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Film poster
Directed bySelvaraghavan
Screenplay bySelvaraghavan
Balakumaran (Dialogue)
Story bySelvaraghavan
Produced byK. Muralidharan
V. Swaminathan
G. Venugopal
Sonia Agarwal
CinematographyArvind Krishna
Edited byKola Bhaskar
Music byYuvan Shankar Raja
Release date
  • 26 May 2006 (2006-05-26)
Running time
179 minutes

Pudhupettai (transl. New Hood) is a 2006 Indian Tamil-language crime action film written and directed by Selvaraghavan starring his brother Dhanush in the lead role,[1] while Sonia Agarwal and Sneha play supporting roles. It follows the story of a slum-dwelling student from Pudhupettai who rises to become a dreaded gangster in North Chennai as a means of survival.


Kumar is a secondary school student living in the slums of Pudhupettai. After coming home from the cinema, he sees his mother's dead body. She was killed by his father, following an argument. After overhearing a conversation between his father and his friend that they plan on killing him too, as he was a witness, Kumar flees from home. Homeless, he resorts to begging, and is arrested under false charges. After being released on bail, he befriends Mani, who works for a gangster named Anbu, who in turn works for the opposition party's leader Thamizhselvan, who is also a criminal. They take Kumar under their wing and give him petty jobs. During a confrontation with rival gangsters headed by the ruling party's politician Murthy, Kumar kills Murthy's brother single-handedly amidst 100 goons, earning the respect of his gang. Anbu makes him join a gang consisting of professional killers. There, Kumar learns the way of being a killer while surviving attacks from Murthy's men. The gang refuses to help Kumar avoid Murthy's men since their intervention would spark a gang war. Kumar murders several of his opponents singlehandedly, earning him respect from the others.

Krishnaveni is a prostitute who works under Anbu. Kumar likes her and asks Anbu to release her. Anbu is shocked at Kumar's audacity and refuses his request. He thrashes Krishnaveni and orders his men to kill Kumar. Kumar approaches Anbu and begs pardon, but when Anbu refuses, Kumar kills him. Thamizhselvan allows Kumar to take over Anbu's business only if he can survive the night from Anbu's men, which he does. After killing his opposition, as well as his father, Kumar becomes a feared don in North Chennai. Murthy is paralyzed by Kumar's men for refusing a truce. Kumar then meets Mani's sister Selvi and marries her forcibly on the eve of her wedding. Mani tries to kill Kumar unsuccessfully then joins Murthy's gang. Meanwhile, Krishnaveni reveals that she is pregnant with Kumar's child, and Kumar marries her as well.

Mani becomes an informant and testifies in court over Kumar's killings; Kumar threatens Selvi and her mother and thus avoids charges through witness intimidation. Kumar is the given a post in the party by Thamizhselvan to prevent him from defecting. Due to his increasing crime record and fear of being killed, Kumar asks for a seat as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) but is ridiculed by everyone, including Thamizhselvan, and ultimately removed after threatening to kill the other members with an aruval. Murthy learns about this and plans to assassinate Kumar and his family. Fearing for their safety, Kumar sends Krishnaveni and his newborn son away, but Murthy's men intercept them, kill her, and take the baby. He requests Selvi to ask her brother Mani for help, but she refuses and reveals her displeasure at how Kumar ruined her life and that she plans to return to her former fiancé. Mani is compassionate enough to return the baby safely to Kumar. Kumar then gives the baby to a kindhearted woman without revealing himself as the father of the child. The woman is married with two children and earns her living by working as a housemaid in four houses. Kumar decides to exact revenge and kills Murthy's henchmen in his residence, but his right hand is crippled during a fight. Murthy ultimately commits suicide, which is then followed by Kumar’s arrest.

In the present day, the police and prison warden come to retrieve Kumar from his cell, with Kumar under the impression that he is to be executed. However, during the epilogue, it is revealed that the incumbent Chief Minister arranged Kumar’s release and named him as an MLA candidate in the following election. Kumar praises Murthy and ironically states that he would have killed the people responsible for Murthy's death had India not been the birthplace of Gandhi.

In the epilogue, it is revealed that Kumar served three times as an MLA and twice as the Finance Minister of Tamil Nadu. Despite his political growth, he still could not find his son. Thamizhselvan retired from politics and has settled abroad with his daughter and grandchildren. Selvi had conducted her second marriage with her former fiance. Two months after her marriage, her husband went missing, and then she had been committed to an asylum.


