Victoria No. 203 was one of the superhit films of 1972. Directed by ace filmmaker Brijmohan Sadanah, the action-comedy film featured Bollywood’s A-listers like Ashok Kumar, Pran and Saira Banu to name a few. The film was about diamond smuggling and theft and was well received by the audience. But did you know that this Hindi film was remade in two other languages?
Like every other hit film like Seetha Aur Geetha, which was remade in Tamil as Vani Rani and in Telugu as Ganga Manga, Victoria No. 203 also saw remakes in these two languages. The Telugu version, Andaru Dongle, was directed by VB Rajendra Prasad. It was put in the limelight by Sobhan Babu, a close friend of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. It also starred Yaragudipadi Venkata Mahalakshmi, aka, Lakshmi and SV Ranga Rao in pivotal roles.
However, it was the Tamil remake Vairam (1974) that became the talk of the town. Recently the film completed 49 years. It starred Jayalalithaa and her friend Jaishankar. RS Manohar played the role of the villain in the film.
RS Manohar’s character Senthilnathan is a rich businessman and is respected by everyone. However, he is a smuggler and sends a man to steal diamonds worth several lakhs. However, the man became greedy and ran away with the precious jewel. The gang leader sends his henchmen to kill the traitor. But the diamond goes missing. An innocent driver ends up behind bars while his daughter, Rani, played by Jayalalithaa, tries to save him.
The audience appreciated TM Ramanna’s Vairam as it created a thrilling atmosphere as the diamonds are found till the last moment. The actors also received a lot of appreciation from the audience. His performance as Jayalalithaa’s character required Jaishankar to transform himself into a man to play a lover, a distraught son who feels betrayed as his father is the leader of a gang in diamond smuggling and he has actually been adopted.
Victoria No. 203 was also remade in Kannada as Giddu Dada, in Malayalam as Samarabham and in Bengali as Chor Chor Mastuto Bhai. It was remade in Hindi with the same name in 2007.