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Aval Appadithan - Avaikkottai

1978 film by C. Rudhraiya
Aval Appadithan
Director: C. Rudhraiya
Produced by C. Rudhraiya
Screenplay by C. Rudhraiya
Vanna Nilavan
history of Ananthu
actor Sripriya
Kamal Haasan
Music of Ilaiyaraaja
cinematography Nallusamy
M. N. Gnanashekaran
  • October 30, 1978 (1978-10-30)
114 minutes
country India
language Tamil

Aval Appadithan (Translated. So it is) is 1978 Indian Tamil language drama film directed by C. Rudhraiya in his directorial debut and written by him with Somasundareshwar. The film was made by Rudhraiya in collaboration with the M.G.R. Government Institute for Film and Television Education. It shows Sripriya, Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth, while Ilaiyaraaja composed the music for the film. The plot revolves around Manju (Sripriya) and the difficulties she faces in her life due to her romantic relationships, which results in her developing an aggressive and cynical nature towards men.

Aval Appadithan was published on October 30, 1978 on Diwali day. Although the film received positive reviews, it was not a box office hit at the time of its release. However, the film began to develop audiences after directors Bharathiraja and Mrinal Sen commented positively on it. The film was known for its stylish filmmaking, scripting, and dialogue, much of it in English.

Aval Appadithan was the first film to be made by a graduate of the M.G.R. Government Institute for Film and Television Education. It won second prize for Best Picture at the Tamil Nadu State Film Awards in 1978, while Nallusamy and M. N. Gnanashekharan won the Best Cinematographer Award. In addition, Sripriya received a special award for Best Actress of 1978. In 2013, CNN News18 named the film to "The 100 Greatest Indian Films of All Time".


Manju grew up in a dysfunctional family that consisted of a shy father and a philandering mother; She races from one disastrous affair to the next, causing her to degenerate into a cynical woman. Two radically different men enter their lives. One of them is her boss Thyagu, who owns the advertising agency she works for. He's a stereotype of the successful man: money minded, wayward, arrogant, and a male chauvinist. In sharp contrast is Arun, who came to Madras from Coimbatore to make a documentary about women. Sensitive and sincere, he believes his job has a purpose and is both shocked and amused by the cynical attitudes of Manju and Thyagu.

Manju was designed by Thyagu to aid Arun in his documentation. As Arun and Manju work together, Arun begins to understand Manju's complex personality. She tells Arun about her unhappy previous relationships: how she was molested by her uncle, how her first relationship in college ended when her lover left her by marrying another woman to find employment, and how her second love, Mano, a Christian son of a priest, used her to satisfy his needs and lusts, and called her "sister" in front of her parents. These incidents have led to their current attitudes toward men. Arun later shares these conversations with Thyagu, who warns him to stay away from such women.

Arun inevitably falls in love with Manju. However, Manju suffers Thyagus anger when he overhears her reprimanding her office staff for commenting on her character. When Thyagu also makes comments on her, she resigns from her job. When he hears about it, Arun asks Thyagu to hire her again. Thyagu just laughs and says she's already back, whereupon Manju appears to have had a change of heart and woos Thyagu. Arun is devastated to see that she turned out to be the exact woman Thyagu earlier said was - opportunistic, money-minded, and moody. When he asks her about her contradicting viewpoints in life, she replies that she is and will be.

The truth finally emerges that Manju only attracted Thyagu to teach him a lesson. When Thyagu begins to believe that Manju has fallen in love with him, he tries to take advantage of her at a party banquet, but she rebukes him and hits him, causing Thyagu to run away in horror. However, this revelation comes too late for her, as Arun, who is disaffected by her behavior, has already married a little town girl. When Manju tells her aunt about trying to humiliate Thyagu and its consequences, her aunt tells Manju that she deserves to leave behind a golden opportunity to start a new life. In a final discussion in Thyagus Auto, Manju Arun's wife asks: "What do you think of the liberation of women?" Arun's wife replies that she doesn't know. Manju cynically replies that she (the woman) is therefore happy. After Manju leaves, the car with Thyagu and the couple drives away from her. A voice over says that Manju died today but will be reborn tomorrow just for the cycle to repeat, and so it is.




