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Nattamai poster.jpg
Directed by K. S. Ravikumar
Produced by R. B. Choudary
Written by Erode Soundar
Screenplay by K. S. Ravikumar
Story by Erode Sounder
Starring R. Sarathkumar
Music by Sirpy
Cinematography Ashok Rajan
Edited by K. Thanikachalam
Distributed by Super Good Films
Release date
2 November 1997
Country India
Language Tamil
Box office 11 crore (equivalent to 40 crore or US$5.6 million in 2017)

Nattamai (English: Village Chief ) is a 1997 Indian Tamil drama film directed by K. S. Ravikumar. It starred R. Sarathkumar, Meena and Kushboo in the lead roles. The film became a blockbuster among 1997 Deepavali releases and completed a 175-day run at the box office. It is considered to be one of the most popular Tamil films of the 1990s and in general. It became a trendsetter for many films in later years. The Goundamani-Senthil comic duo was one of the most popular aspects of the film.

R. Sarathkumar earned both the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actor and Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Tamil for his performance in the film. The film was later remade in Tollywood as Pedarayudu starring Mohan Babu, in Bollywood as Bulandi starring Anil Kapoor, both of which had Tamil superstar Rajinikanth in an extended cameo role, and in Kannada as Simhadriya Simha with Vishnuvardhan.


Shanmugam (R. Sarathkumar) is the village head Gounder fondly called as Nattamai and is widely respected by everyone for his genuineness. He lives with his Goundachi Lakshmi (Kushboo) and his brother Pasupathi (Also R. Sarathkumar). Pasupathi is married to Meena (Meena). There is a long-standing enmity between Nattamai and Ponnambalam. A flashback is shown where Ponnambalam’s father kills Shanmugam's father (Vijayakumar) following which Ponnambalam’s family is expelled from the village. Ponnamabalam awaits for the right time to attack Nattamai’s family. Ponnambalam's mother (Manorama) is Nattamai's paternal aunt and is a kind-hearted lady.

A new teacher (Rani) comes to the village and everyone suspects an illegitimate relationship between Pasupathi and the teacher. One day, the teacher gets killed along with a death note mentioning Pasupathi as the reason behind her death following which Nattamai expels Pasupathi out of the village as a punishment.

But the teacher was actually killed by Ponnamabalam with plans of trapping Pasupathi in the murder. Manorama overhears the truth but gets locked by Ponnamabalam at her home. Ponnambalam tries to kill Nattamai but eventually gets killed by Manorama. Finally, Manorama informs the truth to Nattamai which shocks him. Nattamai dies at the spot due to the guilt of giving a wrong judgment to Pasupathi. Now Pasupathi becomes the next Nattamai.



Director K. S. Ravikumar initially approached Mammootty to play the lead role.[1] For reasons unknown, he declined the offer. Sarath Kumar was then signed for as the lead. The film became the fourth collaboration between Ravikumar and Sarathkumar. When K. S. Ravikumar approached Kushboo for Nattamai's wife role, initially she hesitated as in most part of the film she had to look old, except in a brief flashback. She asked him whom he will cast if she denies, Ravikumar said he will approach veteran actress Lakshmi, this made Kusbhoo to take up this role.[citation needed] Mahendran was introduced as child artist through this film.[2] Vijayakumar was initially supposed to play the role of the elder brother, but just a few days before shooting began, Ravikumar decided to have Sarathkumar play both the brothers and Bharathiraja was Ravikumar's initial choice for the character of Vijayakumar.[3][4]


In his early days as an actor, R. Sarathkumar was considered to be close to AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa.[5] However, Sarath's proximity to Jayalalithaa landed him in deep trouble when the film 'Nattamai', which was still running in Tamil Nadu theatres, was aired by Jayalalithaa's television channel JJ TV, using a U-matic tape, which Sarathkumar gave her for personal viewing at her residence. What the understanding between Jayalalithaa and Sarathkumar was we will never know. However, this caused a furore in the film industry as the producer R. B. Choudary threatened action against Sarathkumar for misusing a tape given to him for personal viewing. An embarrassed Sarathkumar explained that he was taken by surprise and that he never expected Jayalalithaa to give it to the channel for telecast. He sought an explanation from both Jayalalitha and JJ TV, but without success. The ruling party reacted predictably, using every forum to attack Sarathkumar.[6]


Soundtrack album by Sirpy
Released 1994
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Label Lucky Audio
Producer Sirpy

Soundtrack is composed by Sirpy and lyrics written by Vairamuthu.

