Thillu Mullu

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Thillu Mullu
Thillu Mullu 1981 poster.jpg
Directed byK. Balachandar
Produced by
  • P. R. Govindarajan
  • J. Duraisamy
Screenplay byVisu
Story byShailesh Dey
Music byM. S. Viswanathan
CinematographyB. S. Lokanath
Edited byN. R. Kittu
Kalakendra Movies
Release date
  • 1 May 1981 (1981-05-01)
Running time
136 minutes

Thillu Mullu (English: Hodgepodge) is a 1981 Indian Tamil-language comedy film directed by K. Balachander and produced by Kalakendra Movies. The film features Rajinikanth, Madhavi and Thengai Srinivasan in the lead roles while Poornam Vishwanathan, Viji Chandrasekhar and Sowcar Janaki play supporting roles. It is a remake of the 1979 Hindi film Gol Maal directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee. The soundtrack and score were composed by M. S. Viswanathan while the lyrics were written by Kannadasan.

The film is about Chandran (Rajinikanth) who is advised by his family friend (Viswanathan) to attend the job at a company of his friend Sriramachandramoorthy (Thengai Srinivasan). Chandran pretends to be a cultured, well-mannered and patriotic person which impresses Sriramachandramoorthy. When Sriramachandramoorthy spots Chandran at a football match, Chandran concocts a story that he has a twin brother Indran without a moustache. What happens then forms the story.

Thillu Mullu was released on 1 May 1981. Critics particularly praised Rajinikanth's performance, as he was known for doing mainly action films up until that point in his career. The film became successful at the box office. A remake of the same name was released in 2013.


Aiyampettai Arivudainambi Kaliyaperumal Chandran is a graduate in search of his first job. He and his sister Uma have no relatives or acquaintances except their doctor/family friend. The doctor advises him to attend an interview for a job at his friend Sriramachandramurthy's import-export company, Sarojini Traders. Sriramachandramurthy is a man of traditional values: he hates youths wearing modern clothes. He is a sports fan but thinks lowly of youths knowing anything about sports. He dislikes men without moustaches as he believes such men are characterless.

Chandran, however, has a moustache; the doctor advises Chandran to take care of the other problems by acting in a manner Sriramachandramurthy appreciates: namely wearing a Nehru jacket for a usual dress given the poverty in the country, to always tell his full name, giving importance to his moustache, behaving decently, showing a lack of interest in sports and drama considering that they do not promote any well being to the home or the country, respecting one's parents and detesting the concept of having someone else recommend a person for jobs instead of recommending for oneself. Sriramachandramurthy hires him immediately after Chandran impresses him.

One day, Chandran takes leave by pretending that his mother, who actually died many years ago, has taken ill and goes to watch a football match. Sriramachandramurthy, who attends the match as well, sees him there. The next day, Sriramachandramurthy queries Chandran about what he witnessed. To escape from the ire of his boss and being fired from his first job, he decides to lie. Remembering the plot of a film his friend, actor Nagesh is shooting, Chandran convinces Sriramachandramurthy that he had seen his "moustache-less" identical twin, Indran, at the stadium. Sriramachandramurthy buys his argument and feels bad about accusing him. He makes amends by hiring "Indran" to teach his daughter Sarojini music.

Chandran is forced to lead a dual life: as a sincere hardworking employee under his real name, and as Sarojini's music teacher Indran; subsequently, the two fall in love. Things takes an unexpected turn when Sriramachandramurthy asks Chandran to meet his mother. Chandran, with Nagesh's help, requests a wealthy socialite, Meenakshi Duraiswamy to pretend to be Chandran's widowed mother. A series of humorous scenarios follow, all involving Chandran fooling Sriramachandramurthy. Chandran tells Sarojini the truth. Sarojini tells him to tell the truth to Sriramachandramurthy as well. Chandran goes to Sriramachandramurthy to tell the truth, but Sriramachandramurthy sees Chandran's moustache giving away. Sriramachandramurthy exposes Chandran but ends up thinking that Indran murdered Chandran and impersonated him to marry Sarojini. Sriramachandramurthy then chases Chandran across the city via car to kill him. Due to his rash driving, he seemingly cripples Uma during the chase.

