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For the professional Super Smash Bros. player, see Isai Alvarado.
Isai (movie poster).jpg
Directed by S. J. Surya
Produced by S. Subbiah
Victor Raj Pandian
S. J. Surya
Written by S. J. Surya
Music by S. J. Surya
Cinematography Soundararajan
Edited by K. M. Riyas
SS Productions
Distributed by Annai Mary Madha Creations
Release date
  • 30 January 2015 (2015-01-30)
Running time
190 minutes
Country India
Language Tamil
Budget 10 crore
Box office 25 crore

Isai (English: Music) is a 2015 Tamil musical psychological thriller film co-produced, written, directed and composed by S. J. Surya. The film stars himself in the lead role with debutant Sulagna. This film, which is touted to be of a new genre musical-thriller, went on the floors from 25 May 2012. The audio launch was on 16 November 2014. The film opened with positive reviews from critics and ended up with commercial success at the box office.


Vetriselvan (Sathyaraj) is an established and an old fashioned music director in the industry. He is loved and respected for his works and is termed as the greatest musician of our times. A. K. Shiva (S. J. Surya) who works as an assistant under Vetriselvan gets an opportunity to compose music for a small-time film. When he seeks permission from Vetriselvan to go ahead with his first venture as a music director, Vetriselvan doesn't oppose the idea as he wouldn't have imagined even in his wildest dream that one day A. K. Shiva would surpass him in the musical world.

When A. K. Shiva introduces new techniques and pioneers the use of synthesizers, his music gets the attention of all music lovers. Due to the freshness and modernity his music possesses, he gradually becomes the most sought after musician and finally overtakes Vetriselvan. A. K. Shiva becomes the number one musician and also builds his own studio. Meanwhile, he falls in love with Jenny (Sulagna Panigrahi) and also marries her.

When it seems everything he touches turns to gold, Vetriselvan displays his true colors. To get his glory back, Vetriselvan does whatever it takes to label A. K. Shiva unfit to compose music. Can A. K. Shiva bounce back despite his new and unwanted status forms the rest of the story?



The project was announced by S. J. Surya in 2004 shortly after the release of New, when he revealed that A. R. Rahman would also collaborate for three of his future ventures titled Anbulla Nanbane, Aezhumazhai vs Chitra with Silambarasan and Asin and Isai. While the first film released as Anbe Aaruyire in 2005, the latter two failed to progress.[1] In January 2006, the film was reported to be back under way with either S. S. Chakravarthy or Navodaya Appachan being producer and it was suggested that the film would be about a "cunning assistant music director comes to the top".[2] Other reports had also suggested that the film told the tale of the tensions between South Indian musicians Ilaiyaraaja and A. R. Rahman. However the failures of S. J. Surya's films Vyapari and Thirumagan prompted Rahman reconsider his involvement in the project and subsequently opted out from the project in 2007.[3]

In 2011, Surya announced that the film would restart and he would compose the film himself, describing it as a "musical".[4][5] Reports suggested that Lakshmi Rai, who had back to back successes in 2011 with Kanchana and Mankatha would play the female lead role but Surya subsequently denied this stating that he had been auditioning newcomers in Mumbai for the role.[6] In May 2012, the film's first look posters were finally revealed, with Sulagna Panigrahi, an Oriya and Indian television and film actress, who had made her Bollywood debut in the 2011 thriller Murder 2. The director confirmed that Prakash Raj, Ganja Karuppu and M. S. Bhaskar will feature in supporting roles.[7] Prakash Raj left the project in January 2013 as a result of a busy schedule.[8] Attempts to sign Gangai Amaren to replace him also proved to be unsuccessful. After a brief stall in the shoot, Sathyaraj was signed on to play the role, with Surya confirming that the film would be based on a tiff between two music composers.[9]


This film, which was touted to be of a new genre musical-thriller, went on the floors from 25 May 2012.The film was awarded an 'U/A' certificate by Central Board of Film Certification due to some intimate scenes between the lead pairs and some violence. The film released in 300+ screens across Chennai and Tamil Nadu which is the highest for S.J.Surya.[10] The satellite rights of the film were sold to Sun TV.

