Aval Oru Thodar Kathai

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Aval Oru Thodar Kathai
Aval Oru Thodar Kathai.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byK. Balachander
Produced byRama Arannangal
Screenplay byK. Balachander
Story byM. S. Perumal
Kamal Haasan
Fatafat Jayalaxmi
Music byM. S. Viswanathan
CinematographyB. S. Lokanath
Edited byN. R. Kittu
Aandal Movies
Distributed byArul Films
Release date
13 November 1974
Running time
162 minutes

Aval Oru Thodar Kathai (transl. She is a never-ending story) is a 1974 Tamil 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.[1] The lead role was played by Sujatha in her first Tamil film,[2] 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.[3][4]

The film is considered to be one of Balachander's [5] as well as Sujatha's best films.[6] Several directors like Mani Ratnam, K. Bhagyaraj and K. S. Ravikumar named Aval Oru Thodar Kathai as one of their favourite films.[7] It ran for 25 weeks [8] and was remade or dubbed in five other Indian languages.


Kavitha (Sujatha) is a working woman in a middle-class family. She works hard to support her widowed sister, unmarried sister, her blind younger brother, her mother, her drunkard brother Murthy (Jaiganesh) and his family. Her father abandons the family and becomes a saint. Her brother not only does not take responsibilities, but also creates additional problems for her. She has a longtime boyfriend of five years, Tilak (Vijayakumar) who wants to marry her, but she doesn't because of her commitment to her family. His eyes now wander to Kavitha's widowed younger sister Bharathi (Sripriya) who reciprocates his feelings. Kavitha, after reading her boyfriend's love letter to her sister, arranges for them to get married, thus giving up her chance of having a life with him. Meanwhile, Prasad (Kamalahasan) loves Bharathi, Kavitha's sister; but when he comes to know that she loves Tilak, he sacrifices his love for her and marries Kavitha's distressed friend, Chandra (Fatafat Jayalaxmi). Kavitha eventually accepts a marriage proposal of her boss (Gokulnath), when she realises that her brother has become responsible enough to take care of her family. She decides to resign from the hard work, but could not as the result of a turning point in a typical Balachandar-style climax. Kavitha swaps her unmarried sister as the bride in her stead, as she is informed of Murthy's death minutes before. In the end she resumes her job and continues to support the family.



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.[10] 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.[11] Balachander introduced Fatafat Jayalaxmi in Aval Oru Thodar Kathai and the sobriquet "Fatafat" she got after she used the word in this film.[12] Actors Jaiganesh,[13] Sripriya (her first release, though she had worked for another film before) and Thideer Kanniah [14] also made their debuts with this film. Kamal Haasan learnt mimicry for his role.[15] Rajesh said that he was approached to act in the film but he couldn't take up the film.[16]

The song "Kadavul Amaitha Medhai" was shot at a community hall situated at Nandanam, Chennai.[17]

Sound track[edit]

Aval Oru Thodar Kathai
Soundtrack album by
Released1974 (1974)
GenreFeature film soundtrack
ProducerM. S. Viswanathan
External audio
Audio Jukebox on YouTube

All lyrics are written by Kannadasan; all music is composed by M. S. Viswanathan.

1."Adi Ennadi Ulagam"L. R. Eswari 
2."Kadavul Amaithu Vaitha"S. P. Balasubrahmanyam 
3."Kannilae Enna Undu"S. Janaki 
4."Dheivam Thantha Veedu"K. J. Yesudas 
5."Aadumadi Thottil"P. Susheela 

All lyrics are written by Vayalar Ramavarma; all music is composed by M. S. Viswanathan.

1."Edi Enthedi"Vayalar RamavarmaL. R. Eswari 
2."Kalabhachuvaru Vecha Meda"Vayalar RamavarmaP. Jayachandran, Pattom Sadan 
3."Kannile"Vayalar RamavarmaS. Janaki 
4."Daivam Thanna Veedu"Vayalar RamavarmaK. J. Yesudas 
5."Aadumadi"Vayalar RamavarmaP. Susheela 


The film is considered a classic [19] and cult film.[11] Times of India named it one "of the landmark movies in the history of Tamil cinema".[20] 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.[7] 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".[7] 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."[7] Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said, "Since Aval Oru Thodarkathai days, I am an avid fan of Balachander".[21] 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".[22] 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".[23]

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.[24][25]



The song "Kadavul Amaitha" inspired a 1979 film of same name.[26]

The song "Deivam Thantha" inspired a television series of same name in Vijay TV.[27] The song was parodied by Vivek in Parthiban Kanavu (2003).[28] 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,[29] a month after his death.[30]

Original and remakes[edit]

