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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Dedicated to my dear father...S RAMANATHAN

Mr. S RAMANATHAN was a prominent Malay Film Director in the early 1950s. He worked under the famous producers, the Shaw Brothers of Hong Kong. He directed 18 Malay films in eight years from 1950 to 1957.

Born on the 15th December, 1919 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Mr. Ramanathan was educated in the Victoria Institution, KL up to Junior Cambridge and later in  St. Joseph’s College, Colombo.
KEMBAR was the first Malay Film directed by Mr. Ramanathan in 1950. He introduced MARIAM as the heroine and M. AMIN as the hero. MARIAM played the double role of the twin sisters (KEMBAR) and she rose to stardom later in the Malay film industry. KEMBAR was noted for the MASK photography, and split frame technique and Mr. Ramanathan gave credit to his cinematographer, KOH JEE SOON for these special effects which were new in the Malay filmdom.
KEMBAR was completed in 21 days at the cost of Malaysian Ringgit 64000 and all these happened in 1950, 64 years ago…

PANGGILAN PULAU was released in 1954. When the production cost and duration of schedules went up to high levels, RUN RUN SHAW called Mr. Ramanathan and admonished him as the cost had rose to nearly $117000 and asked if he were to close his studio. This admonition made Mr. Ramanathan take a challenge and his next two films, KECHEWA and JASA were made simultaneously with the same set of artists and technicians in both the films and thereby he reduced the cost as well as the shooting schedules considerably. This earned him the appreciation of the SHAW BROTHERS.

Mr. RAMANATHAN’s last MALAY film was BELANTARA made in 1957. NORMADIAH played the role of a female Tarzan living in the jungle with her father and an elephant and a python for company. Then the hero enters from the outside world, played by NORDIN AHMED. Music is by P RAMLEE.

IBU was a great hit with the film goers and P RAMLEE plays the hero as a trumpeter. Rosnani plays the heroine. Mr. Ramanathan has played a noticeable role as TONY SAMSON, the kind hearted manager who employs the hero as a trumpeter in his band.

The eighteen films made by Mr. RAMANATHAN in 8 years are:

KEMBAR (Twin sisters) in 1950 Mariam & M Amin

JUWITA in 1951 P Ramlee & Kasma Booty

SEDARAH in 1952 P Ramlee & Rosnani  

IBU in 1953 P Ramlee & Rosnani  


KIPAS HIKMAT (The Magic Hat) in 1955 Yusof Latiff

CHEMBURU in 1953 Yusof Latiff, Rosnani & Mariam

KECHEWA in 1954

JASA in 1954


BERNODA in 1955


JIWA LARA in 1952

BERDOSA in 1951


MANUSIA in 1951

SANGSARA in 1953


Mr. Ramanathan was also a playwright and freelance writer. He had written many plays in TAMIL for All India Radio, Chennai(then known as MADRAS), in the 70s and 80s. He was also an auditioned actor in All India Radio. He had also acted in hundreds of radio plays in Radio Malaysia and Singapore in the 50s.

Mr. Ramanathan was a versatile actor on stage too. His played the role of Macduff in Macbeth in the British council with the Madras Players. Mr. P C Ramakrishna played Macbeth and it was interesting to watch the sword fight between the two characters on stage in the BC Auditorium.

Mr. Ramanathan's acting was appreciated in Harold Pinter's OLD TIMES in the British Council. He donned the main role of Deeley while he was supported by Ms Bhageerathi and Ms Vishalam in pivotal roles.

My father Mr. Ramanathan was born on the 15th December, 1919 and lived upto the 7th of May,1999. I dedicate this post to his memory on the occasion of his 95th birth anniversary...There is more and more to write about him and I shall do it in the coming days...

More about Mr. Ramanathan, his work as an actor and director and playwright and many photographs are @ https://www.facebook.com/pages/S-Ramanathan-1919-1999/336162279900517

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