Alaigal Oivathillai

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Alaigal Oivathillai
Alaigal Oivathillai poster.jpg
Directed byBharathiraja
Screenplay byBharathiraja
Story byManivannan
Produced byR. D. Bhaskar
CinematographyB. Kannan
Edited byR. Bhaskaran
Music byIlaiyaraaja
Pavalar Creations
Release date
  • 18 July 1981 (1981-07-18)
Running time
138 minutes[1]

Alaigal Oivathillai (transl. Waves never cease) is a 1981 Indian Tamil-language romance film written and directed by Bharathiraja, from a story by Manivannan. The film stars two new debutants Karthik and Radha, while Thiagarajan, Silk Smitha and Kamala Kamesh appear in supporting roles. It follows Vichu (played by Karthik), a Hindu Brahmin 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 story and screenplay were written by Manivannan and Bharathiraja, respectively. Bharathiraja provided the voice-over for Thiagarajan, while Karthik's voice was dubbed by S. N. Surendar and Radha's voice was dubbed by Anuradha. The cinematography was handled by B. Kannan, and editing was handled by R. Bhaskaran. The music was composed by Ilaiyaraaja. The film was simultaneously shot along with its Telugu version titled Seethakoka Chilaka (1981) where Karthik reprised his role (marking his debut in both the language versions).

Alaigal Oivathillai was released on 18 July 1981 to majorly positive reviews and became a blockbuster. The film received eight Tamil Nadu State Film Awards and went on to become a cult film in later years. It was also remade by Bharathiraja in Hindi as Lovers in 1983.


Vichu, a laidback teenager from an orthodox Brahmin family, lives with his widowed mother, a music teacher, in a coastal village. Mary, a modernised Christian girl studying in a nearby town, returns to the village after finishing her examinations, where her wealthy brother David lives with his wife Elissy. David is ruthless, arrogant and feared by the villagers. However, he is extremely protective of his sister. Once when she sings with her friends, Vichu and his friends mock her singing skills. Feeling insulted, she decides to learn singing, obtains permission from David and enrolls in music classes under Vichu's mother.

Mary soon excels and gets the appreciation of Vichu's mother. Vichu gets impressed with Mary's perseverance and when she sings a song exceedingly well, he loses his heart to her. He starts chasing her and expresses his love. Mary, however, avoids him and goes to the extent of slapping him. But the same anger turns into love when she realises his true love for her.

The relationship between Vichu and Mary grows and they become very close to each other without their families knowing. Two children playing on the beach see Vichu and Mary romancing; one of them informs her mother, who in turn informs Elissy about their affair. Elissy berates Mary for courting a non-Christian and warns her of the consequences, should David learn. Elissy prevents Mary from leaving her house, instead arranging for Vichu's mother to teach her there. Vichu and Mary start exchanging messages written on paper pieces tucked in the harmonium. Despite Elissy's control, Mary manages to meet Vichu. Vichu's mother accidentally sees a note in the harmonium and cautions Vichu. However, he explains his true love and seeks her support.

Mary gets admission in a city college, but her love for Vichu prompts her to adopt ingenious techniques to fall ill to enable her to get excuses to cancel the trip. Vichu's friends say the best way to resolve the matter is by proposing formally. Vichu and his friends visit David at his house and propose Vichu's marriage with Mary; David angrily refuses, beats Mary and berates Elissy for being irresponsible. He then locks up Mary and vows to stop her love affair with Vichu.

During the course of events, David gets aroused by his servant's wife undressing, enters the servants' bathroom and rapes her. Elissy who sees the whole thing is too afraid to stop David and she frantically tries to diverts the servant's attention to avoid exposing David and thereby shaming her family. Though he is caught in the act, David cleanly gets away due to his clout, and the servant and his wife, quietly leave the house without making a scene, after making a sarcastic comment to David that he had already 'repaid' them for their loyalty-- and Elissy--rather than they-- should be given the final payment for coolie services rendered, for standing 'guard' so faithfully during the shameful act.

Hurt by the barbed comment but knowing she did wrong and enraged at David's lack of remorse and callousness when she confronted him about the rape, Elissy now turns against David. She decides to help Mary, who truly loves Vichu and assists Mary to meet Vichu secretly. David, who comes to know of this, decides to get Mary married to a relative in a hurry. The priest at the local church meets David and advises him to understand true love and support the young lovers, but David disagrees as he feels religion is more important than emotions. Elissy is against his plan, and advises Mary to meet Vichu and decide their future.

