Aval Oru Thodar Kathai
|Aval Oru Thodar Kathai|
|Directed by||K. Balachander|
|Produced by||Rama Arannangal|
|Screenplay by||K. Balachander|
|Story by||M. S. Perumal|
|Music by||M. S. Viswanathan|
|Cinematography||B. S. Lokanath|
|Edited by||N. R. Kittu|
|Distributed by||Arul Films|
|13 November 1974|
Aval Oru Thodar Kathai (transl. She is a never-ending story) is a 1974 Indian Tamil-language drama film directed by K. Balachander. The story revolves around a working middle class woman, who sacrifices her life and desires to support her large family. The lead role was played by Sujatha in her first Tamil film, which was also her first starring role. Kamal Haasan, Vijayakumar, Jaiganesh, M. G. Soman and Sripriya played key roles. The film was shot in black-and white.
The film is considered to be one of Balachander's as well as Sujatha's best films. Several directors like Mani Ratnam, K. Bhagyaraj and K. S. Ravikumar named Aval Oru Thodar Kathai as one of their favourite films. It ran for 25 weeks, and was remade in five other Indian languages. This film catapulted Sujatha into superstardom.
Kavitha is the sole breadwinner of her family comprising her mother, widowed sister Bharati, an unmarried younger sister, a blind younger brother, a drunkard elder brother Murthy, his wife and children. Her father had abandoned the family and become a sadhu. Conscious of her family responsibilities, Kavitha keeps postponing her marriage indefinitely to her longtime boyfriend Tilak. Kavitha's friend Chandra takes life easy and keeps changing boyfriends. Tilak, who patiently waits for Kavitha, meets Bharati, pities her and slowly becomes passionate about her. On learning this, Kavitha sacrifices her love and gets them married. Murthy changes his wayward behaviour, becomes responsible and words as a bearer at a restaurant. An impressed Kavitha accepts him as the head of the family. Kavitha's boss Arun Ghosh offers to marry her, but Kavitha does not give a positive reply.
Chandra dates Chandrasekhar, a womaniser and colleague of Kavitha, despite her warnings. Earlier, when Chandrasekhar had written a love letter to Kavitha, she complained about it to her boss, who then reprimanded Chandrasekhar. Hence, Kavitha does not approve of Chandra's relationship with him. A lustful Chandrasekhar also dates Chandra's widowed mother; on learning this, Chandra attempts suicide. Kavitha and her co-tenant Gopal save Chandra and advise her to marry Gopal. In turn, Chandra advises Kavitha to marry Ghosh. Kavitha accepts the marriage proposal as she now feels confident about Murthy taking care of the family.
On the day of the wedding, Murthy's wife asks him to get back the silver lamp pledged by him earlier, to be gifted to Kavitha for her wedding. While returning to the wedding hall, he seeks a lift from Chandrasekhar, not knowing him. Murthy realises that Chandrasekhar is actually coming to stop the marriage of Kavitha and Chandra when Chandrasekhar states that he had affairs with both of them. Murthy pleads with him not to come to the marriage hall and create any confusion, but Chandrasekhar refuses. A scuffle ensues in which Murthy is killed by Chandrasekhar using the lamp before the police arrest Chandrasekhar. When the marriage is about to take place, Kavitha learns of her brother's death from the police. She then convinces Ghosh to accept her younger sister as the bride as she needs to support her family again. At the same time, Chandra marries Gopal. Kavitha returns to taking care of her family like before.
- Sujatha as Kavitha
- Kamal Haasan as Gopal
- Jaiganesh as Murthy
- Vijayakumar as Tilak
- Prabhu Ganesan in yannadi ullagam
- Sripriya as Bharathi
- Rajesh as Saravan
- Master Karthick Muthuraman
- Fatafat Jayalaxmi as Chandra
- M. G. Soman and Chandrasekar
- Leelavathi as Parvathi (Kavitha's mother)
- Gokulnath as Arun Ghosh
- Thideer Kannaiah as Bus Conductor
Director K. Balachander saw the Malayalam film, Ernakulam Junction, where Sujatha had played the heroine and decided that she would play the role of the protagonist in his Aval Oru Thodar Kathai. When auditioning her, Balachander felt that her Malayalam accented Tamil may not be convincing for the role of Kavitha and sent her advising to learn and speak Tamil better. A month later, Balachander called Sujatha and gave the role, that marked her Tamil cinema debut. Balachander introduced Fatafat Jayalaxmi in Aval Oru Thodar Kathai and the sobriquet "Fatafat" she got after she used the word in this film. Actors Jaiganesh, Sripriya (her first release, though she had worked for another film before) and Thideer Kanniah also made their debuts with this film. Kamal Haasan learnt mimicry for his role. Rajesh said that he was approached to act in the film but he couldn't take up the film.