Aval Oru Thodhar Kathai was remade in Telugu as Anthuleni Katha, also directed by K. Balachander. It was also shot in black and white. Jayaprada played the role of Sujatha, Rajnikanth did the role of Jaiganesh, making his debut in Telugu cinema,[31] and Kamal Haasan did the role of Jayaprada's boss. Same tunes were used in both the languages. Sripriya, Phataphat Jayalaxmi and rest of the cast are same in both the versions.[32] The Tamil film was later dubbed into Malayalam as Aval Oru Thudar Katha, released on 14 February 1975.[32] In 1977, Mala Sinha starred in the Bengali remake titled Kabita playing the lead role. Kamal Haasan made his Bengali film debut with this film by acting in the same role that he played in the Tamil original. Bharat Shamsher directed the black-and-white Bengali film. The film was again remade in Hindi as Jeevan Dhaara in 1982 by director T. Rama Rao. Rekha did the role of Jayaprada, Rakesh Roshan did the role of Kamal Haasan, Amol Palekar did the role of Narayana Rao. Kanwaljit did the conductor role, Simple Kapadia (sister of Dimple Kapadia) did Phataphat Jayalaxmi's role. The film was shot in colour. The film was a decent hit.[32][33]

In 1983, Balachander produced the Kannada remake titled Benkiyalli Aralida Hoovu starring Suhasini, whose real-life uncle Kamal Haasan played the guest role of a bus conductor in this remake. Balachander directed the film which was produced by Chandulal Jain. It was shot in colour.[34]


  1. ^ R. Kannan. Women in Films: An Incisive Study Into the Issues and Trends. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  2. ^ Meera Srinivasan (6 April 2011). "Actor Sujatha dead". The Hindu. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  3. ^ "Aval Oru Thodarkathai at jointscene.com". jointscene. jointscene.com. Archived from the original on 29 May 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2010.
  4. ^ "Sujatha Oru Thodarkathai – Bollywood Movie News". IndiaGlitz. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
  5. ^ "Metro Plus Chennai / People : The KB school". The Hindu. 3 May 2011. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  6. ^ "Other States / Tamil Nadu News : Actor Sujatha dead". The Hindu. 7 April 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
  7. ^ a b c d "Filmmakers' favourites". The Hindu. 13 July 2007. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  8. ^ "SCREEN STAR SUJATHA IS NO MORE". The Times of India. April 2011. Archived from the original on 10 December 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  9. ^ Rangan, Baradwaj (24 December 2014). "A ladies' man". The Hindu. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  10. ^ C V Aravind (21 May 2013). "Subtle yet powerful". Deccanherald.com. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  11. ^ a b "Sujatha Oru Thodarkathai – Tamil Movie News". Indiaglitz.com. 22 April 2011. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  12. ^ "It's a heavy price to pay". The Hindu. 3 May 2002. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  13. ^ "Actor dead". The Hindu. 13 February 2001. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  14. ^ "Thideer Kannaiya Passes Away – Tamil Movie News". Indiaglitz.com. 18 November 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  15. ^ "rediff.com, Movies: Kamal, as we know him". Rediff.com. 8 November 2000. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  16. ^ "From schoolteacher to character artiste". The Hindu. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  17. ^ R Guhambika (22 June 2011). "Community hall or bhoot bungalow?". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  18. ^ https://www.malayalachalachithram.com/movie.php?i=634
  19. ^ "Metro Plus Visakhapatnam / Cinema : Women of substance". The Hindu. 19 March 2011. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 December 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "CM watches special screening of Poi". IndiaGlitz. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  22. ^ "The Very Best of K Balachander". Rediff. 2 May 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  23. ^ Malathi Rangarajan. "Women of Steel". The Hindu. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  24. ^ "Meiyyazhagi movie review: Wallpaper, Story, Trailer at Times of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  25. ^ Tamil Cinema: The Cultural Politics of India's other Film Industry. p. 189. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  26. ^ "Songs – Tamil Movie Songs – Raaga.com". Raaga.com. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  27. ^ "23fr-serials". The Hindu. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  28. ^ Parthiban Kanavu (DVD)
  29. ^ G. Srinivasan (22 January 2015). "Rich tributes paid to Balachander". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 2 May 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  30. ^ "K Balachander: The man who gave us Rajinikanth, Kamal Hassan dies". The Economic Times. Press Trust of India. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  31. ^ Sangeetha Devi Dundoo (21 January 2013). "The man behind the idol". The Hindu. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  32. ^ a b c "Articles: Movie retrospect: Anthuleni Katha (1976)". Telugu cinema. Archived from the original on 4 January 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2015.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  33. ^ "Tamil Cinema News, Gossips, Gallery, Trailer and more... » Anthuleni Katha – Telugu Film". Tamilcinemas.com. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
  34. ^ "Tamil filmdom is proud, thanks to KB". Supergoodmovies.com. 30 April 2011. Archived from the original on 3 June 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2011.

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