Thiruvilayadal (1965 film)

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For the 2006 film, see Thiruvilayadal Aarambam.
Thiruvilayadal Sivaji.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed by A. P. Nagarajan
Produced by A. P. Nagarajan
Written by A. P. Nagarajan
Starring Sivaji Ganesan,
R. Muthuraman,
K. B. Sundarambal,
T. S. Balaiah,
T. R. Mahalingam
Music by K. V. Mahadevan
Cinematography K. S. Prasad
Edited by Rajan
T. R. Natarajan
Sri Vijayalakshmi Pictures
Distributed by Sri Vijayalakshmi Pictures
Release dates 31 July 1965[1]
Running time 154 mins
Country India
Language Tamil

Thiruvilayadal (The Divine Game) is a 1965 Indian Tamil mythological film directed by A. P. Nagarajan. The cast includes Sivaji Ganesan, R. Muthuraman, Savitri, Nagesh, Manorama, K. B. Sundarambal, T. R. Mahalingam and T. S. Balaiah. The film is based on Thiruvilayadal Puranam, a Saivite devotional epic.[2]


Thiruvilayadal covers four stories in the Thiruvilaiyadal Puranam which is originally composed of 64 stories. The plot revolves around the "divine sport" of Lord Shiva (Sivaji Ganesan), who has the habit of testing his worshipers' devotion. The story begins when the Lord gives the sacred fruit brought by sage Narada to his elder son, Ganesha since he outsmarted his younger brother Muruga and won the sacred fruit in a competition for it. Muruga becomes angry and goes to the hill abode of Palani, wearing the clothes of a hermit sage. Goddess Parvathi (known as Sakthi here; played by the actress Savitri) comes and narrates the Thiruvilayadalgal ("Divine Games") of Lord Shiva to Murugan to calm him down.

She narrates the story of when the Lord opened his third eye, an episode in which the Lord comes to the city of Madurai of the Pandya Kingdom in the form of a poet. That time, the King Shenbaga Pandian (R. Muthuraman) wants to find out the answer to an unsolved question (whether the fragrance from a woman's hair is natural or caused by fragrant products she uses on her hair) and announces a reward of gold coins to anyone who comes up with an answer. Poet Dharumi (Nagesh) desperately wants this reward and starts breaking down in the temple of Shiva. Lord Shiva, having heard his cries, takes the form of a poet and gives him a poem containing the answer that he can use to get the reward. Overjoyed, Dharumi takes it to the court and recites the poem, but the talented poet of the Durbar, the great Tamil poet Nakkeerar (A. P. Nagarajan) claims it is incorrect. After numerous heavy arguments with Nakkeerar, Lord Shiva gets enraged and turns him into ashes. Later, he revives Nakkeerar and the latter tells the king to give the reward to Dharumi.

She also narrates another episode in which the Lord marries Dhatchayini (called Sakthi in this story) against the will of Dhatchayini's father Dhatchan. Dhatchan also performs a Mahayagna without inviting his son-in-law Lord Shiva. Sakthi asks permission to go to the ceremony but Shiva refuses to let her go because he was never invited to it. But Sakthi disobeys him and goes there, only to be insulted by Dhatchan. Sakthi curses her father and returns to the sanctuary of Shiva but he is angry with her. Sakthi asserts that they are two parts of a whole and that without her, there is no Shiva. Shiva refuses to agree with her and burns her to ashes trying to prove her wrong and performs his 'Mahathandava' dance with great fury. This catches the attention of the other devas and sages who talk some sense into Shiva. Shiva decides to restore life to Sakthi, as well as give her half of his body to prove that the world is made up of two halves: man and woman.

Sakthi, now born as Kayarkanni, is the daughter of a fisherman. When playing with her friends, a strange fisherman (Shiva in his fisherman form) approaches and flirts with her, despite her disapproval. The fishermen often faces problems due to a giant shark and lost their lives. Finally Kayarkanni daughter convinces his father and urges all their man to fight the shark bravely. Lord shiva urges everyone that he can alone win over the shark. After a long battle, Shiva (in his fisherman form) kills the shark (which is actually 'nandhi'), impressing everyone and shows up as lord shiva telling the fisherman that sakthi is her daughter.

Sakthi recites another time where Lord this time tooks the form of a firewood seller. The great singer Hemanatha Bhagavathar (T. S. Balaiah) was trying to conquer Pandyan territory when he challenges the poets in the court. The minister of territory advises the king asking Banabatharar (T. R. Mahalingam) a devotional singer to challenge Hemanatha Bhagavathar thereby saying Vouchsafe can beat arrogance. As all poets in the court rejects the competition, the king having no further choice orders Banabatharar to compete against the air-headed singer. The troubled Banabatharar who knows that he can't win, prays to lord Shiva. As he swoons, Shiva in the disguise of a firewood seller shows up outside Hemanatha Bhagavathar's house the night singing a very complex and astonishing song "Pattum Nane" thereby shattering his arrogance. When Hemanatha Bhagavathar comes to know about the seller has got trained by Banabatharar, he gets embarrassed and leaves the kingdom that very night leaving a letter to Banabatharar through the firewood seller.

