Kaattumaina 1963 ‘jungle movie’ on tribal theme – Kerala & Tamil Nadu

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Indian films with the jungle as backdrop were inspired by Hollywood. Films like the adventures of Tarzan, a character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, were very popular.

‘Jungle movies’ in India started with the silent movie ‘ King of Forest’ (1926), produced by Royal Arts, with Jilloobai and Udwadia in lead roles. The Tamil film ‘Vanaraja Karzan’ (1938) produced by Wadia Movietone jointly with Madras United Artists Corporation was the first film in this genre from the South. ‘Vanamala’ (1951), the first jungle movie in Malayalam was followed by another one in this series, ‘Aana Valarthiya Vanambadi’ (1961) produced and directed by P. Subramaniam under the banner of Neela Productions.

The unusual success of this Malayalam-Tamil bilingual film prompted Neela Productions to make ‘ Kaattumaina’ in 1963.

The film was a huge hit. The Tamil version of the film, with the same title, was also a success. Shot at Merryland Studios and some forest locations in Kerala, the film was directed by P. Subramaniam..

Popular artists like Prem Nazir, S. P. Pillai, Jose Prakash, S. P. Pillai, Santhi, Sheela etc. starred in the film. C. L. Anandan, who became a star in South Indian cinema with his performances in Tamil films ‘Vijayapuri Veeran’ (1960) and ‘Veerathirumakan’ (1962), played the main role in the film. A master in wrestling and martial arts, Anandan impressed in his debut Malayalam film. An elephant, named Velayudhan, that featured in the film also proved a hit. The music composed by Brother Lakshmanan was excellent.

The story revolves around the tribal groups who inhabit two mountain ranges, Thenmala and Vanmala. They live peacefully under the rule and order of their chiefs. Maina (Santhi) is the adopted daughter of the Thenmala chief. She is in love with Veeran (Anandan), son of the Vanmala chief.

Neeli (Sheela), niece of the Vanmala chief, and Maina are good friends. The peaceful life here ends when dispute arises between the tribals. […]

The songs written by Thirunainarkurichi Madhavan Nair were tuned by Brother Lakshmanan. Some of them became very popular like, ‘Malamukalil maamarathil…’ (Kamukara Purushothaman), ‘Vaa vaa vaa vaa vanarajavey…’ (K. P. Udayabhanu-P.Susheela), ‘Kaattikurinji kaattikurinji…’ (Susheela), ‘ Paadaan chundu vidarthiyathey …’ (P. Leela) are some of the hits. The other songs include ‘Naanathal paathi virinja (Kamukara-Gracy), ‘Mayappetti undu…’ (Mehaboob), and ‘Kazhuthil chippi undu…’ (Leela-Renuka).

Will be remembered: As the Malayalam debut of actor C. L. Anandan, for its excellent music, immortal songs and as a successful ‘jungle movie.’

Source: “Blast from the past – Kaattumaina 1963” by B. Vijayakumar, The Hindu, 12 February 2012
Address : http://www.thehindu.com/arts/cinema/article2883178.ece
Date Visited: Tue Nov 27 2012 12:01:27 GMT+0100 (CET)

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“We are so much more than that. We follow a tradition rich in music, dance and love.” – Author Swarnalatha who runs an NGO that works for the upliftment for people of her Irula community >>

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The tribes and castes in India are communities apart. Those who belong to castes belong to no tribes, and those who belong to tribes are outside the caste pyramid. What brings them together is probably their love for songs.

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