|Directed by||R. Sundarrajan|
|Written by||R. Sundarrajan|
|Edited by||R. Bhaskaran|
Payanangal Mudivathillai (transl. Journeys Never End) is a 1982 Indian Tamil-language romance film written and directed by R. Sundarrajan. The film stars Mohan and Poornima Jayaram. It revolves around a girl who falls in love with a singer who she helped in his rise to fame, but struggles to confess her love for him.
Payanangal Mudivathillai is the directorial debut of Sundarrajan. It was produced by R. Elanchelian, Pollachi M. V. Rathinam and P. Muthusamy under Motherland Pictures, and the company's inaugural venture. The music was composed by Ilaiyaraaja, and the songs were rendered by S. P. Balasubrahmanyam and S. Janaki. Cinematography was handled by Kasthuri, and the editing by R. Bhaskaran.
Payanangal Mudivathillai was released on 26 February 1982 and ran for over a year in theatres, thereby becoming a silver jubilee film. Both the lead actors won Filmfare Awards in their respective categories. The film was remade in Hindi as Kalaakaar (1983).
Radha, a wealthy girl, visits her friend Suseela in Madras and writes a song for her, who is participating in a contest. The paper on which she writes the song accidentally flies away and lands in the neighbouring house, where an aspiring singer Ravi Kumar and his friend Selvam live. Ravi takes the paper, gives music to Radha's song and sings it. Impressed, Radha anonymously helps him get a chance to sing at the inauguration of a temple. She also facilitates in him getting a chance to perform in a TV programme.
When Ravi meets Radha at the TV studio for the first time, he composes and sings a song ex tempore, praising her in the programme, which is publicly appreciated. Radha uses her contacts to get him to sing for a film; he achieves instant success and fame in the industry, and moves to a spacious house. Radha continues to support him in every activity and his career grows. When Radha's father begins to look for a suitable alliance for her, she expresses her desire to marry Ravi, but does not reveal this to Ravi, waiting for the right time to do so. Though Ravi admires Radha, he has not yet expressed his love to her.
When Ravi goes on a tour, Radha becomes restless in his absence. He returns earlier than scheduled, but does not get in touch with her as he usually does, and avoids her. At a felicitation function held to honour him, he attributes his success all to himself, much to Radha's disappointment. Anxious, she meets him to share her father's plan for her marriage, hoping she would be able to express her love for him. Ravi does not react; he cheerfully tells her that he would sing at her wedding for free as a token of gratitude, shattering Radha.
Unable to see his daughter's depression, Radha's father arranges her wedding with Mohan, a doctor. When Mohan lands in Madras, Ravi, his acquaintance, gives him a lift for attending a function. Mohan tells Radha and her father, who are waiting for him, that Ravi is his patient, diagnosed with blood cancer and that his days are numbered. A shocked Radha keeps trying to contact Ravi, but he does not respond to her calls as he wants her to think he is ungrateful and marry someone else. When Radha again calls Ravi, Mohan picks up the phone. Thinking Ravi is on the line, Radha says she has consumed poison and that she does not want to live without him. Mohan and Ravi rush to Radha's house, but she succumbs to death. Traumatised, Ravi also dies.
- Mohan as Ravi Kumar
- Poornima Jayaram as Radha
- Rajini as Suseela
- S. Ve. Shekher as Selvam
- Poornam Vishwanathan as Radha's father
- Rajesh as Mohan
- Goundamani as a house owner
In 1981, when Kovaithambi was an up-and-coming politician, R. Sundarrajan and his friend Sirumugai Ravi approached him and narrated a story, saying it would be good if he would produce it as a film. Though he liked the story, Kovaithambi initially hesitated to enter the film industry, but after being encouraged by fellow politician C. Aranganayagam, agreed. Shortly thereafter, Kovaithambi established Motherland Pictures, and Sundarrajan's story was launched as the company's inaugural venture Payanangal Mudivathillai, making Sundarrajan's directorial debut. Despite establishing the company, Kovaithambi was not credited as producer; instead, credit was given to R. Elanchelian, Pollachi M. V. Rathinam and P. Muthusamy. Kasthuri was signed on for cinematography, and R. Bhaskaran for editing. Since music was integral to the storyline, Kovaithambi felt the established composer Ilaiyaraaja could be hired; he and Sundarrajan approached Ilaiyaraaja, and he accepted the project after listening to the complete story for two hours, despite Sundarrajan initially saying he would narrate only the core premise for half-an-hour.
