Sri MGR Year 96, 26th September, Saturday
Today is the Golden Jubilee year of Kanchi Thalaivan movie. MGR acted as Narasimhavarman I (Narasimha Pallavan) also known as Mamallan, S.S.Rajendran as the commander Paranjothi and Asokan as Pulikesi (Pulakesin II), the Chalukya King.
The story is about the rivalry between Pallavas and Chalukyas, MGR as the Pallava King rules Kanchipuram with peace, Asokan (Pulikesi) whose desire is to capture Kanchipuram, with a cunning plan sends Poovikraman (M.R.Radha) and Chola Kumari (Banumathy) to Kanchi. According to his plan Poovikraman works as a sculptor in Kanchi and Chola Kumari comes to Kanchi as unofficial. Paranjothi (S.S.Rajendran) arrests Chola Kumari and takes her to the court of Narasimha Pallavan, there MGR (Narasimha Pallavan) gives due respect and frees her. Meantime Narasimha Pallavan friend (King of Ceylon) Manavaraman loses his crown, with his family comes to Kanchi to get the help from his friend, unfortunately the ship wrecks and his family is separated. Poovikaraman had the opportunity to save the baby of Manavaraman and later his wife.
KAN KAVARUM SILAYAE Song from youtube.
Wrestling contest takes place in Kanchi and the contestant from Pallava gets defeated and Narasimha Pallavan takes up the challenge and defeats his contender and gets the title of Mamallan. Poovikaraman asks Chola Kumari to invite Narasimha Pallavan and asks her to give poison. But she is in love with Narasimhan, during the feast she provokes the anger of Narasimha Pallavan and makes him leave the party without taking the food. Later Narasimha Pallavan comes to know about her real self through one of his spies.
Poovikaraman sends another girl in place of Manavarman wife (G.Sakunthala) to Paranjothi, on the way she tries to seduce Paranjothi and gives an impression that Manavarman wife is adulterous. Paranjothi mention this to Narasimha Pallavan in front of his friend Manavarman, Paranjothi gets slapped by his king. Paranjothi loyalty stays same after this incident. Manavarman tries to kill his wife but Narasimha Pallavan plays a drama and finds out that the girl Paranjothi took with him is not the wife of Manavarman. Their friendship is renewed.
Though Chola Kumari is against the wish of Pulikesi, her love to Leader of Kanchi creates a problem in the kingdom. Narasimha Pallavan allies turn against him, when he mentions that he is going to marry Chola Kumari. The time was now ripe for Pulikesi to attack and hold Kanchi forever. Commander of Kanchi, Paranjothi resigns from his post due to the love between Narasimha Pallavan and Chola Kumari. The king appoints Manavarman as his commander, due to this his baby was slaughtered by Pulikesi. Initially Kanchi loses some of its forts to Pulikesi.
Song uploaded by Thravida Selvam in youtube.
Narasimha Pallavan’s sister (Vijayakumari) who is attached to Paranjothi asks his help, he turns down. She goes to temple to pray where Poovikaraman plans to kill Narasimha Pallavan, before the explosives (tendered from the disciple of Hieun Tsang a Chinese traveler) goes off, Narasimha Pallavan comes out of the temple but his sister dies. Chola Kumari speaks with Narasimha Pallavan allies and consents to their wish that she will not marry the Kanchi King. Now Paranjothi volunteers for the war and takes up the commanding position with Narasimha Pallavan, Manavarman in one side and the allies of Kanchi in another side destroys the force of Pulikesi and he was later killed in the battle.
Finally Kanchi’s allies changes their wish and ask Chola Kumari to marry Kanchi Thalaivan. Thus ends the story.
In my opinion when you read the story you can feel that the least used character of this movie is none other than the Hero. MGR had less importance and the producers found out through the release of the movie. Later they rectified their mistake by producing a colour movie with MGR titled Engal Thangam.
They used very little of MGR’s charisma and gave importance to S.S.Rajendran, Banumathy, M.R.Radha and Asokan. The highlight of the movie for MGR Fan and Devotees is the court scene where MGR gives justice to Senthamarai and the wrestling fight. In the contest MGR as the King watches his enemy country man winning, MGR does not show his contempt or anger but only the feelings of a fellow wrestler when his opponents uses breathtaking techniques to out wit Kanchi wrestler. In a instant MGR’s face changes when the wrestler mocks Kanchi’s subject, MGR takes up the challenge and wins easily. Another mention is the breast plate worn by MGR which was unique and captures our attention.
Another important factor we should be proud of is the character Narasimha Pallavan is claimed to be one of the nine Indian Kings who never lost on the battlefield to their enemies, the other Kings are Ajatashatru, Chandragupta Maurya, Karikala Chola, Kochengannan, Cheran Senguttuvan of the Sangam age, Samudragupta, Rajaraja Chola and Rajendra Chola. In real life MGR is one and only who never lost in elections and always victorious whatever subject he ventures into.
The movie has 9 songs
1. Avaniellam Puzhgal – Song by people of Kanchi
2. Kan Kavarum silaiyae - (MGR song, shows him sculpturing a statue in Mamallapuram shore temple)
3. Ulagam Suthuthu - (M.R.Radha song)
4. Mayangatha Manam – a beautiful mesmerizing song performed by Banumathy
5. Vanathil Varuvathu – Duet song for S.S.Rajendran and Vijayakumari
6. Ninaithu Vantha – Sad song for MGR
7. Oru Kodiyil – another sad song for MGR
8. Ooiyirai tharukindran – Sad song for Vijayakumari
9. Velga Nadu – slow song for the climax!
Unprecedented two sad songs to MGR no duet song and no philosophy song. With less opportunity given, MGR has done his part well.
The title Kanchi Thalaivan is synonym to Peraringnar Anna the mentor of our beloved Leader Puratchi Thalaivar. MGR title was shown with M.G.Ramachandran, M.L.C., may be this is the first and last movie to show such a title.