Nenjathai Killathe

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Nenjathai Killathe
Nenjathai Killathe poster.jpg
Directed byMahendran
Produced byK. Rajagopal Chetty
Written byMahendran
Music byIlaiyaraaja
CinematographyAshok Kumar
Edited byA. Paul Duraisingh
Devi Films
Release date
  • 12 December 1980 (1980-12-12)

Nenjathai Killathe (transl. Don't Pinch the Heart) is a 1980 Indian Tamil-language romantic drama film written and directed by Mahendran. The film stars Suhasini, Sarath Babu, Pratap and Mohan. It focuses on a girl who is torn between the man she loved, and the man she married.

Nenjathai Killathe is the debut film appearance of Suhasini, and the first major role for Mohan in Tamil. The score and soundtrack were composed by Ilaiyaraaja while the cinematography was handled by Ashok Kumar. The film was shot in Bangalore, mostly around Cubbon Park

Nenjathai Killathe was released on 12 December 1980, and completed a theatrical run of roughly one year in Madras (now Chennai). The film won three awards each at the 28th National Film Awards and Tamil Nadu State Film Awards in 1981. The film was dubbed into Telugu as Mouna Geetham.


Chandrasekhar and Mala are a married couple; their marital life is miserable due to Mala's demonic behaviour. Chandrasekhar's sister Viji, who lives with them, is enthusiastic, fun-loving, and lives on her own terms. One day she bumps into Ram, a mechanic with an inferiority complex. Despite initial conflicts, they slowly become friends. Mala suspects that Chandrasekhar's classmate Ramya is his concubine since he visits her often. Chandrasekhar learns of Ramya's love for him only after his marriage to Mala. Ramya remains single and they share a platonic relationship, which antagonises Mala. Pratap, a photographer and distant relative of Chandrasekhar, comes to Chennai from Calcutta. Though Pratap likes Viji, he does not propose to her.

Ram proposes to Viji, who is unsure whether to accept his suit. However, they become closer. Viji's harmless mischief at home with Mala intensifies when Viji mixes chilli powder in Mala's bath water as punishment for the nuisance Mala creates at home; Mala swears revenge. Viji accepts Ram's proposal and informs Chandrasekhar, who advises her to reconsider her decision as he feels they are incompatible. However, seeing her persistence, he approves. Ram's parents visit Viji's house to meet Chandrasekhar and take the proposal forward; as he is absent, they meet Mala, who lies to them about an abortion Viji had, as a result of a stray relationship. Shocked, they inform Ram that they have heard this from a doctor, to keep the informer's identity a secret.

Ram confronts Viji and asks her to clarify, saying he would decide the future course of action based on her reply. Angered with Ram's lack of trust in her, she ends her relationship with him. Seeing a depressed Viji, Chandrasekhar advises her to marry Pratap, as he is mature enough for her. Initially reluctant, she eventually agrees and marries Pratap. When Viji is leaving for her new life with Pratap, she is further upset when Mala proudly declares that it was she who derailed her wedding with Ram by misleading his parents.

Post marriage, Viji is unable to accept Pratap as her husband and stays aloof. Pratap too is not demanding and patiently waits for her to become normal. Viji is unable to forget her past, and her indifference affects Pratap's creativity and work. Ram soon moves in with his wife to the same apartment complex and becomes Viji's neighbour; Viji gets all the more disturbed. Pratap loses his job and plans to relocate to Calcutta. He reserves tickets for Viji as well, but lets her decide if she wants to accompany him.

When Viji is undecided, Ram invites her to his home. He shows her his physically handicapped wife, whom he had married to atone for doubting Viji's character. Ram says that despite his wife's handicap, he tries to live happily with her and asks Viji why she cannot do so with Pratap, who is more qualified than him, instead of thinking about their past and the grouse of losing the life she dreamt of. Realising her mistake of spoiling her present by living in the past, Viji rushes to meet Pratap at the airport and joins him.



Once while staying in a Mumbai hotel, director Mahendran looked out of his window and saw a woman jogging. According to him, "Her concern was just fitness. Would it be the same once she gets married? I wondered." This led to him developing the screenplay of the film that would become Nenjathai Killathe.[2] For the lead characters, Mahendran wanted to cast new actors.[3] Mohan who had earlier acted in Balu Mahendra's Kokila (1977) was hand-picked by Mahendran to play the male lead,[3] playing a major role for the first time in a Tamil film.[4] Suhasini, then a camera-assistant to Ashok Kumar, was spotted by Mahendran during the filming of his previous venture Uthiripookkal (1979).[5] During the making of Uthiripookkal, Suhasini used to visit her father Charuhasan, who was a part of the film's cast.[3] Impressed by her speech and behaviour, Mahendran decided to cast her as the female lead in Nenjathai Killathe.[3] Initially, Suhasini was reluctant to take up acting as she always wanted to become a cinematographer.[6] However, she agreed to do the film after being convinced by her father.[3][7] Mohan was initially meant to the film's only male lead; however, Pratap was later added to the cast.[8] The film was shot in Bangalore, mostly around Cubbon Park.[9][10] The costume designing was done by Jeyaraj, a reputed artist.[11]


The soundtrack was composed by Ilaiyaraaja.