  • Naattamai Paadham Patta - Malaysia vasudevan, Jensy
  • Kotapaakum Kozhundhu Vettalaiyum - Mano, S.Janaki
  • Meenaponnu - Mano, Sujatha
  • Naan Uravukaaran - Mohammed Aslam


Nattamai was released on 2 November 1994, during Diwali.[7] The Indian Express wrote that there was "never a dull moment" in the film.[8] It became a blockbuster and completed a 175-day run at the box office.[9]


Owing to its success, the film was remade in Telugu as Pedarayudu (1995),[10] It was remade for two times in Kannada as Palegara (1996)[11] and Simhadriya Simha (2001).[12] It was also remade in Hindi as Bulandi (2000).[13] Rajinikanth reprised Vijayakumar's character in Telugu and Hindi remakes.


The tagline Nattamai, theerpa maathi sollu (Chieftain, change your judgement) became popular after release.[14] It became a trendsetter for many films in later years. The success of the film inspired similar themes about village chieftain. Vijayakumar's portrayal of village chieftain received critical acclaim and he went on to be typecasted with similar characters in later films. The film gave breakthrough in the career of Sarathkumar and the actor did similar films - Suryavamsam (1997), Natpukkaga (1998), Maayi (2000), Diwan (2003) and Ayyaa (2005) which featured him in double roles in the backdrop of village.[15][16]

In popular culture[edit]

Nattamai has been parodied and referenced many times.[17] In a comedy scene from Aahaa Enna Porutham (1998), Goundamani mocks at the superstitions of village panchayat saying that chieftain should have assistant tagging along with him and should have a pot of water.[18] Comedian Vivek has parodied this aspect in many films. He did a similar spoof in Sandai (2008) and Thoondil (2008) and made fun of village rituals in Kadhal Sadugudu (2003). Scenes from the film was parodied in Shiva starrer Thamizh Padam (2010), Ponnambalam who did the negative role in the original film had appeared as village chieftain in this film.[19]


  1. ^ Shruti TV (15 July 2018). "கெட்டதா இருந்தாலும் Commercial படமும் வேண்டும்! - K. S. Ravikumar - Peranbu Audio Launch" – via YouTube. 
  2. ^ Kumar, S. R. Ashok (10 November 2013). "Audio Beat: Vizha - Tunes that will touch a chord" – via 
  3. ^ "DID YOU KNOW ?". The Times of India. 28 January 2016. Archived from the original on 29 January 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2017. 
  4. ^ IndiaGlitz Tamil Movies (15 April 2017). "Bharathiraja was my first choice for Nattamai, Nattpukaga : K S Ravikumar at Film Institute Launch" – via YouTube. 
  5. ^ "Star wars". India Today. 1995-10-31. Retrieved 2014-01-12. 
  6. ^ G. C. Shekhar (1995-12-31). "Jayalalitha's unlucky stars". India Today. Retrieved 2014-01-12. 
  7. ^ "The Indian Express - Google News Archive Search". 
  8. ^ "The Indian Express - Recherche d'archives de Google Actualités". 
  9. ^ "வெள்ளி விழா கண்ட தமிழ் திரைப்படங்கள் - திண்ணை". 
  10. ^ "Tamil Cinema news - Tamil Movies - Cine News". 
  11. ^ "Palegara – ಪಾಳೇಗಾರ (1996/೧೯೯೬)". 2 September 2013. 
  12. ^ "Simhadriya Simha – ಸಿಂಹಾದ್ರಿಯ ಸಿಂಹ (2002/೨೦೦೨)". 11 November 2013. 
  13. ^ "Rediff On The NeT, Movies: Bulandi review". 
  14. ^ "Top 7 Village Panchayat Presidents of Tamil cinema - - Tamil Movie Slide Shows - Rajinikanth Vijayakanth Sarath Kumar Mamooty". 
  15. ^ "- தமிழ் Movie News -". 
  16. ^ "Telugu Cinema News - Telugu Movie Reviews - Telugu Movie Trailers - IndiaGlitz Telugu". 
  17. ^ Kamath, Sudhish; Kamath, Sudhish (28 July 2013). "Getting it right" – via 
  18. ^ Aaha Enna Porutham (DVD).
  19. ^ "Tamil Padam Movie Review {2.5/5}: Critic Review of Tamil Padam by Times of India".