C. Rudhraiya, whose former name was Aarumugam, was introduced to Kamal Haasan by the writer Ananthu. The three shared an interest in the works of Robert Bresson, Jean-Luc Godard, Roman Polanski and Roberto Rossellini. Godard and Bresson were part of the French New Wave, which focused on films based on social ideas, some of which were iconoclastic. Rudhraiya, Haasan and Ananthu wanted to experiment with their ideas in Tamil. This was Rudhraiya's first film as a director; He was quite radical in his approach and wanted to change the conventions of Tamil cinema at the time. Somasundareshwar was writing a script about women's liberation at the time, and it was decided to use his script for the film; The result was Aval Appadithan. It was the first film that an M.G.R. Government Institute for Film and Television Education. Somasundareshwar's first script consisted of two pages.

Aval Appadithan was the debut film for Nallusamy and M. N. Gnanashekaran, who jointly oversaw the cinematography of the film. Vanna Nilavan wrote the script with Somasundareshwar and Rudhraiya. The film was made by Rudhraiya in collaboration with the students of the M.G.R. Government Institute for Film and Television Education. Sripriya, who played Manju, was initially unsure whether to star in the film due to her busy schedule, and only agreed to it at Haasan's insistence. According to Somasundareshwar, the characterization of Manju was inspired by a woman he met who had similar radical beliefs. Rajinikanth, who played Thyagu, was convinced by Rudhraiya to join Aval Appadithaan.


[Rudraiah] and [Nallusamy] discussed the scenes to be shot for [Aval Appadithan] at least two or three days in advance. As for the dialogues, he told me in detail about the scene. He wouldn't be easily satisfied. He would ask to rewrite the lines if he was not satisfied with what was written.

- Vanna Nilavan on filming Aval Appadithan.

Shadows and close-ups were often used in cinematography throughout the film to emphasize the moods of the characters. Jump cuts were also often used. A total of 8,230 meters of negative film was used to make the film, and the team incurred £ 20,000 in the field for filming. The scenes in which Arun interviewed women for his documentary were real scenes, improvised with women they would meet at colleges and bus stops, shot using the live recording method. The film uses a sharp contrast of black and white to give it a surreal feel, and none of the actors have put on makeup.

The shooting went smoothly as almost all dialogues were prepared by the time team and the scenes were filmed. The camera angles were also planned in advance. Haasan made the film in his spare time, having acted in over 20 other films during the production of Aval Appadithan. Before taking a shot, Haasan discussed the scene with Ananthu and Rudhraiya about how Godard would have done it. The film was shot in two-hour sessions over a period of four to five months. The opening scene with Haasan looking into the camera and saying "Konjam left-la ukaarunga" (please sit a little left) was intended as a sign for the audience to support gender equality. According to the Tamil newspaper Dinamalar, Aval Appadithan was shot dead in 20 days.

Themes and influences

Aval Appadithan explores a range of topics such as women's liberation, sex, and the chauvinistic attitudes of men. The central theme is women and their plight in society, such as Manju and their relationships. Born to a shy father and mother with loose moral values, she is later also influenced by two people she deals with romantically. She left one, her college colleague, to marry someone else in order to get a job. and the second is Mano, the son of a Christian priest, who used her to satisfy his lust and then trivialized their relationship by calling her "sister" in front of her parents. These relationships lead her to be wary of men and develop an aggressive nature towards them. Conversations on topics such as the status of women in the present (1978) and the nature of humanity are frequently seen in the film.