  • Dhanush as Kokki Kumar, a normal boy who lives in Pudhupettai and later becomes a gangster.
  • Sonia Agarwal as Selvi, Mani's sister and Kumar’s bride.
  • Sneha as Krishnaveni, a prostitute who works under Anbu. Kumar falls for her and later marries her despite his marriage to Selvi.
  • Azhagam Perumal as Thamizhselvan, a politician who controls Anbu and Kumar, following the former’s death.
  • Bala Singh as Anbu, Tamizhselvan's right hand man.
  • Prudhvi Raj as Murthy, Tamizhselvan's and Anbu's rival who eventually becomes Kumar's main rival.
  • Thennavan as Selvam.
  • Munnar Ramesh as Sekhar, Kokki Kumar's father.
  • Nitish Veera as Mani, Anbu's henchman and Kumar's best friend.
  • Bharathi Mani as Chief Minister
  • Murugadoss as Anbu's henchman.
  • Vijay Sethupathi as Anbu's henchman.
  • Sai Dheena as Anbu's henchman.
  • Pudhupettai Suresh as Ravi, Anbu's henchman.
  • Jai as Anbu's henchman.
  • Pasi Sathya as a woman who adopts Kumar's baby.


Selvaraghavan originally intended to make a film titled Oru Naal Oru Kanavu for Lakshmi Movie Makers, but shelved the venture and continued working with the same producers and cast as the scrapped film, consisting of Dhanush, Sonia Agarwal and Sneha.

The film was launched on 6 March 2005, with Aravind Krishna as its cinematographer.[2] Selva first approached Harris Jayaraj for the movie's music, but he refused as it is not his type of genre.[3] After his refusal, Selva finalised Yuvan Shankar Raja as the composer.

Selvaraghavan called the film "an experiment" and stated it had "one of the most complicated screenplays", while revealing he was more nervous about the final product than his previous ventures.[4][5]

It was also the first Tamil film to be shot in Super 35 mm instead of the Cinemascope format, as well as the first to be released in digital format.[6][7]

This film marked the first major appearance of actor Vijay Sethupathi, prior to his role in Pizza.[8][9][10]

After the release of Pattiyal whose theme was the same as Pudhupettai, Selvaraghavan wanted to redo many of the scenes to avoid unintended comparisons, resulting in the film’s release being delayed. The re-recording was done in Bangkok, with everyone involved working overtime.[11]


Soundtrack album by
ReleasedDecember 16, 2005 (2005-12-16)
RecordedKalasa Studio (Chennai) & Chao Phraya Symphony Orchestra (Bangkok)
GenreFeature film soundtrack
LabelHit Musics
Vega Music
Think Music
ProducerYuvan Shankar Raja
Yuvan Shankar Raja chronology

Yuvan Shankar Raja and Selvaraghavan renewed their association with this film, who had earlier teamed up to create music for the films Thulluvadho Ilamai (2001), Kaadhal Kondein (2004) and 7G Rainbow Colony (2005). Both the soundtrack and score were composed in Thailand, where Yuvan Shankar Raja worked with the Chao Phraya Symphony Orchestra of Bangkok.[12]

The soundtrack was composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja and released on 15 December 2005.[13][14][15] The lyrics were written by Na. Muthukumar, who had previously written the lyrics for Selvaraghavan's earlier films.

Track Song Singer(s) Length Notes
1 Pudhupettai Main Theme: "Survival Of The Fittest" Instrumental 2:51
2 Peek Into Assassin's Life: "Neruppu Vaayinil" Kamal Haasan 5:01
3 Our Story: "Enga Yeriya" Dhanush, Premji Amaran, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Raju Krishnamurthy 5:19 Incorporates elements of the songs "Kunguma Pottin Mangalam" from the 1968 film Kudiyiruntha Kovil, composed by M. S. Viswanathan and "Tharaimel Pirakka" from the 1964 film Padagotti, composed by Viswanathan-Ramamoorthy
4 Selling Dope: "The Beginning" Instrumental 2:52
5 It All Comes Down To This!: "Oru Naalil" Yuvan Shankar Raja 6:25 Not featured in the film
6 Going Thru Emotions!: "Prelude" Instrumental 3:17
7 Gangster's Marriage Party: "Pul Pesum Poo Pesum" Vijay Yesudas, Tanvi Shah, Premji Amaran, Yuvan Shankar Raja 5:26
8 Night Life: "Varriyaa" Narayan, Naveen Mathav, Ranjith, Vasu 3:28
9 Clash Of The Titans: "The War Cry" Instrumental 3:44
10 "Oru Naalil": Composer's Dream Mix Yuvan Shankar Raja 5:23 Remixed by DJ Rafiq
Not featured in the film


Critical reception[edit]

