Director B R Panthulu left unmistakable stamp on Tamil cinema

By Santhosh Mathevan Published on Jul 26, 2018 06:07 PM IST

B R Panthulu

Chennai: It's been more than a century since his birth and six decades since his directorial debut, but the signature B R Panthulu has stamped in Tamil cinema industry will stay for a few more millennia.

On this 108th birth anniversary of the legendary director, producer, writer and actor today, 'News Today' looks back at a few of his best works as filmmaker.

Thangamalai Ragasiyam - 1957

This was the first movie of Panthulu as filmmaker, starring legendary Sivaji Ganesan in the lead. The movie that was simultaneously made in Kannada as 'Rathnagiri Rahasya' dealt with the reunion of a lost son with his parents. However, the main storyline of the movie was the hunt of the hero and the heroine to find the secret of Thangamalai. The movie also has a ray of romance that was unusual, as it happens between a girl raised in a civilised society with hero brought up in a jungle.

Veerapandiya Kattabomman - 1959

Panthulu was so passionate about recording history in cinema. In that row, 'Veerapandiya Kattabomman' became one of the most iconic and evergreen movies of his, starring Sivaji Ganesan as Kattabomman. The conversation between Kattabomman and Lord Jackson is still a lively piece of work that is reiterated on school and college cultural stages. Years later, there were also controversies about the movie as the family of King Ettappan, who was one of the antagonists of the movie, claimed the story was cooked up.  Panthulu appears onscreen to deliver the prologue of the film.

Bale Pandiya - 1962

This was one of the technical marvels of its time. Sivaji Ganesan appeared in three roles with one of them being the villain. The comedy story also saw M R Radha appearing in dual roles and K Balaji in a pivotal role. The song 'Neeyae Unakku Endrum' has a long legacy and one of the unmatchable male duets till date. The movie also possessed an uncredited record for getting its shoot completed in a span of 11 days.

Karnan - 1964

Claimed by the movie's lead actor Sivaji Ganesan as Panthulu's best in his career, this movie is an epic in many ways. It was the first movie in Tamil to be digitised and re-released in 2012, 48 years after its first release. It was the first film in which the two superstars of Tamil and Telugu, Sivaji and N T Rama Rao, acted together. Based on the epic Mahabharata, the role of Sivaji in this movie as Karnan inspired Rana Dagubatti's role in Baahubali franchise, as stated by the actor in an interview.

Aayirathil Oruvan - 1965

Inspired from various western flicks, including Errol Flynn's 'Captain Blood', Burt Lancaster's 'The Crimson Pirate', and 'The Black Pirate', this movie was a new experience for movie buffs of that time to see a grand pirate movie in Tamil. Starring M G Ramachandran, it was the first movie the actor paired up with Jayalalithaa. The movie was also a lifesaver for Panthulu, who was going through financial constraints at the time. 'Aayirathil Oruvan' was also digitised and re-released in 2014.