Marmayogi poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byK. Ramnoth
Screenplay byA. S. A. Sami
Produced byM. Somasundaram
StarringM. G. Ramachandar
Anjali Devi
Madhuri Devi
CinematographyM. Masthan
W. R. Subba Rao
Edited byM. A. Thirumugam
Music byC. R. Subbaraman
S. M. Subbaiah Naidu
Release date
  • 2 February 1951 (1951-02-02)
Running time
175 minutes
  • Tamil
  • Hindi

Marmayogi (transl. The Mysterious Sage) is a 1951 Indian Tamil-language swashbuckler film directed by K. Ramnoth and produced by M. Somasundaram. An adaptation of the novel Vengeance by Marie Corelli and William Shakespeare's play Macbeth, the film was shot simultaneously in Hindi as Ek Tha Raja (transl. Once There Was A King). It stars M. G. Ramachandar, Anjali Devi and Madhuri Devi, with S. V. Sahasranamam, Serukalathur Sama (playing the title role), N. Seetharaman, S. A. Natarajan, M. N. Nambiar and M. Pandari Bai in supporting roles.

Development of the film began after the success of Rajakumari (1947), when Ramachandran approached writer A. S. A. Sami to write a script which revolves around him. Sami wrote a script inspired by Vengeance, Macbeth, and Robin Hood. S. M. Subbaiah Naidu and C. R. Subbaraman composed all the songs in the soundtrack album. M. Masthan and W. R. Subbarao handled the film's cinematography. The film was edited by M. A. Thirumugam.

Marmayogi was released on 2 February 1951. It became a commercial success and established Ramachandran's image as a star. It was the first Tamil film to receive an A certificate (adults only) from the Central Board of Film Certification.


Urvasi, is the young mistress of a king. With the help of her own lover, she pushes the king off a boat and usurps his powers. Urvasi appoints herself as the new queen regnant, and the kingdom experiences a reign of terror. The palace where the two princes of the kingdom live is burnt. The queen assumes all powers and kills all potential opponents, including her lover. A sage comes to the kingdom with his son and a girl, and joins the queen as her adviser. Years roll by. The sage's son Veerangan is appointed Army Commander. At the same time, in the countryside, Karikalan functions as de facto leader of the people, helps them in various ways and fights the queen's misrule. When he becomes a big threat to the queen, she orders his capture. Veerangan sends Kala, the girl raised by the sage as a spy, to Karikalan, but she falls in love with him.

Karikalan gets periodic instructions from the Goddess on what needs to be done and he follows the same. The queen gets scared by a ghost which appears regularly and warns her of the impending punishment she deserves for her misdeeds. Kala and Karikalan's followers are captured by the army. Karikalan personally leads their rescue mission. In prison, he gets instructions from the goddess to capture the queen also. He rescues his people, captures the queen and brings her to his hideout. When the ghost appears there, she confesses her crime of killing the king. When she is about to be executed, Veerangan's army enters and captures everyone. Veerangan also finds out that the sage (also called Marmayogi) is his father, and he has been giving information to Karikalan secretly. Hence he also gets arrested for being a traitor.

The queen returns to her throne and orders the execution of the sage, Karikalan and others. When Karikalan is about to be killed, the sage reveals the truth about the king and informs Veerangan that Karikalan is his elder brother. When Veerangan demands to know where the king is, the sage removes his disguise. To the surprise of everyone, he reveals that he is the deposed king and narrates what happened. Though the queen and her lover attempted to kill him, he escaped under the water using his yogic skills, taking his sons and the army commander's daughter Kala with him. He returned to his kingdom in the disguise of a sage with his younger son Veeranganan and Kala and left Karikalan in the forest. Shocked to see the dead king return, the queen dies. The king announce that his children Karikalan and Veerangan are now the rulers.



After the success of Rajakumari (1947), M. G. Ramachandran approached writer A. S. A. Sami to write a script which would revolve around him. Samy wrote a script inspired by Vengeance by Marie Corelli, Shakespeare's theatrical play Macbeth and Robin Hood.[1][2] Makers initially considered naming the film Karikalan but later changed it to Marmayogi to avoid it being confused with a historical film.[1] Ramachandran's last name was credited as "Ramachandar".[3] P. Bhanumathi was originally signed for the role of villanous Urvasi, but later she was replaced by Anjali Devi.[2] Serukulathur Sama, Sahasranamam and S. A. Natarajan were selected to portray supporting roles. M. N. Nambiar portrayed a positive character of Ramachandran's assistant. M. Masthan and W. R. Subbarao handled the film's cinematography. The film was edited by M. A. Thirumugam.

