Muthal Mariyathai

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Mudhal Mariyadhai
Directed byP. Bharathiraja
Produced byP. Bharathiraja
Written byR. Selvaraj
Screenplay byP. Bharathiraja
Story byR. Selvaraj
StarringSivaji Ganesan
Music byIlaiyaraaja
CinematographyB. Kannan
Edited byV. Rajagopal
P. Mohan Raj
Manoj Creations
Distributed byManoj Creations
Release date
15 August 1985[1]
Running time
160 mins

Mudhal Mariyadhai (English: Prime Honour/First Respect) is a 1985 Tamil-language romantic drama film directed by P. Bharathiraja. It starred Sivaji Ganesan and Radha in the lead with Vadivukkarasi, Ranjani, Aruna Mucherla, A. K. Veerasamy and Sathyaraj playing other significant roles. The film's score and soundtrack are composed by Ilaiyaraaja.

The film was critically well received upon release. After a couple of weeks of lukewarm response the film picked up and ran for 100 days in many centres and eventually completed a silver jubilee run . It fetched Best Lyricist Award and Best Feature Film in Tamil Award for Vairamuthu and Bharathiraja respectively in the 33rd National Film Awards. While the lead actors won their respective Filmfare Awards South in Best Tamil Actor and Best Tamil Actress category.

Radha received high critical acclaim for her performance as a low caste boatwoman and is considered her best work till date. She admitted that only after this film she took acting seriously. She missed that year's National Film Award for Best Actress by a whisker, much to the chagrin to her fans, especially Malayalam audience. She eventually lost the award to her best friend Suhasini Maniratnam who won for her performance in Sindhu Bhairavi .

The film was dubbed into Telugu under the title Aatma Bandhuvu. It is the last silver jubilee blockbuster of Sivaji in a lead role.


The film commences with friends and family of an ailing village head, Malaichami (Sivaji Ganesan), gathered around him on his death bed. The plot then moves along in a series of flashbacks, featuring significant episodes of the dying man's life. These include the presence of a boatman's young daughter Kuyil (Radha) in his village. The protagonist is unhappily married to a shrewish wife by the name of Ponnatha (Vadivukkarasi), and seeks comfort and solace in a friendship with Kuyil. The friendship raises eyebrows, and is socially awkward and complicated for both Malaichami and Kuyil.



A view of Talkad where the film was shot at

Bharathiraja revealed that on the sets Sivaji insisted seeing what the director wanted first before enacting a scene.[3][4] Ilayaraja said that he hated the film but "I gave my best songs/BGM to that flick. When, Bharathiraja saw the movie after my work, he questioned how am I able to deliver such a wonderful music, even for a film which I did not like".[5] The filming was entirely held at Talakad, village in Karnataka.[6][7] Radhika lent her voice for Radha in the film.[8] It was Radha's 99th film as actress.[7] Kuyil role was first offered to Radhika, but she choose to do Swati Mutyam, which was offered to her at the same time.


The music was composed by Ilaiyaraaja while the lyrics for songs were written by Vairamuthu. All the songs were well received. G. Dhananjayan in his book Pride of Tamil cinema – 1931 to 2013 wrote that the songs "helped tremendously in film's success".[3]

All lyrics are written by Vairamuthu; all music is composed by Ilaiyaraaja.

Track list[9]
1."Antha Nilava Thaan"Ilaiyaraaja, K. S. Chithra4:31
2."Poongatru Thirumbuma"Malaysia Vasudevan, S. Janaki4:52
3."Vetti Veru Vasam"Malaysia Vasudevan, S. Janaki4:28
4."Yeh Kuruvi"Malaysia Vasudevan, S. Janaki1:16
5."Raasave Unna Nambi"S. Janaki4:32
6."Hey Kiliyirukku"Ilaiyaraaja1:08
7."Eratha Malai Mele"Malaysia Vasudevan, S. Janaki2:08
8."Naanthaaney Antha Kuyil"S. Janaki0:28
9."Poongatru Thirumbuma"S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, Asha Bhosle0:28
Total length:22:54

Home Media[edit]

Muthal Mariyathai is included alongside other Sivaji starrers in the compilation of DVD titled 8th Ulaga Adhisayam Sivaji.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

