|Directed by||Tatineni Prakash Rao|
|Produced by||G. N. Velumani|
|Written by||Sakthi T. K. Krishnasamy|
M. G. Ramachandran|
B. Saroja Devi
M. N. Nambiar
|3 November 1964|
Padagotti (English: Coxswain) is a 1964 Indian Tamil-language film directed by Tatineni Prakash Rao and written by Sakthi T. K. Krishnasamy. The film stars M. G. Ramachandran and B. Saroja Devi in the lead roles. It was released on 3 November 1964, during Diwali, and became a commercial success, running for over 100 days in theatres.
Manickam is the leader of a small fishing community named Thirukaai Meenavargal. In the same area lives Alaiyappan, the leader of an opposing fishing community named Sura Meenavargal.
The enmity between the two groups goes way beyond competition. While Manickam is honest, compassionate and principled, his counterpart, Alaiyappan, is exactly the opposite, driven mainly by greed. Manickam's father's main wish is to end the dispute between the two groups, and he persuades them to be friends. However the Sura Meenavargal refuse, and beat him to death. Manickam promises to fulfill his father's wish, and works hard to end the dispute.
The person responsible for fuelling this enmity between the two groups is the man who stands to gain the most from it all – the village zamindar Yajaman. Alaiyappan’s blind allegiance is to the Zamindar.
Manickam soon falls in love with Alaiyappan's daughter Muthazhagi, and she shows the same. However, their romance is strongly disapproved of by their communities.When Manickam again goes to Sura Meenavargal to seek peace, he is beaten to his apparent death. Because of this, his men nearly kill Alaiyappan, who is then saved by a mysterious old man. Thankful to the old man, Alaiyappan allows him to stay with for the night at his home. Muthazhagi later realises the old man is actually Manickam in disguise, but keeps it a secret from everyone.
One day, it is a boat race between the two communities. But Manickam (still in disguise) chooses to go with Sura Meenavargal, and they eventually win the race. However, his fake beard falls down after the race, and everyone recognises him as Manickam. The Thirukaai Meenavargal, enraged for his betrayal, force him to leave Muthazhagi.
When Alaiyappan suddenly goes bankrupt, Yajaman agrees to help him, but wants to be married to Muthazhagi in return. Alaiyappan, initially hesitant, later agrees but Muthazhagi is not ready. She is kept custody at Yajaman's mansion and is unable to escape, even Manickam (in a new disguise) is unable to save her. But Yajaman's wife secretly helps Muthazhagi out of the mansion. In doing so, she is killed by Yajaman. He begins to chase Muthazhagi, but is cornered by Manickam and a fight ensues between the duo. Shortly after, the local police arrive and arrest Yajaman because he murdered his wife. With both the communities finally reconciling, Alaiyappan agrees for Muthazhagi and Manickam to be married.
- M. G. Ramachandran as Manickam
- B.Saroja Devi as Muthazhagi
- M. N. Nambiar as Yajaman
- Jayanthi as Zamindar's wife
- S. V. Ramadoss as Alaiyappan
- Manorama as Manickam's sister
- Nagesh as Muthazhagi's brother
Padagotti was directed by Tatineni Prakash Rao, written by Sakthi T. K. Krishnasamy and produced by G. N. Velumani under the banner of Saravana Films. It was the company's first colour film, being colourised through Eastmancolor. M. G. Ramachandran and B. Saroja Devi were cast as Manickam and Muthazhagi respectively, while S. V. Ramadoss was cast as Muthazhagi's father Alaiyappan. Nagesh was cast in the role of a self-styled leader of the community who beats people whenever a gramophone plays a certain background music. This part of the story is based on an episode of The Three Stooges. Manorama was cast as his lover. M. N. Nambiar was cast as the zamindar, and Jayanthi as his wife. Most of the film was shot on actual locations near the seashore. It was poet Vaali who chose the title Padagotti for this film.
Padagotti is a social film that deals with groupism among fishermen. Tamil Canadian journalist D. B. S. Jeyaraj wrote that Ramachandran portrayed different roles in his films "so that different segments of the population could relate to and identify with him", citing his role of a coxswain in Padagotti, an agriculturist in Vivasayee (1967), and a rickshaw puller in Rickshawkaran (1971) as examples. S. Rajanayagam, author of the book Popular Cinema and Politics in South India: The Films of MGR and Rajinikanth, felt the title Padagotti, like the titles of many other Ramachandran films, was "sober, occupation-oriented and positive".
The film's original soundtrack was composed by the duo of Viswanathan–Ramamoorthy, while the lyrics were written by Vaali. The song "Thottal Poo Malarum" was composed in the carnatic raga known as Suddhadhanyasi, and according to singer Charulatha Mani, this song "changed the outlook of this raga in films". It was later re-tuned by A. R. Rahman for the 2004 film New. The song "Tharaimel Pirakka" was composed in Bilaskhani Todi, a Hindustani raga. The song "Koduthadellam Koduthan" was originally written by Vaali for Paadhai Theriyudhu Paar (1960) which was rejected by the director of that film and later it was used in this film. Velumani felt the song "nicely captured MGR's characteristics" through the lyrics "Koduthadellam koduthan, Avan yaarukaaga koduthaan, Orutharukka koduthaan illai oorukaaga koduthaan" which translate to "He gave all that he gave, to whom did he give? Did he give for just one? No, he gave for everyone".
|Tharaimel Pirakka||T. M. Soundararajan||Vaali|
|Thottal Poo Malarum||T. M. Soundararajan, P. Susheela||Vaali|
|Koduthellam Koduthaan||T. M. Soundararajan||Vaali|
|Kalyana Ponnu||T. M. Soundararajan||Vaali|
|Paatukku Patteduthu||T. M. Soundararajan, P. Susheela||Vaali|
|Naan Oru Kuzhandhai||T. M. Soundararajan||Vaali|
|Azhagu Oru Ragam||P. Susheela||Vaali|
|Ennai Eduthu||P. Susheela||Vaali|
Padagotti was released on 3 November 1964, during that year's Diwali day. Despite facing competition from two other Diwali releases (Navarathri and Muradan Muthu), it became commercially successful, running for over 100 days in theatres. The Indian Express wrote on 14 November 1964, "A bright piece of acting by Ramadas and P. L. Rai's excellent outdoor photography which bares the bountiful beauty of the backwaters of Kerala are the only two redeeming features of the film. But they are as much a consolation as having enjoyed the cool breeze during a day-long futile angling." Film historian Mohan Raman, writing for The Hindu, praised Nambiar's villainous performance, describing it as "unforgettable." For the same newspaper, historian Randor Guy said the film would be remembered for "Excellent performances by M. G. Ramachandran, Saroja Devi, M. N. Nambiar, Nagesh and Manorama, and the melodious songs and meaningful lyrics of Vaali".
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