Unnal Mudiyum Thambi
|Unnal Mudiyum Thambi|
|Directed by||K. Balachander|
|Produced by||Rajam Balachander|
|Written by||K. Balachander|
|Cinematography||R. Raghunatha Reddy|
|Edited by||R. Bhaskaran|
Unnal Mudiyum Thambi (transl. You can do it, brother!) is a 1988 Indian Tamil language musical-drama film written and directed by K. Balachander. Produced by Kavithalayaa Productions, the film features Kamal Haasan, Gemini Ganesan, and Seetha in lead roles. Janagaraj, Prasad Babu, Manorama, Delhi Ganesh, and Nassar play supporting roles. The film was a remake of Balachander's own Telugu film Rudraveena (1988).
Unnal Mudiyum Thambi focuses on the ideological conflicts between 'Bilahari' Marthandam Pillai, a reputed Carnatic musician, and his younger son Udayamoorthy. Pillai's discrimination towards the people belonging to lower caste is met with criticism from Udhayamoorthy, who believes in society's welfare and walks out for good later. The events that led to change in Pillai's views form the remaining part of the story. Ilaiyaraaja composed the film's soundtrack and background score. R. Raghunatha Reddy was the film's director of photography, R. Bhaskaran edited the film, and Mohanam was the art director. The film was released on 12 August 1988 to positive critical reception.
A car makes an entry into the village. An MP (V. K. Ramaswamy) gets out of the car and finds that the village is self-disciplined in terms of cleanliness, and the villagers get rid of bad habits, such as drinking. He learns that the cause of all this is a young man named Udaymoorthy (Kamal Haasan). The MP wonders how only a young man was able to achieve this and expresses this to Udayamoorthy; a flashback begins.
Adolescent Udayamoorthy, from a high society family, sees an old, blind beggar woman struggling to pick up a banana thrown by a passerby. Udayamoorthy doesn't help the woman, and an old man helps the beggar woman instead. The old man calls Udayamurthy and advises him to be helpful to others. The struggle of that elderly woman pinches his mindset due him not helping her in need. Now and adult, Udayamoorthy is a very mischievous and happy-go-lucky guy who likes to pull pranks on his family members and gets punished by his father Bilahari Marthandam Pillai (Gemini Ganesan), an ardent devotee and short-tempered Carnatic music singer. Pillai's elder son (Prasad Babu) is born mute and hence had to take in instrument, the nadhaswaram, which he is quite adept at.
One day, Pillai shouts at Udayamoorthy, saying that it is better to die than to live an irresponsible life like this, and this hurts Udayamoorthy. The next morning, family members are shocked on seeing Udayamurthy hanging himself at the middle of the hall. But actually, it is another prank played by him, and he did not die so. Angayarkanni (Manorama), hurt by the mischief, feels sad for not playing her role as a sister-in-law and not raising Udayamoorthy properly and making him as an irresponsible boy. Udayamoorthy changes his mind and start to be responsible, making his family happy. He comes to a decision of being helpful to the society by reminding of the temple incident in his adolescent life and on seeing an old gardener who wants to live usefully for the society at least by planting trees.
Udayamoorthy sees a woman in a government office who protests against an official for rejecting her application for a teacher job for not mentioning her caste and religion in the application. Udayamoorthy again sees the woman at a theatre when she slaps a thug for misbehaving. Udayamoorthy gets attracted to the girl named Lalithakamalam (Seetha), on knowing that she and her thoughts are very much secular. Both Udayamoorthy and Lalitha fall in love with each other. Udayamoorthy could not concentrate on singing when he hears the begging of a night beggar. This angers Pillai, and he shouts that Udayamoorthy is not fit to be his disciple. Pillai also gets angry on seeing Udayamoorthy loving a girl who come from the caste of untouchables. Udayamoorthy and Pillai get into a fight when the latter brings another man Charukesi (Ramesh Aravind) to become his disciple, stating reasons that Udayamoorthy can live as a man going behind humanity and not as a devoted singer. At another incident, Udayamoorthy gets vexed when Pillai does not care to save a dying man by giving a lift in his car to the hospital but cared only to be punctual for his music program, leading to the man's death due to delay in treatment. Pillai challenges Udayamoorthy to become a man making his father proud without using the name of his father in the society and then he will listen to what he says. Udayamoorthy could not bear to be neglected by his father, and he leaves the house.
Udayamoorthy meets the dead man's wife and finds that the government did not give any compensation to the family as the man was drunk while on duty. Udayamoorthy finds a lot of men laying always at drunkard state and their children going for work to earn for their drinking expense instead of going to school. Hence he sets out to change the people and bring them out of drinking habit. He becomes unsuccessful in his attempt, and at the same time gets attacked by a liquor-selling group. Lalitha provokes the wives of the drunkards to protest their husbands, to which the women cooperate. Udayamoorthy gains the enmity of the drunkards for destroying the liquor shops and provoking their wives against them. Hence they set out to stop the wedding of Udayamoorthy with Lalitha by promising that they would stop drinking if he cancels his wedding, to which Udayamoorthy accepts. His sacrifice earns up the respect upon the whole village, and the drunkards start to obey him. Udayamoorthy and Lalitha together start 'Amaidhi Puratchi Iyyakam' (Silent Revolution Society) and bring many reforms.