Mary and Vichu decide not to run away, but to live in the same village. When they are together, David lands up, beats Vichu and his friends, takes Mary away and speeds up the process of her forced marriage. When Mary is determined to marry Vichu, Elissy takes her to Vichu's house and hands her over to his mother. Though Vichu's mother is apprehensive, she does not wish to abort their love and accepts Mary. However, David and his people arrive; Vichu's mother asks him and Mary to run away to a safer place. They both run away but remain at the beach. The night passes with protection from their friends. David meets the villagers and provokes them for allowing a Hindu to elope with a Christian. All the villagers join him and come to attack the lovers the next morning.

Vichu and Mary notice the armed crowds coming and decide to face them. An armed David comes to attack Vichu, but is stopped by the priest who advises David to be a human and respect love. David insists that as a true Christian he will not allow Mary to marry someone of a different religion as long as she is Christian. In response, Vichu and Mary renounce their respective religions, much to the shock of David and the villagers, then walk away. Vichu's friends celebrate the lovers' new found happiness and peace.



Karthik, son of actor Muthuraman, and newcomer Radha made their acting debuts with this film.[2][3] When Muthuraman asked Karthik if he would accept the film, Karthik readily agreed without giving it a second thought.[4] Suresh was initially approached for the lead role but he opted to do Panneer Pushpangal.[5][6] Bharathiraja had also contemplated casting Deepak, a Don Bosco student as well as Murali in the lead role, but ultimately did not do so.[7] Thiagarajan, who was then working as regional manager of Polydor, made his acting debut with the film.[8] None of the three actors recorded their dialogues in their own voices; Karthik's voice was dubbed by S. N. Surendar, Radha's by Anuradha and Thiagarajan's by Bharathiraja.[9][10]

Alaigal Oivathillai is the first film produced by R. D. Bhaskar through the company Pavalar Creations.[11] The film was shot entirely in Kanyakumari.[9] 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".[12]


The soundtrack album and background score are 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.[13]

The song "Putham Pudhu Kaalai" was originally recorded for a film titled Maruthani to be directed by Mahendran. As that film was shelved, the song was included on the LP records of Alaigal Oivathillai,[14] but it was not featured in the film itself.[15] It was later remastered for Megha (2014), in which Ilayaraaja was also the composer.[16][17] The song was also reused as "Halke Se Bole" in the Hindi film Paa (2009).[18]

The song "Kadhal Oviyam" was reused as "Meri Zindagi" in Hindi film Aur Ek Prem Kahani (1996), which is also composed by Ilayaraaja.[19] The song "Aayiram Thamarai" was reused in Vaigai (2009).[20][21] The song "Vaadi En Kappa Kelange" was remixed by Dhina in Sandai (2008).[22]

The song "Vizhiyil Vizhundhu" was composed within 10 minutes while other songs were composed within half an hour.[23]

Track listing
1."Aayiram Thamarai"VairamuthuS. P. Balasubrahmanyam, S. Janaki4:30
2."Darisanam Kidaikatha" (Female)VairamuthuS. Janaki1:12
3."Darisanam Kidaikatha" (Male)VairamuthuIlaiyaraaja1:50
4."Kadhal Oviyam" (Version 1)Panchu ArunachalamIlaiyaraaja, Jency Anthony4:38
5."Kadhal Oviyam" (Version 2)Panchu ArunachalamIlaiyaraaja, Jency Anthony1:51
6."Lambodhara"IlaiyaraajaS. Janaki0:53
7."Putham Pudhu Kaalai"Gangai AmaranS. Janaki4:34
8."Sa Ri Ga Ma Pa"IlaiyaraajaGuruvayoor Rajam, S. Janaki2:03
9."Thothiram Paadiye"IlaiyaraajaIlaiyaraaja, B. S. Sasirekha0:47
10."Vaadi En Kappa Kelange"Gangai AmaranIlaiyaraaja, Gangai Amaran, Bhaskaran, Jency Anthony4:45
11."Vaazhvellam Aanandame"IlaiyaraajaIlaiyaraaja, S. Janaki1:27
12."Vizhiyil Vizhundhu"VairamuthuIlaiyaraaja, B. S. Sasirekha4:03
Total length:32:33

Release and reception[edit]

Alaigal Oivathillai was released on 18 July 1981.[24] In a review dated 2 August 1981, the Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan rated the film 50 out of 100.[25] The then chief minister M. G. Ramachandran applauded the performance of Smitha, and encouraged her to perform more similar roles.[26]


Tamil Nadu State Film Awards[27]

Other versions[edit]

Alaigal Oivathillai was simultaneously shot along with its Telugu version titled Seethakoka Chilaka by Bharathiraja himself with Karthik reprising his role, which was released one month later.[28][29] Bharathiraja remade it in Hindi as Lovers in 1983.[30]


