The advertisement of the Telugu version of the film
|Directed by||K. Vembu|
|Produced by||K. V. Koshi
|Written by||Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai|
|Starring||Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair
B. S. Saroja
|Music by||V. Dakshinamoorthy|
|Cinematography||P. B. Mani|
|Editing by||S. Williams|
|Running time||170 minutes|
Jeevitha Nouka (English: The Boat of Life) is a 1951 Malayalam film directed by K. Vembu and jointly produced by K. V. Koshi and Kunchako. It was the first "super hit film" in Malayalam cinema, with a theatrical run of 284 days. Made at a budget of 5 lakhs, the film did extremely well at the box office that very few films could surpass it later. It was simultaneously shot in Tamil and Telugu, and was dubbed and released in Hindi. The film portrayed the life of simple folk in a small village in Kerala. It stars Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair and B. S. Saroja in the lead roles with the latter on her debut and the former on his first major role. Its music is composed by V. Dakshinamoorthy and popular playback singer Mehboob debuted through this film. It is a remake of the Hindi film Jeevan Nayya with revised screenplay.
Soman (Thikkurissi) is brought up by his elder brother Raju (Sebastian Kunjukunju Bhagavathar) and his shrewish wife Janu (Pankajavalli). Soman is in love with Lakshmi (B. S. Saroja), the daughter of a poor village performer Kaniyan (Adhimoolam) who belongs to a lower caste. Raju, employed by the zamindar (Nanukuttan) and Janu resent the inter-caste marriage between Soman and Lakshmi.
Lakshmi gives birth to a son and in the meanwhile Soman goes to the city in search of job. Lakshmi who is left behind in the village faces harassment at the hands of the villagers. In the city, Soman is hit by a car driven by a rich young woman who takes him home and also employs him as the manager of her estate. Janu starts receiving Soman’s letters and remittances which start arriving. Janu does this by impersonating Lakshmi with the connivance of her brother Shanku (S.P.Pillai).
Meanwhile Lakshmi leaves the village in search of Soman. During her wanderings Lakshmi sees her husband with a woman and suspects him of being disloyal. The young woman is none other than his employer. Lakshmi tries to kill her child and commit suicide but what saves her is the instinct of motherhood. Lakshmi gets together a band of beggars and organises a home for them. She uses her talent as an actress and collects funds for the home by staging plays. Back in the village life turns its tables on Raju and Janu, while her brother Shanku is killed. The real culprits, the zamindar’s advocate and his group of people mislead the police implicating Soman in the murder. During one her plays, Lakshmi recognises her husband who is about to be arrested on the trumped up charge. Explanations follow and Soman is absolved of the false charge and the couple are reunited. Raju is helped out by Soman. Janu who has now become a beggar is recognised by Lakshmi. Regardless of what has happened in the past, Lakshmi takes Janu home. And all ends well.
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