Sriramachandramurthy is sued by lawyer Charuhasan on Chandran's behalf for injuring Uma. Sriramachandramurthy is, for the most part, scared during the lawyer's monologue, but eventually realises that he is being fooled again — this time by Charuhasan, who is actually an actor hired by Chandran, while Uma was not actually crippled in the chase. At this point, all the main characters approach Sriramachandramurthy and tell him the truth. A visibly confused and shaken Sriramachandramurthy locks himself in a room, and comes out with his moustache shaved off, feeling that he does not need something which caused so much trouble. Sriramachandramurthy then laments to a picture of Muruga about his foolishness. As he does so, the picture of Muruga changes into that of Ganesha; a voice from heaven (Ganesha's) apologises to him as he was also involved in fooling him.


Additionally, Lakshmi and Pratap K. Pothen make cameo appearances as themselves,[2] while Kamal Haasan cameos as Charuhasan.[1]


In June 1980, it was announced that Rajinikanth and Madhavi would star in the Tamil remake of the Hindi film Gol Maal, with K. Balachander directing.[4] The film, which would later be titled Thillu Mullu, was Rajinikanth's first full-length comedy film.[5] He initially doubted whether he would be able to pull off a comedy film, and instead suggested that Balachander consider an established comedian like Nagesh; Balachander refused since he wanted a hero, not a comedian, and Balachander assured that he would guide him through the process.[3] Rajinikanth hoped that people, who considered him to be made for "rough roles", would change their perspective after seeing the film;[6] he accepted the film due to Balachander's suggestion that he should do try to break the stereotyped action-hero mould for which he was known at the time.[7] Rajinikanth had to shave his moustache for Thillu Mullu, making it the first film which featured him without one.[1] It was also Rajinikanth and Balachander's last film together.[8]

Thengai Srinivasan was recruited to play Sriramachandramurthy. Balachander recalled, "Normally I try to get all actors to modulate the dialogue in a particular manner but for this character I wanted Thengai to do it in his style, so instead of teaching him, I asked him how he would like to do the scene and then developed on it. I wanted him to play it as a character and not as a comedian for I felt that the humour would come out on its own through his unique body language and dialogue delivery".[9] Nagesh appeared as himself.[10] Sowcar Janaki was selected to appear in a role of socialite who is hired to pose as Chandran's mother.[11] Viji Chandrasekhar made her acting debut with this film, playing the sister of Chandran.[12] The character is a skater, and Balachander cast her as such after noticing her carrying roller skates.[13] At Balachander's insistence,[14] Kamal Haasan made a cameo appearance as Charuhasan, an actor posing as a lawyer in the climax of the film.[15] The name is a reference to Haasan's real-life brother.[1] During the film's shooting, Rajinikanth met his future wife Latha, then a student of Ethiraj College for Women, who went to interview him for her college magazine.[16] Some scenes were also shot at Janaki's house at Cenotaph Road.[17][9]

The screenplay was written by Visu.[2] B. S. Lokanath and N. R. Kittu were recruited as cinematographer and editor respectively. The film was produced by P. R. Govindarajan and J. Duraisamy under Kalakendra Movies.[18]


The film's music was composed by M. S. Viswanathan, with lyrics by Kannadasan.[19] The songs "Raagangal Pathinaaru" is set in the carnatic raga known as Abheri.[20]

Track list
1."Raagangal Pathinaaru"S. P. Balasubramaniam4:27
2."Thillu Mullu"S. P. Balasubramaniam4:40
3."Thangangale Thambigale"Malaysia Vasudevan4:24
4."Andhi Neram"Vani Jairam4:27


Thillu Mullu was remade in 2013 with the same name. The remake was directed by Badri and starred Shiva playing Rajinikanth's character and Prakash Raj playing Srinivasan's character.[21] It featured re-worked versions of the title song and "Raagangal Pathinaaru".[22] The remake was a box-office bomb.[23] In an interview with IndiaGlitz in 2016, Visu expressed dissatisfaction with the remake.[24]

Release and reception[edit]

Thillu Mullu was released on 1 May 1981.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Thillu Mullu received positive reviews.[25] Tribune stated in 1982, "It is not often that Producer/Director K. Balachandar launches out on films in lighter vein, and this film is one such all revealing exception, of his deft touch in this field too."[26] 70 Years of Indian Cinema, 1913-1983 by T. M. Ramachandran and S. Rukmini described Thillu Mullu as one of Balachander's "best comedies that provide perennial delight".[27]

The Times of India ranked Thillu Mullu #7 in its list of "Top 12 Rajinikanth movies", saying "he pulls of clean jokes effortlessly making this movie a classic laugh-a-thon."[28] On 1 July 2013, coinciding with International Joke Day, actors and writers of comedy were asked to name their favourite film. Comedian and film critic Bosskey named Thillu Mullu as his favourite comedy film, stating: "Thengaai Srinivasan is my all-time favourite. [..] and the interview scene in Thillu Mullu can enliven any boring day".[29]

