Parthiban Kanavu (English: Parthiban's Dream) is a 1960 Black-and-white Historical fiction multilingual directed by D. Yoganand. The film starred Vyjayanthimala, Gemini Ganesan and S. V. Ranga Rao in the lead with Ragini, S. V. Subbiah, Kumari Kamala, T. S. Balaiah, P. S. Veerappa and S. A. Ashokan forms an ensemble cast.
The film was based on 1942 Historical novel Parthiban Kanavu written by Kalki Krishnamurthy. The film also had actor K. Balaji in special appearance and actress B. Saroja Devi as extra.
Parthiban Kanavu was produced in three language, Tamil, Telugu and Sinhala by V. Govindarajan with his Jubilee Films. Upon release the film was well received by critics where it won Best Feature Film in Tamil at the 8th National Film Awards. With its huge budget, the film failed to perform well at box office where it ended as box office bomb.
In 2011, the movie was in controversy along with Veerapandiya Kattabomman and Thillaanaa Mohanambal for its historical inaccuracies.
7th century AD. Parthiban, the Chola King, dies in battle leaving incomplete his desire to be free from the yoke of the Pallavas. His son Vikraman (Gemini Ganesh) is determined to fulfill his father's dream. He is arrested by the Pallava king, Narasimhavarman and exiled to an island where he is chosen the king. Though he has banished him, Narasimhavarman in fact cares a great deal about Vikraman as the latter loves his daughter Kundhavi (Vyjayanthimala). Vikraman returns to the mainland to see his mother and is attacked by robbers. Narasimhavaraman, in the guise of a sage and who has been helping Vikraman constantly rescues him. Vikraman weds Kundhavi and rules over the independent Chola Kingdom thus fulfilling his father's dream.Vyjayanthimala as Princess Kundhavi
Gemini Ganesan as Vikraman
S. V. Ranga Rao as Maamalar (Narasimhavarman I)
Ragini as Valli
S. V. Subbaiah as Ponnan
Kumari Kamala as Sivakami
T. S. Balaiah as Marappa Bhupathi
P. S. Veerappa as Gapala Bhairavan
S. A. Ashokan as Parthiban
K. Malathi as Arulmozhi
Javar Seetharaman as Siruthondar
Radhabai as Thiruvenkada Nangai
Special appearances:B. Saroja Devi as Kamali, Princess Kundhavi's thozhi
K. Balaji as Mahendran (Mahendravarman II)
Producer: V. Govindarajan
Production Company: Jubilee Films
Director: D. Yoganand
Lyrics: Kannadasan, Vindhan & A. Maruthakasi
Story: Kalki Krishnamurthy
Screenplay: D. Yoganand
Art Direction: Maniam
Editing: V. B. Natarajan & 'Pazhani' R. Rajan
Choreography: G. Ellappa & Muthusami Pillai
Cinematography: K. S. Selvaraj
Stunt: Shyam Sundar
Audiography: Mukul Bose
The film was many years in the making, where actress B. Saroja Devi who appeared as the heroine Vyjayanthimala's companion in some scenes began disappeared later. While the production was halted for many years, meanwhile, actress B. Saroja Devi had become a star and was no longer available for small roles. Later, her name appeared in the credits as guest appearance. The film was produced in three language, Tamil, Telugu and Sinhala. Maniyam who was an associate of Kalki Krishnamurthy was chosen as the art director who brings the historical characters alive.
The film's soundtrack was composed by Vedha with the lyrics penned by Kannadasan, Vindhan and A. Maruthakasi. The album had A. M. Rajah, P. Susheela, M. L. Vasanthakumari, K. Jamuna Rani and P. Leela as the singers.
The song Pazhagum Thamizhe which was a duet filmed on Vyjayanthimala and Gemini Ganesan And the Other Two Duets like IdhayaVaanin and Kannale Naan Kanda Kaname also Became Very Popular and are Remembered to this day By Music Lovers.
Despite the excellent star cast and good direction by D. Yoganand, the film did not fare well at box office.
The movie generally received positive review among critics for the direction of D. Yoganand and the impressive performance by the star cast, Gemini Ganesan, Vyjayanthimala and S. V. Ranga Rao. On the other hand, the reveal of the yogi's identity in the beginning of the film was criticized as it did not hold the suspense among the audience which was the plus point of the novel. Unfortunately The Disguise That Was Described In The Original Novel By The Author 'Kalki' Of The Pallava King Was Not Enough To Keep The a suspense Of The Two Main Characters Essayed By The Famous Actor Sri S.V.Ranga Rao. This Was A Huge Factor In The Commercial Failure Of A Good Movie. The lead pair Vyjayanthimala and Gemini Ganesan proved to be an Attractive pair and their scenes with Excellent Songs sustained interest in the cinema. The success of the lead pair continued through another film, Then Nilavu in the 1960. Randor Guy from The Hindu had conclude that the film is "remembered for the glamour of Vyjayanthimala, the winsome lead pair, exquisite sets and pleasing music".National Film Awards
8th National Film Awards - Best Feature Film in Tamil for D. Yoganand and K. M. Govindarajan.
While analyzing the 2011 Tamil science fiction thriller film 7aum Arivu where it was compared with other Tamil films about history and folklore which had been historically inaccurate like Veerapandiya Kattabomman and Parthiban Kanavu itself. The Tamil film historian S. Theodore Baskaran had quoted that, "The crew of Parthiban Kanavu — a film on the Pallava dynasty — did not even visit Mahabalipuram ruled by the Pallavas" while criticizing the film makers that "They do not even do basic research".