An innocent dreamer, Thilagam works as a cook at the house where Venkatachalam& his sister, Indumathi’s live. She is coveted by the slow-witted deaf household help, Kasi @ Sevudan (Deaf man) as well as Venkatachalam. In this setting enters Sanjeevi, a modern chap rooted in communist ideals who constantly meddles with the men-hating Indumathi. One fine day, Thilagam becomes pregnant and a riveting drama ensues.
Running Time:
145 min
Release date:
24 March 1978
Directed by:
K. Balachander
Produced by:
P. R. Govindarajan
J. Duraisamy
Written by:
K. Balachander
Kamal Haasan
Sarath Babu
Music by:
M. S. Viswanathan
Shot by:
B. S. Lokanath
Editing by:
NR Kittu
Distributed by:
Kalakendra Movies

What’s Hot

  • The film revolves around Thilagam – her dreams, her innocence, her helplessness. It’s actually starling to know this is Sobha’s debut film in Tamil and what’s even more astounding is the fact that KB chose to debutant this all-important part. His conviction did not fail him as Sobha revels in the role. Her subtle expressions, modulation of satirical one-liners bordering on innocence, and above all, her dialogue delivery in the climax really wins you over.
  • It is credit to Kamal Haasan that he had taken up such a role considering that the character is introduced only after half an hour or so. His ever-smoking screen presence is electric with each and every dialogue of his lighting up the proceedings. It is even more refreshing to know that he took up this role after Rajinikanth successfully did the same in the Telugu original,ChilakammaCheppindi. Sumithra fits perfectly in the role of an ultra-feminist. Her growing admiration & love for Sanjeevi is brought out on screen in brilliant fashion.
  • The film is SharathBabu’s debut as well and he performs well in the character with grey shades. His transformation over the film has been brought out fabulously. The other character, who not only tickles the funny bone but also speaks lines that bring out the inherent male chauvinism existing in those times, is Mouli. It is said that the director allowed Mouli to write his lines on his own & specifically his repetition of the word, ‘Vatsaayana’ rings in your ears long after the film is over.
  • Hanumanthu plays the role of the dim-witted Sevudan@ Kasi. It is through his role that the film inherent undercurrent of social inequality & true love comes to the fore. Similarly, the body language and modulation of Sundaribai as the foul-mouthed Ponnamma makes you hate her even if she is in the corner of the frame.
  • There is a shot where Kasi runs along with Chalam who is riding a vehicle & informs him of Thilagam’s condition & Chalam treats Kasi with disdain. In essence that one shot &‘Oru Viral’ Krishnarao’s dialogues tell you what makes KB an indomitable auteur. The film does not have a protagonist or an antagonist. Everyone travels as their respective characters with minimal melodrama. Even the dream sequences are not used for the songs, but as plot movers, allowing Thilagam to voice her likes and dislikes without hesitation.
  • That this film, released in 1978, had just two fabulous MSV melodies comes as a big surprise considering the fact that we are clamoring for reduction in songs nowadays to qualify as World-Cinema. If this isn’t world cinema then what is?


Screened at

Cinema Rendezvous

To rejoice & to reflect with the world of Cinema - A Chennai based Film Club. Showcasing films with fine discussions.The club meets once a month on Second Saturdays by 9.45 am @ Hotel Savera. Each date has a screening followed by an informal discussion with a distinguished guest.

Event Info

Date of Screening : 10-Jan-2015
Venue and Time : Hotel Savera, 9.45 AM
Guest: Pushpa Kandaswamy (Producer, Daughter of KB)

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Verdict Stamp

Nizhal Nijamagirathu is a film that stuns you with its making, casting, characterization, dialogues, & performances. It is all the more impressive that it is still talked given the fact that the film does not have a principal Hero or Heroine character.