Home media[edit]

Thillu Mullu was released on VCD by Moser Baer on 10 April 2007,[30] and on DVD by the same company on 31 July 2007.[31]


On the centenary of Indian cinema in April 2013, Forbes India included the performances of Rajinikanth and Thengai Sreenivasan in the film on its list, "25 Greatest Acting Performances of Indian Cinema".[32]


  1. ^ a b c d e Ramachandran 2014, p. 106.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Ramji, V. (7 July 2018). "தில்லுமுல்லு - அப்பவே அப்படி கதை!". Kamadenu. The Hindu Tamil. Archived from the original on 26 October 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  3. ^ a b Ramachandran 2014, p. 105.
  4. ^ Piousji (29 June 1980). "Khaas Baat". Sunday. p. 47. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  5. ^ Sampath, Janani (27 August 2013). "The common man's film maker". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 3 November 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  6. ^ Piousji (21 September 1980). "Khaas Baat". Sunday. p. 39. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Return of Rajinikanth". Hindustan Times. 22 February 2012. Archived from the original on 10 February 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2015.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  8. ^ Kumar, S. Shiva (15 June 2018). "After 'Kaala' release, a look at the underside of Rajini's stardom". The Hindu. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  9. ^ a b Raman, Mohan V. (20 October 2012). "He walked tall in tinsel town". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 3 November 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  10. ^ "Power Star in Nagesh's role!". The Times of India. 10 September 2012. Archived from the original on 28 October 2016. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  11. ^ "Cine Quiz". The Hindu. 21 March 2008. Archived from the original on 3 November 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  12. ^ Venkadesan, S (13 August 2012). "Viji hopes for a dream run in films". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 3 November 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  13. ^ Ramanujam, Srinivasa (28 October 2016). "Once upon a film set..." The Hindu. Archived from the original on 6 January 2017. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  14. ^ "The fire still burns bright". Bangalore Mirror. 7 July 2010. Archived from the original on 18 February 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  15. ^ Srivatsan (15 September 2016). "Rajinikanth's cameo in Neruppu Da: 5 actors whose cameos made more noise than films". India Today. Archived from the original on 3 November 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  16. ^ "காதலுக்கு அஸ்திவாரம் போட்ட `தில்லுமுல்லு' படம் வெற்றி: நகைச்சுவையில் கொடிகட்டிப் பறந்தார்". Maalai Malar (in Tamil). 20 November 2012. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 12 September 2015.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  17. ^ Krissna, Suresh; Rangarajan, Malathi (2012). My Days with Baasha. Westland Ltd. p. 11. ISBN 978-93-8162-629-0.
  18. ^ Thillu Mullu (motion picture) (in Tamil). Kalakendra Movies. 1981.
  19. ^ "Thillu Mullu (1981)". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 12 September 2015.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  20. ^ Sundararaman 2007, p. 155.
  21. ^ Raghavan, Nikhil (1 June 2013). "Classic gets a new twist". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 3 November 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  22. ^ Naig, Udhav (20 April 2013). "Old meets new". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 3 November 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  23. ^ "After Moondru Mugam, Raghava Lawrence to remake Rajinikanth's Mannan". India Today. Archived from the original on 22 December 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  24. ^ "Director Visu Interview : Censor asked me to make 87 cuts for my film". IndiaGlitz. 5 July 2016. Archived from the original on 1 January 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  25. ^ Seshagiri, Sangeetha (12 December 2013). "Most Popular Roles of Superstar Rajinikanth". International Business Times. Archived from the original on 6 January 2017. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  26. ^ Tribune. 26. Ceylon News Service. 8 May 1982. pp. 5–6.
  27. ^ Ramachandran, T. M.; Rukmini, S. (1985). 70 Years of Indian Cinema, 1913-1983. Cinema India-International. p. 220.
  28. ^ "Top 12 Rajinikanth movies". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 3 November 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  29. ^ Rao, Subha J (1 July 2013). "Laughter lines". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 3 November 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  30. ^ "Thillu Mullu". Moser Baer. 10 April 2007. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  31. ^ "Thillu Mullu". Moser Baer. 31 July 2007. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  32. ^ Prasad, Shishir; Ramnath, N. S.; Mitter, Sohini (27 April 2013). "25 Greatest Acting Performances of Indian Cinema". Forbes India. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2015.


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