Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||K. Shankar|
|Music by||K. V. Mahadevan|
|Edited by||K. Narayanan|
Adimai Penn (lit. Slave Girl) is a 1969 Indian Tamil-language sword-and-sandal film, directed by K. Shankar and co-produced by M. G. Ramachandran. The film features Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa in the lead roles with S. A. Ashokan, Pandari Bai, Rajasree, R. S. Manohar, J. P. Chandrababu and Cho Ramaswamy in supporting roles. It revolves around the efforts of a deceased king's son to free the enslaved people from their tyrant king.
The film was released on 1 May 1969 and became a box office success. It won the Filmfare Award for Best Film – Tamil, and two awards at the Tamil Nadu State Film Awards: Best Film (First Prize) and Best Music Director for K. V. Mahadevan.
Abhirami Mangamma, a princess, is desired by Sengodan, a king. Several years later, Sengodan sees Abhirami (now a queen) out hunting. He declares his love, but Abhirami says that she is a mother. Sengodan tries to kill her son, prince Vengaiya and Abhirami severs Sengodan's leg with an axe. The king Vengaiyan from the Vengaiya Mount Kingdom goes to Sengodan's country (Soorukathu Kingdom) seeking justice, and Sengodan agrees to a duel. The duel takes place over a net with spears below it; whoever falls on the net will die. A dueler will lose if he loses his weapon or falls from the net, and his country will be enslaved by the winner. Since Sengodan has only one leg, king Vengaiyan binds his own leg and they begin the duel. Vengaiyan wins, but then Sengodan kills him with a spear.
Sengodan orders his men to seize the country and summon the queen and her son. One of the king's aides escapes and saves the queen, but the prince Vengaiya is taken prisoner. All women in the country are enslaved. The queen stays in hiding for many years. The king's aide is imprisoned and sees the prince Vengaiya, who has been forced to live in a two-foot-high cell. The prince Vengaiya has not learnt how to talk or eat with his hands, and the aide is horrified by his condition. They escape from the prison by the river. The aide dies in his granddaughter's arms after she promises to heal the prince and help abolish slavery in their country. The granddaughter, Jeeva, takes the prince to her hut. She teaches him to speak, write and fight. Vengaiya begins to understand that he is a prince, but is a hunchback because of his confinement.
Vengaiya saves a girl from two warriors. When he is helping the girl (who has been bound between two heavy wooden planks, like a pillory), his spine straightens and he can stand normally. Jeeva tells the prince what he must do, and shows him his mother. When he sees his mother's condition, Vengaiya vows that he will release the country from Sengodan's enslavement. The prince, with help from Jeeva and others, attacks a group of soldiers and begins freeing people from slavery. During one assault, he meets Magudhapadhy, the leader of a neighbouring nation (Pavala Kingdom) who is related to Sengodan. The commander Magudhapadhy is astonished to see Jeeva because of her resemblance to his queen, Pavalavalli. He conspires to replace the queen with Jeeva and take over the country, which separates Vengaiya and Jeeva from their followers. The commander, claiming the prince is a spy, hides Jeeva.
Pavalavalli, who is actually Jeeva's sister, presides over the prince's trial. She is attracted to him, and orders that he be released as her bodyguard. The commander plans to kill both the queen and the prince at a party with a poisoned drink, but it is moved by one of the prince's aides, a magician. The commander orders the arrest of the prince and the queen. Jeeva impersonates the queen so she and Vengaiya can be freed and allowed to return to their country. Pavalavalli is dressed in Jeeva's clothes and kept in captivity, to be killed later. The commander goes to the prison and admits his plan; Vengaiya kills him and escapes with Pavalavalli, thinking she is Jeeva.
Vengaiya finally reaches his country, which has changed during his long absence. His house has been gutted by fire, his farms plundered and his men oppose him. Vengaiya tells them his story, coercing them to rejoin the army. Pavalavalli joins Sengodan's side, awaiting revenge. Abhirami Mangamma is captured by Sengodan's men, who threaten to execute her. Vengaiya and his men sneak into the palace and fight Sengodan; he kills Sengodan, releases his mother and frees his kingdom.
- M. G. Ramachandran as King Vengaiyan and Prince Vengaiya
- Jayalalithaa as Jeeva and Pavalavalli
- S. A. Ashokan as Sengodan
- R. S. Manohar as The royal bodyguard Magudhapadhy (from Pavala Kingdom)
- J. P. Chandrababu as The doctor of campaign, the Prince Vengaiya's friend
- Cho Ramaswamy as The royal bodyguard Magudhapadhy's magician
- Jyothi Lakshmi as Azhagu's elder sister, the woman in the pillory (stocks)
- Rajasree as princess Muthazhagi
- Pandari Bai as Abhirami Mangamma
- Ganthimathi as Slave
- Shanmugasundari as Slave
- Karikol Raju as Slave
- Baby Rani as Azhagu, the little girl
- O. A. K. Thevar as one of the men (people) of the Prince Vengaiya
- Pushpamala "Ammukkutty" as Ponni, a royal bridesmaid
- Thirupadiswamy as a royal secretary (from Pavala Kingdom)
- Justin as Marappa, the chief of Sengodan's soldiers
- Govindharaj as The chief of Sengodan's soldiers
- N. S. Natarajan as one of the men (people) of the Prince Vengaiya
In 1968, M. G. Ramachandran, as director, producer and lead actor, launched a film named Adimai Penn, with B. Saroja Devi and K. R. Vijaya as the lead actresses and P. N. Sundaram as cinematographer. Some scenes were filmed, but the project was dropped. When relaunched with a new story, Ramachandran remained in his positions (except directing, which was given to K. Shankar) and Jayalalithaa was cast as the female lead, while V. Ramamoorthy was hired as the new cinematographer. This was J. P. Chandrababu's last film with Ramachandran. Filming was completed within 100 working days. During the filming, Ramachandran was given a white fur cap to shield him from the desert sun; this would later become his signature look.
