M. G. Ramachandran (Character Name :Vijayakumar, a commander)
T. S. Balaiah
M. N. Nambiar
V. N. Janaki
Music : S.M.Subbiah Naidu
Story by A.S.A.Sami
Produced by Jupiter Films
Direction by Lanka Sathyam
Mohini, produced by the noted motion picture house of yesteryear Jupiter Pictures at Coimbatore, was an amalgam of William Shakespeare’s lesser-known play, “Two Gentlemen of Verona”, and the popular Arabian Nights’ tale “The Magic Horse”. It was written by professor-turned-writer-director, A. S. A. Sami, an expert at adapting literary classics into Tamil screenplays. The dialogue was penned by S. D. Sundaram. As Sami was too busy with many projects, Lanka Sathyam, a Telugu film actor and director, hardly remembered today, was chosen to direct the film. He had earlier directed two Tamil films Shanbhagavalli and Lakshmi Vijayam.
Mohini had an impressive cast — V. N. Janaki, Madhuri Devi, T. S. Balaiah, M. G. Ramachandran, Pulimoottai Ramaswami, M. N. Nambiar and R. Balasubramaniam. Interestingly, MGR had only a supporting role (his name appeared second in the credits, next to T. S. Balaiah as ‘M. G. Ramachandar’, that was how he spelt his name during early 1940s to be different from the then popular T. R. Ramachandran). Balaiah played the male lead and Madhuri Devi, his lady-love.
Mohini earned a footnote in the history of Tamil cinema as the first picture in which MGR and Janaki were cast as the romantic pair. They had acted earlier in M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar’s come-back film (which sadly left him behind) Raja Mukthi, but they were not paired in the film.
However, the roots of MGR’s social activism as do-gooder and champion of the under-dog were seen in this film. In a forest-scene, he rushes to rescue a family travelling in a bullock-cart from being robbed by a gang (a not yet known M. M. A. Chinnappa Thevar as the main robber, a minor role!). MGR also did sword-fighting scenes for which he was already gaining a reputation.
After Lanka Sathyam had made some progress, the Jupiter bosses were not happy with the results. Besides, the scenes with the flying horse needed ‘trick’ photography and technical know-how, which Sathyam did not obviously possess. K. Ramnoth, the sadly neglected movie maestro, then working for Jupiter Pictures, took over and shot the scenes of the flying horse. When the picture was completed, he insisted that only Sathyam’s name should appear in the credits. That was Ramnoth.
Mohini was well received and it was in this movie the real life romance between Janaki and MGR blossomed, leading to their marriage later.
After the demise of MGR when Janaki was the Chief Minister for a few weeks, Mohini was re-edited bestowing more importance on the MGR-VNJ pair, as part of the State election-image-building strategy by the Janaki-headed party. But it did not work.
Remembered for: the first film of MGR-Janaki as romantic pair and the ‘flying horse’ scenes!
Courtsey : Hindu
Released On: 26-10-1948
Ran for 133 days