Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum (1941 film)

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Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum
Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum 1941.jpg
Directed by K. S. Mani
Starring N. S. Krishnan
T. A. Madhuram
M. R. Swaminathan
S. V. Saharsaranamam
N. R. Padmavathi
M. Jayalakshmi
‘Pulimoottai' Ramaswami
Music by N. S. Balakrishnan
Distributed by Asoka Films
Release dates
  • 15 March 1941 (1941-03-15)
Country India
Language Tamil

Alibabavum Narpadhu Thirudargalum (read as "Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum"; English: Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves), was a 1941 Indian comedy film in the Tamil language that starred N. S. Krishnan, T. A. Madhuram and M. R. Swaminathan in the lead roles. It was the first Tamil adaptation of the story Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.[1]


Ali Baba and his elder brother Cassim are the sons of a merchant. After the death of their father, the greedy Cassim marries a wealthy woman and becomes well-to-do, building on their father's business—but Ali Baba marries a poor woman and settles into the trade of a woodcutter. Ali Baba finds a secret cave owned by a group of 40 thieves, who only know the password - which Ali Baba overhears. When the thieves are not around, Ali Baba goes into the cave and secretly takes some of the treasures, thus becoming wealthy overnight. When he is forced to reveal the secret to Cassim, the latter also goes to the cave and gets a lot of treasures. However, in joy, he forgets the password. The thieves arrive, and kill him for sneaking into their secret cave. After a while, Ali Baba discovers his brother dead in the cave and brings him back home. The thieves arrive, and realize that the body has been stolen - meaning that someone knows their secret. From a local cobbler, they eventually find out that it is Ali Baba who entered their cave. However, Ali Baba's servant Morgiana finds out and does all possible things to trick the thieves, though they don't realize it. Whether Ali Baba finds out that the thieves are after him or not, forms the rest of the story.



The story of Alibaba is one of the tales that Queen Scheherazade related to the brutal king Shahryar every night in order to save her own life. Translated in English by Sir Richard Burton, the Arabian Nights became popular all over the world. Alibaba and the 40 Thieves and Aladdin and the Magic Lamp are the most famous ones. Both have been translated into most languages of the world, and have found stage and screen adaptations in many languages. Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum was the first Tamil adaptation of Alibaba and the Forty Thieves.[1]


In 1941, N.S. Krishnan made his first full-length feature film Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum, in which he played the lead role of Ali Baba. He roped in a leading Kannada stage and film actor, K. Hiranaiah, to star in the film. NSK made the film for Pakshiraja Films, a company floated by S. M. Sriramulu Naidu and K. S. Narayana Iyengar. Naidu had been deeply involved with Central Studios right from its inception, and later with differences surfacing in the board of directors, he decided to strike out on his own which resulted in Pakshiraja. As producer-director, Naidu enjoyed a period of enviable success, making many hits in more than one language.[1]


To many, N. S. Krishnan's choice of the subject was surprising because they felt it was not the right story for a comedian like him to attempt. Expectedly, he played Ali Baba, with his wife T. A. Mathuram playing the slave girl Morgiana. Members of his team such as S. V. Sahasranamam and M. R. Swaminathan played major roles in the film. One of the team members, comedian Thoothukudi Ramaswamy Aiyer's character in the film was called "Pulimoottai", subsequently it earned him the nickname "Pulimoottai" Ramaswamy.[1]


The lyrics were penned by K. P. Kamatchi, while the soundtrack was composed by N. S. Balakrishnan, also a part of N. S. Krishnan's team. One song rendered by N. S. Krishnan himself, Adichippoottaney Noguthadaa became very popular.[1]


Randor Guy, a critic from The Hindu praised Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum for the "familiar storyline and the comical treatment that NSK gave his brainchild." Despite N. S. Krishnan's and the supporting cast's performance, the film was not successful, leaving him, Sriramulu Naidu and others disappointed. No print of the film is known to exist today, making it a lost film.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Cinema Plus / Columns : Ali Babavum Naarpathu Thirudargalum 1941". The Hindu. 2011-05-01. Retrieved 2012-03-26.