Then Nilavu

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Then Nilavu
DVD cover
Directed by C. V. Sridhar
Produced by C. V. Sridhar
Written by C. V. Sridhar
Starring Gemini Ganesan
M. N. Nambiar
K. A. Thangavelu
M. Saroja
Music by A. M. Rajah
Cinematography A. Vincent
Edited by T. R. Sreenivasalu
Chitralaya Films
Distributed by Chitralaya Films
Release dates
  • 30 September 1961 (1961-09-30)
Running time
160 mins
Country India
Language Tamil

Then Nilavu (English: Honey Moon) is a 1961 Indian Tamil romantic comedy film written and directed by C. V. Sridhar through his Chitralaya Films.[2] The film stars Gemini Ganesan, Vyjayanthimala in the lead, with M. N. Nambiar, K. A. Thangavelu and M. Saroja as the ensemble cast. The film was produced and directed by C. V. Sridhar. The film's score was composed by A. M. Rajah while the lyrics were penned by Kannadasan.

The film deals with a young man Raj who falls in love with a young woman Shanti, but she disapproves of him. She returns to her home in Bangalore city, to join her father Sokkalingam and his newly married second wife on their honeymoon to Kashmir. Raj also joins them on tour, after being mistaken for Shanti's appointed manager (also named Raj), who no-one from the family has yet seen. Raj and Shanti eventually fall in love during the trip, but everything takes a drastic turn when the real Raj who was appointed as Shanti's manager arrives. Then Nilavu was released on 30 September 1961, and became a huge commercial success.


Raj (Gemini Ganesan) meets Shanti (Vyjayanthimala) at a cricket match in Madras, and falls in love with her. Shanti does not reciprocate his love, and leaves to her home place Bangalore. Shanti’s father Sokkalingam (K. A. Thangavelu), a widower, marries Thangam (M. Saroja). They decide to go to Kashmir for their honeymoon, and Shanti also wants to come. Sivalingam, a friend of Sokkalingam suggests an alliance between Shanti and his nephew Raj (M. N. Nambiar) who is now in Madras. Raj has secretly married Lalitha. He ditches Lalitha, when he sees this new alliance and leaves for Bangalore, but misses the train. Just then Raj (Gemini Ganesan) arrives in Bangalore for a different reason, and Sokkalingam misinterprets him as his friend’s nephew. Sokkalingam and wife Thangam leave for Kashmir along with Raj Ganesan and Shanti, who still dislikes Raj Ganesan.

After some time, Raj Ganesan and Shanti fall in love. Meanwhile Raj Nambiar reaches Kashmir in search for Sokkalingam. Lalitha, fearing the safety of her husband Raj, also reaches Kashmir in search for him. She meets Raj Ganesan and stays in his house. Lalitha meets Sokkalingam and tells that she is married to Raj. Sokkalingam misinterprets this as Raj Ganesan and throws him out of house. Meanwhile Raj Nambiar meets Sokkalingam and explains everything, therefore he replaces Raj Ganesan as Shanti's manager, despite Shanti's dislike for him. Shanti later learns that Lalitha is Raj Nambiar's wife and reconciles with Raj Ganesan, while Sokkalingam and Thangam are still unaware.

Raj Nambiar finds out that Shanti loves Raj Ganesan, and he is jealous. At the same time, he meets Lalitha who he orders to return, else she will be killed. Lalitha flees, but secretly writes a letter to him showing her affection. Raj Nambiar, touched by the letter, decides to take Lalitha on a boat ride, but has another plan: to kill Lalitha and frame Raj Ganesan. When she joins Raj Nambiar on the boat ride, he forcefully rides the boat, causing her to fall into the lake. Subsequently, he frames Raj Ganesan. Sokkalingam, enraged at how a man could kill his own wife, files a complaint about Lalitha's murder to the Kashmir Police, and soon they chase Raj Ganesan, who elopes with Shanti - his only evidence of innocence.

They both run into a forest for shelter and suddenly they discover that Lalitha is still alive, but kept under custody by a group of terrorists. Raj Ganesan and Shanti are also put into the same prison as Lalitha, who reveals what happened: she was washed ashore and was discovered by one of the terrorists. He however started torturing her, and she pushed him off the cliff to his death, hence imprisoned for murder. Suddenly, a gypsy dancer from the terrorist group helps them escape secretly. But by the time they escape, the nearby guards see them and start shooting at them. The three escape onto a boat, but the boat gets a crack and starts drowning, with Raj Ganesan getting separated from Lalitha and Shanti. When he swims to the shore, the police capture him.

