Ratha Kanneer (Eng: Blood Tears) is a 1954 Indian Tamil drama film directed by R. Krishnan and S. Panju. The screenplay was written by Tiruvarur K. Thangaraj, and the film features M. R. Radha in the lead role. Ratha Kanneer was produced by Perumal Mudaliar of National Pictures. The story revolves around Mohanasundaram, a returned-from-abroad, westernized, rich man who shows arrogance and contempt towards anything part of Indian culture and anyone below his social standards. The film was an adaptation of stage play of same name which also starred MR Radha. The film was released on 6 November 1954 and it became a greatest hit in M. R. Radha’s career. It was later remade as Raktha Kanneeru in 2003 in Kannada language starring Upendra and Ramya Krishna in the lead roles.
The film starts with Balu (S. S. Rajendran) giving a speech and narrating the story before an audience gathered around a man’s statue.
Mohanasundaram (M. R. Radha) is a philanderer, chain-smoker and drunkard. He does not respect elders, or people below his social standards. He is ruthless and even beats his own mother (S. R. Janaki). Immediately after his return to India, he is married to Chandra (Sriranjani), a cultured, well-mannered, conservative Indian village girl. But he develops an affair with Kantha (M. N. Rajam), a prostitute. His best friend Balu tries to advise him and mend his ways but Mohan turns a deaf ear. Mohan even failed to attend his own mother’s post-death formalities as he wanted to attend the birthday function of Kantha’s mother. Mohan loses his mind over Kantha, even surrenders all his riches to her and also loses every loved one in his life. When he lost the last of his riches and close ones, he gets struck down by leprosy. His life then turns upside down. With no money left for the treatment of his disease, he is totally ignored and despised by Kantha and her associates. She even locks him up in a room and treats him like an untouchable.
In a few days, Kantha throws him out of her house and Mohan loses his eyesight soon after. As a poor leper, he wanders the streets to beg for food. In this last stage of his life, he learns the value of life itself and how to respect others. He feels remorseful for the way he treated his wife, mother and everyone else around him. He meets Chandra, his wife, who now lives a scarce life. Both do not recognize each other, as he is blind and she gets to see only his disfigured, leprosy-stricken face. He also meets his old best friend, Balu. The trio finally recognize each other. Mohan also learns through Balu about Kantha’s death in an air crash. Mohan marries Chandra to Balu, in the hope that the still-virgin Chandra can now only be loved and cared for by a better man than Mohan himself. He also speaks his parting words and requests a leper’s statue to be risen in his likeness, as a threatening example to philanderers like himself.
In the final scene, Balu finishes his narration in front of Mohan’s statue (as seen in the beginning) and breaks into a song about righteousness and values of life.
Directed by Krishnan-Panju
Produced by Perumal Mudaliyar
Written by Tiruvarur K. Thangaraj
Starring M. R. Radha, S. S. Rajendran, M. N. Rajam, Sriranjani, J. P. Chandrababu, S. R. Janaki
Music by C. S. Jayaraman
Cinematography R. R. Chandran
Edited by S. Panjabi
Production National Pictures
Release date 6 November 1954
Running time 151 minutes