Naan Kadavul

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Naan Kadavul
Theatrical poster of the film
Theatrical poster
Directed by Bala
Produced by K. S. Sreenivasan
Screenplay by Bala
Based on Yezhaam Ulagam 
by Jeyamohan
Music by Ilaiyaraaja
Cinematography Arthur A. Wilson
Edited by Suresh Urs
Vasan Visual Ventures
Distributed by
Release dates
  • 6 February 2009 (2009-02-06)
Running time
127 minutes
Country India
Language Tamil
Budget 7 crore[2]

Naan Kadavul (English: I am God) is a 2009 Indian Tamil drama film co-written and directed by Bala. Based on the Tamil novel Yezhaam Ulagam by Jeyamohan—who also penned the dialogues for the film—the film features Arya and Pooja in the lead roles.The film was also dubbed in Hindi as Pandav — The Punch

The film revolves around Rudran (Arya), who in his childhood was left in Varanasi by his parents only to become an aghori. Years later he is brought back to Tamil Nadu, his homeland where he encounters a new world of physically and mentally challenged beggars. Rudran happens to meet Amsavalli (Pooja), a blind girl being controlled by Thandavan, a local thug and his henchmen. In the end, Rudran kills Thandavan and joins his mentor in Varanasi.

The film produced by K. S. Sreenivasan and jointly distributed by Vasan Visual Ventures and Pyramid Saimira, had background score and soundtrack composed by Ilaiyaraaja. Arthur A. Wilson handled the cinematography while Suresh Urs looks after the editing. The film had been in making for over three years, finally released on 6 February 2009. Upon release the film received critical acclaim, winning two National Film Awards, including the Best Director Award for Bala, four Vijay Awards, three Tamil Nadu State Film Awards and one Filmfare Award. It was successful at the box office as well.[3]


For astrological reasons, a father leaves his son Rudran (Arya) in Kasi. Fourteen years later, repenting his act he goes with his daughter in search of him. He finds him there but is shocked to learn that he has become an Aghori, a cannibalistic character who gives moksha and prevents the soul from getting rebirth. Nevertheless he brings him back to Tamil Nadu. The story takes a turn here and introduces us to the world of physically and mentally challenged beggars. A world controlled by the cruel Thandavan (Rajendran). Hamsavalli (Pooja Umashankar) a blind girl is forcefully separated from her troupe and made to join the beggars. Soon she becomes another victim of Thandavan's cruelty. Meanwhile, Rudran leaves his house to find his place on a small cave, and soon meets Hamsavalli, who tries her best to convince him to return home, but fails. Thandavan then takes a deal with a Malayali man of the same profession to sell some of the beggars.The Malayali guy forcefully takes the beggars away,although they want to stay with the rest of the beggars. He returns again,but this time to force Hamsavalli to marry an ugly, deformed man for 10-lakhs worth of money. Thandavan orders his men to bring Hamsavalli but they take Hamsavalli to Rudran to help her. Rudran kills the Malayali guy and is also arrested by the local Police. This agitates Thandavan and he orders the Police man to release Rudran so that he can kill him. In the mean time Thandavan also finds Hamsavalli and on one incident, Hamsavalli refuses to marry the deformative,which angers him and he runs away without marrying her. This angers Thandavan, who deeply wounds her. Rudran is shown wounded in his forehead with blood oozing out. Flashback opens where Thandavan appears face to face with Rudran. In the fight between the two, Rudran kills Thandavan. Rudran's wound in the forehead is caused due to the fight. She later goes crying to Rudran to somehow free from this curse and also prevent her from rebirth. The aghori then kills her and grants her moksha. In the final scene Rudran returns to Kasi.


  • Arya as Rudran
  • Pooja as Hamsavalli
  • Rajendran as Thandavan
  • Krishnamoorthy as Murugan
  • Azhagan Thamizhmani as Rudran's father
  • Singampuli
  • Aacharya Ravi
  • Rasaiya Kannan