Feminist writer C. S. Lakshmi wrote in her essay "A good woman, a very good woman" that Manju's characterization was "brought out entirely verbally by her". Lakshmi believes the film constantly falls back on "existing myths about women and relationships: that a headstrong mother destroys her children, that a woman who speaks the" truth "is always alone, that men are afraid of her, that woman that it's different is confused, not sure and just looking for love from a man but doesn't know herself. "She goes on to claim that the only positive aspect of the film is" not exposing women's bodies the way it does is common "and that Manju could have avoided her unfortunate circumstances" if only she had had a "real" mother "108>

Artist Jeeva compared Aval Appadithan to other films centered around women, such as Charulata (1964), Aval Oru Thodar Kathai (1974), and Panchagni (1986), while being referred to as "classics that put women in the spotlight" . Ashish Rajadhyaksha and Paul Willemen say in their book Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema that the film was also inspired by the 1972 film Dhakam. They also note that Aval Appadithan uses a "flowing narrative style" and music to mix flashbacks with vox-pop and "shiny pictorialism". The film is an exception to stereotypes of women, as the parallel between an independent woman, Manju, and a devout traditional woman shows: Manju gets into trouble while Arun's wife is happy. In the last lines of the film, in which Manju asks: "What do you think of the liberation of women?", Arun's wife replies: "I don't know", to which Manju says: "That is why you are happy." You will inevitably get into trouble if you act assertively.

Kamal Haasan's character Arun is an early version of a metrosexual man - sensitive and sincere. Rajinikanth's character Thyagu is the exact opposite of Arun - money minded, arrogant and a womanizer. This becomes clear when Thyagu says to Arun, "Women should be enjoyed, not analyzed." According to Rajinikanth, Thyagu was very much like him in real life - he smokes and drinks too. According to film critic Naman Ramachandran, Thyagu was by far Rajinikanth's most entertaining character up to this point in his career. His character was an avowed chauvinist who believed that men and women can never be the same and that women are merely objects to be used for the pleasure of men. When Arun calls Thyagu "a prejudiced ass," Thyagu replies with "I am a man ass," with the dialogue in English. His opinion on Sripriya's character Manju becomes clear when he says (also in English): "She is a self-pitying, sex-hungry slut!"


Aval Appadithan's soundtrack and score were composed by Ilaiyaraaja. The soundtrack was released under the label EMI Records. Although Ilaiyaraaja was busy, he agreed to compose for Aval Appadithan at the urging of Rudhraiya and Haasan. After the recording of "Ninaivo Oru Paravai" by Sigappu Rojakkal (1978), Ilaiyaraaja asked Haasan to record "Panneer Pushpangale" that same afternoon. During the recording session, Ilaiyaraaja Haasan suggested toning down the opening notes. When Haasan sang perfectly as suggested, Ilaiyaraaja accepted Haasan's next rendition of the song.

Ilaiyaraaja wanted Vanna Nilavan to write the lyrics for "Uravugal Thodarkathai", but since Vanna Nilavan had difficulty writing the lyrics, he dropped out. He was then replaced by Gangai Amaran. The song was reused in the movie Megha (2014). It hauntingly captures the vulnerable moments in a woman's life, while "Panneer Pushpangale" and "Vaazhkai Odam Chella" have a "philosophical touch". According to Swarnavel Eswaran Pillai, author of the article Tamil Cinema of the 1970s and the Post-Classical Turn, the songs were used to "emphasize the inwardness of the characters rather than as a spectacle or a means to advance the plot". In June 2013, A. Muthusamy of Honey Bee Music improved the songs from their original version on the film's soundtrack album to 5.1 surround sound.


Aval Appadithan was published on October 30, 1978 on Diwali Day. It was only released in two Madras theaters: Kamadhenu and either Emerald or Blue Diamond in the Safire Theater complex.


Critical response

The film received generally positive reviews from critics. On November 19, 1978, Ananda Vikatan magazine criticized the gaps in the film, particularly the abundance of English dialogue, the excessive focus on naturalism, and the lower standard of technical work (especially cinematography). Despite these perceived flaws, the magazine still valued the film, stating that the actors were immersed in their characters, which resulted in them not actually acting in front of the camera, but rather the characters being alive.

