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Ghilli poster.jpg
Release Poster
Directed byDharani
Produced byA. M. Rathnam
Written byDialogues:
Screenplay byDharani
Story byGunasekhar
Based onOkkadu (Telugu)
Music byVidyasagar
Edited byB. Lenin
V. T. Vijayan
Sri Surya Movies
Release date
  • 17 April 2004 (2004-04-17)
Running time
168 minutes
Budget8 crore[1]

Ghilli (transl. Risk taker)[2] is a 2004 Indian Tamil-language sports action film directed by Dharani and produced by A. M. Rathnam under the production company Sri Surya Movies. A remake of the Telugu-language film Okkadu (2003), Ghilli stars Vijay, Trisha and Prakash Raj with Ashish Vidyarthi, Dhamu, Mayilsamy and Janaki Sabesh playing supporting roles.

The soundtrack album and score were composed by Vidyasagar. Cinematography was handled by Gopinath and editing was done by V. T. Vijayan and B. Lenin. Dialogues for the film were written by Bharathan. The film was released on 17 April 2004 to mostly positive reviews.[3] The movie was running for more than 200 days at the box office. It was one of the most successful films in Vijay's career.[4][5] As per trade, the film emerged as the highest grossing Tamil film of 2004, collecting 50 crore[6] domestically alone.[7]


Saravanavelu aka Velu is a state-level kabaddi player living in Chennai. His father, Assistant Commissioner of Police Sivasubramaniam, constantly chides him for his lack of interest in studies and his love for kabaddi. In contrast, his mother dotes on him, and his younger sister Bhuvana, a sharp and inquisitive schoolgirl, constantly gets Velu into trouble with their father, but nevertheless adores him.

Meanwhile, in Madurai, there is a ruthless factionalist leader Muthupandi, who lusts after a girl named Dhanalakshmi and would do anything to marry her. Muthupandi kills Dhanalakshmi's first elder brother as he rejects his offer to marry her. Dhanalakshmi’s second elder brother is also killed by Muthupandi when he tries to avenge his brother's murder. Dhanalakshmi’s father is a meek person who gets horrified by Muthupandi’s acts and asks Dhanalakshmi to leave Madurai and lead a peaceful life at her uncle's place in the USA by giving her the necessary certificates and money. Muthupandi catches her when she starts fleeing, because by coincidence, she gets into one of the lorries owned by him. At this juncture, Velu, who is in Madurai to play in a kabaddi tournament, rescues Dhanalakshmi and takes her to Hyderabad.

Velu takes Dhanalakshmi to his house and hides her in his room, unknown to his family. With the help of his friends, he arranges passport, visa, and flight tickets for Dhanalakshmi so that she can go to the USA. Meanwhile, Muthupandi and his father, who is the Home Minister, ask Sivasubramaniam to search for Dhanalakshmi and the apparent kidnapper. When Sivasubramaniam discovers that it is his own son who did the "crime", Velu and Dhanalakshmi run away and hide in the Chennai Lighthouse. Dhanalakshmi has by now fallen in love with Velu, and has been accepted by his mother and sister. So she is reluctant to go to the USA. Velu however, is adamant on sending her to the USA, and he, along with his friends, get her to the Chennai International Airport in time for her flight before their kabaddi match against Punjab in the final of the National League.

Sivasubramaniam, enraged that his son is a wanted criminal and yet is playing in a kabaddi match, goes to the stadium to arrest Velu. By now, Velu too has fallen in love with Dhanalakshmi and begins to miss her, only to spot her in the stadium during the match. Velu's lack of focus in the game is replaced by his best performance on seeing Dhanalakshmi, winning Tamil Nadu the championship. After winning the championship, Velu is arrested by his father, but is then stopped by Muthupandi, who wants to fight Velu, having been incited by Dhanalakshmi to do so to prove his worth. Velu defeats Muthupandi and embraces Dhanalakshmi, but when Muthupandi regains consciousness and tries to kill Velu, a floodlight broken during the fight accidentally hits Muthupandi who gets electrocuted to death.



