Nala Damayanthi

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Nala Damayanthi
Directed by Mouli
Produced by Chandra Hassan
Kamal Haasan
Written by Kamal Haasan,
Starring Madhavan
Geetu Mohandas
Anu Hasan
Music by Ramesh Vinayagam
Cinematography Siddharth
Edited by Raja Mohammad
Release date
  • 6 June 2003 (2003-06-06)
Running time
138 minutes
Country India
Language Tamil

Nala Damayanthi is a 2003 Tamil comedy film directed by Mouli and written and produced by Kamal Hassan. The film stars Madhavan in the lead role, with Geetu Mohandas and Shrutika playing supporting roles. Telling the tale of a naive Tamil cook stuck in Australia, the film released in June 2003 to positive reviews. This film has similarity with the English film Green Card which was released in 1990.


Ramji Narayanaswami Iyer (Madhavan), a naive and docile Pappaan (Kerala Iyer) cook, dreams of marrying off his sister Bhagyam (Divyadarshini) to a good family, as they are orphans and it becomes his sole responsibility. As per convention he has shell out dowry for the marriage and somehow falls short of the agreed sum. Incidentally the groom's family happens to admire the food cooked by Ramji and plan him to send to Melbourne, Australia as a cook for a multi millionaire Australian based Indian family. In return he has to send part of his salary as a compensation for the dowry he owes.

The millionaire dies of indigestion the day Ramji arrives, leaving him jobless and without his passport and visa, which had been stolen. Desperate to stay and earn, he starts working illegally as a cook in an Indian hotel owned by an NRI Badri (Sriman), but to stay on, he needs to get a legal work permit as the immigration police are on his heels. Ivan (Bruno Xavier), Badri's cunning lawyer friends explains him that the only way out is marriage with an Australian citizen. Ramji reluctantly agrees for a fake marriage with Ivan's fiancee Damayanthi (Geetu Mohandas), a free-spirited motorbiker of Sri Lankan Tamil Christian background and they get married over the weekend. For all these gimmicks Ivan charges heavy fees from Badri and deposit's in the joint account of his with Damayanthi. Ramji converts to Christianity, becoming Robert, and then moves into Damayanthi's house.

The police believes this is a fake marriage and decides to refer the matter to the consulate. Constant stalking by the police forces the couple to stay together to avoid detection by authority. Damayanthi is deeply troubled with the rural mannerisms of Ramji. To break the ice, Ramji cooks delicacies for Damayanthi and wins her heart. Over a period of time Damayanthi realises that Ivan is fooling around with her and does not love her.

Meanwhile, Ramji is not able to send the dowry installments as promised and his sister's in-laws throw her out. Damayanthi handles this situation smartly, sends all the money received for the fake marriage in their joint account to her, and makes sure her long-time friend takes care of her. In their confrontation with the consulate, Ramji answers more than he is asked at the immigration office then is forced to return to India. Damayanthi eventually comes along to Palakkad and the film ends with a happy note where couple starts off a restaurant. Actors Kamal Haasan and Jayaram comes to inaugurate their restaurant and wish the couple luck.

  • The flight scene in the film was the replication of a Tamil drama - Flight 172 written by T. S. B. K. Moulee himself.



Kamal Haasan had written the script with himself in mind to play the lead role in the late 1990s, but never got down to making it because he felt it would not have been cost-effective.[1] After the profitable Pammal K. Sambandam (2002), Mouli asked Kamal Haasan to re-collaborate with this particular script but Kamal Haasan was uninterested.[2] Madhavan was selected by Kamal Haasan to replace him, after the pair had shot for Anbe Sivam together in the period.[3] Geetu Mohandas was signed in February 2003 after Mouli had seen her picture in a magazine, and thus she made her comeback to the Tamil film industry after having appeared as the child in the 1988 film, En Bommukutty Ammavukku.[4] While casting for the role of the lead actress, the makers had made several broadcasts over Radio Australia without success. Mouli had been insistent on casting a new actress in Tamil and subsequently considered Malayalam actresses Kavya Madhavan and Navya Nair before finalising Mohandas. The actress was also recommended to the team by actor Jayaram.[5][6] Bruno Xavier, an Australia-based Sri Lankan Tamil actor, was selected to play the antagonist's role after a successful audition.[7]

The film was shot predominantly in Melbourne, Australia in February and March 2003 to make most of the daylight hours.[8] Anu Hasan, daughter of producer Chandra Haasan, helped with production duties and cut costs of the team's shoot in Australia, as well leading post-production works while also provided voice for the film's lead actress Geethu.[9]


Soundtrack was composed by Ramesh Vinayagam and lyrics were written by Vaali.[10] The soundtrack for the film, which included an English folk song sung by Kamal Haasan, became a success.[11][12]

  • Enna Idhu - Ramesh Vinayagam, Chinmayi
  • Pei Muzhi - Sharreth
  • Sudupattadha - Kamal Haasan
  • Stranded on the street - Kamal Haasan
  • Thirumangalya Dharanam - Sriram Parthasarathy, Sujatha


The film was a moderate success at the box office and performed well in multiplexes across Chennai.[13][14] Sify gave a verdict that the film was a "comedy caper" and a "clean comedy with some warm moments".[15] The Hindu called the film a "decent offering", adding that "a logical storyline and a well thought out script by Kamal Hassan are definite scoring points that sustain viewers' interest till the end".[16]

Kamal Haasan stated that he intended of remaking the film in Hindi, with the title of Maharaj, but the project did not take off.[1] Madhavan later wrote and starred in a Hindi version, Ramji Londonwaley, which released in September 2005.[17]


  1. ^ a b "'Someone has taken a political ride on my vehicle' - India News". 2003-06-21. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  2. ^ "Director Mouli on Nala Damayanthi — Movies". 2003-02-15. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  3. ^ "Kamal Haasan and Madhavan on their film Anbesivam". 2003-01-09. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Winsome Villains". The Hindu. 2003-08-14. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  8. ^ "Success graph". The Hindu. 2003-04-22. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  9. ^ "Metro Plus Madurai / Profiles : Spreading fragrance everywhere". The Hindu. 2006-12-16. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Cinema Plus / Columns : My first break". The Hindu. 2008-11-07. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  12. ^ "Kamal Haasan sings in English". Rediff. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ ${FullName} (2003-06-10). "Nala Damayanthi Review — Tamil Movie Review". Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  15. ^ "Movie Review:Nala Damayanthi". Sify. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  16. ^ "Nala Damayanti". The Hindu. 2003-06-13. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  17. ^ "Alas, Ramji could have been good — movies". 2005-09-02. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 

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