indian cinema heritage foundation

Kanchana (1952)

  • Release Date01/05/1952
  • GenreSocial
  • FormatB-W
  • LanguageTamil
  • Run Time146 min
  • Length5561.38 meters
  • Censor RatingU
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Pushpanathan (K. R. Ramasamy) takes over as the Zamindar of Mathur village.  His widowed mother Ponnammal (Aranmula Ponnamma) wants her son to lead a peaceful life looking after the agricultural lands owned by the family. But  Pushpanathan is persuaded by his college mate Manohar (M. N. Nambiar) to start a textile mill. Manohar has a wicked eye on Pushpanathan’s wealth.  Manohar introduces Pushpanathan to a dancer in the city, Bhanumathi (Padmini).  

Though she is a prostitute’s daughter, Bhanumathi leads an honorable life,  quite against the wishes of her mother. Bhanumathi also falls in love with  Pushpanathan. Manohar manages to manipulate and divert Pushpanathan’s wealth towards setting up the textile mill to swindle money from there.  Neelamegham Pillai (K. Doraisamy), the former accountant of the Mathur  Zamindar, now lives in utter poverty, struggling to bring up his grandchildren  Kanchana (Lalitha) and Sabeshan (P. A. Thomas), who is studying Medicine.  Pushpanathan comes to help him and is enamored by Kanchana and marries her. He assures Bhanumathi that his marriage with Kanchana will not affect his love for her.  Kanchana, who had dreamt of a luxurious and happy life as the Zamindar’s wife is ill-treated by her mother-in-law Ponnammal.

She is heartbroken when she comes to know of her husband’s pre-marital relationship with Bhanumathi. In due course, Pushpanathan and Kanchana have a son.  The financial crisis caused by the borrowings to set up the textile mill and domestic worries disturb Pushanathan’s peace of mind. At this juncture, a young lady doctor, Seetha (Miss Kumari) comes to Mathur. Pushpanathan is drawn to her beauty. But Seetha is in love with Kanchana’s brother and her college mate doctor Sabeshan. Kanchana burns with suspicion and jealousy noticing the attention Pushpanathan giving to  Seetha.

To add insult to injury, Pushpanathan beats Kanchana in the presence of Seetha on a small family dispute. Disapproving of Pushpanathan’s amorous approaches, Seetha leaves Mathur. Pushpanathan vents his anger against Kanchana, who, unable to take it anymore leaves home. Pushpanathan does not allow Kanchana to take their son.  

Sabeshan misunderstands Seetha’s relationship with Pushpanathan and leaves the village. Ponnammal gradually begins to realize Kanchana’s value for the family. She asks Pushpanathan to bring Kanchana back. 

Even Bhanumathi pleads with Pushpanathan to bring his wife back home to bring back peace.  Soon Bhanumathi dies of illness after transferring her wealth to Kanchana’s son. Pushpanathan brings Kanchana home. Sabeshan understands Seetha’s innocence and marries her. 

The film had eight songs, which became instant hits. A composition of Muthuswami  Dikshithar, ‘Maye thwam yaahi...’ sung by  M. L. Vasanthakumari became a super hit.  Another composition of Dikshithar sung by  Vasanthakumari, ‘Shivakameswari...’ also became a hit. The romantic number, ‘O! Vaanin  mele...’ (P. A. Periyanayaki) and a prayer song is sung by Radha-Jayalakshmi, ‘Charana  Pankajam...’ was the other popular hits. Other  songs that impressed were ‘Vela cheyyu...’and  ‘Nirasha mathram aayi...’ 

[from the book Pride of Tamil Cinema: 1931 to 2013, by G Dhananjayan. Blue Ocean Publishers, 2014]