Nenjil Or Aalayam (English: A Temple in the Heart) is a 1962 Indian Tamil-language romantic-drama film, written and directed by C. V. Sridhar, who produced it under the banner of Chitralaya Pictures. The film features Kalyan Kumar, Devika and R. Muthuraman in the lead roles. Nagesh, Manorama and Kutty Padmini also play supporting roles. The original soundtrack album and background score were composed by Viswanathan–Ramamoorthy, while the lyrics for the songs were written by Kannadasan.
The film revolves around a young woman named Seetha, her husband Venu and Dr. Murali, who was Seetha’s lover. Due to his tenure overseas, Seetha’s parents force her to marry another person. A few years later, Venu contracts cancer and Seetha brings him to Chennai to meet a cancer specialist who, to her dismay, is revealed to be Murali. Realising that something is worrying Seetha, Venu gives her the freedom to marry Murali after his death. The remainder of the film shows how Murali sacrifices his love for the sake of the couple’s happiness and cures Venu.
Nenjil Or Aalayam was released on 26 January 1962, coinciding with Republic Day in India. The film received positive critical feedback and went on to become a commercial success. The songs “Sonnathu Neethaana” and “Engirundhaalum Vaazhga” remain popular today among the Tamil diaspora. The film won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil and the President’s Award for Sridhar at the 10th National Film Awards. It also won the Cinema Express Award for Best Film.
Murali (Kalyan Kumar) goes abroad to pursue higher studies in medicine. During his tenure overseas, his girlfriend Seetha (Devika) is forced by her parents to marry another person. Devastated upon hearing the news, Murali swears a vow of lifelong celibacy and devotes himself to saving people suffering from cancer. A few years later, Venu (R. Muthuraman) happens to be critically ill with cancer and has to be operated upon. The treatment for Venu progresses well until Murali meets Venu’s wife, who is revealed to be Seetha. When Seetha learns that the doctor treating Venu is Murali, whom she had left, she becomes upset.
Though Murali does his best to cure Venu, Seetha is worried that Murali might take revenge on her by not providing proper treatment to Venu, who in the meantime, learms of Murali and Seetha’s love. Venu requests Murali to marry Seetha in case the operation is unsuccessful as he does not wish for his wife to become a widow. Seetha becomes infuriated when she discovers Venu’s request and tells Murali that if Venu dies, she would die as well. Murali promises Seetha that he will save Venu even if he has to risk his own life on the line.
Murali works hard to save Venu so as not to create a misconception that he killed Venu to be with Seetha. With great difficulty, Murali manages to successfully cure Venu’s cancer. However, when Murali reads the results of the operation, he becomes so overjoyed at its success that he unexpectedly dies of high blood pressure due to his over-excitement. Venu and Seetha realise that Murali had sacrificed his life for their happiness and remains in their hearts.
Woven into the story is a sub-plot following a girl (Kutty Padmini), who is in the same hospital Murali works in, and undergoes treatment for the same disease that Venu contracted. However, her fate is contrary.
Directed by C. V. Sridhar
Produced by C. V. Sridhar
Written by C. V. Sridhar
Starring Kalyan Kumar, Devika, R. Muthuraman
Music by Viswanathan–Ramamoorthy
Cinematography A. Vincent
Edited by N. M. Shankar
Production Chitralaya Pictures
Distributed by Chitralaya Pictures
Release dates 26 January 1962
Running time 152–164 minutes