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Initial release
November 15, 1963

K. S. Sabarinathan


K. S. Gopalakrishnan

Running time
2h 45m


Karpagam movie poster
Certificate of Merit for Second Best Feature Film in Tamil

Gemini Ganesan
K. R. Vijaya
R. Muthuraman
M. R. Radha

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Karpagam (தமிழ்: கற்பகம்) is a 1963 Tamil Family - Drama was directed and produced by K. S. Gopalakrishnan. The film script were written by K. S. Gopalakrishnan. Music by Viswanathan-Ramamoorthy assets to the soundtrack. The film starring Gemini Ganesan, Savithri, R. Muthuraman K.R. Vijaya and Sheela.


The film depicts the life of a young girl, Karpagam (played by K.R. Vijaya) and shows tragedies, difficulties, and love. It is also the first film in which Vaali had written all the songs, which turned out to be a big break for the lyricist. The film was released on 15 November 1963. Amar Jothi Movies produced the film. The film was a box office hit. From the profit the producer made from this film, he built and named a studio, Karpagam Studio.

The film was remade in Hindi as Rishtey Naatey (1965) and in Malayalam as Vishukkani (1977).


Nalla Thambi(S. V. Ranga Rao) is a rich farmer and lives in the village Pillaiyarpatti with his children Rajangam(R. Muthuraman) and Karpagam(K. R. Vijaya). Rajangam is married to a sophisticated lady Pankajam(Sheela) daughter of Thandavam(M. R. Radha); Karpagam is married to Sundaram(Gemini Ganesan), a hardworking poor farmer from the same village. karpagam and sundaram continue to live with Nalla thambi at his request to take care of the households and the farm.

Rajangam is blessed with a baby girl Meenakshi, but her parents neglect her. Karpagam, who is childless, take care of the child and Meenakshi starts considering Karpagam and Sundaram as her parents. Unhappy to see ho Rajangam is squandering money, Thambi hands over the administration of his properties to Sundaram. Pankajam, who has ignored her child in her formative years, is annoyed with this development and at the instigation of her father, forces Rajangam to send a legal notice to his father, asking for property settlement. Thandavam creates problem's in Rajangam's family by brainwashing and misleading Pankajam and Rajangam, who blindly follow his advice.

When Meenakshi(Baby shakila) is taken away by Rajangam, Karpagam goes into depression. Finally, Rajangam sends her back and KArpagam becomes happy. While saving Meenakshi from being attacked by a Bull, Karpagam gets killed by it. Meenakshi refuses to return to her parents and opts to stay with Nalla Thambi and Sundaram. Nalla Thambi forcibly gets his Son-in-law married to his friend's(Chittoor V. Nagaiah) daughter Amudha(Savitri), who was a friend of Karpagam, so that the child will have a mother. Sundaram and Meenakshi do not accept Amudha. Sundaram lives in the memory of his deceased wife Karpagam, roaming around like a sage. Amudha longs for the love and attention of both Sundaram and Meenakshi. Sadness prevails at home. Meanwhile, the estranged son Rajangam and Thandavam conspire to swindle Nalla Thambi. Thandavam, frustrated with his failure to swindle the wealth of Nalla Thambi's family, decides to eliminate Sundaram and sends goons to attack him. Both Nalla Thambi and Amudha come and save him. In the process, Amudha gets stabbed when a goon tries to attack Sundaram. When she is almost dying, Meenakshi sings her favorite song and Amudha is saved. Sundaram realises Amudha's love for Meenakshi. The family uintes, Thandavam is arrested and Rajangam and his wife repent for their mistakes.


  • Gemini Ganesan as Sundaram
  • K. R. Vijaya as Karpagam
  • Savitri as Amutha
  • R. Muthuraman as Rajangam
  • Sheela as Pankajam
  • S. V. Ranga Rao as Nalla Thambi
  • M. R. Radha as Thandavam
  • Chittoor V. Nagaiah as Amutha's Father
  • Baby Shakila as Meenakshi
  • Manorama
  • S. V. Sahasranamam
  • V. K. Ramasamy
  • Productions

    Gemini Ganesan was the reason for the introducing of K. R. Vijaya to director K. S. Gopalakrishnan. K. R. Vijaya, who was that time called Deivanayagi given a dance performance at island Grounds in which Governor Cherian and Gemini Ganesan were the chief guests. They took a photograph together, which Gemini had shown to KSG, who was looking for a new heroine for this film. KSG liked her and thus she became the heroine of the film. With the success of this film, Vijaya was established as a leading heroine and appeared in several film; such was her powerful role. The trick shots by cameraman M. Karnan was another highlight of the film. His Guru, W. R. Subbha Rao, was delighted to see the good work and asked how he created the shots of Spirits Karpagam coming to the world and talking to her husband.


    Music by Viswanathan-Ramamoorthy and lyrics were written by Vaali. The film was the first film for which Vaali wrote all the songs. Til then, he used to write a few songs with Kannadasan. The film's super success earned him fame as a lyric writer, for which he hosted a party. This was the only film in which all playback songs were sung by only one singer P. Suseela.

    Critical appreciation

    Most media appreciated the acting of S. V. Ranga Rao, K. R. Vijaya and the Child Shakila. It was their acting which made Karpagam intense and interesting. This family tearjerker, moved the women audience and made it a must watch for them, on how to live. Ananda Vikatan in its review(08-12-1963) appreciated the film and mentioned, "The fine acting of S. V. Ranga Rao is the highlight of the film. K. R. Vijaya is looking good and also acted well. The child who acted as Meenakshi was outstanding. The only weakness is, the film is stretched like rubber in the Second half..."


  • The film won National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil - Certificate of Merit for the Second Best Feature Film in 1964.
  • Rashtrapati Award - S. V. Ranga Rao
  • References

    Karpagam Wikipedia
    Karpagam Karpagam IMDb

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