Achamillai Achamillai

Achamillai Achamillai
Directed by K. Balachander
Produced by Rajam Balachander
Pushpa Kandaswamy
Written by K. Balachander (dialogue)
Screenplay by K. Balachander
Story by K. Balachander
Music by V. S. Narasimhan
Cinematography B. S. Lokanath
Edited by N. R. Kittu
Distributed by Kavithalayaa Productions
Release dates
18 May 1984 (1984-05-18)
Running time
160 minutes[1]
Country India
Language Tamil

Achamillai Achamillai (lit. Fearless[2]) is a 1984 Indian Tamil language political satire film directed by K. Balachander. It stars Rajesh and Saritha in the lead with Pavithra, Delhi Ganesh and Charle in other prominent roles. The film deals with party switching and depicts its influence on the lives of small-time politicians. The film met with critical acclaim, winning three awards at the 32nd Filmfare Awards South, as well as the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil. The title refers to a popular poem composed by Bharathiyar.


Thenmozhi (Sarita), a worker in a textile factory, resides in a small village with her blind father, a former freedom fighter. She develops a mutual attraction to Ulaganathan (Rajesh), an idealist in the same village who is respected for his integrity and unselfishness. Upon the approval of Ulaganathan's father, they marry on 15 August, coinciding with India's Independence Day. The couple lead a happy life and work for the welfare of the village. With elections around the corner, two political parties try to garner support by enlisting Ulaganathan to their side. Initially reluctant, Ulaganathan joins one of the parties when it promises to provide him with a ministerial position.[2]

Ulaganathan quickly slides down the slippery slope of political intrigue and intimidation, alienating both his wife and his father. Thenmozhi returns to her father's home to deliver her first child. Ulaganthan wins the election, but as neither of the parties receives a clear majority, the rival party bribes Ulaganathan to join them instead. When Thenmozhi returns after the birth of their child, she is disappointed over the transformation of her husband and refuses to live with him. To spite her, Ulagnathan brings home Alangaram (Pavithra) as his mistress. Alangaram and her mother slowly take control over the household, which leads to Thenmozhi leaving her family. Ulagnathan's atrocities go beyond her tolerance when he plans to organise a communal riot in the village in order to safeguard himself from the critics. When Thenmozhi finds out about this, she goes to have a talk with him. But Ulaganathan defends himself by saying that political murders are not ethically wrong. The following day (Independence Day), a statue of Mahatma Gandhi is to be unveiled by Ulaganathan. During the ceremony, Ulagnathan makes a speech on his and his party's accomplishments. Thenmozhi approaches him with a garland; as she lays it on his neck, she stabs him to death. The police arrest her; at the end, Suthanthiram (Delhi Nayakar) is seen crying at the feet of Gandhi's statue.[3]


Production, themes and analysis

The film was produced by Kavithalayaa Productions, Balachander's production house. Apart from direction, he took charge of the story, screenplay, and dialogue. Cinematography and editing were handled by B. S. Lokanath and N. R. Kittu, respectively.[2]

The film is a satire on the Indian political system. Its underlying theme is Party switching, a common phenomenon that exists in the country's political system, and its impact on small-time politicians.[4] Balachander added a dwarf character named Suthanthiram (literally, "Freedom") to metaphorically depict that the freedom of the nation is stunted.[5]


The film's score and soundtrack were composed by debutante V. S. Narasimhan, while lyrics were written by Vairamuthu and "Erode" Thamizh Inban.[2] The soundtrack received positive response.[5]

Achamillai Achamillai
Soundtrack album
Released 1984 (1984)
Language Tamil

All lyrics written by Vairamuthu, 'Erode' Thamizh Inban. 

No. TitleSingers Length
1. "Aavaram Poovu"  S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, P. Susheela  
2. "Karisal Karisu"  Vani Jairam  
3. "Kayiala kaasu"  S. P. Balasubrahmanyam  
4. "Odukira Thanniyila"  Malaysia Vasudevan, P. Susheela  
5. "Pudhiru Poda"  Malaysia Vasudevan, S. Janaki  


Achamillai Achamillai was released on 18 May 1984 to critical acclaim. The film had a 100-day run in theatres and was commercially successful.[6] It was the only Tamil film to be screened at the 'Indian Panorama' 10th International Film Festival of India in 1985.[7] Saritha's performance won her a lot of accolades and critical praise.[8]

A contemporary review from Ananda Vikatan stated, "When everyone is using cinema for entertainment, Balachander uses cinema as a weapon to attack the evils of the society...". G. Dhananjayan, in his book The Best of Tamil Cinema: 1977 to 2010, called the film a bold attempt by K. Balachander after Thanneer Thanneer, and lauded the director for his dialogue filled with sarcasm.[5] The film received negative reviews for showcasing violence. Some critics were concerned about the idea that even educated people would be corrupted if they come to politics, while a few others opined that the film did not provide a solution for the problem.[5]


The film is widely regarded as one of the finest that Balachander has directed.[8] In a 2006 interview with The Hindu, Balachander listed the film as one of his favourites.[9] Analysing the dominance of female characters in Balachander's films, Baradwaj Rangan listed the heroine of Achamillai Achamillai as an example.[10]


Year Award Category Nominee Outcome
1984 National Film Awards Best Feature Film in Tamil V. Natarajan (Producer)
K. Balachander (Director)
32nd Filmfare Awards South Best Tamil Film V. Natarajan Won
Best Tamil Director K. Balachander Won
Best Tamil Actress Saritha Won


  1. "32nd National Film Festival – 1985" (in Hindi). Directorate of Film Festivals. p. 50. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Banerjee & Srivastava 1988, p. 12.
  3. Banerjee & Srivastava 1988, pp. 12–13.
  4. Dhananjayan 2011, p. 86.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Dhananjayan 2011, p. 87.
  6. Dhananjayan 2011, pp. 86–87.
  7. "Indian Cinema 1984" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. p. 5. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  8. 1 2 "K Balachander's finest films". 24 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  9. S. R. Ashok Kumar (10 February 2006). "At 100, going strong". The Hindu. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  10. Baradwaj Rangan (24 December 2014). "A ladies' man". The Hindu. Retrieved 1 January 2015.


External links

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