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Film poster
Directed byBala
Screenplay byBala
Based onNandhavanathil Oru Aandi
by Jayakanthan
Produced byV. A. Durai
Edited bySuresh Urs
Music byIlaiyaraaja
Release date
  • 24 October 2003 (2003-10-24)
Running time
158 minutes

Pithamagan (transl. Son of ancestors) is a 2003 Indian Tamil-language action crime drama film written and directed by Bala. The film stars Vikram, Suriya, Laila, and Sangeetha. Based on Jayakanthan's short story Nandhavanathil Oru Aandi, it revolves around a man who grew away from civilisation with minimal human contact and, as a result is animalistic.[1]

Pithamagan was released on 24 October 2003. The film became a success, and Vikram won numerous accolades for his performance, including the National Film Award for Best Actor. It was remade in Kannada as Anatharu (2007) with Mahadevan reprising his role.[2]


An anonymous woman dies while giving birth in a graveyard. Her child, Chithan, is found and raised by the caretaker of the graveyard. Chithan grows up among corpses with minimal human contact and is seemingly autistic. He growls and runs like a beast, but seems to understand loyalty and is a social animal. He ventures into a town in search of food and gets into trouble as he does not understand the concept of money. He is rescued by Gomathi, a petty marijuana dealer. She sees his ability to be loyal and enrolls him in the service of her employer, Sekar Vasudevan, a large scale marijuana grower. Chithan is caught during a drug raid and arrested.

Sakthi is a con artist. He gets into trouble when he cons a woman named Manju into losing all her personal effects in a game of dice. Sakthi gets sent to jail thanks to Manju's detective work. He meets Chithan in prison and starts protecting him out of sympathy and pity. Chithan starts to reciprocate Sakthi's kindness with blind loyalty.

Sakthi serves his term and then clashes with Sekar to get Chithan released from jail. Chithan gets out but commits a crime when he obeys his master's instruction to burn the body of a murder victim. Sakthi, realising that Chithan is being used as an accessory in crimes that he cannot comprehend, prevents Chithan from going back to working in the marijuana fields. At the same time, a budding romance starts between Sakthi and Manju, and Chithan too starts to see a shared spirit in Gomathi.

The police catch wind of the murder and arrest Chithan. Sakthi gets Chithan to side with the police as an informant. Sekar later attacks and kills Sakthi. He dumps his body in the middle of the road. Chithan does not understand that Sakthi is dead and zones out into outer space when everyone surrounds him. Gomathi, Manju, and the others are crying. Gomathi sees Chithan's confusion as indifference and angrily drives him away from Sakthi's body.

Chithan slowly starts to understand that Sakthi is dead as he sees him on the funeral pyre. His realisation is complete when he wakes up in the morning next to the burnt remains of Sakthi's corpse. He experiences emotions that he has never experienced before: fury, agony, betrayal, and pain that he has never felt. His body bears the scars of a million bruises and his acts of violence have always been self-defence and the defence of his masters. This realisation of the meaning of death and the pain of losing a loved one breaks the feral chains that had wound his psyche.

Chithan retaliates by setting fire to the marijuana fields, letting Sekar experience the pain of his loss, and then sets upon destroying him physically. He drives him through the street, taking his time by breaking a few bones at a time until he is done toying with him. He then kills Sekar by biting his neck and leaves the village after.


As per the opening and closing credits:[3]


After Nandha (2001), Bala announced his next project Pithamagan with Vikram and Suriya, the main lead actors of his previous films who received popularity after struggle. For Gomathy's role, Bala selected Rasika P. Mani after considering Vijayashanti, Malavika and Gayatri Jayaraman and also changed her name back to Sangeetha.[5] Mahadevan and Ganja Karuppu made their Tamil debut with this film.[a] Most part of the film was shot in Theni district.[6]


The soundtrack was composed by Ilaiyaraaja.[7] The song "Piraiye Piraiye" is set in Pantuvarali raga.[8]

Track listing
1."Adadaa Aghangaara Arakka Kaigalil"Mu. MethaK. J. Yesudas04:38
2."Aruna Runaam" Old Songs Medley06:39
3."Elangaathu Veesudhey"Palani BharathiSriram Parthasarathy, Shreya Ghoshal06:10
4."Elangaathu Veesudhey" (solo)Palani BharathiSriram Parthasarathy06:10
5."Kodi Yethi Vaippom"Na. MuthukumarBhavatharini, Shanmugasundari, Periya Karuppa Thevar, Harish Raghavendra04:08
6."Piraiye Piraiye"VaaliMadhu Balakrishnan04:41
7."Yaaradhu Yaaradhu"Na. MuthukumarIlaiyaraaja 
Total length:32:26


Pithamagan was released on 24 October 2003, coinciding with Diwali. The film released alongside Vijay's Thirumalai, Ajith's Anjaneya and Arjun's Ottran.[9]