In the high court, Raj Ganesan fails to prove his innocence, due to lack of evidence. However, Shanti and Lalitha arrive, surprising everyone. But the letter Lalitha wrote to her husband is discovered and after reading the last line (in which Lalitha advised her husband to kill her if wanted), the court suspects Raj Nambiar of the attempted murder. Lalitha, still affectionate to her husband, saves him by lying that it was the storm that knocked her into the lake. The case is dismissed, and everything ends well for everyone.




The film was the first ever film produced by C. V. Sridhar through his Chitralaya Films.[2] This is also the first Tamil and South Indian film to be shot in Jammu and Kashmir.[3] The first scene of the film was shot during an India-Pakistan cricket match at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium.[4] The cricket match scene was also used as the background for the film's introduction credits.[5]


The film's music was composed by A. M. Rajah with the lyrics were penned by Kannadasan.[6] The film was a major break for S. Janaki who lent her voice to actress Vyjayanthimala. Despite the album's success, C. V. Sridhar and A. M. Rajah parted their ways. The album was well received and all the songs were chartbusters.

No. Song Singers Lyrics Length (m:ss)
1 Chinna Chinna A. M. Rajah, P. Susheela Kannadasan 03:48
2 Kaalaiyum Neeye A. M. Rajah, S. Janaki 03:28
3 Malare Malare Theriyatha P. Susheela 03:43
4 Nilavum Malarum A. M. Rajah, P. Susheela 03:42
5 Oho Enthan Baby A. M. Rajah, S. Janaki 03:13
6 Oorengum Thedinen Jikki[7] 03:02
7 Paattu Padava A. M. Rajah 03:42


V. Balasubramaniam of The Hindu said, "A. M. Rajah's tryst with composing includes super duper hit songs from the films "Kalyana Parisu," "Aadi Perukku" and "Then Nilavu."[8] Film critic Baradwaj Rangan said, "Oh, the songs… Chinna Chinna Kannile, Kaalayum Neeye, Nilavum Malarum Paadudhu… I’m misting up as I write this!" [9]


Critical reception[edit]

Baradwaj Rangan said, "People from an older era may claim that the definitive Gemini romance was Missiamma, which reportedly was our grandmothers’ Titanic, what with the actor wooing a charmingly young Savitri to the strains of Vaarayo Vennilaave. I, however, go with Then Nilavu, if only for the too-cool image of him in swimming trunks, water-skiing alongside the charmingly young Vyjayanthimala."[9] Mohan V. Raman of The Hindu praised M. N. Nambiar's villainous performance, calling it "unforgettable."[10] BBC labelled the film as one of Gemini Ganesan's "memorable films".[11]

Box office[edit]

Then Nilavu was a huge success at the box office, and became one of C. V. Sridhar's biggest hits.[12]


  1. ^ "Thennilavu - Movie Reviews, Videos, Wallpapers, Photos, Cast & Crew, Story & Synopsis on". 30 September 1961. Retrieved 8 March 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Malathi Rangarajan (24 October 2008). "Sridhar will live on …". The Hindu. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "Tamil film director Sridhar passes away". 20 October 2008. Retrieved 20 October 2008. 
  4. ^ "Where arts and academics met". The Hindu. 9 March 2010. Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  5. ^ The Illustrated Weekly of India. 1963. p. 124. 
  6. ^ "Then Nilavu (1960)". Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  7. ^ Randor Guy (20 August 2004). "Her tantalising voice will live forever". The Hindu. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  8. ^ V. Balasubramaniam (16 June 2006). "In a class of his own". The Hindu. Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Baradwaj Rangan (27 March 2005). "Tribute: Gemini Ganesan". Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  10. ^ Mohan V. Raman (16 November 2010). "Reel villain, real hero". The Hindu. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  11. ^ "Southern Indian movie star dies". BBC News. 22 March 2005. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  12. ^ "C.V Sridhar, veteran director passes away!". Sify. 20 October 2008. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 

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