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Movie : Ulagam Sutrum Vaaliban

Cast : M.G.Ramachandran (Dual-Role), Latha, Chandrakala, Manjula, S.A.Ashokan, R.S.Manohar, M.N.Nambiyar, Nagesh

Music : M.S.Visvanathan

Production : Mgeeyar Pictures

Direction : M.G.Ramachandran

Release Year : 1973

Ulagam Sutrum Valiban was the most challenging work for MGR. When he filmed shots in Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia in 1970 he had limited time and finance. Therefore he was very thrifty, nay stingy in operational out the budget. He was counting on financial help from close friends as well. Although MGR earned high, much of the income went for charity, and he had little in saving.

He knew that the emphasize of the movies would be the EXPO 1970 in Osaka as this film had no proper story line. But Japan had high standard of living and one of the expensive areas in the world. So he had to make the tour of the countries within few days and limited cash. To be careful in spending he sent Idhayam Pesukirathu Manian to conduct a survey and make the essential arrangements. Manian went early and made all the arrangements. However MGR was not to show up with his team. In Madras he had to struggle with many things, including Jayalalitha who was difficult a role in this mega movie with MGR’s name and fame running highest.

Finally he came down and stayed in a bungalow already book by Manian. On the next day, MGR’s car was denied entry into the packed Expo area. But the survey had to be done. MGR carried the camera on his shoulder and walked untiringly the entire length and width of the Expo area. This was to the amazement of young people who could not cope up with the aging, and yet energetic who were about 53 then. MGR was a genius. He spotted all the attractive and useful areas. On the next day the shot was made.

The song Ulagam Azhagu kalaikalin Sigaram had 200 shots in total. The editor was astonished at the number of shots. The songs, of course, had been released much earlier and their fame lured audience to the theaters.

Ulagam Sutrum Valiban was also to play an essential role in MGR’s following fortunes, coming as it did during the time of his break with the DMK party led by Karunanidhi and his formation of the ADMK. Several years after the movie’s release, the song Pachchaikilli muthucharam used to blast our eardrums from loudspeakers in Tamil Nadu almost every other day.

A marriage, a public meeting, Diwali or any other event would see this song blaring across public address systems in the villages, towns and cities of Tamil Nadu. Thus began our love affair with Pachchaikilli muthucharam, an enduring association that has now lasted decades. An affection that our migration to distant shores has not dimmed.

But if you ask us now, we might be tempted to say that Thanga Thoniyile is a way better number.

Various obstacle notwithstanding, Ulagam Sutrum Valiban went on to become a super hit in Tamil Nadu. The movie was a raging hit not just in Tamil Nadu but in Malaysia, Singapore and other places with a large Tamil diaspora.


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