Thiruvilayadal (1965 film)
|Directed by||A. P. Nagarajan|
K. B. Sundarambal,
T. S. Balaiah,
T. R. Mahalingam
|Music by||K. V. Mahadevan|
|Release dates||31 July 1965|
|Running time||154 mins|
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.
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 a 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 ego-filled poet of the Durbar, Great Tamil Poet Nakeeran (A. P. Nagarajan) claims it is incorrect. When Shiva hears this, he gets enraged and turns Nakeeran into ashes. Later, he revives Nakeeran who apologises.
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 give life to Sakthi and orders her to be born as a fisherman's daughter as a consequence for her actions.
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. He later goes fishing with other men from Kayarkanni's clan, where they are attacked by a giant shark. After a long battle with the shark, Shiva (in his fisherman form) saves everyone from the shark, impressing Kayarkanni, who later accepts his proposal of marraige.
Sakthi recites another time when the Lord took the form of a woodcutter and settled in a kingdom which the great singer Hemanatha Bhagavathar (T. S. Balaiah) was trying to conquer. The people of the kingdom are against Hemanatha taking over because he is known to be very air-headed and are worried about the state of their lives if the kingdom is ruled by someone unfit to be the king. Shiva in his woodcutter form shows up outside Hemanatha Bhagavathar's house the night before the contest that will help him conquer the kingdom. He performs a very complex and astonishing song "Pattum Nane" to catch the attention of Hemanatha Bhagavathar. He succeeds and Bhagavathar comes out to question him about how a woodcutter like him is able to sing such a divine song. Shiva answers very casually by claiming that that was not even singing well and that he was just randomly blabbering trying to help himself sleep. He is asked who his teacher is to which he says Banabatharar, who is the other singer that Hemanatha was going to compete against. Realizing that if the student of Banabatharar is so talented then the actual teacher must be beyond talented, Hemanatha becomes concerned that he might get embarrassed the next day while competing against Banabatharar and leaves the kingdom that very night without notice, leaving everyone in the kingdom rejoiced.
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 language terms Palam ("Fruit") and Nee ("You"), hence literally meaning ("You are the Fruit"), referring to Muruga.
- Sivaji Ganesan as Lord Shiva
- Savitri as Parvathi alias Sakthi/Kayarkanni
- R. Muthuraman as Shenbaga Pandiyan
- Nagesh as Dharumi
- Devika as Wife of Shenbaga Pandiyan
- Manorama as Kayarkanni's friend
- K. B. Sundarambal as Avvaiyar
- T. S. Balaiah as Hemanatha Bagavathar
- T. R. Mahalingam as Bana Battar
- S. V. Sahasranamam as Kayarkanni's father
- O. A. K. Thevar as King Dhatchan
- A. P. Nagarajan as Nakeeran (cameo role)
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, comparable to the 12 disciples of Jesus. Actor Nagesh, who played a crucial role in the film, wrote in his biography,
|“||"Everyone kept telling me that I had done a superb job and at times stole the scene from the hero, so I was extremely scared it might not see the light of day as the director was struggling to trim the film's length. One day when I was in the recording theatre, Sivaji [Ganesan] walked in and wanted to see the "Dharumi" piece. He did not notice me in the dark sound engineers' room. He watched it once and then wanted to see it again – by this time I was sure that my scene, especially the solo lamenting, would be axed. To my astonishment, Sivaji turned and said, 'Do not remove a single foot from this episode as well as the episode featuring T. S. Balaiah. These will be the highlights of the film. This is my opinion, but as the director, you have the final say. Whatever dubbing additions have to be done, get that fellow (Nagesh), lock him up in the studio and don't let him run away till he completes it to your satisfaction. He has done outstanding work.' Such was his generosity to his fellow actors."||”|
|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|
|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. 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." Cinema Chaat called the film an "absolute classic", stating that "it's one to watch again and again. 5 stars." 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."
Considered one of the most "elaborate films" of the 1960s, Thiruvilayadal enjoyed great success at the box office. The film ran for 25 weeks in Shanti, a theatre owned by Sivaji Ganesan. It was declared a "silver jubilee" film.
- Thiruvilayadal won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil – Certificate of Merit for the Third Best Feature Film in 1966.
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. 
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