajeswari)
- Un Kann Unnai (Singer: T. R. Ramachandran)
- Avan Porukku
- Manadhinil Pudhuvidha (Singer: M. S. Rajeswari)
- Bharatha samudhaayam vaazhgave (Singer: D. K. Pattammal)
- Enni Enni Parkka Manam (Singer: M. S. Rajeswari)
The film became a sleeper hit at the box office, later labelled as blockbuster when it completed 25 weeks of its theatrical run. Subsequently, the film was awarded a trophy in which Meiyappan's son M. Saravanan described as the tallest trophy of the company by the distributors in Karaikkudi for its 25 weeks of theatrical run.
The film was awarded with Best Tamil Film Award at the 1st Film Fans Association Award, where it secured 2,512 votes. At the same event, the lead actresses Vyjayanthimala and M. S. Darupadi also awarded with the Best Tamil Actress Award, Second Prize and Third Prize respectively. The former secured 1,676 votes, while the latter got 1,386 votes.
- 1st Film Fans Association Awards (1950)
- Best Tamil Film Award (First Prize) - A. V. Meiyappan
- Best Tamil Actress Award (Second Prize) - Vyjayanthimala
- Best Tamil Actress Award (Third Prize) - M. S. Draupadi
- "Vazhkai (Tamil)". Avm.in. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
- Anjana Rajan (2007-01-20). "A golden innings". Chennai, India: The Hindu. Retrieved 2011-03-06.
- Randor Guy (2003-02-14). "Actress who glowed with inner beauty". The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
- Randor Guy (2003-02-21). "Remembering Pandari Bai". The Indian Express. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
- "AVM Production". Avm.in. Retrieved 2011-10-07.
- Malathi Rangarajan (2010-02-19). "History created … and preserved!". The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
- "Bhanumathi Best Star in Tamil and Telugu - Film Ballot Result". The Indian Express. 11-05-1950. Retrieved 2012-11-01.
- "Bhanumathi Ranked Best Actress". The Indian Express. 10-05-1950. Retrieved 2012-11-01.