Arangetram (film)

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Promotional poster
Directed byK. Balachander
Produced byN. Selvaraj
J. Duraisamy
V. Govindarajan
Written byK. Balachander
Music byV. Kumar
CinematographyB. S. Lokanath
Edited byN. R. Kittu
Kalakendra Films
Distributed byKalakendra Films
Release date
9 February 1973
Running time
152 minutes

Arangetram is a 1973 Tamil-language drama film directed by K. Balachander, starring Prameela, Sivakumar, Kamal Haasan, S. V. Subbaiah and M. N. Rajam in prominent roles. The film marked Kamal Haasan's first adult role,[1][2] while, along with Prameela, Jayachitra, Jayasudha, Sashikumar and Achacho Chitra made their debuts in Tamil cinema.[3] V. Kumar composed the music for the film, which was the last Balachander film he worked on.

The film told the story of a young woman who is forced to become a prostitute to support her conservative, but extremely poor Brahmin family.[4][5][6] It carried hard hitting messages and very bold scenes and was controversial at the time of its release,[7] but became a commercial hit.[8] The film was featured as part of the Tamil Nadu government's information campaign promoting family planning.[9]


Lalitha is the eldest daughter of a pious and conservative Brahmin family. She has eight siblings and poverty reigns. Her aunt comes with her unmarried daughter and starts living with them. They are spendthrifts and create lots of problems. One day Thangavelu presents Lalitha a saree when he sees her with a torn saree. Her father gets angry and gives the saree to the mentally unstable Thangam, who roams around the village. When Thangavelu's father scolds Thangavelu for gifting a saree, he fights and leaves home to join the army. Later they come to know that Thangavelu is dead. Lalitha's father goes out of town to search for a groom. That night all the children sit down to eat. Her mom ask her to tell the kids there is no food. She presents a tongue-twister to the kids and everyone understands no food was cooked. That's when Lalitha realises in what poor state her home is. She decides to take up the family mantle and goes to work. She starts work as office help. She travels to Madras to meet a politician for requesting her brothers medicine seat. She was advised to go home. Another person promises to get a seat for her brother, but forces her into something else. She tries to commit suicide, but drops it when she talks with her brother. She leaves to Hyderabad with a promotion. Due to family needs and ill fate, she ends up as a prostitute, but manages to settle all her brothers and sisters. When she returns home for a visit, her mother realises something is different with Lalitha. when Kamal's marriage with the local girl is fixed, her aunt makes trouble and spreads the truth with all. Her aunt wanted to marry her daughter to Kamal. Her family ditches her when they come to know about her dark side. Thangavelu, a man who was once rejected by her marries her. She keeps calling Thangam to inform her that she got married making the audience believe she has lost her sanity in the end.[10]



T. S. B. K. Moulee in an interview in 2014 told that Balachander, who used to watch Moulee's plays, wanted him to write a comedy track for the film as he liked Moulee's style of writing. Moulee, however, felt that the film did not warrant any separate comedy as it would "dilute its seriousness" and did not work on the film.[11]


Arangetram's music was composed by V. Kumar. It marks the last collaboration between Kumar and Balachander. Kannadasan had written the lyrics.

No. Song Singers Duration (mm:ss)
1. "Aandavanin Thottathile" P. Suseela 3:24
2. "Kannanidam Endhan Karutthinai" K. Swarna 2:10
3. "Moothaval Nee" P. Suseela 4:29
4. "Aaramba Kaalaththil" S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, P. Susheela 3:51
5. "Kannanai Kaanbadharko" Thiruchi Loganathan & K. Swarna 2:42
6. "Mappilai Ragasiyam" L. R. Eswari 3:27
7. "Enadi Marumagale Unnai Evaradi Pesivittaar" T. V. Rathinam 0:25
8. "Kannaarkkum Katravarum" K. Swarna 0:39
9. "Paaviye Kanda Vannam" K. Swarna 1:00
10. "Srimaathaa Srimaha" K. Swarna 0:40
11. "Agara Mudaka Nagurasa" K. Swarna 0:19

Release and reception[edit]

Arangetram was released on 9 February 1973.[12] A review for the magazine Film World wrote, "Arangetram marks a new beginning, a fresh approach and is a veritable oasis in the dreary desert wastes of Tamil Cinema."[13]


Balachander remade this film in Hindi as Aaina, with Mumtaz playing the lead, supported by Rajesh Khanna and Kamal Hassan.[4] This was Kamal Haasan's first Hindi film. Later he was launched as a leading actor with Ek Duuje Ke Liye, by K. Balachander.

In Telugu it was remade as Jeevitha Rangamu. Rama Sarma, head of the family is Gummadi and his wife is by Savithri. Main lead role is once again played by Prameela. Other artistes include Jayasidha, Phataphat Jayalakshmi, Lakshmikanth, Chalam, S. V. Rangarao and Ravi Kondalarao. Music was composed by S. Rajeswara Rao. The film includes three musically good songs.


  1. ^ "Artiste with endless dreams". The Hindu. 25 May 2001. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  2. ^ ", Movies: Kamal, as we know him". Rediff. 8 November 2000. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  3. ^ "Productions ::". Kavithalayaa. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Forbes India Magazine — K. Balachander: The Middle-Class Maestro". Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  5. ^ "ESSAY: Women Who Have Jobs And Other Troublesome Pursuits (Part 1)". Film Impressions. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  6. ^ "Interview: K Balachander | Baradwaj Rangan". 10 September 2006. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  7. ^ "Achamillai, Achamillai (I Do Not Fear)". Manushi. No. 24. 1984. p. 46.
  8. ^ "Tamil Brahmins: Lost in Tamil Nadu. by G. Venkatesh". 15 September 2010. Archived from the original on 12 December 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  9. ^ Celluloid Deities: The Visual Culture of Cinema and Politics in South India — Preminda Jacob. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  10. ^ Different Bodies: Essays on Disability in Film and Television. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  11. ^ T. SARAVANAN. "Mouli and the moolah". The Hindu. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  12. ^ "அரங்கேற்றம் - அப்பவே அப்படி கதை!". Kamadenu (in Tamil). 9 July 2019. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  13. ^ Ramachandran, T. M., ed. (August 1973). "Balachander ushers in a new age in Tamil cinema". Film World. Vol. 9. pp. 62–64.

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