M.T. Vasudevan Nair usually wrote the script and dialogues for his own published stories. One story that he wrote specifically for a film was that ofKanyakumari. The film, released on July 26, 1974, was Kamal Haasan’s first film as hero. This was also the Malayalam debut of noted Bengali actress Rita Bhaduri. Produced by KSR Moorthy for Chithranjali Films, the entire film was shot at Kanyakumari, the temple there and its surroundings. Directed by K.S. Sethumadhavan, the film went on to become a box office hit. Cinematography by P.L. Roy who captured the natural beauty of Kanyakumari and the soulful music of M.B. Sreenivasan were was the highpoints of the film
Prem Nawaz, Sankaradi, Murali Das, Veeran, Manimala, Pala Thankam, Jagathi Sreekumar and Mallika (in guest roles) were some of the other actors who were part of this film.
The story pivots around the love affair of Sankaran (Kamal Haasan), a sculptor, who comes to Kanyakumari to work under a contractor and a group of tourists who reach the place. Sankaran falls in love with a poor vendor of necklaces made of sea shells, Parvathi (Rita Bhaduri). An orphan, Parvathi is brought up by Kannamma (Pala Thankam), her maternal grandmother. Veerappan (Govindankutty), the foster son of Kannamma, keeps tormenting Parvathi, destroying the necklaces she makes. Sankaran decides to marry Parvathi once his work is complete. He hopes to leave Kanyakumari with Parvathi. In the meanwhile, Veerappan attempts to ‘sell’ Parvathi to Frederick (Murali Das), a depraved sportsman camping at the guest house on the beach. Parvathi manages to escape this attempt.
Jayan (Prem Nawaz), son of a rich businessman, comes to Kanyakumari seeking solace. He happens to meet his lover Rajani (Manimala), now wife of Somasundaram (Veeran), a wealthy businessman. It was this broken love affair that turned Jayan into a wreck. Rajani was forced to marry the old businessman man to save her family from a financial crisis.
The immoral relationship between Frederick and the young wife of a North Indian businessman (Sankaradi) forms the sub-plot of the film. Jayan who happens to see this is threatened by Frederick and is warned not to interfere in his personal matters. Jayan makes friends with Swami (K.G. Menon), an itinerant sanyasi. Both of them take pity on Parvathi and they try to save her Veerappan and Frederick.
Events take a cruel turn. One night, Frederick accosts Parvathi while she was alone on the beach and rapes her. Sankaran who hears her screams rushes to the spot. He hits Frederick with his sculptor’s hammer killing him at once. The film ends Sankaran taken away by the police and Parvathi staring at him with eyes full of tears.
Kamal Haasan and Rita Bhaduri impressed with their natural style of acting. Alummoodan, as a waiter in the guest house, created moments of laughter.
The songs written by Vayalar Rama Varma and set to music by M.B. Sreenivasan (MBS) like Chandra palunku manimala…. (K.J. Yesudas-S.Janaki), the English song that has lyrics by MBS, I am in love… (Usha Uthup) and Ayiramkannulla Mariyamma… (Yesudas-P.Leela-L.R.Easwari and chorus) turned very popular.
Will be remembered: As the first film of Kamal Haasan as hero, as the debut Malayalam film of Rita Bhaduri and for the song Chandra palunku manimala