After the release of Pithamagan (2003), Bala began to work on a script for a film for which he sought inspiration from a scene in Anbe Sivam which had inspired him to make his film, referring to a scene where Kamal Haasan states to Madhavan that "when we love others unconditionally without any expectation, we become Gods".[4][5] It was announced that the film would star Ajith Kumar in the lead role and produced by A. M. Rathnam.[6] Ajith signed a contract for the film stating that he would work in the film for 150 days, and the project was titled Naan Kadavul.[7] However Ratnam, the producer of the film dropped out in December 2004, opting to concentrate on his Telugu film Bangaram and his son's venture, Kedi.[8] Early sources indicated that Cleeny, sister of actress Gopika, would play the lead role in the film although this later proved to be untrue and Meera Jasmine was selected.[9][10] As pre-production work continued, Ajith grew his hair for the role and subsequently appeared in a song in the much-delayed film, Varalaru with the long hair he grew for Naan Kadavul, when doing patchwork.[11] The film was briefly shelved in August 2005 and Ajith moved on to sign other films such as P. Vasu's Paramasivan, which was initially set to be produced by Bala, and Perarasu's Thirupathi.[12] The film then re-emerged and in April 2006, Bala announced the technical crew of the film revealing that Arthur A. Wilson would be cinematographer, Krishnamoorthy as art director and that Ilaiyaraaja would score the film's music. Pre-production on the film began in early 2006, with Bala's assistants already scouting for ideal filming locations in the city of Varanasi.[13] Ajith announced that the shoot of the film would start in the city in May 2006, with the actor refusing to speculate the story of the film.[14] However as the film yet again failed to take off, Ajith finally pulled out of the project in June 2006 stating he could wait no longer for Bala.[4][15]

Suriya was named as a potential replacement, but the actor was committed to several other films during the period.[16] It was reported that Narain, who also made his debut with Chithiram Pesuthadi, would do the role but producers wanted a more saleable name, and hence Arya was signed up.[17] Arya was eager to appear in the film but had already given dates to Saran for Vattaram, and unsuccessfully attempted to drop out of that film to allot dates for Naan Kadavul. Saran's refusal meant that Arya had to wait and complete the film before joining Bala's team.[6][18] Bhavana was signed for the film after the success of Chithiram Pesuthadi, replacing Meera Jasmine. Ravi, director of Vignesh starrer Aacharya and Kannan, director of Raasaiyya, made their debuts as actors with this film.[19] Rajendran, a fight master who earlier appeared in a small role in director Bala's previous film Pithamagan was selected to play main villain thus making his debut as full-fledged actor.[20] The film also introduced 175 new faces to the screen in which most of them being physically challenged people.[4] The film was consequently launched in June 2006 at Hotel Green Park, Chennai with P. L. Thenappan's Sri Rajalakshmi Films as producers.[21]

The photo shoot of the film was held in August 2006 with Arya and Bhavana and images of Arya were released showing him in different postures of Yoga including Sirasasanam and Padmasanam. The film's first schedule began later that month in Nazarethpettai, near Chennai.[22] Shoots continued in Kasi and Varanasi in January 2007, with Arya opting against working in any other films till Naan Kadavul was complete.[23] Producer Thennapan also backed out of the film in early 2007 but Srinivasan of Vasan Visual Ventures took over swiftly.[24]

Bhavana also walked out of the film in early 2007 as she was unable to allot dates for the film and a search for another new cast member began. Meenakshi, Anjali and Parvathi Menon were heavily linked to the role to replace Bhavana, but Bala opted against selecting either.[25][26] Subsequently Karthika, who had been seen in small budget films such as Thootukudi and Pirappu, was booked as heroine and she was made to beg in the streets of Periyakulam during an audition. However Bala was still unimpressed.[27] Hindi actress, Neetu Chandra, was flown down to Theni for a test shoot but Bala felt she did not have the looks for the role of a beggar girl.[28] Actress Pooja was later finalised as lead actress in September 2007 and joined the sets of the film in Periyakulam in late 2007.[29] She revealed that she went to the audition of the film only after being compelled by director Seeman and thought twice about accepting the film due to her commitments in a Sinhalese film, before the producer of that film released her from her contract.[30][31]


This film features 7 songs composed by Ilaiyaraaja. The audio was released on 1 January 2009. Lyrics have been penned by Vaali except for the track Pitchai Paathiram which has been penned by Ilayaraja himself and the title song "Maa Ganga" written by Bharath Achaarya. The song "Matha Un Kovilil" was reused from Raja's own song which he had composed for Achchani (1978).


Critical response[edit]

"It was a tough subject to deal with" ... "Bala has deftly handled the film. Frankly, I never expected a film like Naan Kadavul from Tamil. That shows how different Bala is in his thinking and approach Bala is unique in many ways."

