Sathyan, K. P. Ummer, P. J. Antony,Jose Prakash, Adoor Bhasi, Sarada, Jayabharathi, Meena etc.
A staple theme of Indian cinema down the years has been family conflicts arising out of various real life situations. And in such social melodramas, ‘the other woman’ has been a favourite subject. Malayalam films like Ponkathir (1953), Mariyakkutty (1958), Bharya (1962) etc. are examples and all these films were huge hits. Kaattukurangu , released on February 6, 1969, was a screen adaptation of the popular novel of the same title written by the popular novelist and critic K. Surendran, first published in 1952. Produced by Ravindranathan Nair (General Pictures Ravi), under the banner of General Pictures, the film is considered as one of the best social films in the language. The script and dialogues were by the novelist himself. Directed by P. Bhaskaran, the film was shot at Vasanth” and Vikram studios. Cinematography by E. N. Balakrishnan, editing by K. Sankunny and K. Narayanan and music by G. Devarajan were the highpoints of the film.
Popular stars like Sathyan, K. P. Ummer, P. J. Antony, Adoor Bhasi, Sarada, Jayabharathi, Kaviyoor Ponnamma and Meena played important roles in the film. Jose Prakash impressed in a cameo role and the song picturised on him turned a hit. Music directors B. A. Chidambaranath and M. B. Sreenivasan appeared in guest roles.
Prabhakaran (Sathyan), an editor in a news paper lives happily with his wife Minikkutty (Sarada) and children. Das (Jose Prakash), a popular singer, visits Prabhakaran. The singer, while singing, dies of a heart attack at Prabhakaran’s house. Prabhakaran decides to fulfil Das’s last wish – enrolling his daughter Ambili (Jayabharathi) at the music academy. Prabhakaran brings Ambili and her mother Kamalam (Meena) to his house. Prabhakaran’s adoration towards Ambili’s singing talent transforms into infatuation. Minikkutty is aware of this but keeps quiet so as not to create a conflict in the family.
Ambili successfully completes her studies. Chakrapani (K. P. Ummer) son-in-law of Vasavan (P. J. Antony), co-editor in Prabhakaran’s newspaper is a playwright and actor. His falls for Ambili. He leaves for Madras with Ambili promising to make her a playback singer. His wife Thulasi (Kaviyoor Ponnamma) fails to stop her husband from going. Ambili’s mother Kamalam also accompanies them. Prabhakaran and Minikkutty tried to convince Ambili and Kamalam about the danger of entering the world of cinema. But drawn by the glamour and money they do not listen to their advice.
In Madras, Ambily gets entangled in difficult situations. She seeks the help of Prabhakaran who leaves for Madras. Minikkutty attempts suicide. Prabhakaran returns home with Ambili. Minikutty survives. They are all willing to forget and forgive. Minikkutty realises the commitment of her husband towards the family. The film ends on a very happy and positive note.
Sarada and Sathyan excelled in their roles. The comic interlude involving Adoor Bhasi, who also lends his voice for three songs, impressed.
All the songs written by P. Bhaskaran and set to tune by Devarajan were extremely popular. Naadabrahmathin sagaram neendi varum … (K. J. Yesudas), Ariyunnilla bhavaan …, Marodanachu njaan …, Kaarthika rathriyile …, Vidyarthini njaan … (All P. Susheela) are the all-time favourites. The other hits include Kallu kulangare …, Syamalam gramarangam …, Utthara Mathurapuri … (Adoor Bhasi) and Pankajadala nayaney …(Kamalam).