Shanti Nilayam
Theatrical Poster
Directed byG. S. Mani
Screenplay byChitralaya Gopu[2]
Based onJane Eyre
by Charlotte Brontë
Produced byG. S. Mani
S. S. Vasan
StarringGemini Ganesan
Kanchana
CinematographyMarcus Bartley
Edited byUmanath
Music byM. S. Viswanathan
Production
company
Release date
  • 23 May 1969 (1969-05-23)[1]
Running time
149 minutes
CountryIndia
LanguageTamil

Shanti Nilayam (transl. Peaceful House) is a 1969 Indian Tamil-language film, produced and directed by G. S. Mani. It stars Gemini Ganesan and Kanchana, with Nagesh, Vijaya Lalitha, Pandari Bai, K. Balaji and V. S. Raghavan in supporting roles. The film won the National Film Award for Best Cinematography for Marcus Bartley.[3] The film was successful at the box office. It is a remake of the 1968 Kannada film Bedi Bandavalu which was inspired by the 1847 novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.

Plot

Malathi, after losing her parents, lives with her aunt who tortures and treats her like a servant. One day she is dumped in a waste materials facility and she falls sick. Doctor Vijayan (K. V. Srinivasan), who comes to treat her, sympathises and admits her in a private school-cum-hostel for orphans. Malathi grows up into a young lady (Kanchana) and becomes a teacher in the same school.

Baskar (Gemini Ganesan), a rich estate owner, lives in Shanthi Nilayam with his older brother Sekar's children (four daughters and a son) and is finding it difficult to bring them up as they are very naughty and the hired governess runs away every time. His cousin Ramu (Nagesh) and his mother (Pandari Bai) live in the estate too. Baskar conveys his need to Dr. Vijayan who convinces Malathi to accept the governess job. Initially, the children do not accept Malathi, but her understanding and matured nature soon wins them over. Baskar appreciates her work.

Strange things happen in the house: Pappamma, the servant maid laughs and walks at midnight with a candle, Balu (K. Balaji) visits Baskar regularly for money. Malathi suspects something wrong in the house. She comes to know that one of the children, Geetha (Rama Prabha), an innocent loves Ramu. One night Baskar's coat catches fire and Malathi douses it. She demands to know why Baskar looks like he has lost something, but he does not reply. Balu comes again and Baskar gives him money and tells him that he will not give him any more.

Baskar's family friend, Parvatham (M. S. Sundari Bai) arrives with her husband and daughter Sheela (Vijayalalitha). Parvatham suggests the marriage of Baskar and Sheela and Malathi is upset hearing this. Malathi's aunt, with her daughters Saradha and Sumathi, arrives there after having fallen in their lives. Ramu's mother accepts them and they stay with Malathi. Sheela and her mother treat Malathi and her relatives badly. They spread rumours about Malathi, and Baskar shouts at Malathi to behave properly like an educated person. Malathi feels that even Baskar is treating her like a servant and decides to leave the house. However, Ramu stops her and states the children's needs and she stays back. Baskar understands Malathi's commitment to the family and expresses his love for her. Sheela overhears this and shouts at Malathi for snatching away Baskar. Baskar asks Sheela and her family to leave. The children are happy about Malathi and Baskar uniting. Baskar schedules their wedding for the following Friday. One day, Malathi sees Balu with bloodstains and demands an explanation from Baskar who promises to reveal everything soon.

During the marriage proceeding, Balu arrives and states that Baskar has already married his sister. Baskar accepts and reveals that he indeed married Janaki, a mad woman and explains the circumstances of the marriage. Baskar's father (V. S. Raghavan) in an altercation, hit Singaram (Senthamarai), Balu's father, leading to his death. Balu blackmails Baskar's father to marry his sister to Bhaskar and give a part of the wealth to her. Baskar's father refuses, but Baskar, to save the family's prestige, agrees and marries Janaki, but finds her totally mad. He gives her the best medical treatment, but there is no improvement in Janaki. Pappamma takes care of her. Baskar's brother Sekar was killed in a fire lit by Janaki. Ramu's mother confirms the facts and Malathi is shocked and leaves home. The children cry for her to stay and Kavitha, one of them, follows her. Kavitha falls down unconscious and Malathi stops and returns home along with Dr. Vijayan, who arrives there.