  1. ^ Dhananjayan 2011, p. 64.
  2. ^ Raghavan, Nikhil (23 April 2011). "Baby steps to fame?". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 23 November 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Radha and Karthik made their debut in the same film". The Times of India. 15 June 2018. Archived from the original on 6 April 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  4. ^ Ramanujam, Srinivasa (5 July 2018). "Wouldn't advise Gautam to do adult comedies like 'Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuthu', says dad Karthik". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 18 July 2018. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Suresh is Ajith's villain". IndiaGlitz. 15 October 2009. Archived from the original on 23 November 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  6. ^ Suresh. "Interview". Behindwoods (Interview). Interviewed by Jyothsna. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  7. ^ "Kadal Pookkal". Cinema Today. Archived from the original on 4 August 2004. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  8. ^ Rangarajan, Malathi (9 October 2002). "It's all about choices". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 6 April 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  9. ^ a b Dhananjayan 2011, p. 65.
  10. ^ கண்ணன், சுரேஷ் (10 July 2020). "இளமை காதல், மரபை உடைத்த 'புரட்சி' க்ளைமாக்ஸ்... 80-களில் புதிய அலையை உண்டாக்கிய 'அலைகள் ஓய்வதில்லை!'". Ananda Vikatan (in Tamil). Archived from the original on 16 July 2022. Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  11. ^ "பாரதிராஜாவுக்காக படம் எடுத்த இளையராஜா!". Kungumam (in Tamil). 6 January 2014. Archived from the original on 5 September 2022. Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  12. ^ Saravanan, T. (9 January 2011). "Always in reckoning". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 6 April 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  13. ^ "Alaigal Oyvathillai Tamil Film LP Vinyl Record by Ilayaraja". Mossymart. Archived from the original on 2 September 2022. Retrieved 2 September 2022.
  14. ^ Putham Pudhu Kaalai – Megha | Making Video – Part 01 (in Tamil). GB STUDIO FILMS. 28 April 2016. Event occurs at 3:35. Archived from the original on 2 September 2022. Retrieved 2 April 2021 – via YouTube.
  15. ^ Yamunan, Sruthisagar (10 March 2019). "Ilaiyaraaja at 75: His preludes and interludes changed the way we listened to Tamil film music". Archived from the original on 28 September 2019. Retrieved 6 February 2020.
  16. ^ Kumar, S. R. Ashok (13 September 2013). "Audio Beat: Megha — Musical cloudburst". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 28 October 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  17. ^ "Ilayaraja reuses his classic song !". Behindwoods. 2 May 2013. Archived from the original on 2 October 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  18. ^ Kini, Nandan. "A Novel Score". Planet Radio City. Archived from the original on 9 February 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  19. ^ "Aur Ek Prem Kahani". MySwar. Archived from the original on 2 September 2022. Retrieved 2 September 2022.
  20. ^ "Vaigai – An appealing love tale based on true incidents". Kollywoodtoday. 21 June 2009. Archived from the original on 3 July 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  21. ^ "Sabesh and Murali's musical journey". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 5 October 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  22. ^ Shankar, Settu (28 March 2008). "Sandai Review". Filmibeat. Archived from the original on 5 September 2022. Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  23. ^ மனோபாலா (2 November 2015). "நான் உங்கள் ரசிகன் 6". Kungumam. Retrieved 21 February 2023.
  24. ^ "முதல் படத்துல ஒரு திட்டு கூட வாங்கலை - நடிகை ராதாவின் 'அலைகள் ஓய்வதில்லை' ப்ளாஷ்பேக் பேட்டி". Hindu Tamil Thisai (in Tamil). 18 July 2019. Archived from the original on 18 July 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  25. ^ "சினிமா விமர்சனம்: அலைகள் ஓய்வதில்லை!". Ananda Vikatan (in Tamil). 2 August 1981. Archived from the original on 6 April 2020. Retrieved 6 February 2020.
  26. ^ Ramesh, Neeraja (23 September 2019). "Decoding Silk Smitha for Gen Z". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 20 October 2021. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  27. ^ Dhananjayan 2011, p. 66.
  28. ^ "నువ్వు పట్టుచీర కడితే..." Sakshi (in Telugu). 30 April 2018. Archived from the original on 7 February 2022. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  29. ^ Pecheti, Prakash (23 April 2019). "Remembering the stalwart of Telugu cinema". Telangana Today. Archived from the original on 7 August 2020. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  30. ^ Verma, Sukanya (11 April 2016). "Ranbir's forgotten romance in Bachna Ae Haseeno". Archived from the original on 7 February 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2020.


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