indian cinema heritage foundation

Kanjan (Miser) (1947)

  • Release Date1947
  • FormatB-W
  • LanguageTamil
  • Run Time170 min

Kandasamy, a miserly zamindar, is a womanizer. His son Kumarsamy and daughter Amaravathi do not approve of his ways. Kandasamy stores his jewels and money in a vessel and buries it in the house. Velappan, an orphan who had lost his parents in a boat accident, reaches the village. Through a common friend, he comes to stay in Kandasamy’s house and falls in love with Amaravathi. Kumarasamy’s fond of Maragatham, a drama artiste. His father Kandasamy also fancies Maragatham. He also plans to get his daughter Amaravathi married to an old man in return for 50,000 rupees. All problems get sorted out in the end and the lovers unite.

Kovai Ayyamuthu, a nationalist leader and a great campaigner for khadi, wrote the story, script, and seven songs, in addition to directing the film. He was originally a playwright and his famous play, Inbasagaran was staged by the Nawab Rajamanikkam Drama Company. He presented khadi to all workers after the shooting was completed. Gandhi’s visit to Palani and the Independence Day celebrations at Coimbatore were shown in two reels along with the main film, which was released in November 1947.

Protest against old men marrying young women was a frequent theme in films of the Forties. This film also attacked black marketeering, a major issue in the post-war years. Though the film had nationalistic overtones, it also had one of the earliest songs on Tamil revivalism, written by Ayyamuthu. It was released as a disc and large numbers were sold and were broadcast simultaneously by Tiruchi, Madras, and Colombo radio stations. There was also another song in praise of Tamil Nadu. All the songs in the film were based on Hindustani or Carnatic tunes.

[from the book The Eye of the Serpent by S Theodore Baskaran]