Meanwhile, Balu demands Baskar to transfer the wealth belonging to Janaki to him and threatens to kill him otherwise. Baskar takes him on and beats him. At the same time, Janaki comes out of her room and puts the house on fire. Balu, Janaki and Pappamma die in the fire. Malathi, Ramu and Dr. Vijayan arrive and save everybody. Baskar and Malathi marry.[4]

Cast

Production

Shanthi Nilayam was a remake of the Kannada film Bedi Bandavalu (1968).[4] S. S. Vasan saw the Kannada film and bought the remake rights for it. He assigned Chitralaya Gopu to write the screenplay and dialogues for the Tamil version. Although Vasan liked the screenplay, he felt that the film would not cater to the rural audience. Gopu, in turn, felt that Vasan's doubts would be overcome with Nagesh's comic potential. Vasan's words however proved to be true as the film ran well only in cities and not so much in smaller towns.[4]

Gopu's recommendation of Kanchana for the lead role was agreed to by the film's director Mani.[4] The film was entirely shot at Ooty and art director Mohana Kumari was in charge of erecting the special sets required to shoot the film's scenes.[4] The flying helium balloon in the song "Bhoomiyil Iruppadhu" was one of the highlights. Camera techniques were used in the song to show that the balloon was flying, while in reality it was not.[4]

Influences

According to film historian Randor Guy, Shanti Nilayam, though widely believed to have been adapted from The Sound of Music, was actually based on Charlotte Brontë's novel Jane Eyre.[5]

Songs

The soundtrack was composed by M. S. Viswanathan.[6] S. P. Balasubrahmanyam made his debut in Tamil cinema with this film by singing the song "Iyarkai Ennum",[7] even though Adimai Penn (which he signed after Shanti Nilayam) was released first. Balasubrahmanyam's remuneration for the song was 150 (equivalent to 6,600 or US$88 in 2020).[8]

Track list
No.TitleLyricsSinger(s)Length
1."Iyarkai Ennum"KannadasanS. P. Balasubrahmanyam, P. Susheela3.29
2."Kadavul Orunaal"KannadasanP. Susheela4.33
3."Boomiyil Irupathum Vanathil"KannadasanT. M. Soundararajan3.02
4."Selvangale"KannadasanP. Susheela3.08
5."Pennai Parthum"KannadasanL. R. Eswari3.24
6."Iraivan Varuvaan"KannadasanP. Susheela3.52
Total length:16.96

Reception

Randor Guy wrote in his review that the film would be "Remembered for: the interesting story line, excellent performances, brilliant cinematography and pleasing music."[5]

References

  1. ^ "Shanti Nilayam". The Indian Express. 23 May 1969. p. 12.
  2. ^ Kumar, S. R. Ashok (18 February 2010). "In relaxed mood – 'Chitralaya' Gopu". The Hindu. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  3. ^ Dhananjayan 2014, p. 208.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Dhananjayan 2014, p. 209.
  5. ^ a b Guy, Randor (28 March 2015). "Shanthi Nilayam 1969". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 1 August 2016. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Shanti Nilayam (1969)". Raaga.com. Archived from the original on 13 December 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  7. ^ நவ்ஷத் (6 January 2017). "எஸ்பிபி 50 ஆண்டுகள்: எனக்கு இசைதான் தாய்மொழி'". Hindu Tamil Thisai (in Tamil). Retrieved 14 March 2021.
  8. ^ Gopu, Chitralaya (25 September 2020). "Remembering SPB's maiden song". The Hindu. Retrieved 14 March 2021.

Bibliography