Theatrical-release poster of the Tamil version
Chandralekha (also spelt Chandraleka) is a 1948 Indian historical adventure film directed and produced by S. S. Vasan. Starring T. R. Rajakumari, M. K. Radha and Ranjan in the lead roles, the film follows two brothers (Veerasimhan and Sasankan) who fight over ruling their father's kingdom and marrying the village dancer, Chandralekha.
Its development began during the early 1940s when, after two successive box-office hits, Vasan announced that his next film would be entitled Chandralekha. However, when the producer launched an advertising campaign for the film he only had the name of the heroine from a Gemini Studios storyline he had rejected. Veppathur Kittoo (one of Vasan's storyboard artists) developed a story based on a chapter of George W. M. Reynolds' novel, Robert Macaire: or, The French bandit in England. Original director T. G. Raghavachari left the film more than halfway through because of disagreements with Vasan, who took over in his directorial debut.
Originally made in Tamil and later in Hindi, Chandralekha spent five years in production (1943–1948). It underwent a number of scripting and cast changes, and was the most-expensive film made in India at the time. Vasan mortgaged all his property and sold his jewellery to complete the film, whose cinematographers were Kamal Ghosh and K. Ramnoth. The music, largely inspired by Indian and Western classical music, was composed by S. Rajeswara Rao and M. D. Parthasarathy with lyrics by Papanasam Sivan and Kothamangalam Subbu. Read more...