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Bigil poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAtlee Kumar
Produced byKalpathi S. Aghoram
Kalpathi S. Ganesh
Kalpathi S. Suresh
Written byAtlee Kumar
Screenplay byAtlee Kumar
Story byAtlee Kumar
Jackie Shroff
Music bySongs:
A. R. Rahman
A. R. Rahman
CinematographyG. K. Vishnu
Edited byRuben
Distributed byScreen Scene Media Entertainment
Release date
  • 25 October 2019 (2019-10-25)[1]
Running time
178 minutes[2]
Budget180 crore[3][4]
Box officeest. 285–300 crore[5][6]

Bigil (transl. Whistle) is a 2019 Indian Tamil-language sports action film written and directed by Atlee Kumar and produced by Kalpathi S. Aghoram under the banner AGS Entertainment.[7][8] The film stars Vijay in dual lead roles as Michael, a mobster and former footballer and Rayappan, a gangster and Michael's father, alongside Nayanthara, Jackie Shroff, Vivek and Kathir in other prominent roles.[9] The film follows Michael, a mobster and a former footballer who decides to coach a women's football team when their coach gets attacked. Michael faces challenges when his team does not cooperate with him due to his violent background and also finds himself hunted by some rivals who want revenge.

The film was officially announced on 14 November 2018, under its working title Thalapathy 63. This film marked the third collaboration of Vijay and Atlee, after Theri and Mersal. Principal photography for this film commenced on 21 January 2019, at Chennai and ended on 10 August. The film's title Bigil, was announced on 22 June 2019, along with the first look poster.[10] The film has music composed by A. R. Rahman, with cinematography handled by G. K. Vishnu and editing done by Ruben.

Made on a budget of ₹180 crore,[11][12] Bigil released theatrically in India on 25 October 2019, coinciding with the occasion of Diwali festival. It was dubbed and released simultaneously in Kannada in same name and in Telugu under the title Whistle. It received mixed reviews upon release.[5] Bigil emerged as the highest-grossing Tamil film of 2019, collecting ₹285-300 crore,[5][6] upon its release, and Vijay's highest-grossing film in his career.[13] The film completed its 100-day theatrical run on 1 February 2020.[14]


Michael Rayappan is a crime boss from Chennai who works for the welfare of people in his slum. He has a romantic relationship with Angel Aasirvatham, a physiotherapist who comically refuses to marry any groom at the last minute due to their love. He has a running feud with a rival don named Daniel. One night, Daniel attacks Michael and his close friend Kathir, who is the coach of the Tamil Nadu women's football team. Kathir suffers spinal injuries during the attack, due to which he is paralyzed for a year. To allow the women's football team to take part in the upcoming National Championship in Delhi, Kathir requests to the Tamil Nadu Football Federation to replace him with his former teammate named "Bigil", who is none other than Michael. The story then shifts to Michael's past as a football player.

Seven years earlier, Michael was an aspiring footballer and contributed to victories for the Tamil Nadu football team along with Kathir. His father was Rayappan, a don who had a feud with a rival don named Alex, who was Daniel's father. Rayappan encouraged his son's passion for football as he did not want him to end up as a criminal like him. When Michael was unable to make it to the Indian football team due to Rayappan's criminal record, Rayappan personally took up the matter with the All India Football Federation president J. K. Sharma and forcefully ensured Sharma to include Michael and Kathir in the Indian team probable list. But despite Rayappan's efforts, Michael's football career was cut short as he witnessed Rayappan getting killed by Alex and Daniel, just when he was about to leave for Delhi to attend the selection trial for the Indian football team. Michael killed Alex in front of Daniel, taking revenge for Rayappan's death, and stayed back in Chennai to become the new leader of Rayappan's gang.

