Poompuhar (film)

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Poompuhar film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by P. Neelakantan
Screenplay by M. Karunanidhi
Story by Ilango Adigal
Starring S. S. Rajendran
C. R. Vijayakumari
K. B. Sundarambal
Music by R. Sudarsanam
Mekala Pictures
Distributed bySSR Pictures
Release date
  • 18 September 1964 (1964-09-18)

Poompuhar is a 1964 Indian Tamil-language epic film directed by P. Neelakantan and written by M. Karunanidhi. It is the second film based on the epic Cilappatikaram after Kannagi (1942). The film stars S. S. Rajendran, C. R. Vijayakumari, Rajasree and K. B. Sundarambal. It was released on 18 September 1964.



Kovalan, the son of a wealthy merchant in the city of Kaveripattinam, marries Kannagi, the daughter of another merchant. They live together happily in Kaveripattinam, until Kovalan met the courtesan Madhavi and fell in love with her. In his infatuation, he leaves his wife and gradually spends all his wealth on Madhavi. Eventually penniless, Kovalan realises his mistake, and returns to Kannagi after a year. Their only asset is a precious pair of anklets called Silambu, which Kannagi gave to him willingly. With these as their capital, they go to the city of Madurai, where Kovalan hopes to recoup his fortunes by trade.

Madurai is ruled by the Pandya king Nedunjeliyan I. Upon arrival there, Kovalan sets out to sell Kannagi's anklets. While on his way to sell the anklet, he is held by the king's guards for the alleged theft of one of the queen's anklets. Upon the king's orders, he is beheaded without trial. When Kannagi is informed of this, she becomes furious, and set out to prove her husband's innocence to the king, by showing him the anklets.

Kannagi comes to the king's court, breaks open the anklet seized from Kovalan and shows that it contained rubies, as opposed to the queen's anklets which contain pearls. Realising their fault, the king and the queen die of shame. Unsatisfied, Kannagi tears out a breast and flings it on the city, uttering a curse that the entire city be burnt. Due to her utmost chastity, her curse becomes a reality.



Music was composed by R. Sudarsanam while the lyrics were penned by Udumalai Narayana Kavi, Mayavanathan, Alangudi Somu, M. Karunanidhi and Radha Manikam. [4]

Track listing
1."Ennai Mudhal Mudhallaga"Radha Manikam T. M. Soundararajan, S. Janaki 3:37
2."Ponnaal Idhupole"Udumalai Narayana KaviS. Janaki3:28
3."Vazhkkai Ennum Odam"M. Karunanidhi K. B. Sundarambal 3:19
4."Thappitthu Vandhanamma"MayavanathanK. B. Sundarambal2:36
5."Andru Kollum"MayavanathanK. B. Sundarambal2:16
6."Iraiva Iraiva"Alangudi Somu P. Susheela 3:55
7."Kaaviri Penne"MayavanathanP. Susheela, T. M. Soundararajan3:29
8."Pottirunthum"Alangudi SomuP. Susheela3:13
9."Thamizh Engal Uyiranathu"MayavanathanP. Susheela4:30
10."Thunbamellam"MayavanathanK. B. Sundarambal3:22
11."Thottavudan Malaronru"MayavanathanK. B. Sundarambal0:38
Total length:34:23

Release and reception

Poompuhar was released on 18 September 1964, and distributed by SSR Pictures in Madras. [5] The Indian Express called it an "ambitious motion picture in the grand tradition of screen spectacle. It combines lavish and gigantic sets, good acting [..] and pleasing music by Sudharshanam". [1] T. M. Ramachandran of Sport and Pastime wrote the story is "well-known, the film sustains the interest of the audience on account of imaginative treatment and deft touches by director P. Neelakantan" while praising the artistes and their performances. [2]

Related Research Articles

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Kannagi sometimes spelled Kannaki, is a legendary Tamil woman who forms the central character of the Tamil epic Cilappatikaram. Kannagi is described as the chaste woman who stays with her husband despite his unfaithfulness, their attempt to rebuild their marriage after her husband had lost everything but repented, how her husband is falsely framed then punished without the due checks and processes of justice. Kannagi proves and protests the injustice, then curses the king and city of Madurai leading to the death of the unjust Pandyan King of Madurai, who had wrongfully put her husband Kovalan to death. The society that had made her suffer, suffers in retribution as the city Madurai is burnt to the ground because of her curse. In the Chera (Kerala) and Tamil tradition, Kannagi has been deified as the symbol – sometimes as goddess – of chastity, with sculptures or reliefs in Hindu temples iconographically reminding the visitor of her breaking her anklet or tearing her bleeding breast and throwing it at the city.

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  2. 1 2 Ramachandran, T. M. (17 October 1964). "Vijayakumari Steals the Show". Sport and Pastime . Vol. 18. p. 50. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  3. Vamanan (31 August 2018). "Rare scenes: When party lines blurred for Karuna". The Times of India . Archived from the original on 10 January 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2021.
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  5. "Poompuhar". The Indian Express . 18 September 1964. p. 10. Retrieved 6 July 2022.