Vijay expressed interest in starring in a Tamil remake of the Telugu action film Okkadu and prompted producer A. M. Rathnam to purchase the remake rights of the film. Dharani was finalised as the director, whose previous film Dhool under Rathnam's production had been a financial success. Dharani's regular crew members including cinematographer Gopinath and music director Vidyasagar joined the film, while Rocky Rajesh and Raju Sundaram were chosen to choreograph the stunts and dances, respectively, for which Sundaram was awarded Filmfare Award for Best Dance Choreographer – South later.[11] Later Trisha was confirmed to play the female lead, while Prakash Raj was signed on to reprise the villain's character from the original. Dhamu and Prabhu Deva's brother, Nagendra Prasad were recruited to essay supporting roles. Actor Thiagarajan's refusal meant that Ashish Vidyarthi was cast as Vijay's father in the film, while Janaki Sabesh and Baby Jennifer were selected to portray Vijay's mother and sister, respectively. Playback singer T. K. Kala made her acting debut with this film.[12][13] Vimal who went on to act in films like Pasanga (2009) and Kalavani (2010) appeared in a small role as one of Vijay's teammates and also worked as "unofficial" assistant director.[14]

Filming began in mid-2003, after Vijay had completed his action flick Thirumalai; the film was completed by early 2004. Filming took place in Chennai surrounding the coastal areas like Mylapore and Besant Nagar. The film's introduction fight scene and a song were shot in a costly set in Prasad studios.[15] A lighthouse set was also erected. Other action and chasing sequences were canned near the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai. The climax scene was shot in a crowd of one hundred thousand people on a Vinayagar Chaturthi occasion.[16][17]


Soundtrack album by
Released17 March 2004
GenreFeature film soundtrack
LabelFive Star Audio
Vidyasagar chronology

Vidyasagar was signed to compose the soundtrack album and background score for Ghilli; it marks the fourth collaboration of both Dharani and Vijay, with the former on Ethirum Puthirum, Dhill and Dhool, and working with the latter for Coimbatore Mappillai, Nilaave Vaa and Thirumalai. The soundtrack features six songs. The lyrics were penned by Yugabharathi, Pa. Vijay, Na. Muthukumar, Kabilan and Maran. The soundtrack became a sensation on release. The song Appadi Podu in particular enjoyed high popularity upon release, all over South India and became a huge chartbuster. The song was later reused by Chakri as "Adaragottu" in the Telugu movie Krishna (2008).[18] The song was also adapted by P. A. Deepak, a music producer, as Hum Na Tode in the 2013 Hindi movie Boss starring Akshay Kumar.[19] Following the internet phenomenon of "Why This Kolaveri Di" in 2011, "Appadi Podu" was featured alongside "Oh Podu", "Nakka Mukka" and "Ringa Ringa" in a small collection of south Indian songs that are considered a "national rage" in India.[20][21] The "Kabaddi" theme music from the soundtrack album was remixed by Anirudh Ravichander, for Master (2021).[22][23]

Track list
1."Kabaddi"MaranMaran, Jayamoorty01:44
2."Arjunaru Villu"KabilanSukhwinder Singh, Manikka Vinayagam04:27
3."Sha La La"P. VijaySunidhi Chauhan04:30
4."Appadi Podu"P. VijayKK, Anuradha Sriram05:53
5."Soora Thenga"Na. MuthukumarTippu04:03
6."Kokkarakko"YugabharathiUdit Narayan, Sujatha Mohan05:00
7."Kadhala Kadhala"P. VijaySujatha Mohan03:21


Ghilli was due for release on 9 April but later got postponed for a week and opened in over 150 theatres on 17 April 2004. Though the reason for the postponement was not given out, rumours were that producer A M Rathnam's creditors put pressure on him to settle his accounts before release.


Critical reception[edit]

Ghilli opened to favorable reviews.[24] Sify rated the movie 5 out of 5 stars and said, "the good old formula is back with Gilli. A one-man-army combats an eccentric villain against all odds as he tries to save a helpless girl from his clutches. Dharani has done it for the third time by churning out this hit-and-run yarn that keeps you engaged and entertained for 160 minutes.[25] stated that "Gilli, story wise, is neither fresh popcorn nor spicy samosa found in theatres but the screenplay and overall treatment is as fresh and appetising as full meals after a long day and gave an overall rating of 3/5 stars.[26] The Hindu stated that "Vijay, the hero whom the masses today identify with, and Prakash Raj, the inimitable villain in tow, this remake of the Telugu flick, "Okkadu," comes a clear winner".[27] Indiaglitz described the film as "an out and out entertainer".[28] Rediff stated that, "Gilli portrays Vijay as a comic hero who battles his villains logically while his physical powers are exaggerated dramatically. Having said that, Gilli offers nothing less than sheer entertainment and an edgy thriller for the Tamil film industry, which is deprived of such films.[29]

