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Title card
Directed by J. Mahendran
Produced by Radha Balakrishnan
Screenplay by J. Mahendran
Based on Chitrannai
by Pudhumaipithan
Starring Vijayan
Madhu Malini
Music by Ilaiyaraaja
Cinematography Ashok Kumar
Edited by B. Lenin
Dimple Creations
Release date
19 October 1979 (1979-10-19)
Running time
129 minutes
Country India
Language Tamil

Uthiri Pookkal (lit. Scattered Flowers) is a 1979 Indian Tamil-language drama film written and directed by J. Mahendran. The script was based on a short story titled Chitrannai (சிற்றன்னை) by Pudhumaipithan.[1] It starred then newcomers Vijayan, Ashwini, Madhumalini, Charuhasan, Master Haja Sheriff and Baby Anju in prominent roles while Sarath Babu plays a cameo. The soundtrack and background score were composed by Ilaiyaraaja. Ashok Kumar handled the cinematography while B. Lenin made his debut as an independent editor with the film.[2]

The film has been critically acclaimed and is considered a landmark film in Tamil cinema.[1][3][4][5] Mahendran won the Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Director and S. Janaki won the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Female Playback. In 2013, IBN Live included the film in its list of 100 greatest Indian films of all time.


Sundaravadivelu (Vijayan) is a wealthy school manager and a landlord who is a hedonist and a sadist. He finds pleasure in torturing people emotionally including his own family members. He also siphons the school's money for his own needs. His wife Lakshmi (Ashwini) is a goodhearted homely wife, and he has two children. Sundaravadivelu never respects his wife's feelings. He is an irresponsible husband and a father. Lakshmi's father (Charuhasan) is indebted to Sundaravadivelu as he had borrowed money from him. Using this as a trump card, Sundaravadivelu proposes Lakshmi's sister Shenbagam(Madhu Malini). But Shenbagam and her father do not approve this. Sundaravadivelu is infuriated and forces out Lakshmi from his house falsely accusing her of having an affair with the health inspector of the village (Sarath Babu). Lakshmi, who is seriously ill, passes away soon. Sundaravadivelu marries again, and his second wife shows no love or care towards him as well as his kids. Meanwhile, Shenbagam develops a liking towards a school teacher working at Sundaravadivelu's school. The school's management gets to know about Sundavadivelu's mismanagement and they decide to take action on him. The marriage of Shenbagam with her lover is set, and on the previous day, Shenbagam goes to Sundaravadivelu's house, requesting him to send his kids with her, so that she can take care of them. But Sundaravadivelu molests her which is seen by his second wife. His wife ditches him and goes her way. The villagers are provoked and maddened now. They corner Sundaravadivelu and ask him to choose his way of death, and finish his life. Sundaravadivelu commits suicide, and in his last moments, he realises that he was always a sadist. Moments before his death he shares a tender moment with his kids.



This movie features five songs composed by Ilaiyaraaja and lyrics written by Kannadasan, Ilaiyaraaja, Gangai Amaran, M. G. Vallaban and Muthulingam.

  • Antha Poongathu - Ilaiyaraaja
  • Naan Paada - S. Janaki
  • Azhagiya Kanne - S. Janaki
  • Kalyaanam Paaru - S. P. Sailaja
  • Poodaa Poodaa Pokkai - S. Janaki


The film is considered as a breakthrough in commercial Tamil cinema and has been lauded by many film makers.[3] In a 2002 interview with The Hindu, Mani Ratnam remarked "If I get anywhere near what Mahendran did in Udhiri Pookkal, I’ll be a happy man."[4][6] The Times of India wrote "1979 was the year of Uthiripookkal".[7] IBN Live included the film in its list of 100 greatest Indian films of all time in 2013.[8]



  1. ^ a b kavitha muralidharan (2013-08-11). "Second coming?". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 2013-12-30. 
  2. ^ "Master of creative final touches". Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Filmmakers' favourites". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 2007-07-13. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  4. ^ a b "The magic of Mahendran". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 2007-09-06. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  5. ^ "A tale rooted in the soil". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 2003-11-28. Retrieved 2013-12-30. 
  6. ^ "Cannes is not my goal". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 2002-04-12. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  7. ^ "Ninaithale Inikkum". The Times of India. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "100 Years of Indian Cinema: The 100 greatest Indian films of all time". IBN Live. Retrieved 6 May 2013. 
  9. ^ "Awards and Achievements". Retrieved 27 November 2012. 

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