The song "Kadavul Amaitha Medhai" was shot at a community hall situated at Nandanam, Chennai.
|Aval Oru Thodar Kathai|
|Soundtrack album by|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|Producer||M. S. Viswanathan|
|1.||"Adi Ennadi Ulagam"||L. R. Eswari|
|2.||"Kadavul Amaithu Vaitha"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Pattom Sadan, Saibaba, Udayarpalayam R. Srinivasan|
|3.||"Kannilae Enna Undu"||S. Janaki|
|4.||"Dheivam Thantha Veedu"||K. J. Yesudas|
|5.||"Aadumadi Thottil"||P. Susheela|
|1.||"Edi Enthedi"||L. R. Eswari|
|2.||"Kalabhachuvaru Vecha Meda"||P. Jayachandran, Pattom Sadan|
|4.||"Daivam Thanna Veedu"||K. J. Yesudas|
The film is considered a classic and cult film.[unreliable source?] Times of India named it one "of the landmark movies in the history of Tamil cinema". 30 years after the film's release, directors Mani Ratnam, K. Bhagyaraj and K. S. Ravikumar named Aval Oru Thodar Kathai as one of their favourite films. Mani Ratnam said, "K.Balachandar has done some of the best films before and after Aval Oru Thodar Kathai. But I choose it mainly for its storyline. It is not the plot or the story, but the character that carries the film through. Although it was released about 25 years ago, the character remains fresh in one's memory. That is the greatness of the film". Ravikumar stated, "Through his script and direction, Balachandar brings out the tender core of his middle-class heroine, assailed by problems, in Aval Oru Thodarkathai." Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said, "Since Aval Oru Thodarkathai days, I am an avid fan of Balachander". In 2011, after Balachander had been given the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Rediff named it one of Balachander's best and wrote, "Aval Oru Thodarkadhai was one of his path-breaking works. Sujatha took on the mantle of Kavitha, the hard-working woman who struggles to support her largely ungrateful family. The tough exterior conceals a heart of gold, which, tragically, is never seen or recognised by her family. The film made waves not just for its principal characters who challenged Tamil cinema's set notions; it was also the dialogues that drew gasps from the audience. In creating Kavitha, K Balachander gave life to one of Tamil's most enduring, powerful female characters". Hindu wrote, "Aval Oru Thodarkadhai is a film that will stay with you forever – the invincible heroine was a big draw. And with AOT, Sujatha arrived! As the eldest daughter, who bears the onus of supporting a large family, she came up with a memorable performance. Her matter-of-fact approach to life was very fresh for Tamil audiences, who sang paeans to KB's creative stroke".
Aval Oru Thodarkathai is the second film in a series of woman-centric films by Balachander in which "the daughter has to make sacrifices and take care of her family" and a reviewer from Times of India wrote that it was a tough task to beat those films.
The song "Deivam Thantha" inspired a television series of same name in Vijay TV. The song was parodied by Vivek in Parthiban Kanavu (2003). Although the song sequence in the film featured Jai Ganesh as the character singing, it is often associated with Rajinikanth, who played Murthy in the Telugu remake also by Balachander, Athuleni Katha, and acted in the sequence of the same song in Telugu. Thus, Vivek is seen mimicking Rajinikanth's iconic cigarette-flicking mannerism during his parody.
Clips from Aval Oru Thodarkathai were screened along with clips from other films such as Server Sundaram (1964), Iru Kodugal (1969), Arangetram (1973), Avargal (1977) and Azhagan (1991) at a function held in Balachander's honour at Tiruchirappalli in January 2015, a month after his death.
Aval Oru Thodhar Kathai was remade in Telugu as Anthuleni Katha (1976), also directed by Balachander. The same tunes were used in the remake. Sripriya and Jayalaxmi reprised their roles, while Haasan portrayed a different role. The film was also remade in Bengali as Kabita (1977), with Haasan reprising his role from the Tamil original. The film was then remade in Hindi as Jeevan Dhaara in 1982. In 1983, Balachander directed the Kannada remake Benkiyalli Aralida Hoovu, where Haasan played the guest role of a bus conductor.
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