Bhakta Kuchela (1961 film)

Bhakta Kuchela , dubbed into Hindi as Krishna Bhakta Sudama is a 1961 Malayalam mythological film, directed by P. Subramaniam, based on the Tamil film of the same name, which itself is based on the story of the friendship of the Hindu god Krishna with a poor Brahmin named Kuchela a.k.a. Sudama. The film was an unusual collaboration between a Malayalam producer and an array of Telugu and Tamil film stars. The key roles were handled by Telugu actors. The success of this film encouraged Malayalam producers to invite Telugu and Tamil stars, noted for their mythological roles, to act in their films of similar themes.[1][2]

Bhakta Kuchela
Bhakta Kuchela.jpg
C. S. R. Anjaneyalu as Kuchela in Bhakta Kuchela
Directed byP. Subramaniam
Produced byP. Subramaniam
Screenplay byNagavally R. S. Kurup
Story byBased on Srimad Bhagavatam
StarringC. S. R. Anjaneyulu
Tadepalli Lakshmi Kanta Rao
Miss Kumari
Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair
Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair
Baby Vinodini
Aranmula Ponnamma
T. K. Balachandran
Ambika Sukumaran
Music byBrother Lakshmanan
CinematographyN. S. Mani
Edited byK. D. George
Merryland Studios
Distributed byNeela Productions
Release date
  • 15 November 1961 (1961-11-15)
Running time
170 minutes
Budget 15 lakhs


It tells about sage Sandipani's hermitage where Krishna and Kuchela are students and close friends. The difference in social status, caste or creed does not come in the way of their friendship. After leaving the hermitage, they lose contact with each other. Krishna becomes the king of Dwaraka, while Kuchela struggles to make ends meet with a huge family. His worship of Krishna causes enmity with the king Sisupala. As requested by his wife Suseela, Kuchela decides to visit his old friend. For him it was more a chance to renew their friendship than to ask for assistance. Kuchela gets a warm welcome at Dwaraka, but forgets to ask what he actually wanted. To his astonishment, Krishna sends him back empty-handed. But when Kuchela returns home, he finds that his modest hut has miraculously been turned into a palace. The Lord had showered prosperity on his family even without him asking for it.



The music was composed by Brother Lakshmanan and lyrics were written by Thirunayinarkurichi Madhavan Nair, the usual songmakers of Merryland films then.

No. Song Singers Lyrics Length (m:ss)
1 "Achyutham Kesavam" Kamukara Purushothaman Traditional
2 "Are Duraachaara" (Bit) P. Leela
3 "Eeshwarachintha" Kamukara Purushothaman
4 "He Dwaaraka" Kamukara Purushothaman
5 "Kanivu Nirayum" P. Leela, A. P. Komala
6 "Kanivu Nirayum" A. P. Komala
7 "Kanna Thaamarakanna" A. P. Komala
8 "Kannil Urakkam Kuranju" (Karunayaarnna) A. P. Komala
9 "Kazhiyuvaan" (Jeevannu Nilayundo) A. P. Komala
10 "Krishna Mukunda Vanamaali" (Madhuramaay) Chorus, Jikki
11 "Maanasa Vedana" Jikki
12 "Maayaamaadhava" P. Leela, Kamukara Purushothaman, Chorus
13 "Madhu Pakarenam" P. Leela, Soolamangalam Rajalakshmi
14 "Marapporulaay Maranjavane" Kamukara Purushothaman, Chorus
15 "Minnum Ponnin" P. Leela, Kamukara Purushothaman
16 "Nale Nale" Kamukara Purushothaman 3:51
17 "Nandagopan Thapamirunnu" Kamukara Purushothaman, Chorus, C. S. Radhadevi
18 "Nin Thirumalaradi" Kamukara Purushothaman, Chorus
19 "Orthaalente Daaridryam" Kamukara Purushothaman Traditional
20 "Paaril Aarum Kandaal Viraykkume" P. Leela, Soolamangalam Rajalakshmi
21 "Paimpaal Tharum" P. Leela, Kamukara Purushothaman
22 "Poovaalippenninu" Kamukara Purushothaman, Chorus, C. S. Radhadevi
23 "Vikrama Raajendra" P. Leela, Soolamangalam Rajalakshmi
24 "Vikrama Rajendra" (JK) Jikki, A. P. Komala 7:17


This film was released on 9 November 1961. It was a huge success across Kerala. An advertisement technique adopted for this film was distribution of small packets of 'avil' (beaten rice) along with the notices of the film. The film ran to packed theatres for many weeks in all centres.

Another attraction of the film was the brilliant performance of the Telugu singing star C. S. R. Anjaneyulu as Kuchela. CSR, as he was affectionately known, was noted for his mythological roles. His performance in the film has been compared to that of Papanasam Sivan, as Kuchela, in the Tamil hit Bhaktha Kuchela in 1936.

Miss Kumari as Kuchela's wife Suseela virtually made the audience weep. Other Telugu stars, Kantha Rao as Krishna and Kusalakumari as Devaki also did well. Thikkurissi as Kamsa, Kottarakkara as Sisupala, T. K. Balachandran as Narada, Aranmula Ponnamma as Yashoda, Jose Prakash as Nandagopar, Guru Gopinath as Roudra Poothana and Sisters Baby Vilasini as the Child Krishna Baby Vinodini as the baby Krishna were also impressive. Ambika and Shanthi as the consorts of Krishna added star value to the film. Sasikumar, Kaduvakkulam etc. were other actors.

Deviations from BhagavathaEdit

The film included some sequences which one may not find in versions of the Bhagavatha. For example, when Krishna leaves the hermitage after studies the grief-stricken Kuchela runs after Krishna and falls down a mountain peak, but is saved by his friend.


  • The film was a huge financial success.
  • The film inspired Malayalam film producers to go in for big budget mythological movies.
  • On 18 November 1961, Udaya Studios also released their Kuchela story under the title Krishna Kuchela, with Malayalam film stars cast in key roles. But this film, directed by Kunchacko, bombed. Even though the film had Prem Nazir as Krishna, T. S. Muthiah as Kuchela and KPAC Sulochana as Kuchela's wife, it simply failed to attract viewers to the theatres.
  • It has been common in earlier times in video shops that Pornography films were labeled and asked as Bhakta Kuchela.
  • Thirunainar Kurichi Madhavan Nair, the poet and lyricist and Brother Lakshmsnan, the music director were the hit duo of the 1950s and 1960s. They produced innumerable hit songs some of which are popular even today. Unfortunately they are the most underrated people in the Malayalam film world although most of their works are considered classics, "Ishwara Chinta", "Athma Vidhyalayame" are examples, there is no Malayali born before the year 2000 who has not heard these songs.


Bhakta Kuchela had 15 songs penned by Thirunainar Kurichi Madhavan Nair with music composed by Brother Lakshmanan. Most of the songs were based on classical music. The hit solo by Kamukara Purushothaman - "Ishwara Chinthaithonne Manujanu" has stood the test of time, a favourite even today. The other songs like "Naale Naale Ennayittu"' (Purushothaman), "Maya Madhava Gopala" (P. Leela-Kamukara Purushothaman), "Karuna Aarna Deva Gopala"' and "Kanna Thamarakanna" (A. P. Komala) were all super hits.


  1. ^ "Bhakthakuchela". Retrieved 9 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Bhakthakuchela". Archived from the original on 14 October 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2014.

External linksEdit