On 8 September 1985, Ananda Vikatan said, "When a few were talking about the end of Sivaji's era in Tamil cinema, Bharathiraaja proved through an intense script and character that his saga is not over yet... Radha stuns everyone with her acting skills, despite competing with a summit of acting Sivaji...Everyone liked the acting of Sivaji and Radha and the direction of Bharathiraaja."[11] Behindwoods wrote:"The emotions in the movie were subtle. The relationship between the young woman and the old man was shown as platonic without a trace of vulgarity. The characters were so real that one could easily identify with them. [..] For both Radha and Sivaji, Mudhal Mariyathai was a landmark film in their careers".[12] Indiaglitz wrote:"With a shoe string budget that confines only to a small village, showcases Bharathiraja's deft storytelling abilities".[13] Vijay Sethupathi listed it as one of his favourite films and said that:"It is a risky subject and it could have gone wrong but Bharathiraja handled the subject really well. He made the audience fall in love with the film".[14]


In a comedy scene from Thalattu Ketkuthamma (1992), Koundamani sings "Poongatru Thirumbuma" to impress his wife (Vijay Chandrika), Prabhu completes the lyrics after Goundamani has forgetten the lyrics.[15] In Aavarampoo (1992), Goundamani sings the song "Hey Kuruvi".[16] In Rajakumaran (1994), Goundamani who plays a milk man tries to impress a girl whose face he has not seen by providing the milk. The song "Poongatru" with different lyrics is heard as background song for the scene.[17] In Parambarai (1996), Kannayiram (Senthil) is seen singing the lyrics "Medhdhai Vanginen" from that song.[18] In a scene from Unakkaga Ellam Unakkaga (1999), Kundalakesi (Goundamani) lifts a huge stone similar to Sivaji's technique from the film to impress his lover.[19] Vivek did a spoof of "Muthal Mariyathai" in the film Parthiban Kanavu (2003). In Mozhi (2007), Ananthakrishnan (Brahmanandam) will be seen watching "Poongatru" in television before getting disturbed by a cockroach.[20]

The dialogue "Enaku oru unma therinjaaganum" (I need to know the truth) spoken by A. K. Veerasamy became popular.[21] An unrelated series of same name also directed by Bharathiraja was aired on Kalaignar TV.[22] R. Selvaraj, writer of this film has directed a film called Neethana Andha Kuyil in 1986 which was inspired from the line from the song "Poongatru". Another song "Rasave Unnai Nambi" has inspired a Ramarajan starrer of same name. In Singam (2010), Pandu, Who came as a farmer intimated the dialogue,which gains a lot of interest towards the movie


33rd National Film Awards
33rd Filmfare Awards South
Cinema Express Awards


  1. ^ Dhananjayan 2014, p. 284.
  2. ^ T. S. Sreenivasa Raghavan (9 January 2012). "Will she? Won't she?". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  3. ^ a b Dhananjayan 2014, p. 285.
  4. ^ "Penchant for innovation Making an impact". 31 August 2007 – via
  5. ^ "- Tamil News".
  6. ^ "Muthal Mariyathai Movie Shooting Locations | Filmapia – reel sites . real sights".
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^ "dinakaran". 5 May 1999.
  9. ^ "Mudhal mariyathai songs". Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  10. ^ Iyer, Aruna V. (13 May 2012). "For the love of Sivaji" – via
  11. ^ Dhananjayan 2011, p. 91.
  12. ^ "Why Bharathiraja's Kollywood movie En Uyir Thozhan is so special, Bharathiraja, En Uyir Thozhan".
  13. ^ "- Telugu News".
  14. ^ "The Three Best". Indian Express. Archived from the original on 18 October 2014. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  15. ^ Thalattu Ketkuthamma (DVD)
  16. ^ Aavarampoo (DVD)
  17. ^ Rajakumaran (DVD)
  18. ^ Parambarai (DVD)
  19. ^ Unakkaga Ellam Unakkaga (DVD)
  20. ^ Mozhi (DVD)
  21. ^ "Veteran actor honoured". 5 February 2009 – via
  22. ^ Akilan, Mayura (4 June 2013). "பாரதிராஜா ஸ்டைல் முதல்மரியாதை!".


External links[edit]

Muthal Mariyathai on IMDb