Samsaram Adhu Minsaram
Samsaram Adhu Minsaram (transl. Family life is like electricity) is a 1986 Indian Tamil-language drama film produced by AVM Productions, and written and directed by Visu. He also stars as part of an ensemble cast including Lakshmi, Chandrasekhar, Kishmu, Raghuvaran, Delhi Ganesh, Ilavarasi, Manorama, Madhuri, Kamala Kamesh, Dilip and Haja Sheriff. The film revolves around the splintering of a joint family, and the efforts made by the patriarch's eldest daughter-in-law to reunite them.
|Samsaram Adhu Minsaram|
|Produced by||M. Saravanan|
|Music by||Sankar Ganesh|
|Edited by||A. Paul Duraisingam|
The story of Samsaram Adhu Minsaram was inspired by Visu's play Uravukku Kai Koduppom, which had already been adapted into a 1975 film. Despite the failure of that film, producer M. Saravanan liked the story, so it was reinvented into Samsaram Adhu Minsaram. The film was made on a shoestring budget, and the whole crew worked for 35 days.
Samsaram Adhu Minsaram released on 18 July 1986. The film received critical acclaim and ran for 25 weeks in theatres, thereby becoming a silver jubilee film. It won the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment (the first Tamil film to do so), the Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Film and the Cinema Express Award for Best Tamil Film. The film was remade in Hindi as Sansar (1987), in Telugu as Samsaram Oka Chadarangam (1987), in Kannada as Onde Goodina Hakkigalu (1987) and in Malayalam as Kudumbapuranam (1988).
Ammaiyappan Mudaliar, a government clerk, lives with his wife Godavari, sons Chidambaram, Siva and Bharathi, daughter Sarojini and Chidambaram's wife Uma. Ammaiyappan struggles to manage the needs of his joint family with his meagre income, his elder sons supplement it by contributing to the family kitty. He plans to get Sarojini married and invites the prospective groom's family for a prenuptial meeting.
The conceited Sarojini insults the guests, and declares her plan to marry her colleague Peter Fernandez. Though the entire family initially opposes her decision to marry Peter as he is a Christian, they ultimately agree. Ammaiyappan meets and apologises to the prospective groom's father whose son Sarojini had rejected. Impressed with Ammaiyappan and his family, he offers to get his daughter Vasantha married to Siva. Both weddings take place.
Vasantha struggles to adjust to the new environment. She gets little privacy to be with Siva as Bharathi, who keeps failing his final school examination, seeks her help for tutoring and is always around her. Unable to cope, she returns to her father, only to be sent back. Sarojini too returns after a fight with Peter as she prioritises socialising over domestic responsibilities. Uma, pregnant with her first child, goes to her maternal home for delivering the child.
Chidambaram reduces his monthly contribution to the family kitty, citing Uma's absence. An argument erupts between him and Ammaiyappan. Upset with Chidambaram's tightfistedness, Ammaiyappan orders him to leave the house. In turn, Chidambaram demands the money he had spent for Sarojini's wedding and says he will not leave until his money is returned. Ammaiyappan draws a line and orders that no-one from either side should cross it or communicate with members of the other side. All adhere to his order. The only person with access to both sides is the maidservant Kannamma.
Uma returns with the child and is shocked with the developments at home. She is sad to see Sarojini back and an unhappy Vasantha. Uma takes the help of Peter's father Albert and Kannamma to reunite Sarojini and Peter, and advises Siva to take Vasantha on a sojourn to rejuvenate his relationship with his wife. Though the problems are sorted out, Uma is upset that her brothers-in-law are abiding by their father's order and not talking to her. Kannamma cajoles Ammaiyappan not to be very adamant and forgive his son.
Chidambaram, meanwhile, ends up spending more money for his family after the separation than what he spent when they were together with his father. So he reconsiders his decision to live separately and decides to reunite with his father. However, Uma disagrees as once the bonding is broken for the sake of money, it cannot be fixed again for the sake of money and any bonding should be based on unconditional love. She recommends living separately but on talking terms, celebrating weekends and festivals as the best way to live peacefully, for which her husband agrees.