The MP, on hearing the whole story, appreciates him a lot and brings the reformation to the light of the government. Udayamurthy becomes famous overnight and gets 'Best Indian' award from the Prime Minister for transforming the village in the good path. Pillai finds that his son achieved his mission and proudly announces that Pillai is Udayamoorthy's father, rather Udayamurthy is Pillai's son. He also accepts the marriage of his son with Lalitha and unites them.
- Kamal Haasan as Udayamoorthy
- Gemini Ganesan as Bilhari Marthandam Pillai
- Seetha as Lalithakamalam
- Manorama as Angayarkanni
- Meesai Murugesan as Anjayya
- Prasad Babu as Udayamoorthy's mute brother
- Dhaarini as Udayamoorthy's sister
- Ramesh Aravind as Charukesi
- Delhi Ganesh as Arasiyalvathi
- Nassar as Wine Shop Owner
- K. S. Jayalakshmi
- Vizag Prasad
- Vasanth as Reporter
- V. K. Ramaswamy as "Bloody" MP (special appearance)
Kamal Haasan's character was inspired by, and named after a real life social activist M. S. Udayamurthy. Gemini Ganesan was cast as the Carnatic musician Bilahari Marthandam Pillai, and Manorama played Angayarkanni, the wife of a mute nadaswaram player portrayed by Prasad Babu. Vishweswaran, husband of Bharatanatyam artist Chithra Vishweswaran portrayed the role of Chief-minister who appears in the climax. During the pre-production phases, the film was tentatively titled as Sundarakandam.
The songs were composed by Ilaiyaraja while lyrics written by Pulamaipithan, Muthulingham and Ilaiyaraaja. Ilaiyaraaja has reused some tracks from Telugu original Rudraveena. The song "Idhazhil Kathai" is based on Lalitha Raga,"Nee Ondruthaan" is set in Bilahari raga and "Akkam Pakkam" is set in Punnagavarali raga. The song 'Punjai Undu' is based on Suddha Dhanyasi.  Indiaglitz praised the song "Enna Samayalo" stating that "If you pay keen attention to the lyrics of the song, you will notice even the mention of ingredients like – 'Garam masala'! Of course the use of vegetables and ingredients in the lyrics makes this song different on its own".
|SL. No.||Song's Title||Singer(s)||Lyrics|
|1.||"Akkam Pakkam Parada"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam||Pulamaipithan|
|4.||"Enna Samayalo"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, K. S. Chitra, Sunandha||Illayaraja|
|3.||"Ithazhil Kathai"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, K. S. Chitra||Muthulingam|
|2.||"Maanida Sevai"||K. J. Yesudas||Pulamaipithan|
|5.||"Nee Onru Than"||K. J. Yesudas|
|6.||"Punjai Undu"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam||Pulamaipithan|
|7.||"Unnal Mudiyum Thambi"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam||Pulamaipithan|
Behindwoods included the film in the list "Social Awareness in Tamil Cinema" and mentioned that "Kamal Haasan, Gemini Ganesan, and Sita’s heart wrenching performance and Balachander’s direction made this movie stand apart from the crowd. Illayaraja’s music helped in a big way too". The Hindu appreciated Manorama's performance calling it "One of her finest roles [..] Her depiction of the travails faced by the woman of the house [..] remains an acting benchmark".
- "The honest lost to seasoned politicians". The Hindu. 27 December 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
- Kolappan, B. (23 December 2014). "He took Tamil cinema beyond hero-centric creations". The Hindu. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
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- "உன்னால் முடியும் தம்பி - ஒரு சிறப்பு பார்வை". Hindu Tamil Thisai (in Tamil). 11 January 2016. Archived from the original on 2 June 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
- "Aachi Manorama's memorable Roles". The Times of India. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
- "Life is stranger than fiction". The Hindu. 23 March 2004. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
- "Unnal Mudhiyum thambi songs". Retrieved 19 February 2012.
- Charulatha Mani. "Distinctly classical". The Hindu. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
- "Cinema Quiz". The Hindu. 16 September 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
- Sundararaman 2007, p. 122.
- "Vegetable names in songs". Indiaglitz. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
- "Social Awareness in Tamil cinema — Unnal Mudiyum Thambi". Behindwoods. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
- Yamunan, Sruthisagar (12 October 2015). "When the camera rolled, she lived the character'". The Hindu. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
- Sundararaman (2007) . Raga Chintamani: A Guide to Carnatic Ragas Through Tamil Film Music (2nd ed.). Pichhamal Chintamani.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)