Late director S. Balachander’s name is often associated with films inspired by Hollywood’s noir classics. Many of his movies were detective fiction and mysteries. One of such films directed by him was Bommai. The idea for this film was borrowed from Alfred Hitchcock’s directorial Sabotage. Bommai was released in 1964 and completed 58 years after its release on September 25.
Bommai’s storyline revolved around the story of businessman Somasundaram. His partner and other employees try to kill him by concealing a bomb inside a doll. In an interesting turn of events, the doll comes back to the people who planned to kill Somasundaram. Eventually, they get killed in the end and Somasundaram is saved. Balachander essayed the titular role in Bommai.
Apart from Balachander, V S Raghavan, C. Lakshmi Rajyam and others also enacted pivotal characters in Bommai. Renowned singer K.J. Yesudas made his debut in Tamil cinema with Bommai’s song Neeyum Bommai Nanum Bommai. This number was later used in the film Moodar Koodam as well.
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Balachander made some changes to the storyline of the film Sabotage. He wanted to make the film suitable for a local audience. In Sabotage, the main character was a baby doll, which is used by terrorists to plant a bomb. They give this doll to a boy who travels via bus unaware of its content. Sadly, the bomb explodes inside the bus and all passengers are killed. Balachander made a change here and introduced a walking baby doll. He also changed the story in which hero Somasundaram emerges as the saviour.
To search for this walking doll, Balachander had to struggle a lot. He even went to the United States of America for this but eventually bought it from Parry’s Corner, George Town. Reportedly, an interesting fact associated with this film is that it was completed in 1963 and censored. However, it was released in 1964. There were many reasons for the delay. Balachander faced trouble marketing Bommai due to lesser-known actors. Despite the difficulties, Bommai received roaring success at the box office.