Thanneer Thanneer

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Thaneer Thaneer
Thanneer Thanneer.jpg
Official poster
Directed byK. Balachander
Produced byP. R. Govindarajan
J. Duraisamy
Written byK. Balachander
Story byKomal Swaminathan
Music byV.S.Narasimman
CinematographyB. S. Loknath
Edited byN. R. Kittu
Kalakendra Movies
Distributed byKalakendra Movies
Release date
  • 26 October 1981 (1981-10-26)
Running time
143 mins[1]

Thaneer Thaneer (Water Water) is a 1981 Indian Tamil language drama film, directed by K. Balachander starring Saritha, Shunmugham, V. K. Veeraswami and Radha Ravi.[2] The film, based on the play in 1980 by the same name by Komal Swaminathan was filmed by B. S. Loknath and featured music by M. S. Viswanathan. It was released during the Diwali day in 1981. In the titles, Komal Swaminathan was credited for the original story, while screenplay was by K. Balachander. It is said that Komal Swaminathan was fully satisfied with the movie version of his powerful play.[3]

Thanneer Thanneer deals with issues such as water scarcity and political corruption. Inhabitants of a drought-ridden village in Tamil Nadu, Athipati, try a cooperative method to bring water to their village, but their attempts are thwarted by unscrupulous politicians who try to use the water problem for their political gains. The film has been highly critically acclaimed and considered a "classic",[3] and fetched several accolades including two National Film Awards and two Filmfare Awards South. IBN Live included the film in its list of 100 greatest Indian films of all time.[4] Balachander has revealed that there is no existing copy of the negative of the film anymore.[3]


Thaneer Thaneer is a political drama and a universal human story based in a dry rural hamlet near Kovilpatti, in the Tamil Nadu state of India. This is a film about administration negligence of suffering villagers, excessive bureaucratic regulation (Red tape), greed, power and powerlessness. When a remote village, Athipatti in Madurai district faces severe water shortages, the inhabitants adopt all possible means to bring their problem to the attention of the authorities. But the process soon reveals the apathetic attitude of politicians, bureaucrats and the press alike. A convict Vellaiswamy (Guhan) wanted for the murder of a local landlord turns the villagers' plight to his advantage and begins a co-operative scheme to transport water in a cart from a spring ten miles away with help of Vathiyar (Komal Swaminathan). The local politicians try to make people of village to vote for them in election. But all people of the village boycott the elections. The local politician beats the convict and breaks the vehicle used for transporting water. The villagers decide to build canal by themselves. But Alagiri (Radha Ravi), husband of Sevanthi (Saritha) comes to the village and finds the convict hidden in the village. The convict promises to Alagiri that he will surrender after the canal is finished. But fate intervenes in the form of a Public Works Department Officer, who stops villagers from finishing the canal work. The villagers are shot by police. The convict dies due to thirst for water. A villager joins the naxalites. Vathiyar (Vaathiyar Raman) is arrested for aiding the convict. The villagers leave the town. But Sevanthi (Saritha) watches the sky every evening in hope of rain. These incidents are narrated by a Press reporter who had come to the village. The final scene mocks bureaucracy by showing pictures of govt. sponsored meetings for water resource improvement. It shows all the political parties' flags in the farmland. It shows that bureaucracy and politics fail the common man's aspirations.[1]


  • Saritha as Sevanthi
  • Shunmugham
  • A. K. Veeraswami
  • Radha Ravi as Alagiri
  • Vaathiyar Raman as Vathiyar
  • Guhan as Vellaisamy


Featuring fine performances, this film fared well at many international festivals where it was screened. Audiences were moved by the film's realistic depiction of life in rural India, far removed from the exotic dream world of much popular cinema.[1] Saritha's performance was widely appreciated who supposedly lost the national award to Rekha (for Umrao Jaan) that year by a narrow margin.[5]


Soundtrack was composed by M. S. Viswanathan and songs were written by Kannadasan and Vairamuthu

No. Title Singer(s) Length
1 "Maanathile Meen Irukka" Kasthuri 4:26
2 "Megam Thiraluthadi" S. Janaki, Malaysia Vasudevan 6:42
3 "Kannana Poo Magane" P. Susheela 3:40
4 "Ondrupatta Makkalundu" M. S. Viswanathan 3:41



  1. ^ a b c "Thaneer Thaneer (Water Water) Review". Channel4. Retrieved 19 December 2008.
  2. ^ "Thaneer Thaneer Cast & Crew". Channel4. Retrieved 19 December 2008.
  3. ^ a b c "Intl. Water Day – Thaneer Thaneer". Retrieved 26 August 2011.
  4. ^ "100 Years of Indian Cinema: The 100 greatest Indian films of all time". IBN Live. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  5. ^ "Indian Cinema 1985" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 July 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.

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