FILM

‘Saraswathi Sabatham’ – A Review


‘Saraswathi Sabatham’ was released in the year 1966. It was produced and directed the famous, A. P. Nagarajan. He was known for his movies based on mythology and history. The movie, ‘Thiruvilayadal’ was another memorable one by him. K. V. Mahadevan had rendered the music for this wonderful movie. The movie had a heavy star-cast – Shivaji Ganesan, Gemini Ganesan, Savitri, Padmini, Devika, K. R. Vijaya, Manorama, Nagaiah, and Nagesh. 

The movie is based on ‘Vakkum Vakkum’, a script by Pudhumai Pithan. It focusses on a contest between the Goddesses Saraswathi, Lakshmi, and Parvathi. Shivaji Ganesan comes in as Sage Narada and triggers a contest between the consorts of the holy trinity. This leads to the three goddesses empowering three individuals in Bhoolokha. Eventually the audience is made to understand that all the attributes present in the people should be found in equal measure.

‘Saraswathi Sabatham’ is also a musically marvelous one. The 7 songs were rendered by T. M. Soundararajan and P. Susheela, interestingly every song was rendered by one of them individually. The songs ‘Agara Mudhala’, ‘Kalviya Selvama Veerama’ (T. M. Soundararajan), and ‘Komaadha Yengal Kula Maadha (P. Susheela) were instant hits. The song, ‘Komadha’ runs for more than 7 minutes and the actress, Savitri, who had donned the role of Saraswathi was at her best while doing this song. 

The Music director, K. V. Mahadevan has given fantabulous compositions. Now, let us look at the plot. The three Goddesses Lakshmi, Saraswathi and Parvathi are said to endow wealth, knowledge and valor. Any wise person would understand that it is impossible to leave one of these attributes. However, man has tried to unsuccessfully live with one of them. Therefore, the story uses the three deities in order to create a balance in the minds of the people.

A contest among Saraswathi (Savithri), Lakshmi (Devika), and Parvathi (Padmini) is created by sage Narada (Shivaji). The three of them move over to Bhoolokha and begin to seriously make a change in the lives of a few people. Goddess Saraswathi makes the dumb Vidyapathi (Shivaji) into an intelligent person, Goddess Lakshmi turns the beggar Selvaambigai (K. R. Vijaya) into a Queen, and timid Veeravallan (Gemini Ganesan) is made a General by Goddess Parvati. The three of them live in Selvapuram and get to interact with each other. Veeravallan becomes the General of Selvapuram, and Vidyapathi becomes the head poet. Veeravallan puts Vidyapathi and Selvaambigai into the prison and declares himself as the ruler of Selvapuram. He orders the execution of Selvaambigai and Vidyapathi.

It was finally left to the holy trinity – Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva – to settle the dispute by explaining the importance of knowledge, wealth, and strength combined. They also make everyone understand that it is dangerous if each of the attributes are bestowed on human beings separately. Finally, the three Goddesses reconcile, and this leads to Vidyapathi, Selvaambigai, and Veeravallan, the combined importance of wealth, knowledge, and valor. 

The movie was released at a time when the agnostic Dravidian movement was at its peak. Yet, the God loving Tamil audience welcomed a series of such movies with full gusto. Divine Tamil has existed from time immemorial and movies like ‘Saraswathi Sabatham’ added to its wealth. 

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