'Kalayum Kaminiyum' is very much a typical film of the 60s. The screenplay, though interesting is very flawed leaving several plot holes. The editing is quite messy in places. In the first half, it moves at a sluggish pace but in most of the second half, it jumps from scene to scene at a rapid pace that actually ended up confusing me. Even though it is a very melodramatic, the background score is extremely intrusive. Songs are very nice but excessive and really stretch screenplay (it's a long film). Characterisation also suffers. The Thikkurishi character at times seems evil and at times seems kind-hearted. Even Shanthi's character suffers due to poor writing. Geetha (Shanthi) loves Ravi (Prem Nazir), an artist and renowned playwright. Geetha is the only daughter of his uncle (Thikkurissi). But Ravi is in love with his classmate Usha (Ragini). As time goes by Ravi make a name for himself as a playwright. He marries Usha whichleaves Geetha heartbroken. But she does not reveal the reasons for her emotional setback.
The gossip mongering servant Panki (Adoor Pankajam) spins stories and spreads rumours about Ravi and Geetha. This upsets Ravi's peaceful family life. Usha starts suspecting her husband. Panki makes Usha believe that Ravi loves Geetha more than her. Ravi even goes to the extent of persuading Geetha to marry. But Geetha is adamant that she will not marry.
Prompted by one of his friends, Ravi decides to send an entry to a national level drama competition. The actress who was supposed to play the female lead falls ill just before the competition. Geetha offers help Ravi by agreeing to play this role, this despite her father's opposition.
Geetha's father dies while she is in Delhi for the competition. Ravi once again requests her to reconsider her decision about marriage. This conversation between Ravi and Geetha is misrepresnted by Panki. And Usha is made to believe that Ravi is going to marry Geetha. In a fit of jealousy and fury, Usha decides to take revenge. She takes Geetha on a car drive. Ravi follows them in another car. He meets with an accident and is hospitalised.
That is when news arrives that Ravi's play is adjudged winner. But even before he finds out about his win Ravi breathes his last.
The film ends with a message that mutual trust is the foundation of happy married life; suspicion can only help ruin peace and happiness in the family, resulting in tragedy.
A few scenes have been brilliantly shot. Performances are great too, especially the two leading ladies. Though one might say that Shanthi is loud and tends to go overboard, I thought she played the character with complete ease and did nothing short of a fine job. Ragini does an equally wonderful job. One of the other things that stand out is the contrast director P.Subrahmanyam shows between these two characters. One is that of a wealthy, calm, gentle and helpful lady and the other a poor but cheerful energetic young lass. Prem Nazir does well in most parts but sometimes he seems to have difficulty with his emotional expressions. However, he conveys Ravi's guilt with gusto. So what really do stand out are the performances and the nice songs (but they're too much). I'd recommend it to fans of the actors. As for P.Subrahmanyam, his unforgettable 'Padatha Painkili' stands on a much higher pedestal than 'Kalayum Kaminiyum'.
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