The film collected 2.05 crore in the Coimbatore distribution territory and beat the record of Padayappa.[30]



  • The popularity of Prakash Raj's role as Muthupandi led to several parodies incorporating the character and the endearing name "Chellam" (the way Muthupandi addresses Dhanalakshmi) became popular to sarcastically address an enemy.[31]
  • The scene in which Velu briefly uses Dhanalakshmi as a hostage when surrounded by Muthupandi and his men to manipulate them into surrendering their weapons was included in the list "Top 20 Mass Scenes" by Behindwoods.[32]
  • In Vijay's 2021 film Master, a kabaddi scene uses music montage invoking Ghilli.[33]


  1. ^ "Chennai box-office report (July 23 – 25, 2004)". Sify. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  2. ^ Damodaran, K & Gorringe. "Madurai Formula Films: Caste Pride and Politics in Tamil Cinema" (PDF). South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 March 2017.
  3. ^ "Year 2004 — a flashback". The Hindu. 31 December 2004. Archived from the original on 26 August 2010.
  4. ^ "Review : (2004)".
  5. ^ "~Illayathalapathy Vijay's Box-Office Analysis~".
  6. ^ Nair, Sree Prasad (19 May 2016). "From Ghilli to Theri: 10 Ilayathalapathy Vijay action blockbusters one should know!". Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  7. ^ "The Top 7 Vijay Movies". Rediff. Archived from the original on 18 April 2015. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Ghilli (DVD): opening credits from 1.05 to 1.25
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Ghilli (DVD): closing credits from 157.25 to 157.30
  10. ^ "கார் கவிழ்ந்தது பாண்டி ரவி படுகாயம் |Live Article:824/11324, Chan:15038440 |"".
  11. ^ a b c "Filmfare Awards for South India". Idlebrain. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  12. ^ "Gossip". Dinakaran. 15 April 2005. Archived from the original on 15 April 2005.
  13. ^ grill mill. The Hindu (21 November 2010). Retrieved on 17 April 2015.
  14. ^ Rustic Art: The Actor Vimal Interview. 10 February 2015.
  15. ^ "Action-packed family drama". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 19 March 2004. Archived from the original on 27 November 2004. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  16. ^ "An All time Blockbuster -Ghilli". Sify. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  17. ^ ""I am choosy about scripts": Gopichand". Sify. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  18. ^ Articles – Copy Cat Crown (Part 8) Archived 16 February 2015 at (31 January 2008). Retrieved on 17 April 2015.
  19. ^ "Music Review: Boss soundtrack is a winner". Rediff. 14 September 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  20. ^ M Suganth (24 November 2011). "Why south songs are a national rage..." The Times of India. TNN. Archived from the original on 28 June 2014.
  21. ^ M Suganth (25 November 2011). "Very, Very Kolaveri!". The Times of India. p. 23. Archived from the original on 28 June 2014.
  22. ^ "Thalapathy Vijay's Master Promo 8 has revealed a unique Ghilli surprise ft Arjun Das; viral video". Behindwoods. 12 January 2021. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  23. ^ 100010509524078 (12 January 2021). "Master Promo: 'Thalapathy' Vijay goes back to playing Kabaddi". Retrieved 12 January 2021.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  24. ^ S, Srivatsan (8 June 2020). "When Janaki Sabesh and Ashish Vidyarthi had a 'Ghilli' reunion". The Hindu. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  25. ^ "Review". Archived from the original on 19 May 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  26. ^ Indian Movies, showitmes, reviews, videos.
  27. ^ "Ghilli". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 23 April 2004. Archived from the original on 5 July 2004.
  28. ^ Gilli Tamil Movie Review – cinema preview stills gallery trailer video clips showtimes. 25 April 2004.
  29. ^ Guru Subramaniam (23 April 2004) Don't miss 'Gilli'. You will enjoy it!
  30. ^ "'Chandramukhi' —First sale!". Sify. Archived from the original on 26 October 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  31. ^ "I am elated". The Hindu. 10 September 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  32. ^ "7. Ghilli – Top 20 Mass Scenes". Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  33. ^ S, Srivatsan (13 January 2021). "'Master' movie review: An in-form Vijay takes a backseat to have fun. But is that enough?". The Hindu. Retrieved 15 January 2021.

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