—Malayalam film-maker Shaji N. Karun who headed the jury of the 56th National Film Awards[32]

Rediff wrote:"Naan Kadavul is definitely worth a watch for its superb secondary characters, setting and music. Now, if only the screenplay had provided the missing punch".[33] Behindwoods wrote:"Naan Kadavul is not a movie that everyone can digest. It shows reality in such brutality that you wonder whether such things really do happen. It cannot be called violent; the word ‘brutal’ has to be repeated often to describe the movie. One feels the director could have toned it down a bit, it leaves one very disturbed".[34] Sify wrote:"It's a much darker film than the director’s previous works. Watch Naan Kadavul, because it's one of those films that won't easily get out of your head long after the film is over".[35] Indiaglitz wrote:"In one word, Naan Kadavul is a movie to cherish and celebrate".[36] Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan in its review dated 18 February 2009 gave 42 marks and mentioned that "It is Bala's celestial dance which makes us tremble.. The film's backdrop is new and for the new experience it offers and for the huge effort from Bala, this film is worth a watch".[37] Actor Rajinikanth was in full praise of Naan Kadavul, citing it as an extraordinary work on screen and congratulated them for their meticulous efforts.[38]


Award Category Nominee Outcome
56th National Film Awards Best Director Bala Won
Best Make-up Artist U.K. Sasi Won
57th Filmfare Awards South Best Tamil Actress Pooja Won
Best Tamil Director Bala Nominated
Best Tamil Actor Arya Nominated
Best Tamil Film K. S. Sreenivasan Nominated
Best Tamil Supporting Actor Rajendran Nominated
Best Tamil Lyricist Ilayaraja for "Pitchai Paathiram" Nominated
Tamil Nadu State Film Awards Best Female Character Artiste Pooja Won
Best Villain Rajendran Won
Best Cinematographer Arthur Wilson Won
Vijay Awards Best Director Bala Won
Best Actress Pooja Won
Best Villain Rajendran Won
Best Make up U.K. Sasi Won


  1. ^ Dhananjayan 2014, p. 477.
  2. ^ Naan Kadavul first-copy budget was 7 crore
  3. ^ Naan Kadavul was profitable at the box office as well as award-winning
  4. ^ a b c Dhananjayan 2014, p. 478.
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b "More controversy for Naan Kadavul". 23 June 2006. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "Ajith Obedient to Bala". Behindwoods. 31 March 2005. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "Ratnam drops one more film!". Sify. 3 December 2004. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "Gopika's sister opposite Ajith". Indiaglitz. 8 April 2005. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "Tamil movies : Meera Jasmine: What if Bala shuts the door?". Behindwoods. 13 April 2006. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  11. ^ "". Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "Tamil movies : Ajith, Taste the Thunder". Behindwoods. 3 September 2005. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  13. ^ "Tamil movies : Varanasi: Bala's next spiritual journey for Naan Kadavul". Behindwoods. 27 April 2006. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  14. ^ "Tamil movies : Ajith-Bala’s Naan Kadavul to kick off on May". Behindwoods. 24 April 2006. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  15. ^ "Ajith explains". Indiaglitz. 27 May 2006. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  16. ^ "Tamil movies : ‘Naan Kadavul’ – Surya to replace Ajith?". Behindwoods. 25 May 2006. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  17. ^ "Narain meets Bala". Sify. 25 May 2006. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  18. ^ "Arya bags Bala film!". Sify. 27 May 2006. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ "My First Break: Rajendran". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 4 December 2010. 
  21. ^ "Welcome to". Sify. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  22. ^ "Tamil movies : Naan Kadavul: Arya suspects the supernatural". Behindwoods. 29 August 2006. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  23. ^ "Getting ready to resume — Naan Kadavul". IndiaGlitz. 31 May 2007. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  24. ^ "New producer for Naan Kadavul". Chennai365. 16 May 2007. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  25. ^ cinesouth (16 July 2007). "Karthika is 'Naan Kadavul' heroine?". Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  26. ^ "BALA NAAN KADAVUL". Behindwoods. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  27. ^ "NAAN KADAVUL Mission Heroine". Behindwoods. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  28. ^ "Bala's elusive heroine hunt". Oneindia. 5 September 2007. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  29. ^ "Cinema Plus / Interview : Oram Po... here she comes". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 30 November 2007. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  30. ^ "Actress Pooja — Interview". Behindwoods. 21 January 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  31. ^ [1][dead link]
  32. ^ Vilakudy, Rajaneesh (28 January 2010). "I never expected a film like Naan Kadavul from Tamil". Rediff. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  33. ^ "Review: Naan Kadavul". Rediff. 6 February 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  34. ^ "Naan Kadavul Movie Review". Behindwoods. 21 January 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  35. ^ "Movie Review : Naan Kadavul". Sify. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  36. ^ "Naan Kadavul Tamil Movie Review". Indiaglitz. 6 February 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  37. ^ Dhananjayan 2014, p. 479.
  38. ^ "Rajini impressed by 'Naan Kadavul'". Indiaglitz. 10 February 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 

External links[edit]