Padagotti (Eng: Coxswain) is a 1964 Tamil language movie starring M. G. Ramachandran in the lead role. The film was written by Sakthi T. K. Krishnasamy. The film was received well and ran for more than 100 days. This movie was taken in Eastman Color.
Manickam (M. G. Ramachandran) is the leader of a small fishing community named Thirukaai Meenavargal. In the same area, Alaiyappan (S. V. Ramadoss) is the leader of an opposing fishing community named Sura Meenavargal.
The enmity between the two groups goes way beyond competition. While Manickam is honest, compassionate and principled, his counterpart, Alaiyappan, is exactly the opposite, driven mainly by greed. Manickam’s father main wish is to end the dispute between the two groups, and he persuades them to be friends. However the Sura Meenavargal refuse, and beat him to death. Manickam promises to fulfill his father’s wish, and works hard to end the dispute.
The person responsible for fuelling this enmity between the two groups is the man who stands to gain the most from it all – The village zamindar Yajaman (M. N. Nambiar). Alaiyappan’s blind allegiance is to the Zamindar.
Manickam soon falls in love with Alaiyappan’s daughter Muthazhagi (Saroja Devi), and she shows the same. However, their romance is strongly disapproved of by their communities.When Manickam again goes to Sura Meenavargal to seek peace, he is beaten up to his apparent death. Because of this, his men nearly kill Alaiyappan, who is then saved by a mysterious old man. Thankful to the old man, Alaiyappan allows him to stay with for the night at his home. Muthazhagi later realises the old man is actually Manickam in disguise, but keeps it a secret from everyone.
One day, it is a boat race between the two communities. But Manickam (still in disguise) chooses to go with Sura Meenavargal, and they eventually win the race. However, his fake beard falls down after the race, and everyone recognises him as Manickam. The Thirukaai Meenavargal, enraged for his betrayal, force him to leave Muthazhagi.
When Alaiyappan suddenly goes bankrupt, the zamindar agrees to help him, but wants to be married to Muthazhagi in return. Alaiyappan, initially hesitant, later agrees but Muthazhagi is not ready. She is kept custody at the zamindar’s mansion and is unable to escape, even Manickam (in a new disguise) is unable to save her. But the zamindar’s wife (Jayanthi) secretly helps Muthazhagi out of the mansion. In doing so, she is killed by the zamindar. He begins to chase Muthazhagi, but is cornered by Manickam and a fight ensues between the duo. Shortly later, the local police arrive and arrest the zamindar because he murdered his wife. With both the communities finally reconciling, Alaiyappan agrees for Muthazhagi and Manickam to be married.
Directed by T. Prakash Rao
Produced by G. N. Velumani
Written by Sakthi T. K. Krishnasamy
Starring M. G. Ramachandran, B. Saroja Devi, M. N. Nambiar, Manorama, Nagesh
Music by Viswanathan Ramamoorthy
Production Saravana Films
Distributed by Mr. Nageswara Rao
Release dates 3 November 1964