Server Sundaram (English: Waiter Sundaram) is a 1964 Indian Tamil comedy movie directed and co-produced by Krishnan-Panju with A. V. Meiyappan. The film stars Nagesh as the titular character. R. Muthuraman and K. R. Vijaya play the other lead roles while S. N. Lakshmi and Major Sundarrajan play supporting roles. The story focuses on the life of a hotel waiter and how he strives to reach greater heights after he becomes an actor to attain the love of his restaurateur’s daughter.
Sundaram (Nagesh), a poor man, comes to Madras with aspirations of becoming a film actor. However, he ends up getting a job in a restaurant called Greenlands Hotel as a waiter. While catering for a group of people who go on an excursion to Mahabalipuram, he meets Radha (K. R. Vijaya), the daughter of his restaurateur, Chakravarthy (Major Sundarrajan). He misinterprets her friendly nature as love and falls in love with her. In the meantime, Sundaram happens to meet his friend Raghavan (R. Muthuraman), an influential businessman, in the restaurant. During their subsequent meetings, Sundaram tells Raghavan about his ambition to become an actor as well as about his love for Radha, without mentioning her name. Raghavan genuinely believes that the girl reciprocates Sundaram’s feelings and motivates Sundaram to express his love.
When Raghavan is about to leave his house for a marriage proposal, Sundaram comes there and describes the girl he was talking about to Raghavan. Raghavan realises that Radha, whom he intends to marry, is the same girl Sundaram is in love with. Raghavan, believing that Radha loves Sundaram, decides to help Sundaram attain his love and get a chance to act in films, which he does successfully. Sundaram becomes a star after his debut film Appavi Kanavan (English: Innocent Husband) becomes a hit and believes that his stardom and popularity will help him in attaining his love. When Radha comes to Sundaram’s house to congratulate him, he introduces her to Raghavan, who is present at that time. As Sundaram goes to prepare snacks for the two, Radha asks Raghavan why he did not show up for the marriage proposal. Raghavan states that he thought Radha loved Sundaram. Shocked, Radha informs Raghavan that she likes Sundaram for his innocence, although she does not love him. Raghavan is pleasantly surprised, but to ensure that Sundaram’s film career does not suffer from discovering the truth, he asks Radha to keep it a secret.
Sundaram’s mother (S. N. Lakshmi) is pleased with her son’s popularity but misses his presence due to Sundaram’s busy acting career. She expresses to Sundaram her desire that she should die in his arms. When Raghavan believes that Sundaram will gradually forget Radha so that he and Radha can get married, he finds out that Sundaram’s love for Radha has grown stronger. Raghavan then informs Radha that she should marry Sundaram, as Raghavan doesn’t want to backstab his friend. Radha instead decides to personally express her feelings to Sundaram. When Sundaram expresses his love to Radha, she tells him that she never imagined that he would assume her friendly affection towards him as love and that Raghavan is her fiancé. Sundaram, shattered on losing his love, is also happy on hearing that Raghavan would marry her and congratulates Raghavan.
While Sundaram is busy shooting for the climax scene of a film, his mother falls down the footsteps of her home and is badly wounded. Sundaram’s manager, Manickam (S. Ramarao) tries to convey the news to Sundaram, but is blocked by the studio authorities who inform him that the director has instructed them not to allow anyone into the studio. After finishing his shot, Sundaram hears of the news about his mother and rushes home to find out that she is no more. At last realising the happiness he enjoyed as a waiter, Sundaram dons his hotel uniform again. He explains to Raghavan that the waiter’s job is permanent, while the actor’s was only temporary.
Directed by Krishnan-Panju
Produced by Krishnan-Panju & A. V. Meiyappan
Written by K. Balachander
Based on Server Sundaram by K. Balachander
Starring Nagesh, R. Muthuraman, K. R. Vijaya
Music by Viswanathan–Ramamoorthy
Cinematography S. Maruthi Rao
Edited by S. Panjabi & R. Vittal
Production AVM Productions
Release dates 11 December 1964
Running time 158 minutes