|Produced by||R. D. Bhaskar|
|Edited by||R. Bhaskaran|
Alaigal Oyivathillai (transl. Waves don't cease) is a 1981 Indian Tamil-language romance film written and directed by Bharathiraja, from a story by Manivannan. The stars Karthik and Radha, while Thiagarajan, Silk Smitha and Kamala Kamesh appear in supporting roles. This film marks the debut of both the lead actors. It follows Vichu, a lower-class Hindu boy, who falls in love with Mary (played by Radha), a Christian girl. How the lovers unite braving all the obstacles, forms the crux of the story.
The film portrays subtle hints of power-play in villages and caste and religious barriers that oppress those deemed lower in status. The story and screenplay were written by Manivannan and Bharathiraja, respectively. Bharathiraja provided voice-over for Thiagarajan, while Karthik's voice was dubbed by S. N. Surendar and Radha's voice was dubbed by Anuradha Paudwal. The cinematography was handled by B. Kannan, and editing was handled by R. Bhaskaran. The music was composed by Ilaiyaraaja.
Alaigal Oivathillai was released on 18 July 1981 to positive reviews, and became a blockbuster. The film received eight Tamil Nadu State Film Awards. It went on to become a cult film in later years. Bharathiraja remade the film in Telugu as Seethakoka Chilaka in 1981, where Karthik reprised his role from the original, and in Hindi as Lovers in 1983.
Vichu belongs to a poor Hindu family in coastal Tamil Nadu. Vichu's mother teaches music to make a living. Then comes Mary, the sister of a rich, influential man David, who returns home a year after pursuing her education in the city. Mary starts learning music from Vichu's mother, and after a series of interesting events, Vichu and Mary fall in love with each other. David's wife Elissy hears about this and strictly forbids Mary from having any dealings with Vichu. However things start getting worse when Vichu and his friends officially ask David for Mary's hand in marriage. Enraged, David thrashes Mary and arranges her wedding with another man. He also violently injures Vichu and tries to kill him. Despite all the odds against them, Vichu assures Mary that just as the waves do not cease, their love for each other will also never cease. How the lovers unite braving all the obstacles is what makes the rest of the movie.
During the course of these events, David gets aroused by his maid undressing for her bath and enters her bath hut (which had no door lock) and rapes her, with Elissy's tacit support, when she stood "guard" and tried to divert the maid's husband from realizing what was going on, so as to prevent embarrassment and shame to her family. David gets caught red-handed and leaves the scene without a word. The maid's husband enters the bath hut and consoles his violated and weeping wife. David cleanly gets away with the rape and the maid and her husband, knowing David's power and influence in the village, realize that it was futile to confront him and except for a sarcastic comment, otherwise quietly left without making a scene. Except for Elissy's soft attempts to make him regret while expressing her personal remorse, nothing more was said about the rape, but in a show of hypocrisy, David the rapist himself later proclaims morality and Christian values, in an attempt to prevent his sister Mary from marrying Vichu.
- Karthik as Vichu (voice over by S. N. Surendar)
- Radha as Mary (voice over by Anuradha)
- Thiagarajan as David (voice over by Bharathiraja)
- Mohamad as Vagai
- Silk Smitha as Elissy
- Kamala Kamesh as Vichu's mother (voice over by Hema Malini)
- Renu Chandra as Mari's wife
- Periya Karuppu Thevar as Mari, the servant
- Vellai Subbaiah
- Suresh Chakravarthy
Karthik, son of actor Muthuraman, and newcomer Radha made their acting debuts with this film. When Muthuraman asked Karthik if he would accept the film, Karthik readily agreed without giving it a second thought. Suresh was initially approached for the lead role but he opted to do Panneer Pushpangal. Bharathiraja had also contemplated casting Murali in the lead role, but ultimately did not do so. Thiagarajan, who was then working as regional manager of Polydor, made his acting debut with the film.
For the song "Aayiram Thamarai", Bharathiraja wanted a set with swaying lotuses, for which assistant directors Manobala and Manivannan "ran from pillar to post to get it ready". According to Manobala, "We peeled off a plantain sheath and stuck lotus stems to it. Then, both of us raised and swayed the lotus flowers from underwater".
