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PARASAKTHI- pride of Tamil cinema

By Anuj Cariappa
Google Oneindia News

Chennai: 'Parasakthi' released on October 17, 1952 is the first film that broke the mythological themes and created a huge space for rational thinking. Even after 70 years the movie continues to occupy cult-status in Kollywood, the dialogues of Parasakthi is inspiring many newcomers in the industry from then till now.

The film directed by Krishnan-Panju and written by the then 28-year-old Muthuvel Karunanidhi, triggered a wave of radicalism in Tamil popular culture, thanks to crisp and sharp dialogues that slapped casteism and social inequality. Parasakthi was not an ordinary film, it was not even a mere trend- setter. It was a harbinger of social reforms. The movie created a huge discussion in the cinema industry and among the public, this was very new to the society who always have seen movies with hero singing for heroine comparing her with moon and flowers or a story that praises the mythology.

PARASAKTHI- pride of Tamil cinema

The original story of 'Parasakthi' was written by M.S.Balasundaram. This is a story written for the play. When it was transformed into a screenplay, M Karunanidhi was hired to write the screenplay and dialogues. The movie begins with, 'Many families in Burma and Tamil Nadu suffered in the war in 1942. It refers to the events that took place in that year." The film spoke very clearly about the plight of the war, continuing with the social injustice, gender inequality, caste discrimination and so on. The social anger within the young man vibrated as dialogues on screen.

The scenes and dialogues sent shockwaves across the Tamil country. Those in power asked for a ban on the film saying it hurt the religious sentiments of the people. In the history of Tamil cinema, pamphlets were released demanding a ban on Parasakthi even after getting the censor certificate. Few newspapers triggered the religious fanatics to protest the movie. However, people did not respect all those publications. Realizing that the story of the film is relatable, people gave a grand response to the film. 'Parasakthi', which was released on the occasion of Deepavali, filled the theatres. It won an unprecedented victory.

PARASAKTHI- pride of Tamil cinema

Sivaji Ganesan, the debut hero, gained star status overnight. Dialogue writer Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi earned the reputation of being a star writer.

Even though Karunanidhi had worked as an uncredited dialogue writer in Marutha Naattu Ilavarasi (1950), it was Parasakthi that brought him acclaim. The film had several unforgettable dialogues and scenes, including the iconic temple scene where Sivaji Ganesan confronts a priest who tried to molest his sister, and, of course, the elaborate courtroom scene featuring a marathon monologue by Sivaji Ganesan, which played a significant role in defining and delivering Dravidian sentiments for the Tamil people across the globe.

PARASAKTHI- pride of Tamil cinema

Thus, even before Anna, M. Karunanidhi had gained influence in the film industry. However, Parasakthi was the film that enthralled the entire film audience.

This movie was peppered with rational dialogues, one of the most triggering dialogues in the movie "Ambal enaiku da pesuna?" "Does the God even respond?" created a huge buzz among the people, especially right-wing supporters. When this controversy arose, Kalki, a writer who believed in orthodoxy, watched the film and praised the movie. Everyone can watch the movie," he said.

In 1996, M.S.S. Pandian, a dravidian movement film analyst, wrote a lengthy article in 'Economic and Political Weekly' on the revolution brought about by 'Parasakthi' in the world of cinema. The article was widely discussed.

PARASAKTHI- pride of Tamil cinema

Similarly, in the book The Image Trap: M.G. Ramachandran in Film and Politics, he talked about the contribution of rational dialogues from the movie Parasakthi. He also talked about the early policies of the DMK and the ideology they followed such as atheism, Hindi Imposition, Tamil nationalism and anti-Brahminism. In this film, Karunanithi added the narratives such as deities who stood as stones, cruel northern moneylenders, and villainous Brahmins, crimes by priests in temples.

One best example, in 'Parasakthi', M Karunanidhi's writing depicted a temple priest trying to molest a young widow in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.

'Parasakthi' came under severe attack from the Brahmin-controlled press and the Congress Party, which was in power in the Madras Presidency. However, the film was a great success. It received a warm welcome from the audience and the film gave star status to dialogue writer M Karunanidhi and the film's hero Sivaji Ganesan.

Writer Theodore Baskaran, who received the President's 'Thanga Thamarai' award for his film studies, shared some new information about 'Parasakthi'.

PARASAKTHI- pride of Tamil cinema

"In this film, a song was copied from the Urdu film 'Akeli' . The tunes of Hindi films like 'Sunehre Din', 'Babul' and 'Dobata' were also copied. "When there was a controversy over the censorship of the film, the Board of Film Certification constituted a special committee to watch the film and resolved the issues," he said.

Film analyst R R Srinivasan said, " Parasakthi resembles Anna's "Velaikari" film, however At the end of the film, real scenes of DMK leaders delivering the speeches were used. This is a propaganda film of the DMK. But the tone of the campaign in the film is not visible. That's what's special about it," he says.

Kalaingnar Karunanthi spent 80 years in his political life but he took only 5years to prove what he is in the cinema world. He was fully versed about the industry.

Parasakthi set high standards for a propaganda film that remains unmatched. The movie had strongly questioned the social law and the basic constitution itself. We have seen many movies after Parasakthi which speak about social inequality, caste criticism but nothing could match Parasakthi and the effect that was created in the society. That keeps the movie special and alive even after 70 years of its release.

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