The film received critical acclaim with praise for the story, direction, screenplay and performances of Vikram, Surya, Laila and Sangeetha. Malathi Rangarajan of The Hindu praised Vikram as "Without any dialogue to support him he carves a niche for himself in the viewer's mind with his expressions and excellent body language" and Suriya as "Who would have thought that this young man, pitted against the serious Chithan, would prove so perfect a foil?" going on to declare the movie as "..a symphony on celluloid".[10] A reviewer at Sify noted, "..it is the expert performance of the lead actors that elevate the film above the commonplace".[11]

Film critic Baradwaj Rangan remarked, "Bala's ingeniousness is evident everywhere .... And he gets tremendous support from his leads...It all adds up to a first-rate film that excoriates as much as it entertains".[12] Malini Mannath wrote in Chennai Online, "It's an off-beat, sensitive and a serious film, which may lack in commercial ingredients but which a discerning viewer will find a welcome change".[13] Visual Dasan of Kalki praised the performances of lead actors, Bala's direction, also praising Balasubramaniam's cinematography and Ilaiyaraaja's music for working equally hard with director and concluded Pithamagan is not Vikram and Surya film, it is Bala's unique work.[14]


Award Date of ceremony[b] Category Nominee(s) Ref.
National Film Awards 2 February 2005 Best Actor Vikram [15]
Tamil Nadu State Film Awards c. 2006 Best Actor Vikram [16]
Best Actress Laila
Best Character Artiste (Female) Sangeetha
Filmfare Awards South 12 June 2004 Best Film – Tamil Pithamagan [17]
Best Director – Tamil Bala
Best Actor – Tamil Vikram
Best Actress – Tamil Laila
Best Supporting Actor – Tamil Suriya
Best Supporting Actress – Tamil Sangeetha
CineMAA Awards 5 November 2004 South India's Best Actor Vikram [18]


Pithamagan was dubbed into Telugu and released as Siva Putrudu (transl. The son of Shiva) on 2 April 2004.[19] The film was remade in Kannada as Anatharu (2007).[20][21]


  1. ^ They were credited under அறிமுக நடிகர்கள் (transl. Debut actors) in the end credits.[3]
  2. ^ Date is linked to the article about the awards held that year, wherever possible.


  1. ^ Aravind, CV (22 July 2017). "The man who did roles no hero would touch: The rise of 'Chiyaan' Vikram". The News Minute. Archived from the original on 11 May 2021. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  2. ^ "Upendra shines in Anaatharu". Rediff.com. Mahadevan, the villain had acted in the original has been retained in Kannada also
  3. ^ a b c d Pithamagan (motion picture) (in Tamil). Evergreen Movie International. 2003 – via Sun NXT.
  4. ^ "Suriya: Tamil stars play themselves on screen". The Times of India. 13 August 2013. Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  5. ^ "Sangita on a high". Chennai Online. 4 December 2003. Archived from the original on 24 December 2003. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  6. ^ Mannath, Malini (29 August 2003). "Director Bala on 'Pithamagan'". Chennai Online. Archived from the original on 31 October 2003. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  7. ^ "Pithamagan (2003)". Raaga.com. Archived from the original on 1 June 2023. Retrieved 1 June 2023.
  8. ^ Mani, Charulatha (30 September 2011). "A Raga's Journey — Poignant Pantuvarali". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 14 December 2018. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  9. ^ Ashok Kumar, S. R. (24 October 2003). "Variety fare for Deepavali". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 10 November 2003. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  10. ^ Rangarajan, Malathi (31 October 2003). "Pithamagan". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 16 November 2003. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  11. ^ "Pitamagan". Sify. Archived from the original on 18 August 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  12. ^ Rangan, Baradwaj (8 November 2003). "Review: Pithamagan". Baradwaj Rangan. Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  13. ^ Mannath, Malini (1 November 2003). "Pithamagan". Chennai Online. Archived from the original on 12 December 2003. Retrieved 3 June 2002.
  14. ^ தாசன், விஷுவல் (9 November 2003). "பிதாமகன்". Kalki (in Tamil). p. 64. Archived from the original on 30 January 2024. Retrieved 30 January 2024 – via Internet Archive.
  15. ^ "51st National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. p. 28. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  16. ^ "Tamilnadu State Film Awards – awards for Vikram, Jyotika". Cinesouth. 13 February 2006. Archived from the original on 18 February 2006. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  17. ^ "Pithamagan sweeps FilmFare Awards". IndiaGlitz. 5 June 2004. Archived from the original on 4 December 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2002.
  18. ^ "Telugu CineMaa Awards 2003". Idlebrain.com. 5 November 2004. Archived from the original on 25 May 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  19. ^ Jeevi. "Siva Putrudu". Idlebrain.com. Archived from the original on 2 June 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  20. ^ "Anatharu (Kannada)". The Times of India. 15 September 2007. Archived from the original on 25 April 2022. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  21. ^ "Pithamagan is B-town bound". The Times of India. 11 October 2011. Archived from the original on 15 June 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013.

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