The soundtrack album and background score is composed by Ilaiyaraaja. Vairamuthu wrote the lyrics for the songs "Aayiram Thamarai", "Kadhal Oviyam" and "Vizhiyil Vizhundhu" and Gangai Amaran did the same for "Putham Pudhu Kaalai" and "Vaadi En Kappa Kelange". The rest of the songs were written by Ilaiyaraaja apart from composing the film. The songs from the film were remained as one of Ilayaraaja's best works till date.
The song "Putham Pudhu Kaalai" was originally recorded for a film titled Maruthani to be directed by Mahendran. As that film was never made, the song was included on the LP records of Alaigal Oivathillai. In an article from Scroll.in, Sruthisagar Yamunan said about the song, "the first interlude is a soothing flute melody. This was a song made for a romantic situation", but it was not featured in the film. It was later remastered for Megha (2014), in which Ilayaraaja was also the composer. The song was also reused as "Halke Se Bole" in the Hindi film Paa (2009). Also, that tune was directly lifted for making the song "Vellichillum Vithari", in a Malayalam film Ina (1982).
The song "Kadhal Oviyam" was reused as "Meri Zindagi" in Hindi film Aur Ek Prem Kahani (1996), which is also composed by Ilayaraaja. The song "Aayiram Thamarai" was reused in Vaigai (2009). The song "Vaadi En Kappa Kelange" was remixed by Dhina in Sandai (2008).
|1.||"Aayiram Thamarai"||Vairamuthu||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, S. Janaki||4:30|
|2.||"Darisanam Kidaikatha" (Female)||Vairamuthu||S. Janaki||1:12|
|3.||"Darisanam Kidaikatha" (Male)||Vairamuthu||Ilaiyaraaja||1:50|
|4.||"Kadhal Oviyam" (Version 1)||Panchu Arunachalam||Ilaiyaraaja, Jency Anthony||4:38|
|5.||"Kadhal Oviyam" (Version 2)||Panchu Arunachalam||Ilaiyaraaja, Jency Anthony||1:51|
|7.||"Putham Pudhu Kaalai"||Gangai Amaran||S. Janaki||4:34|
|8.||"Sa Ri Ga Ma Pa"||Ilaiyaraaja||Guruvayoor Rajam, S. Janaki||2:03|
|9.||"Thothiram Paadiye"||Ilaiyaraaja||Ilaiyaraaja, B.S Sasirekha||0:47|
|10.||"Vaadi En Kappa Kelange"||Gangai Amaran||Ilaiyaraaja, Gangai Amaran, Bhaskaran, Jency Anthony||4:45|
|11.||"Vaazhvellam Aanandame"||Ilaiyaraaja||Ilaiyaraaja, S. Janaki||1:27|
|12.||"Vizhiyil Vizhundhu"||Vairamuthu||Ilaiyaraaja, B.S Sasirekha||4:03|
Release and reception
Alaigal Oivathillai was released on 18 July 1981. In a review dated 2 August 1981, Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan rated the film 50 out of 100. The then chief minister M. G. Ramachandran applauded the performance of Smitha, and encouraged her to perform more similar roles.
- Best Film (first prize) – R. D. Bhaskar
- Best Director – Bharathiraja
- Best Music Director – Ilaiyaraaja
- Best Lyricist – Vairamuthu
- Best Cinematographer – B. Kannan
- Best Story Writer – Manivannan
- Best Debut Actor (Male) – Karthik
- Best Debut Actor (Female) – Radha
In popular culture
The film was included by Behindwoods in the list "Top 20 Best Love Stories in Tamil". In a comedy scene from Chinna Pasanga Naanga (1992), Govind (Goundamani) sings "Vaadi En" in gibberish lyrics trying to pass off as his own tune but Senthil's character identifies the song. In Saroja (2008), when Ganesh Kumar (Premgi Amaren) dreams about any girl he meets, the song "Aayiram Thamarai" plays in the background. The song 'Putham Pudhu Kaalai' was titled for the 2020 Amazon Prime Video anthology film Putham Pudhu Kaalai.
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