The film received mixed to positive reviews, although critics pointed out the film's slow pace.[16][17] A reviewer from Sify.com saying it was "heartbreakingly disappointing and is nowhere in the league of his earlier films", and that it "doesn't unfold quickly and moves at snail pace (sic), puffs and pants with too many characters, subplots and (is) quite long for a gangster genre film".[18] A reviewer from The Hindu wrote, "Selvaraghavan dishes out a protracted bloodbath and somehow you feel he has let you down", while the critic at Rediff.com stated that "coming from a director like Selvaraghavan, Puthupettai is unbelievable. He loses grip over the plot and the narration goes haywire".[19][20]

Ten years after its release, Baradwaj Rangan of The Hindu retrospectively praised the film, stating that "Ten years on, we still haven’t seen another film so unapologetic about the truth that crime does pay."[21]

Box office[edit]

Pudhupettai took the best ever opening for a Selvaraghavan film at the time, netting nearly 27.55 lakh (US$35,000) from five Chennai screens in three days, including 9.8 lakh (US$12,000) from Sathyam Cinemas.[22] It went on to have an average run at the box office despite taking a grand opening, with Selvaraghavan suggesting that excessively violent scenes might have kept family audiences away.[23]


Dhanush made a cameo appearance in the 2015 film Vai Raja Vai directed by his wife Aishwarya, reprising his role of Kokki Kumar.[24]

The dialogues "Theeya Velai Seiyyanum Kumaru" (You have to work like fire, Kumar) and "Kadavul Irukaan Kumaru" (God is there, Kumar) inspired the 2013 and 2016 films of the same names, respectively.[25][26] The dialogue "Theeya Velai Seiyyanum Kumaru" was also reused by Santhanam in Boss Engira Bhaskaran (2010).[25]


  1. ^ Rangan, Baradwaj (25 June 2016). "Crime does pay". The Hindu. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  2. ^ "Selva's 'Puthupet' launched!". Sify. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 9 August 2022.
  3. ^ http://ssmusictheblog.blogspot.in/2013/08/harris-jayaraj-says-he-thought.html?m=1 Harris Jayaraj Says He thought Selvaraghavan would be Angry at Him
  4. ^ "rediff.com: Selva is tense about Pudupettai". specials.rediff.com.
  5. ^ "'We are creative gamblers' - COMB - The Hindu". The Hindu. 22 February 2006.
  6. ^ "Tamil Nadu: Waiting for Pudupettai - Rediff.com".
  7. ^ "How technology enhanced narrative in Pudhupettai - TAMIL NADU - The Hindu". The Hindu. 4 July 2006.
  8. ^ "Five actors who found success after acting in Pudhupettai | The Times of India". timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Archived from the original on 26 May 2021.
  9. ^ "Celebrating 11 Years of Vijay Sethupathi | Exclusive Interview | Tughlaq Durbar | Netflix India - YouTube". YouTube.
  10. ^ "Recognising Vijay Sethupathi | WunderStars - YouTube". YouTube.
  11. ^ "Selva — In a fix?". Sify. Archived from the original on 9 April 2006. Retrieved 30 June 2009.
  12. ^ ""Pudupettai" has many firsts to its credit". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 23 May 2006. Archived from the original on 5 December 2007. Retrieved 18 April 2009.
  13. ^ "Will Puduppettai resurrect Dhanush's market?". Behindwoods. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
  14. ^ "Pudhupettai Music Review songs lyrics". IndiaGlitz. 25 January 2006. Archived from the original on 6 April 2006. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  15. ^ "Music Review : PUDUPETTAI". Behindwoods. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  16. ^ "'Pudhupettai' - 2006". The Times of India. 8 April 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  17. ^ "Won't rest until sequels to AO and Pudhupettai are made, says Selvaraghavan". www.thenewsminute.com. 4 February 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Sify. Archived from the original on 28 January 2016. Retrieved 9 August 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "Puthupettai: Plot goes haywire".
  20. ^ "A haunting dirge of savagery - Pudhupettai". The Hindu. 2 June 2006.
  21. ^ Rangan, Baradwaj (24 June 2016). "Crime does pay". The Hindu.
  22. ^ "Chennai Box Office (May 26 - May 28)". Sify. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  23. ^ "Tamil movies : Pudhuppettai's half century". www.behindwoods.com.
  24. ^ "Dhanush to do a cameo in 'Vai Raja Vai'". Sify. 7 November 2014. Archived from the original on 7 November 2014.
  25. ^ a b Lakshmi, V. "Kollywood movie titles based on popular dialogues". The Times of India.
  26. ^ "Keerthy Suresh and Priya Anand likely heroines for GV Prakash". 25 December 2015.

External links[edit]