Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||P. Madhavan|
|Produced by||Shanthi Narayanaswamy|
|Story by||J. Mahendran|
K. R. Vijaya
|Music by||M. S. Viswanathan|
|Cinematography||P. N. Sundaram|
|Edited by||R. Devarajan|
Thanga Pathakkam (transl. Gold medal) is a 1974 Tamil-language action drama film, directed by P. Madhavan and written by J. Mahendran. Based on the play of the same name, the film stars Sivaji Ganesan, K. R. Vijaya, Sreekanth and Prameela in the lead roles, while Major Sundarrajan and Cho Ramaswamy play supporting roles. It focuses on a disciplined Superintendent of Police who is dedicated to his job, while his son, on the contrary, is rebellious by nature and grows to resent his father. Ganesan reprises his role from the play.
Thanga Pathakkam was released on 1 June 1974. The film was a commercial success, running for over 175 days in theatres, and thereby becoming a silver jubilee film. It was remade in Telugu as Kondaveeti Simham (1981), and served as an inspiration for the Kannada film Kadamba (2004) and the Hindi film Shakti (1982).
Choudhry is a dedicated Superintendent of Police, caring husband and a respected man in the community. Being a policeman, however, makes him a strong disciplinarian, even at home. Because of Choudhry's dedication to his job, his son Jagan grows up more under the care of his mother Lakshmi than under his father. As Jagan grows up he becomes more and more rebellious. He begins to play truant, gamble and lie to his parents. Choudhry's attempts to discipline him only result in Jagan resenting him.
Adapted from credits:
- Sivaji Ganesan as S. P. Choudhry
- K. R. Vijaya as Lakshmi
- Sreekanth as Jagan
- Prameela as Vimala
- V. K. Ramasamy as Gopalsamy
- Major Sundarrajan as Mayandi
- R. S. Manohar as Manimangalam Moiner
- Cho as Sundaram and Vaiyapuri
- Suruli Rajan as Soodamani
- Manorama as Muthammal
- Pushpamala as Karuppaiee
- V. R. Thilakam as Savithiri
- S. R. Janaki
- K. Vijayan as Palanivel
- Poornam Vishwanathan (guest appearance)
Irandil Ondru was a play written by J. Mahendran for actor Senthamarai. While naming the male lead character, a Superintendent of Police, Mahendran could not find any convincing name in Tamil; he found the Bengali name "Choudhry" convincing, and decided to give the character that name. After seeing the play, Sivaji Ganesan bought the rights and staged the play again with some changes under the title Thanga Pathakkam, starring as Choudhry. This play, which was inaugurated in 1972, was directed by S. A. Kannan. It became a huge success, being staged more than 100 times. Ganesan's company Sivaji Productions decided to adapt it into a film with the same title, with P. Madhavan directing. Ganesan's daughter Shanthi Narayanaswamy produced the film along with T. Manohar. Mahendran wrote the film's dialogues and was also credited for the original story. Ganesan reprised his role from the play as Choudhry, K. R. Vijaya was cast as his wife Lakshmi, reprising the role originally played by Sivakami while Sreekanth was cast as Choudhry's son Jagan, reprising the role originally played by Rajapandian. Cho Ramaswamy was cast in the comic role of a politician named Vaiyapuri. Mahendran did not write any dialogue for the scene where Lakshmi dies, instead he "visually depict[ed] the sorrow of a widower, which was very challenging. But Sivaji managed it in a single take." Cinematography was handled by P. N. Sundaram, and editing by R. Devarajan.
According to Ganesan, Thanga Pathakkam is not about a man killing his son to receive a gold medal, but a police officer's commitment to his post. In his view, the story elucidates the code of conduct for police officers and how they should perform their duties; the character upholds justice, so the title "Thanga Pathakkam" (meaning gold medal) actually personifies this dutiful police officer. Within the film, Cho's character calls the policy Annaism (introduced in 1973 by politician M. G. Ramachandran, described by him as "a blend of the fine aspects of Gandhism, communism and capitalism") as "Appaism" (Anna meaning elder brother and Appa meaning father), as a means of ridiculing the policy which was known for being very radical.
The music was composed by M. S. Viswanathan, with lyrics by Kannadasan. The song "Thatti Sellum" is set in the Carnatic raga known as Valaji, and "Sumaithangi Saaithal" is set in Harikambhoji.
|1.||"Sothanai Mel Sothanai"||Kannadasan||T. M. Soundararajan||3:54|
|2.||"Thatti Sellum"||Kannadasan||Vani Jairam, Sai Baba||4:49|
|3.||"Nallathoru Kudumbam"||Kannadasan||T. M. Soundararajan, P. Susheela||4:04|
|4.||"Sumaithangi Saaithal"||Kannadasan||T. M. Soundararajan||3:37|
Release and reception
Thanga Pathakkam was released on 1 June 1974. F. C. Arul, the then Inspector General of Tamil Nadu, made all possible arrangements to exhibit the film in 16 mm in all police stations throughout Tamil Nadu. On 30 June 1974, the Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan appreciated the film and mentioned that Ganesan showed how a police officer should behave and live through his fantastic acting, and added that the film was a gold medal for Ganesan. Thanga Pathakkam was a commercial success, running for over 175 days in theatres, thereby becoming a silver jubilee film.
Thanga Pathakkam was dubbed in Telugu as Bangaru Pathakkam in 1976, and was remade in the same language as Kondaveeti Simham (1981). It served as an inspiration for the Kannada film Kadamba (2004), and the Hindi film Shakti (1982). According to Rediff's N. Sathiya Moorthy, Ganesan's characterisation of Choudhry "became a role model for aspiring young police officers". The characterisation of the role became a benchmark in such a way that many later Tamil films would often refer to Choudhry when mentioning an "honest and upright officer".
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