Listening to all these stories, Muruga's rage finally subsides and he reconciles with his family. Subsequently, it is revealed that the name "Palani" is a portmanteau of the two Tamil terms Palam ("Fruit") and Nee ("You"), hence literally meaning ("You are the Fruit"), referring to Muruga.



The story was conceived by A. P. Nagarajan, who wrote the screenplay as a five-part play. The stories were taken from an ancient Tamil epic, Thriuvilayadal Puranam, which consists of 64 stories, written by 64 nayanmargal (Saivate devotees). These Saivates were the devotees of Lord Shiva.[3] Actor Nagesh, who played a crucial role in the film, wrote in his biography,


Music is composed by K. V. Mahadevan, with lyrics by Kannadasan.[5]

No. Title Singer(s) Length
1. "Pazham Neeyappa Gnaana Pazham"   K. B. Sundarambal  
2. "Indroru Naal Pothuma"   M. Balamuralikrishna  
3. "Isai Thamizh Nee Saidha"   T. R. Mahalingam  
4. "Paarthal Pasumaram"   T.M. Soundararajan  
5. "Paattum Naane"   T.M. Soundararajan  
6. "Podhigai Malai Uchieley"   P. B. Sreenivas, S. Janaki  
7. "Ondraanavan Uruvil"   K. B. Sundarambal  
8. "Illadha Thondrillai"   T. R. Mahalingam  
9. "Vaasi Vaasi"   K.B. Sundarambal  
10. "Om Namasivaya"   Seerkazhi Govindarajan, P. Susheela  



Thiruvilayadal was well received. Sivaji Ganesan's performance was also acclaimed and it contributed to his long string of successful films.[6] The other actors were also praised. A reviewer said "The roles of Muthuraman, Nagesh and Balaiah, though short, are portrayed aptly with vigor and expertise."[7] Cinema Chaat called the film an "absolute classic", stating that "it's one to watch again and again. 5 stars."[8] Director Ameer, in an interview with The Hindu said, "Director A. P. Nagarajan’s 'Thiruvilaiyadal' is imaginative. It treats a mythological subject in an interesting way. It is one of the best films in the annals of Tamil cinema."[9]

Box office[edit]

Considered one of the most "elaborate films" of the 1960s, Thiruvilayadal enjoyed great success at the box office.[10] The film ran for 25 weeks in Shanti, a theatre owned by Sivaji Ganesan.[11] It was declared a "silver jubilee" film.[12]



In 2012, controversy arose when attempts were made to digitally re-release the film. Justice R. Subbiah of the Madras high court, hearing a suit filed by G. Vijaya of Vijaya Pictures, ordered maintenance of status quo for two weeks in respect of digitisation and release of 'Thiruvilaiyadal'. The matter was again taken up for hearing on 16 August 2012.

In her suit, Vijaya contended that in the year 1975, Sri Vijayalakshmi Pictures, which was in possession of the rights of the film, had transferred the worldwide exclusive negative rights and all other rights such as exploitation and screening in cinema theatres in favour of Movie Film Circuit. In 1976, the latter had transferred all the rights to Vijaya Pictures.

Vijaya Pictures, perhaps buoyed by the performance of Karnan, approached the Gemini Colour Laboratory for digitisation of 'Thiruvilaiyadal' so that it could be re-released. Vijayalakshmi Pictures, however, wrote to the laboratory asking it not to release the film without their prior consent.

In her suit, Vijaya said the worldwide exclusive negative rights for distribution and exhibition would also mean digitisation, as digital format is no different from the original format except for enhancement of viewing quality.

Noting that digitisation did not require any separate licence, Vijaya said the worldwide exclusive negative rights already conferred on her will encompass exploitation and exhibition of the film in digital format.[13] [14]


  1. ^ "Thiruvilayadal – Movie Reviews, Videos, Wallpapers, Photos, Cast & Crew, Story & Synopsis on". Retrieved 22 February 2012. 
  2. ^ "Thiruvilayadal – 64 Sacred sports of Shiva – Part 1 | கற்க... நிற்க ...". Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  3. ^ Ravi (25 September 2011). "Film Bulb: Thiruvilayadal (Tamil – 1965)". Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  4. ^ Mohan V. Raman (24 February 1928). "Arts / Cinema : Master of mythological cinema". The Hindu. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  5. ^ "Thiruvilayadal Songs – Thiruvilayadal Tamil Movie Songs – Tamil Songs Lyrics Trailer Videos, Preview Stills Reviews". Retrieved 22 February 2012. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Thiruvilayadal (1965) – Tamil Devotional Movie Online and Download". iMovies4You. 15 February 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Thiruvilayadal | Cinema Chaat. (15 January 2012).
  9. ^ Friday Review Chennai : Filmmakers' favourites. The Hindu.
  10. ^ "Paattum Naane Bhavamum Naane – Thiruvilayadal – Sivaji Ganesan & T.S. Baliah". YouTube. 1 February 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  11. ^ Mohan Raman (17 January 2011). "Life & Style / Society : Movie hall crosses a milestone". The Hindu. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  12. ^ Chennai Shanthi theatre.
  13. ^ Status quo ordered on digitising Thiruvilaiyadal. The New Indian Express.
  14. ^ Bid to re-release Sivaji classic ends up in court – Times Of India. (14 August 2012).

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