The makers wanted predominantly newcomers in the cast, but because Kovaithambi was a politician and Sundarrajan was a debutant director, no such actor came forward. Kovaithambi considered casting Mohan in the lead role after being impressed with his performance in Nenjathai Killathe (1980) and Mohan agreed after listening to the story. His voice was dubbed by S. N. Surendar. Suresh was initially supposed to be the male lead, but could not continue after meeting with an accident. Poornima Bhagyaraj (then known as Poornima Jayaram) was cast as the female lead after the makers saw her in Manjil Virinja Pookkal (1980). She was initially reluctant to accept the film, given that it was directed by a newcomer, but accepted after learning that the music composer was Ilaiyaraaja. Supporting roles were given to Rajini, S. Ve. Shekher, Poornam Vishwanathan, Rajesh and Goundamani. Made on a budget of ₹13 lakh (equivalent to ₹2.1 crore or US$300,000 in 2019), Payanangal Mudivathillai was completed within four months.
While the soundtrack was composed by Ilaiyaraaja, the lyricists were Vairamuthu, Gangai Amaran and Muthulingam. The soundtrack was released under the label Echo Records. After signing the film, Ilaiyaraaja composed 30 tunes in 12 hours, then told Sundarrajan to choose the tunes he felt would the scenes. Sundarrajan replied that he would explain the scenes, and Ilaiyaraaja himself choose the appropriate tunes. The song "Ilaya Nila" was originally intended for Moodu Pani (1980), but the director Balu Mahendra was not pleased with the tune, and Ilaiyaraaja went on with the tune of "Yen Iniya Pon Nilaave".
"Ilaya Nila" was composed in C-sharp minor, with the instruments used being an acoustic guitar and a flute. During its recording, Ilaiyaraaja had over 20 retakes to get the guitarist Chandrasekhar play its Flamenco notes to his complete satisfaction. Gangai Amaran described "Yeh Aatha" as a song that "sounds like a folk music but it has the classical touch." The song "Vaigaraiyil" is set in the Carnatic raga known as Shubhapantuvarali, "Mani Osai" is set in Sindhu Bhairavi, and "Thogai Ilamayil" is set in Latangi. "Ilaya Nila" was later adapted by Kalyanji–Anandji as "Neele Neele Ambar Par" for Payanangal Mudivathillai's Hindi remake Kalaakaar (1983), and "Yeh Aatha" was remixed by Mani Sharma for Malaikottai (2007).
|1.||"Yeh Aatha"||Gangai Amaran||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam||4:34|
|2.||"Ilaya Nila Pozhigirathe"||Vairamuthu||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam||4:40|
|3.||"Mani Osai"||Muthulingam||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, S. Janaki||4:38|
|4.||"Mudhal Mudhal"||Muthulingam||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam||4:25|
|5.||"Salaiyoram"||Vairamuthu||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, S. Janaki||4:32|
|6.||"Thogai Ilamayil"||Vairamuthu||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam||3:39|
|7.||"Vaigaraiyil"||Gangai Amaran||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam||4:30|
According to K. P. Sunil of The Illustrated Weekly of India, Payanangal Mudivathillai was the first Indian film to have "larger-than-life cut-outs" of its music director. While the theatrical posters initially featured Sundarrajan credited for the story, his name was later replaced in that field with Kovaithambi's.
Release and reception
Payanangal Mudivathillai was released on 26 February 1982. A private screening was held before for M. G. Ramachandran, then the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, in the second week of the month. Ramachandran appreciated the film and told Kovaithambi he would touch the peak of success in a week. In a review dated 21 March, the Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan said the beauty of the screenplay was stunning, and the songs composed by Ilaiyaraaja and the singing of Balasubrahmanyam were the two pillars of the film, giving it a rating of 48 out of 100. The film ran for over a year in theatres, thereby becoming a silver jubilee film. Its success led to Motherland producing more films starring Mohan as a singer. At the 30th Filmfare Awards South, Mohan won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Tamil, and Poornima won the Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Tamil.
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