Tamil (original) version[edit]

Lyrics were written by Gangai Amaran and Panchu Arunachalam.[12] For the song "Paruvamae" which depicts Mohan and Suhasini's characters jogging, Ilaiyaraaja created the jogging sound by tapping his shoes.[13][14]

Track list
1."Hey Thendralae"Gangai AmaranP. Susheela4:33
2."Paruvamae"Panchu ArunachalamS. P. Balasubrahmanyam, S. Janaki4:16
3."Uravenum"Gangai AmaranS. P. Balasubrahmanyam, S. Janaki5:31
4."Mummy Peru"Gangai AmaranS. Janaki, Venniradai Moorthy4:32

Telugu (dubbed) version[edit]

This film was dubbed into Telugu as Mouna Geetham. All songs were written by Aatreya.[15]

Track list
1."Paruvama"S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, S. Janaki4:24
2."Chelimilo Valapu Ragam"S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, S. Janaki4:57
3."Naa Ragame"P. Susheela4:20
Total length:13:42

Release and reception[edit]

Nenjathai Killathe was released on 12 December 1980.[16] Ananda Vikatan felt the film was another attempt to change the taste of the audience, which should be welcomed and the audience was unable to cope with the speed of change but slowly the gap was reducing.[17] The film completed a theatrical run of roughly one year in Madras (now Chennai).[18] Although Suhasini was hesitant, her performance in the film received rave reviews. V. Shantaram, the chairman of the 28th National Film Awards, appreciated the opening scene and climax of the film shown in "intercut", which shows Suhasini jogging and rushing to the airport to catch her husband respectively.[3] It was also screened at the Indian Panorama section of the International Film Festival of India.[19]


At the 28th National Film Awards, the film won in three categories: Best Feature Film in Tamil, Best Cinematography (Colour) for Ashok Kumar, and Best Audiography for S. P. Ramanathan.[20] According to Sarath Babu, he was a strong contender for the Best Supporting Actor award, but missed "by a whisker".[21] The film also won three Tamil Nadu State Film Awards: Best Film (Second prize), Best Actress for Suhasini and Best Cinematographer for Ashok Kumar.[22]


  1. ^ Mathrubootham, J. (29 July 2017). "Leave the logo alone!". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 27 February 2020. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  2. ^ Jeshi, K. (15 December 2013). "Flashbacks of a director". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "மகேந்திரனின் நெஞ்சத்தைக் கிள்ளாதே: மோகன்- சுகாசினி அறிமுகம்". Maalai Malar (in Tamil). 15 May 2012. Archived from the original on 19 May 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  4. ^ Ashok Kumar, S. R. (28 December 2007). "Mr. Simple is back". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 9 November 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  5. ^ Indian Cinema. Directorate of Film Festivals. 1996. p. 89.
  6. ^ Ravi, Stills (31 August 2017). "Like father, like daughter". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 16 April 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  7. ^ Menon, Anasuya (29 May 2013). "Man of substance". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 4 May 2018. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  8. ^ Piousji (14 September 1980). "Khaas Baat". Sunday. p. 41.
  9. ^ "Returning to Kannada". The Hindu. 8 March 2004. Archived from the original on 9 November 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
  10. ^ Srinivasan, Sudhir (25 October 2014). "My friend Ashok". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 26 October 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  11. ^ Saravanan, T. (5 April 2017). "The man who gave faces to Appusamy and Seetha patti". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 28 July 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  12. ^ "Nenjathai Killathe (1980)". Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
  13. ^ "Happy Birthday Ilaiyaraaja: 10 soulful songs that will make you a huge fan of the composer". Indulge. 2 June 2018. Archived from the original on 2 April 2019. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  14. ^ "ராகதேவ புராணம்!". Kungumam (in Tamil). 30 March 2018. Archived from the original on 11 April 2019. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  15. ^ "Mouna Geetham". Spotify. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  16. ^ Mahendran 2013, p. 344.
  17. ^ "நெஞ்சத்தை கிள்ளாதே". Ananda Vikatan (in Tamil). c. 1980.
  18. ^ Mahendran 2013, p. 142.
  19. ^ Ray, Bibekananda; Naveen Joshi; India. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Publications Division (1 January 2005). Conscience of the race: India's offbeat cinema. Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 122. ISBN 978-81-230-1298-8.
  20. ^ "28th National Film Awards (1980)" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  21. ^ Ashok Kumar, S. R. (5 October 2006). "I am a director's actor, says Sarath Babu". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
  22. ^ Anandan, ‘Film News' (2004). Sadhanaigal Padaitha Thamizh Thiraipada Varalaru (Tamil Film History and Its Achievements) (in Tamil). Sivagami Publications. p. 738.


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

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