|Directed by||A. V. Meiyappan|
A. T. Krishnaswamy
|Produced by||A. V. Meiyappan|
|Screenplay by||Pammal Sambandha Mudaliar|
|Starring||T. R. Ramachandran|
Kali N. Rathnam
|Music by||Saraswathi Music Troupe|
|Cinematography||P. V. Krishna Iyer|
|Edited by||M. V. Raman|
|Distributed by||South Indian Pictures|
Sabapathy is a 1941 Indian Tamil-language comedy film directed by A. V. Meiyappan and A. T. Krishnaswamy, and produced by Meiyappan. The film stars T. R. Ramachandran, Kali N. Rathnam, C. T. Rajakantham and K. Sarangkapani. The film focuses on the antics of two dim-witted men named Sabapathy: a wealthy man and his servant. It was released on 14 December 1941 and became a commercial success.
Sabapathy Mudaliar is the son of a rich socialite and politician, Rao Sahib Manikka Mudaliar, and a pet of his mother Thiripura Ammal. A man with little intelligence, he is appearing for his Matriculation examination. His servant, also named Sabapathy, is an innocent and even greater fool. Sabapathy Mudaliar does not focus on his studies, constantly engages in teasing his Tamil teacher Chinnasami Mudaliar, and eventually fails in the Matriculation exam. He is not serious about life and spends time with his friends. His parents arrange his marriage with the educated and intelligent Sivakamu, hoping this will make him responsible. Sabapathy Mudaliar goes to Sivakamu's house after marriage with his servant. Instead of focusing on his studies, he tries to have a good time with his wife there.
The servant Sabapathy falls in love with Sivakamu's servant Gundumuthu and eventually marries her. Manicka Mudaliar brings his son back home and advises Sivakamu to help him focus on studies so that he completes his Matriculation and attends college along with her. Sivakamu, who took a break from studies for marriage, motivates him to study so that both can attend college together.
Though Sabapathy Mudaliar has several distractions and no focus, Sivakamu teaches him the subjects and finally he passes his exam. His father, who had given up on his son, is finally happy to see his son passing the exam. The servant Sabapathy also becomes a knowledgeable person thanks to Gundumuthu. Both men declare that wife is the best companion in life.
Sabapathy was a farce play written by Pammal Sambandha Mudaliar in 1906, his first one. It revolved around a young, unintelligent zamindar and his foolish servant both sharing the name Sabapathy. The inspiration for the servant Sabapathy came from Mudaliar observing the man Fridays of some of his friends. He considered Narasimhan, the personal assistant of his lawyer friend V. V. Srinivasa Iyengar, as having served as the base to building the character, and the title character of the Samuel Lover novel Handy Andy as an influence. The story was written in eight parts, each of which was capable of being staged as a separate play. Mudaliar himself played the zamindar, while many of his troupe members played the servant. The play attained immense popularity and was staged many times.
Director A. T. Krishnaswamy suggested to producer A. V. Meiyappan, with whom he was working in Pragathi Pictures, to make a film based on Mudaliar's play, and Meiyappan agreed. T. R. Ramachandran and Kali N. Rathnam were chosen to play the roles of the zamindar and the servant respectively. Having finalised Ramachandran to play the zamindar, Meiyappan brought him to Mudaliar for his approval, which was given after a brief test of his capability to do justice to the role. Ramachandran was paid ₹35 per month for acting in the film. R. Padma, a Lux model, was paired alongside Ramachandran and C. T. Rajakantham was paired opposite Rathnam. The budget of the film was ₹40000.
Release and reception
Sabapathy was released on 14 December 1941, and distributed by South Indian Pictures. The film was a major box office success. The jokes about Tamil teachers and the name confusion between the hero and the simpleton were well received by the audience. The film bought acclaim to the director A. T. Krishnaswamy and the hero T. R. Ramachandran. The comedic duo of Kali N. Rathnam and C. T. Rajakantham also became famous rivalling the fame of NS Krishnan- T.A. Maduram. As of 2009, it is still popular and is regularly shown in Tamil T.V. Channels.
- Guy, Randor (23 May 2008). "Sabapathy 1941". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 20 November 2017. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
- Narayanan, Arandhai (2008). ஆரம்பகால தமிழ் சினிமா (1931–41) [The early Tamil cinema (1931–41)] (in Tamil). Chennai: Vijaya Publications. p. 32.
- மாதவன், பிரதீப் (27 October 2017). "நீர்க்குமிழி: முதல் பின்னணிப் பாடகி" [Water Bubble: The first female playback singer]. The Hindu Tamil. Archived from the original on 27 October 2017. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
- Bhatt, Karthik (25 March 2015). "Sabapathy: From stage to celluloid". The Cinema Resource Centre. Archived from the original on 2 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
- "Sabapathy". The Indian Express. 12 December 1941. p. 9.
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