In the present day, Michael accepts Kathir's request to coach the women's football team and leaves for Delhi with the team, with Angel also accompanying them as team physiotherapist. However, due to his criminal background, the girls refuse to cooperate with him, even blaming him for the team's opening loss to Manipur in the National Championship and requesting the Federation to have him removed. Dejected, Michael gives his resignation to Sharma, but he soon realises that Sharma is targeting him in revenge for the humiliation that he had faced at the hands of Rayappan to allow him into the Indian football team. Sharma sends armed assailants to attack Michael; however, Michael subdues the assailants and withdraws his resignation. He convinces the girls to support him and starts training them hard with the sole focus of winning the Championship. He even manages to bring back two former key players to boost the team's strength: Gayathri, a Brahmin girl who had to quit playing football after she was married to a conservative family; and Anitha, who went into depression and refused to leave her room after a man threw acid on her face as she spurned his advances. Despite Sharma trying to rig the team's next match against Haryana so that they will be eliminated and sent home, they manage to beat Haryana and win all their remaining matches, eventually qualifying for the Final at Chennai, where they are to play Manipur again.

On the eve of the Final, one of the team's players, Vembu, is kidnapped and forcefully injected with cocaine by Daniel, who is hired by Sharma in order to sabotage the team's chances of winning the Championship. Though she recovers, she is unable to play in the final as she would fail the dope test. The team's captain, Thendral, is also kidnapped by Daniel, who attempts to forcefully inject cocaine on her as well; however, Michael manages to rescue her. Michael proceeds to kill Daniel once and for all, but when he sees Daniel's young son, he changes his mind and spares Daniel, as he does not want the young boy's future to end up like him by seeing his father die. The next day, Tamil Nadu plays the Final against Manipur without Vembu. The match turns out to be a thriller with Tamil Nadu winning the Championship through a penalty shootout. Michael and the team dedicate their success to Kathir, who is watching the match from the dugout in a wheelchair.

During the credits, Michael gets Sharma framed for drug possession, leading to Sharma's arrest in Malaysia, where he is on a holiday. A few months later, Michael, no longer a rowdy, takes up football coaching for children, with one of his wards being the son of Daniel, who has made peace with Michael.




In August 2018, there were rumours speculated that Vijay's Thalapathy 63, will be directed by Mohan Raja or Perarasu, however it was confirmed that Atlee, with whom Vijay has collaborated in Theri and Mersal, will be helming for their third film.[16][17] Later, in September 2018, Archana Kalpathi, the creative producer of AGS Entertainment, had announced that the company had bankrolled the rights of the film.[16] A small puja ceremony, announcing the launch of Thalapathy 63, was held on 14 November 2018.[18] And on the same day, AGS Entertainment, gave a press release, revealing the crew members and technicians working in this film. A. R. Rahman, G. K. Vishnu, Ruben, T. Muthuraj and Anal Arasu, whom worked in the director-actor's previous film Mersal, were roped in as the music composer, cinematographer, editor, art director and stunt choreographer respectively, with S. Ramana Girivasan, who regularly worked in Atlee's previous films, was roped in as the film's dialogue writer.[18][19]

The pre-production process for Thalapathy 63 took place on 29 November 2018, at Binny Mills in Chennai.[20] Ajay Devgn's NY VFXWAALA was roped in to supervise the visual effects. The company had already collaborated in Theri and Mersal.[21] Vijay had undergone special training in football,[22] with the sequences being choreographed by popular sports choreographers Aimee McDaniel and Justin Skinner, the former whom had choreographed for films like Pelé: Birth of a Legend, Million Dollar Arm and 13 Reasons Why, with the latter, an English footballer.[23]

In March 2020, the Indian Income Tax Department released figures from a tax evasion probe showing that Vijay received ₹50 crore for the film.[24]


Nayanthara (left) and Vivek (right) were signed for the lead roles, collaborating with Vijay, after a decade long-gap.

Nayanthara was selected to play the female lead role,[25] while Vivek and Anandaraj joined the film as a supporting role.[26] The actors collaborate with Vijay, for a decade long-gap, with Vivek's last collaboration with Vijay was Kuruvi (2008), whereas for Nayanthara and Anandaraj, was Villu (2009).[27] Yogi Babu, roped in the film's cast,[28] while Kathir,[29] Soundararaja and Daniel Balaji were also involved.[30] Rajkumar was chosen as a part of the film's cast, but it was proved to be untrue.[31] On 21 March 2019, Jackie Shroff, roped in the film cast, playing a negative role in the film.[32] It was revealed that Vijay would play a role of a women's football team coach, and later Indhuja Ravichandran,[33] Amritha Aiyer, Reba Monica John and Varsha Bollamma, were chosen as the football players.[34]


