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Tamil Film Nandakumar, Based On Lord Krishna’s Life, Completes 85 Years Of Release

In Nandakumar, TR Mahalingam played the role of Lord Krishna.

Clocking in at 113 minutes, Nandakumar was released in Tamil, Hindi and Marathi languages across India on August 6, 1938.

Nandakumar, a 1938 Tamil film, recently celebrated its 85th anniversary of release on August 6. The film narrates the story of Lord Krishna’s birth and life. It was brought to life by Pragati Pictures, a production house led by film producer Avichi Meiyappa Chettiar.

In 1935, Avichi established his production company, Saraswathi Sound Productions. His foray into production began with the Tamil movie Alli Arjuna which unfortunately failed at the box office, followed by another disappointment Ratnavali. Undeterred, he ventured into a new venture, Pragati Pictures Ltd., in partnership with Jayanthilal. They secured the rights for the Tamil adaptation of the Marathi film Lord Krishna which was christened Nandakumar in Tamil. The film’s box office performance was moderately successful.

Clocking in at 113 minutes, Nandakumar was released in Tamil, Hindi and Marathi languages across India on August 6, 1938. During the film’s production, Dhaibar and Meiyappan expressed dissatisfaction with the songs sung by an actress who also played Devika’s mother in the movie. Their creative solution involved replacing the soundtrack with the prominent Carnatic vocalist Lalitha Venkatraman. She earned the distinction of being the first playback singer in the Tamil film industry, setting a precedent for future playback singing.

In the film, TR Mahalingam played the role of Lord Krishna, while TP Rajalakshmi portrayed Yashodha. The movie featured other notable cast members including TR Ramachandran, TS Rajalakshmi, Master Sethuraman as young Krishna, and CVV Panthulu. The film was directed by Keshav Rao Dhaibar, with the storyline penned by AT Krishnaswamy. Cinematography duties were carried out by Pai.

TR Mahalingam, who marked his acting debut as Krishna in Nandakumar, later gained prominence through his lead role in Sri Valli. This film achieved commercial success during the height of World War II. Besides acting, Mahalingam showcased his talents as a singer and music composer, contributing memorable songs to films like Sathi Murali, Baktha Hanuman, Vedhala Ulagam, Mayavathi and more. His creative contributions have predominantly enriched Tamil cinema.

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