A retrospective response to the film was also positive. Rediff's K. Balamurugan said, "It was what we would call parallel cinema these days." Baradwaj Rangan wrote for The Hindu, commenting on and noting how "different" the film was, saying, "Aval Appadithan was different. The shady black and white cinematography was different. The dialogues were more open about sex and profanity ("She's a self-pitying, sex-hungry slut!") Was different. The documentary detours were different. The painfully sensitive feminist heroine was different. Rudraiah was different. "D. Karthikeyan of The Hindu wrote in December 2009 that Aval Appadithan" would be engraved in the memory of any movie buff by showing the best of Rajnikanth's acting skills ”. Director Mrinal Sen noted: "The film was way ahead of its time." Critics also appreciated the live recording method used to film the sequences in which Haasan's character Arun interviewed women for his documentary.

Box office

The film did not initially receive a huge response from the public and was not a box office hit when it was released. After directors Bharathiraja and Mrinal Sen posted positive comments on it, people began to watch and appreciate the film, which caused Aval Appadithan to develop into a cult. In November 2014, Haasan defended the film's financial failure: "Aval Appadithan was a guerrilla attack on the industry by insiders like me. It slipped through their fingers, so to speak. With all the attention that films have these days, I doubt we'll be with one such a film can no longer get through. "


The film won second prize for Best Picture in 1978 Tamil Nadu State Film Awards. At the same ceremony, Nallusamy and MN Gnanashekharan won the Best Cinematographer Award, and Sripriya received a Special Award for Best Actress of the Year.


The world will remember him for [Aval Appadithan], a film that rocked the foundations of the Tamil film industry, and continues to do so. College students are still watching it and generations are scratching their heads over how we managed to get it out.I will remember him for his passion for cinema. He was one of those directors who wouldn't mind holding up a reflector if it meant a scene was going to look better.

- Kamal Haasan on Rudhraiya in November 2014.

Aval Appadithan is one of only two films ever directed by Rudhraiya; the other was Gramathu Athiyayam (1980). Aval Appadithan was known for his stylish filmmaking, scripting and dialogue, much of it in English. The dialogues were sharp and were considered almost vulgar. It also broke the style of filmmaking that had been pursued up to that point. Sripriya included it on her list of favorite films she had worked in. Rudhraiya's daughter Ganga noticed that Aval Appadithan was helping her face in the real world.

In an interview with T. Saravanan of The Hindu in July 2004, director Karu Pazhaniappan rated Aval Appadithan as one of the best films he had ever seen. In May 2007, K. Balamurugan from Rediff named Aval Appadithan to his "Rajni's Tamil Top 10" list. In July 2007, S. R. Ashok Kumar of The Hindu asked eight Tamil film directors to list their all-time popular Tamil films. Two of them - Balu Mahendra and Ameer - named Aval Appadithan. Thiagarajan Kumararaja named Aval Appadithan as the inspiration for his film Aaranya Kaandam (2011). S. Shiva Kumar of The Hindu named the film to his December 2010 Electrifying Rajinikanth-Kamal Haasan list with Moondru Mudichu (1976), Avargal (1977) and

In November 2013, The New Indian Express included the film on its Kamal Haasan's Most Underrated Films list. In February 2014, CNN News18 added Aval Appadithan to its list of "12 Indian Movies That Would Make Great Books". In Kathai Thiraikathai Vasanam Iyakkam (2014), the hero's writing team discusses the subject of Aval Appadithan to get ideas for the story of their film until they realize the film was a failure at the time of its release. Indo-Asian News Service stated in their review of Malini 22 Palayamkottai (2014), a film about a rape victim directed by Sripriya's project, "Sripriya, who was once a successful actress, played a rape victim in the Tamil drama Aval Appadithan. Probably because of that role and the The impact she has had on her is treating this issue with great care and understanding, which most of her colleagues would lack. "In January 2015, Somasundareshwar said," I was told that Aval Appadithan would be a blockbuster today. I disagree because it is still taboo for a woman to talk about her sexual encounters. The profile of the audience should change. " In July 2016, The Hindu added Aval Appadithan to its list of "Roles That Defined Rajinikanth as an Actor".




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