indian cinema heritage foundation

Rajamohan (1938)

  • Release Date1938
  • GenreMusical, Drama
  • FormatB-W
  • LanguageTamil

Vai Mu Kothainayaki Ammal was a popular novelist of the Thirties. Some of her novels were adapted for films and this was one of them. Although the adaptation marked a break from the practice of filming only popular stage plays, most of the artistes in this film were from the stage.

The story focused on Mohan’s mother who eked out a precarious living as a vendor of vegetables. When she grows too frail to work, Mohan drops out of school and gets a job as a proofreader in a magazine. Dharmalingam, who runs the magazine, has a daughter called, Rajam’s brother, who is a wastrel. Due to Krishnan’s machinations, Mohan loses his job. When Dharmalingam is found murdered, Mohan stands accused. Eventually, Mohan is acquitted and is united with Rajam.

K P Kesavan, the popular hero of the Thirties played the role of Mohan and P U Chinnappa, who later become a singing star specializing in mythological roles, played Krishan in one of his rare roles as a villain that too in a film set in contemporary times.

The music for the film was composed by Carnatic music pundits and out of nine, eight songs were set to classical tunes. However, the songs were in an abridged form lasting only four on five minutes and one tune was copied from a popular Hindi film song. There were separate comic sequences played by Kali N Rathinam, a characteristic of commercial dramas in which the comedian had his own plot, often quite unrelated to the main story. And like commercial dramas, the film opened with a song in praise of the producers of the film, National Movietone, and invoking the blessings of Lord Ganesa for the success of the film.

The director of this film, Fram Sethna, was Calcutta based and had earlier director two Tamil films, Good Sister/Nallathangal and Dhurvva, both in 1935, for Pioneer Films.

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