Critical Reception[edit]

The film received generally positive reviews from critics as well as audience. Times of India rated 3.5/5 stated But, there are times when the film turns frustrating as scenes go on and on, in convoluted fashion, with no end in sight. And with the climactic twist, which neither feels organic nor ingenious, Suryah only seems to be acknowledging that he couldn't come up with a satisfying end to the story he set originally out to film. All it does is give him a loophole to brush away the plot holes. Or, maybe, it his way of telling the whole world that SJ Suryah the director has literally woken up from his decade-long slumber.[11] Deccan Chronicle rated 3.5/5 stated It is director Suryah’s intelligently woven brave attempt that enthralls the audiences keeping them hooked to their seats. Cinematographer Soundararajan should be lauded for capturing the right mood of the film with his alluring lighting compositions. A bit of trimming would have helped. Nevertheless, with Isai, Suryah sends out a strong message that ‘he is back with bang’!.[12] Filmibeat rated 3/5 stated Physiological Thriller with good twist at the end.Indiaglitz rated 3/5 stated Minus these negatives, Isai is a grand comeback for SJ Surya without a doubt. Sathyaraj’s role thumps the movie home.Twists, turns, Power packed acting minus music.[13] The Hindu stated I found Isai a better watch than the recent big-ticket movies we've been subjected to. It has to do with the plot, which gradually becomes so preposterous that the sheer whatever-next factor pulls you through. After a point, the film lurches madly between psycho-thriller, Victorian melodrama (think Gaslight), horror-movie staples, and — I kid you not — a meta musing on the director's long absence from the screen and his return to it. Whatever else, you have to hand him points for audacity. By the end, I was chuckling.[14] Behindwoods rated 2.75/5 stated SJ Surya style glamour, humor, dialogues and power packed performances with a little twist in the end.[15] "Desimartini" rated it 3.1/5. Rakesh Reddy of Desimartini described the movie as "SJ Suryah is back in business but Isai is not his best film. Isai has a raunchy 1st half and a lengthy 2nd half with an unexpected climax."[16]


Soundtrack was composed by SJ Suryah while lyrics were written by Madhan Karky.


  1. ^ '''A R Rahman and his Tamil projects in future'''. Retrieved on 2016-01-03.
  2. ^ Tamil movies : A R Rahman to give his best for Isai. (2006-01-26). Retrieved on 2016-01-03.
  3. ^ Tamil Movie News s.j.surya a.r rahman thirumagan vyabari new tamil movie gallery images. Retrieved on 2016-01-03.
  4. ^ Sj Suryah To Make Beautiful Music! - Sj Suryah - Isai - Ar Rahman - Tamil Movie News. (2011-04-11). Retrieved on 2016-01-03.
  5. ^ SJ Suryah returns - Tamil Movie News. (2011-01-31). Retrieved on 2016-01-03.
  6. ^ SJ Surya: I'm introducing a promising newbie in 'Isai' - Exclusive - Tamil Movie News. (2012-03-17). Retrieved on 2016-01-03.
  7. ^ "Jero's Twitter". Behindwoods. 23 May 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  8. ^ A busy Prakash Raj says No, Isai, Prakash Raj. (2013-01-06). Retrieved on 2016-01-03.
  9. ^ Now, Sathyaraj plays Isai Vendan - Times Of India. Retrieved on 2016-01-03.
  10. ^ Isai (2015) - Movie Review. Tamil Studios (2015-01-31). Retrieved on 2016-01-03.
  11. ^ Isai Movie Review, Trailer, & Show timings at Times of India. (2015-01-30). Retrieved on 2016-01-03.
  12. ^ Movie review 'Isai': Suryah is back with bang!. (2015-01-30). Retrieved on 2016-01-03.
  13. ^ Isai review. Isai Tamil movie review, story, rating. (2015-01-30). Retrieved on 2016-01-03.
  14. ^ Isai: Lots of problems, but the preposterous plot pulls you through. The Hindu (2015-01-30). Retrieved on 2016-01-03.
  15. ^ Isai (aka) Isai review. (2015-01-30). Retrieved on 2016-01-03.
  16. ^ "Movie Review — Isa". 8 February 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 

External links[edit]