- Status Released
- Release date 17 Oct 1952
- Running time 3h 8m
- Genres Drama
Chandrasekaran, Gnanasekaran and Gunasekaran are three Indian immigrant brothers living in Rangoon, Burma with Chandrasekaran's wife Saraswati. Their younger sister Kalyani was raised in their home town Madurai, Tamil Nadu by their father Manickampillai. In 1942, during World War II, the three brothers and Saraswati plan to visit Madurai to attend the impending wedding of Kalyani to a writer named Thangappan. Due to war conditions and bombardment of Burmese ports by Japan, the shipping company offers only one ticket; Gunasekaran, the youngest brother, takes it and leaves for Tamil Nadu. The ship fails to reach on time due to the dangers of the war, and Kalyani's marriage takes place without any of her brothers present.
Kalyani becomes pregnant. But on the day she delivers her child, Thangappan dies in an accident and Manickampillai dies of shock, leaving Kalyani and her child destitute. Her house gets auctioned off, and she makes her living by selling food on the streets. Gunasekaran, after being stranded at sea for several months, finally arrives in Tamil Nadu at Madras. However, while watching a dance performance, he is robbed of all his belongings after being intoxicated. Impoverished, he becomes enraged at the status of the once glorious Tamil Nadu, and fakes insanity by indulging in numerous tricks to make a living. Gunasekaran finally comes across his destitute sister at Madurai, having learned of their father's death and her poverty. He continues to play insane and does not reveal his true identity to her due to his poverty, but hovers around her. Kalyani is irritated by the stranger's behaviour, unaware that he is her brother.
Kalyani is nearly molested by a vagabond named Venu, but is saved by Gunasekaran. She later leaves Madurai and arrives at Tiruchi, where she obtains work as a maid of blackmarketeer Narayana Pillai, who also tries to molest her. She is saved by his wife, and leaves the job. While searching for his sister, Gunasekaran reaches Tiruchi and comes across Vimala, a wealthy woman, to whom he explains the miserable status of him and his sister in the society. After resting in her house for a while, he silently leaves to continue searching for Kalyani.
As Japanese shelling intensifies in Burma, Chandrasekaran and Gnanasekaran decide to return to India. Chandrasekaran, accompanied by Saraswati, reaches Tiruchi safely and becomes a judge, but Gnanasekaran is lost in the journey and loses a leg in the shelling before arriving in India. He begs for a living, forms an association for beggars and tries to reform them. Kalyani reaches Chandrasekaran's palatial house seeking food, but Chandrasekaran throws her out without recognising her. She later arrives at a temple seeking help, but the pujari also tries to molest her. Frustrated with life and unable to feed her child, Kalyani throws it into a river and attempts suicide, but is soon arrested for killing the child and brought for trial.
At the court, Kalyani defends her act of infanticide with the judge being Chandrasekaran, who after hearing her story realises she is his sister, and faints. Gunasekaran is also brought to the court for having attacked the pujari who tried to molest his sister. During his trial, Gunasekaran explains the misfortunes which have befallen him and his family, and justifies his actions. Gunasekaran's valiant defence in the court awakens everyone on the ills of the society. As the trial proceeds, Vimala arrives and produces Kalyani's child, which was revealed to have safely fallen in her boat instead of the river. Kalyani and Gunasekaran are pardoned and acquitted by the court, and reunite with Chandrasekaran. Gnanasekaran, while collecting donations for his association of beggars, also joins them unexpectedly. With Vimala and Gunasekaran deciding to get married, the family subsequently inaugurates a welfare home for orphans.
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