- Lakshmi as Uma
- Chandrasekhar as Siva
- Kishmu as Albert Fernandes
- Raghuvaran as Chidambaran
- Delhi Ganesh as Vasantha's father
- Ilavarasi as Sarojini
- Manorama as Kannamma
- Madhuri as Vasantha
- Kamala Kamesh as Godavari
- Dilip as Peter Fernandes
- Haja Sheriff as Bharathi
- Visu as Ammaiyappan Mudaliar
After writing Nallavanukku Nallavan (1984) for AVM Productions, Visu told M. Saravanan of AVM his wish that they finance his next film. Saravanan agreed, and stipulated that Visu work exclusively on that film till completion. Visu narrated some stories, but Saravanan was not pleased with any of them; he wanted a "neat family story", similar to Visu's earlier films like Kudumbam Oru Kadambam (1981). Visu narrated the story that would later be titled Samsaram Adhu Minsaram, and an impressed Saravanan asked why he had not done so before. He replied that the story was derived from his play Uravukku Kai Koduppom, which had already been adapted into a 1975 film produced by K. S. Gopalakrishnan that was not successful. However, since Saravanan liked the story, he said they could reinvent it, and bought the story from Gopalakrishnan.
The character of the maidservant Kannamma, played by Manorama, was created specifically for the film by Visu, at Saravanan's insistence; Visu was initially reluctant, feeling the comical character would dilute the story. When it came to titling the film, Visu came up with roughly twelve titles and asked Saravanan which one he liked. Saravanan chose Samsaram Adhu Minsaram, because he felt it was filled with "freshness". The film was made on a shoestring budget of ₹1.5 million (equivalent to ₹16 million or US$230,000 in 2019) and the whole crew worked for 35 days and exposed 34,000 feet (10,000 m) of film. Cinematography was handled by N. Balakrishnan, and editing by A. Paul Duraisingham. It was filmed using ORWOcolor, to reduce production costs.
Visu has stated that Samsaram Adhu Minsaram was inspired by his own upbringing in a joint family, saying that by growing up in such an environment, he "observed how each person had a difference of opinion. It wasn't bad; just that we were different. I wondered, ‘Wouldn't other joint families have similar issues?’ So I started writing scripts that reflect the day-to-day scenario in a joint family" such as this. The children of Ammaiyappan Mudaliar are named after historical figures, primarily those involved in fighting for India's independence from the British Raj such as Chidambaran (V. O. Chidambaram Pillai), Siva (Subramaniya Siva), Sarojini (Sarojini Naidu) and Bharathi (Subramania Bharati). According to S. Srivatsan of The Hindu, the characters of Samsaram Adhu Minsaram "deliver a larger point on familial values without romanticising the social conditions in which they live". He also felt that, despite the main plot being about the conflict between Ammaiyappan Mudaliar and Chidambaram, Uma is the "nucleus" of the film and "the rest of the characters are treated as protons and neutrons, orbiting around Uma".
All lyrics are written by Vairamuthu.
|1.||"Janaki Devi"||K. S. Chithra||4:09|
|2.||"Azhagiya Anni"||P. Jayachandran, P. Susheela||4:04|
|3.||"Samsaram Adhu Minsaram"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam|
|4.||"Katti Karumbe Kanna"||Vani Jairam||4:59|
|5.||"Oora Therinjukitten"||Malaysia Vasudevan||3:56|
Release and receptionEdit
Samsaram Adhu Minsaram was released on 18 July 1986, and received critical acclaim. Ananda Vikatan, in its review dated 27 July 1986, said Visu had moved into his domain of middle class family issues based films and brought out an excellent film, calling it a tasty food from AVM. The film ran for 25 weeks in theatres, becoming a silver jubilee hit, and distributors received profits worth 10 times the buying price. M. G. Ramachandran, then the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, was chief guest for the silver jubilee function. Samsaram Adhu Minsaram was the first Tamil film to win the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment; it also won the Filmfare Award for Best Film – Tamil and the Cinema Express Award for Best Film – Tamil.
Samsaram Adhu Minsaram was remade in Hindi as Sansar (1987), in Telugu as Samsaram Oka Chadarangam (1987), in Kannada as Onde Goodina Hakkigalu (1987) and in Malayalam as Kudumbapuranam (1988).
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