The soundtrack of the film was composed by K. V. Mahadevan. It also marked Jayalalithaa's debut as a playback singer; she performed "Amma Endral Anbu". Although the first Tamil film signed by playback singer S. P. Balasubrahmanyam was Shanti Nilayam, Adimaippenn (in which he sang "Aayiram Nilave Vaa") ended up releasing earlier. T. M. Soundararajan was chosen to sing "Thaai Illamal" as it needed "more zeal".
|1.||"Aayiram Nilave Vaa"||Pulamaipithan||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, P. Susheela||4.56|
|3.||"Kaalathai Vendravan"||Avinashi Mani||P. Susheela , S. Janaki||6.14|
|4.||"Thaai Illamal"||Alangudi Somu||T. M. Soundararajan||3.36|
|5.||"Unnai Paarthu"||Vaali||T. M. Soundararajan||5.14|
|6.||"Yemmattraathe"||Vaali||T. M. Soundararajan||4.37|
|7.||"Amma Endral (Not in the movie, not held)"||Vaali||T. M. Soundararajan||2.35|
|8.||"Thaai Illamal (Not in the movie, not held)"||Alangudi Somu||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam||3.36|
Release and reception
Adimai Penn was released on 1 May 1969. The Indian Express wrote on 10 May, "Some movies are made for the passion of making them. Some are made for regretting later. Some are made to entertain. When entertainment is the prime factor everything that is possible is brought in to please the masses. One such movie is Emgeeyar films Adimai Penn". The reviewer praised V. Ramamurthy's cinematography but felt the music was "not up to the other achievements of the film". The film was a commercial success, grossing ₹3 crore (equivalent to ₹116 crore or US$16 million in 2018) against a budget of ₹50 lakh (equivalent to ₹19 crore or US$2.7 million in 2018) according to a 2019 estimate by Dinamalar. It won the Filmfare Award for Best Film – Tamil, and two awards at the Tamil Nadu State Film Awards: Best Film (First Prize) and Best Music Director for Mahadevan. Writing for Film Companion in 2017, Baradwaj Rangan wrote "The film itself, one of MGR’s biggest hits, is a bit of a bummer. Unlike other MGR starrers of the 1960s – Kudiyirundha Kovil (1968), Aayirathil Oruvan (1965) – it has dated badly. The efforts to seem contemporary are laughable."
In popular culture
One scene in the film involving Cho's character changing the various glasses of juices kept while narrating a story to Manohar's character, by which Manohar's glass with poison gets mixed up, was re-enacted in Andaz Apna Apna (1994).
Adimai Penn was digitally restored and re-released in July 2017.
- Rajadhyaksha & Willemen 1998, p. 398.
- Rangan, Baradwaj (20 July 2017). "Southern Lights: Adimai Penn". Film Companion. Archived from the original on 4 February 2018. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
- "எம்.ஜி.ஆருடன் நடித்த போது... ஜெயலலிதா!". Dinamani (in Tamil). 13 December 2017. Archived from the original on 23 July 2018. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- Asokan, N. (22 February 2009). "Starring: MGR & Jayalalitha!". The Sunday Indian. Archived from the original on 4 February 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- Raman, Mohan V. (2 May 2019). "Adimai Penn: The film that made icons". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 7 May 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- "Adimai Penn gets the digital treatment". Cinema Express. 13 July 2017. Archived from the original on 17 July 2017. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
- "பிளாஷ்பேக் : பொன்விழா ஆண்டில் அடிமைப்பெண்" [Flashback: Adimai Penn in its 50th year]. Dinamalar (in Tamil). 21 January 2019. Archived from the original on 7 May 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- Kannan 2017, p. 147.
- "MGR – J Jayalalithaa's Adimai Penn digitalised". Deccan Chronicle. 18 February 2017. Archived from the original on 17 July 2017. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
- நவ்ஷத் (6 January 2017). "எஸ்பிபி 50 ஆண்டுகள்: 'எனக்கு இசைதான் தாய்மொழி'" [SPB 50 years: Music is my mother tongue]. The Hindu (Tamil). Archived from the original on 1 May 2019. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
- "MSV: Master of melodies". Manorama Online. 14 July 2015. Archived from the original on 22 August 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- "Adimai Penn (1969)". Raaga.com. Archived from the original on 30 June 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- "Adimai Penn". The Indian Express. 1 May 1969. p. 12.
- "Outdoors exploited". The Indian Express. 10 May 1969. p. 5.
- The Times of India Directory and Year Book Including Who's who. Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd. 1970. p. 296.
- Anandan, Film News (2004). Sadhanaigal Padaitha Thamizh Thiraipada Varalaru [Tamil film history and its achievements] (in Tamil). Sivagami Publications. pp. 7−19.
- "Hindi cinema copied his scenes". DTNext. 8 December 2016. Archived from the original on 29 September 2017. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
- Kannan, R. (28 June 2017). MGR: A Life. India: Penguin Random House. ISBN 978-93-86495-88-4.
- Rajadhyaksha, Ashish; Willemen, Paul, eds. (1998) . Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema (PDF). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-563579-5.