Ashok Kumar (film)
|Directed by||Raja Chandrasekhar|
|Written by||Ilangovan (Thanikachalam)|
|Starring||M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar|
Chittor V. Nagaiah
N. S. Krishnan
T. A. Madhuram
M. G. Ramachandran
|Music by||Papanasam Sivan|
|Distributed by||Murugan Talkies Film Company|
|7 October 1941|
Ashok Kumar was a 1941 Tamil-language film directed by Raja Chandrasekhar. It starred M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar, Chittor V. Nagaiah, P. Kannamba, N. S. Krishnan, T. A. Madhuram, M. G. Ramachandran and Ranjan.
The film is based on an age-old Buddhist folktale connected with Mauryan Emperor Ashoka's son Kunal. The Mauryan prince Kunal was courted by Ashoka's younger queen Tishyarakshita and when he rejected her advances, was falsely accused by the queen of trying to seduce her and was thrown into prison and blinded. The story, however, comes to a happy end with his eyesight being restored by Lord Buddha and the king acquits of all the charges. Ashok Kumar is about Asoka’s son Gunaalan, whom Tishyarakshita, the Emperor’s young wife, lusts after. Shocked, he rejects her amorous advances, and as the proverbial woman scorned, she tells her husband that his son tried to seduce her! Enraged, the aging emperor orders his son to be blinded and banished. The condemned, but innocent, prince suffers, loses his child and is reduced to beggary. Ultimately, the Buddha restores his sight, rights all wrongs and all, except the Queen, live happily thereafter!
Cast according to the film's songbook
Almost all of MKT's movies were great successes. And Ashok Kumar was no exception. Ashok Kumar premiered in 1941 and was a roaring success. A Tollywood actress Pasupuleti Kannamba played the role of Queen Tishyarakshita. Ashok Kumar was her second Tamil film and she did not know the language. She was provided with a script in which Tamil words have been transliterated into Telugu. However, despite these issues, Kannamba did a commendable job with her dialogue delivery.
Ashok Kumar was one of the first films for film actor and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M. G. Ramachandran. He played the role of Mahendran in the movie. Ashok Kumar also marked the debut of Ranjan who later starred in hit movies as Mangamma Sabatham and Chandralekha. The background music was provided by G. Ramanathan-Elangovan combine which later produced hits as Sivakavi and Haridas.
One of the highlights of the film was a song and dance sequence, Unnai kandu mayangaatha in which Kannamba dances to M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar's singing. The song was shot in a single night at Newtone Studio.
The songs were composed by Alathur V. Subramanyam and the lyrics were written by Papanasam Sivan. Playback singers are Rama Rao and Mani of the Renuka Orchestra.
- R. N. Thambi – Veena
- V. Govindasami – Fiddle
- N. L. Ramalingam – Harmonium
- R. V. Parikshithu – Mridangam
- Sharma Brothers Orchestra
In other media
- Guy, Randor (25 January 2008). "Ashok Kumar 1941". The Hindu:Cinema Plus. Archived from the original on 18 March 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2017.