Ramachandran's sword fight sequence with Sahasranamam was shot outdoors with Ramachandran practising for the scene for 3 to 4 days and refused to use a body double. Director Ramnath changed the climax from the original screenplay. After the film was completed, many felt that ending was not convincing and Ramnath reshot the climax which was accepted by audience.[2]

Themes and influences

The film's plot was inspired by Vengeance by Marie Corelli and Shakespeare's play Macbeth.[1][4] The film drew inspiration from the Russian film Ivan The Terrible (1944) and the scene where Karikalan enters the courtroom was inspired by the film Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). The scene where Ramachandran fights with a sword with Sahasranamam by riding a horse is inspired from The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses.[2]


The music was composed by S. M. Subbaiah Naidu and C. R. Subburaman. According to page 88 of G. Dhananjayan's 2014 book Pride of Tamil Cinema, only two songs were written for the film: "Kazhuthailiye Irandu Vitham" and "Thillalangadi Thillalangadi".[2] Page 89 of the same book contradicts this, stating that the film had at least five songs, including "Azhagana Penn Maanai Paar", "Desam Pora Pokka Partha, Pesa Kooda Nalla Illae", "Inbam Iravil Amaidhiyile", "Kannin Karumaniye Kalavathi" and "Vetri Sangai Oothuvom".[5] Lyrics written by K. D. Santhanam and Kannadasan.

S. No. Song Title Singers Lyrics Duration
1 "Azhagaana Penn Maanai Paar" Jikki 03:03
2 "Dhesam Pora Pokka Paartthaa"
3 "Ah... Inbam Iravil Amaidhiyile" T. V. Rathnam K. D. Santhanam 03:23
4 "Kannin Karumaniye Kalaavathi" Thiruchi Loganathan & K. V. Janaki Kannadasan 02:05
5 "Vetri Sangai Oodhuvom" 02:00
6 "Manathukisaindha Raajaa" T. V. Rathnam 02:52
7 "Kazhuthailiye Irandu Vitham" K. R. Chellamuthu & A. V. Saraswathi 04:03
8 "Thillalangadi Thillalangadi" 01:15
9 "Vandha Vazhi Marandhene" K. V. Janaki Kannadasan 02:34


Marmayogi was released on 2 February 1951,[6] delayed from 14 January.[7] The film was given an A certificate (adults only) by the censor board because it featured a ghost (Ramachandran's character posing as one), making it the first Tamil film to receive this rating.[8][9]

Other versions

Marmayogi was simultaneously made in Hindi as Ek Tha Raja in 1951 with the same cast.[10] Jupiter Pictures remade the film in Telugu with the same name in 1964.[11]


The film's commercial success established Ramachandran's image as a star.[1] His dialogue "Naan kuri vaithaal thavara maatten! Thavarumey aanaal kuri vaikka maatten" (I will not miss if I aim! I will not aim if I were to miss) became popular.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d Guy, Randor (16 March 2008). "Marmayogi 1951". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 8 December 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e Dhananjayan 2014, p. 88.
  3. ^ "ஈ.வெ.கி. சம்பத்தும் திராவிட இயக்கமும் -28". Dinamani (in Tamil). 19 February 2012. Archived from the original on 23 June 2022. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  4. ^ Radhakrishnan, Sruthi (23 April 2018). "400 years later, Shakespeare still remains relevant in Indian cinema". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 4 December 2018. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  5. ^ Dhananjayan 2014, p. 89.
  6. ^ "Marmayogi". The Indian Express. 2 February 1951. p. 1. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  7. ^ "மர்மயோகி". Kalki (in Tamil). 14 January 1951. p. 1. Retrieved 12 October 2022.
  8. ^ Guy 2016, p. 220.
  9. ^ Sri Kantha, Sachi (24 February 2014). "MGR Remembered – Part 15". Ilankai Tamil Sangam. Archived from the original on 19 February 2020. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  10. ^ Ek Tha Raja (song book). Central Studios. 1951. Archived from the original on 3 August 2020. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  11. ^ "Bahubali inspired by Marmayogi?". Deccan Chronicle. 6 May 2014. Archived from the original on 17 February 2018. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  12. ^ Kannan, R (23 June 2017). "Behind the MGR seduction, an image as carefully scripted as his films". Archived from the original on 1 April 2019. Retrieved 17 February 2018.