Nandu (film)

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Nandu (film).jpg
Title card
Directed byMahendran
Screenplay byMahendran
Based onNandu
by Sivasankari
Produced byS. Dakshinamoorthy
CinematographyAshok Kumar
Edited byA. Paul Duraisingh
Music byIlaiyaraaja
Rangaraj Creations
Release date
  • 17 April 1981 (1981-04-17)
Running time
110 minutes

Nandu (transl. Crab) is a 1981 Indian Tamil-language film written and directed by Mahendran. The film stars Ashwini and newcomer Suresh. It is based on the 1975 novel of the same name by Sivasankari. The film was released on 17 April 1981 and failed commercially.


Ramkumar Sharma is a sickly engineer living in Lucknow in a large family. He suffers from asthma and does not like the behaviour of his autocratic father, but is deeply attached to his loving mother. Unable to get along with his father who compels him to marry a girl of his choice, Sharma leaves for Madras. He finds a job there and meets Seetha. Once settled, he goes around looking for a house with the help of house broker. Incidentally, he finds Seetha residing as a tenant in a portion under the very same house. He likes the portion and agrees to start living there. The lives of the girls who live in portions of the large house are brightened by the appearance of the engineer from Lucknow. Of them, two of them try to impress Sharma. One of them is the house owner's daughter, while the other is Seetha. Eventually, he ends up marrying Seetha.



Nandu is based on the 1975 novel of the same name by Sivasankari.[1][2] Suhasini, who previously appeared in Mahendran's Nenjathai Killathe (1980), worked as an assistant cinematographer under Ashok Kumar.[3] The film took liberties with the novel; while the protagonist in the novel is a cancer patient, the disease was changed to asthma for the film.[1][4] Debutant Suresh was chosen as the lead actor portraying a Hindi speaking man from Lucknow when Mahendran saw him at his friend's home while Ashwini who earlier acted in Mahendran's Uthiripookkal (1979) was the lead actress.[1][5] Sarath Babu dubbed Suresh's voice.[6] Mahendran spotted an actress named Beena Halsi at Lucknow and chose her to portray Suresh's mother.[7] Since the male protagonist and his family are shown to be hailing from Lucknow as depicted in the novel, Mahendran wanted to shoot in Lucknow but felt the budget would go overboard; however producer Dakshinamoorthy agreed to this, thus Mahendran shot two songs with Hindi lyrics there.[8] While filming the song "Kaise Kahoon", Suresh struggled to emote which led Mahendran to film the whole song focusing only on Ashwini.[9]


Writing for Frontline, Venkatesh Chakravarthy believes the title Nandu is a metaphor used as a "double-edged weapon in the film".[10]


The soundtrack was composed by Ilaiyaraaja.[11][12] The songs "Kaise Kahoon" and "Hum Hai Akele" are entirely in Hindi.[13][14] The song "Manjal Veyil" is set in the Carnatic raga Kalyani.[15]

Track listing
1."Kaise Kahoon"P. B. SreenivasBhupinder Singh, S. Janaki4:31
2."Hum Hai Akele"P. B. SreenivasS. Janaki4:54
3."Alli Thantha Bhoomi"Madhukur KannanMalaysia Vasudevan4:31
4."Manjal Veyil"Gangai AmaranUma Ramanan4:05
Total length:18:01

Release and reception[edit]

Nandu was released on 17 April 1981.[16] The posters were designed with a crab's shadow looming over the protagonist to indicate his eventual death.[17] When the film was released in theatres, audience mocked at the film citing Mahendran has made a complete Hindi film which led the producer to dub the Hindi dialogues into Tamil and re-released it much to the dissatisfaction of Mahendran.[18] Despite this, the film failed at box-office.[19] Kumudam noted the film's abundance of Hindi dialogues, and caustically commented that any more dialogues in Hindi would result in K. Balaji (a film producer known mainly for remaking Hindi films in Tamil) remaking the film in Tamil.[20] Jeeva of Kalki appreciated the comedy by Mahendran's usual team of Kumarimuthu, Vennira Aadai Moorthy and Samikannu, the cinematography by Ashok Kumar, Ilaiyaraaja's music, and concluded that the film was a must watch for Mahendran's filmmaking prowess.[21] Maalai Malar attributing the film's failure to the audience's inability to understand the many Hindi dialogues.[22]


  1. ^ a b c Mahendran 2013, p. 100.
  2. ^ Swaminathan, G. (2 July 2020). "Print to celluloid: From 'Kalvanin Kadhali' and 'Mullum Malaram' to 'Ponniyin Selvan'". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 3 July 2020. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  3. ^ Shivakumar, S. (31 January 1982). "Suhasini: A Shoba in the making". Sunday Mid-Day. Archived from the original on 6 July 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  4. ^ "Ace Tamil film director Mahendran, who helmed iconic Rajini movies, dies". The Federal. 2 April 2019. Archived from the original on 11 December 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  5. ^ Mahendran 2013, p. 102.
  6. ^ Nandu (motion picture) (in Tamil). India: Rangaraj Creations. 1981. Opening credits, at 1:33.
  7. ^ Mahendran 2013, p. 103.
  8. ^ Mahendran 2013, p. 101.
  9. ^ Mahendran 2013, pp. 102–103.
  10. ^ Chakravarthy, Venkatesh (24 April 2019). "Icon of change". Frontline. Archived from the original on 28 June 2021. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
  11. ^ "Nandu Tamil Super 7 Vinyl Record by Ilayaraja". Mossymart. Archived from the original on 10 June 2021. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  12. ^ "Nandu". Gaana. Archived from the original on 13 October 2021. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  13. ^ Vamanan (11 December 2017). "கலைமாமணி வாமனனின் 'நிழலல்ல நிஜம்' – 106 | இந்தியில் பாடிய தமிழ் சினிமா அன்று முதல் இன்று வரை!". Dinamalar (in Tamil). Nellai. Archived from the original on 8 July 2021. Retrieved 8 July 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  14. ^ Jha, Subhash K. (20 July 2022). "7 Bhupinder Singh songs that you don't know, but should". Firstpost. Archived from the original on 9 September 2022. Retrieved 9 September 2022.
  15. ^ Sundararaman (2007) [2005]. Raga Chintamani: A Guide to Carnatic Ragas Through Tamil Film Music (2nd ed.). Pichhamal Chintamani. p. 142. OCLC 295034757.
  16. ^ Mahendran 2013, p. 344.
  17. ^ Narayanan, Arjun (23 February 2019). "Canvas of cinema – An interaction with artist Jeevananthan". The Times of India. Coimbatore. Archived from the original on 15 September 2021. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  18. ^ Mahendran 2013, pp. 103–104.
  19. ^ Mahendran 2013, p. 104.
  20. ^ "பார்த்தது படித்தது ரசித்தது – சுதாங்கன் – 1–12–19". Dinamalar (in Tamil). Nellai. Archived from the original on 17 April 2021. Retrieved 17 April 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  21. ^ ஜீவா (24 May 1981). "நண்டு". Kalki (in Tamil). p. 62. Archived from the original on 30 July 2022. Retrieved 2 June 2022.
  22. ^ "மகேந்திரனின் நெஞ்சத்தைக் கிள்ளாதே: மோகன்- சுகாசினி அறிமுகம்". Maalai Malar (in Tamil). 15 May 2012. Archived from the original on 19 May 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2021.


  • Mahendran (2013) [2004]. சினிமாவும் நானும் [Cinema and I] (in Tamil). Karpagam Publications. OCLC 54777094.

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