Principal photography for Thalapathy 63 started on 21 January 2019, with a small puja ceremony, held at Binny Mills in Chennai,[35][36][7] where the first schedule of the film took place with an action sequence.[37] A huge set was erected at the venue, and the filming of the schedule took place for 30 days.[37] A replica of Napier Bridge was erected at the EVP Film City in Chennai.[38] The second schedule of the film, went on shooting at a private college on 6 March 2019.[39] After 70 days of continuous shoot, the film entered its fourth schedule on 6 May 2019.[40] A song shoot for the film, took place at Gokulam Studios in Chennai in May 2019.[41]

The film's final schedule commenced on 10 August 2019,[42] with the wrapping of principal shoot, and entering through post-production. On the last day of shoot, the team gifted 400 gold rings, imprinting the film's title Bigil, to all the technicians who worked in this film.[43][44] In March 2020, Vijay's original bike stunt video from the film's shooting spot, went viral on social media.[45]

Copyright infringement allegations

Telugu filmmaker Nandi Chinni Kumar sued director Atlee for story theft and copyright infringement in Hyderabad court. He alleged that certain portions of the film bear similarities to his film, Slum Soccer.[46][47]



Bigil was released simultaneously in Tamil and Telugu (titled Whistle) on 25 October 2019, two days ahead of the Diwali festival, which falls on 27 October 2019.[7] The Central Board of Film Certification, gave U/A certificate to the film, with a runtime of 179 minutes (2 hours, 59 minutes), which was confirmed by Archana Kalpathi, the film's creative producer on Twitter.[48]

The film released on 4200 screens worldwide, with 700 screens in Tamil Nadu,[49] 400 screens in Karnataka, 300 screens in Kerala and 200 screens in North India, and rest of the territories.[50] It is the first Tamil film to release in IMAX screens.[50][51]


The film was distributed worldwide by Screen Scene Media Entertainment.[52] The Chennai city distribution rights were acquired by Gopuram Films. Trichy and Thanjavur rights were acquired by Karpagam Films. Sushma Cine Arts acquired the theatrical rights of Salem. Surya Movies acquired the rights of Madurai and Ramnad district. The film will be released by Kanthaswamy Cine Arts in Coimbatore and Vasundhara Devi Cine Films in Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari.[52] United India Exporters and X Gen Studios have jointly bought the overseas theatrical rights for the film. The Telugu rights have been bought by Mahesh S. Koneru under the banner East Coast Productions, and will be released in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.[53] Also the film's Hindi dubbing rights have been bought by Goldmines Telefilms Pvt. Ltd.[54]


The film's title, Bigil was announced on 22 June 2019.[55] The first look was released on 21 June 2019, featuring Vijay in a double role, one a footballer, and the other as a gangster. Vijay wears a salt-and-pepper hairstyle for this film.[56] The film's second look poster was released on 22 June at midnight, featuring a multi-dimensional format of Vijay,[57] and another poster was released at 6pm on the same day, with Vijay holding a cycle chain as a similar reference to Thirumalai (2003).[58][59] The new poster from the film was released on 28 August 2019, featuring Vijay, Anandaraj, Yogi Babu and others.

The theatrical trailer was released on 12 October 2019,[60] and upon its release, it crossed 14 million views within 14 hours,[61] the trailer crossed 2 million likes, within four days, becoming the most liked Indian trailer, beating Shah Rukh Khan's Zero (2018), which got 1.9 million likes.[62] As of 19 February 2020, the trailer crossed 50 million views, becoming the most viewed Tamil trailer.[63]

To promote the movie the makers teamed up with Chennai City FC, an Indian professional football club, to organise a mini football tournament consisting of 64 teams, on 19–20 October 2019, at Tiki Taka, Velachery, Chennai.[64][65] Another event titled Bigil FIFA Esports Championship, organised by Sky Esports was held in Arkmensis Gaming India, Chennai on 17–20 October 2019, and in Woot Gaming Lounge, Kochi on 15 October 2019.[66] The makers teamed up with Chennaiyin FC, for the upcoming Indian Super League season.[67] A new Twitter emoji for the film was launched officially, for the film's marketing purposes.[68]

The first look of the dubbed Telugu version titled Whistle, was released on 6 October 2019, and its trailer was released on 17 October 2019.[69]

Home media

The satellite rights of the film were secured by Sun TV Network,[70] which also secured the rights for the film's dubbed versions also.[71] The global television premiere of Bigil took place on Sun TV on 15 January 2020, coinciding with the Thai Pongal festival.[72] The digital rights were sold to Amazon Prime Video, which was released through all digital platforms on 13 December 2019.[71]


M. Suganth of The Times of India gave 3 out of 5 stars stating "Though it lacks depth and is overlong, Bigil proves to be an engaging entertainer".[73] Sify gave 3.5 out of 5 stars stating "Bigil relies squarely on the charm of its leading man and Vijay dives into the character with an enthusiasm we haven't seen before. It is a paisa vasool mass, sports-action-entertainer which is sure to be enjoyed by the masses and family audiences".[74] Sreedhar Pillai of Firstpost gave 3.25 out of 5 stars stating "Bigil is designed as a crowd-pleaser from the very word go; with the basic underdog story, women empowerment and equality as themes, it works to a large extent. Vijay takes Bigil to its winning goal".[75] IndiaGlitz gave 2.75 out of 5 stars stating " Despite its predictability, Bigil is lead to a victory by the impressive Vijay!".[76] stated "Bigil packs in enough entertainment in its three-hour running time".[77] Karthik Kumar of Hindustan Times stated "Despite a problematic first half, the Atlee-directed Vijay starrer makes up in the second half with an emotionally rewarding end, and is excruciatingly long and if not for the football portion which is executed on a grand scale and visuals, the film would've struggled to stay afloat".[78]


Pre-release revenue

The Tamil Nadu theatrical rights of the film were sold for 80 crore (US$11 million),[79] with the South India theatrical rights, were reported to be in the region of above 25 crore (US$3.5 million);[79] the overseas rights were purchased for 30 crore (US$4.2 million).[79] The satellite and digital rights for both Tamil and dubbed Telugu and Malayalam versions, were bought for ₹30 crore and ₹25 crore respectively,[79] whilst the Hindi dubbing and satellite rights were about 27 crore (US$3.8 million).[79] The audio rights were sold for 3.5 crore (US$490,000).[79] Thus totalling up to 220 crore (US$31 million).[79]

Box office

Business Today stated that Bigil has collected a total of ₹300 crore worldwide, while Firstpost stated a gross of 285 crore.[5][6] The film's Tamil Nadu theatrical distribution rights were sold at ₹80 crore[80] and it has grossed ₹143 crore in Tamil Nadu after four weeks.[81][82] In three weeks, the film had collected ₹13 crore from Chennai alone.[83] Bigil collected US$1 million at U.S box office, Vijay's fourth film to do so.[84] The film has performed very well in Delhi and Mumbai,[85] with sold-out shows at most locations in Mumbai the first week.[86] As of 6 November 2019, Bigil has collected $11.5 million in overseas territories.[87][88] The film earned more than 33,000 entries in France, overtaking Mersal and Enthiran.[89] The film also earned GBP 588,234 in United Kingdom surpassing highest Mersal which earned GBP 560,858.[82] In first six days, the film has reported to have earned $2 million in Malaysia.[90]

Social impact

Bigil has become an influential film for women. According to the coach of Madurai women's football team which recently won national qualifiers in Bangalore, parents are encouraging their daughters to take up football.[91]

Awards and nominations

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref
Zee Cine Awards Tamil 4 January 2019 Favorite Heroine Nayanthara Won [92]
Best Music Director A.R. Rahman Nominated
Favorite Song Of The Year (Verithanam) Nominated
Favorite Actor Vijay Won
Ananda Vikatan Cinema Awards 11 January 2020 Best Choreographer Shobi & Lalitha Shobi Won [93]
Most Popular Film AGS Entertainment Won
Best Music Director A. R. Rahman Nominated
Edison Award TBA Best Playback Singer Male for Singappenney A.R. Rahman Pending [94]
Best Background Score Pending
Best Music Director Pending


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External links