Balachander’s Nizhal Nijamakirathu

[click to enlarge]

Watching K Balachander’s Nizhal Nijamakirathu, few things cleared up. One – this is one of those movies that truly exploited Kamal’s bharathanatyam talent. Two – We probably miss natural talents like Hanumanthu and Mouli in Kollywood, these days. Three – Other than the dancing part, Kamal smokes in every damn scene.

Offlate, I’ve been watching KB movies in a row. It all started with Jaathi Malli. I have questions on why Balachander directed the movie in the first place.. The movie sucked in very other aspect except for the interesting MadanBob /Dhamu sequences and Maragadamani’s music. Then it was Kamal’s Manmadaleelai, which was a mediocre effort by KB and Kamal, keeping in mind the classy films they were delivering at that time.

The storyline seems cliched now but in yesteryears it must have been a decently interesting one. More than the rape you-marry you story, it was the cast ensemble that elevated the pleasure of watching this flick. It had Kamal as a smoking communist with intelligent dialogues just like Sujatha‘s protagonist. Sarathbabu playing as usual, the sucker friend. Sumitra as the feminist and the classy Shoba playing her debut as a rich-dreams-poor-girl. These four characters alongwith Hanumanthu, Mouli and Oru veral Krishnarao make the entire movie cast. Its truly KB’s talent to blend these characters in a fashion that makes the movie interesting.

Hanumanthu is a gem of an actor. Natural talent. Not a single shot he seemed to ‘act’. The expression, body language and dialogue delivery was just perfect. I’ve seen him in other Mouli ‘s films but this was probably his finest performance. I’ve heard people talk about him but I’m not sure he was regarded as a classy actor in his time.

Though the entire film looks just like a stage drama, it was fun to watch Kamal play a semi-baddy. Kamal’s characterisation reminded me of Prashant ‘reverse-talking’ role in Agathiyan’s Kaathal Kavithai. If you could grab you hands on the video, you are certainly not wasting your time.

15 responses to “Balachander’s Nizhal Nijamakirathu”

  1. Zero Avatar

    saw the pic in your seattle photoblog and thought you had rented “Nizhal Nijamaagirathu”..
    and here’s a review on it.


  2. Aravind Avatar

    Saw this film a few years back and I still remember it for the song “Kamban emanthan” which is a highlight of the film.


  3. veda Avatar

    have seen that movie many times.the most interesting parts of the movie are when kamal and sumitra argue on each and every other thing.the most irritating thing was kamal smoking in almost all the scenes.”kamban emanthan” is a very good song


  4. F e r r a r i Avatar


    I suggest KB movies are to be watched in reverse chronological order. For instance when I saw Kalki, I thought no movie can be worser. Then he made paarthale paravasam, worser than Kalki 🙂
    Till Sindhu Bhairavi KB movies are so damn interesting with some difference.

    Post Sindhu Bhairavi KB is like Sourav Ganguly. Surviving on Past glory 😉


  5. Ramadoss Magesh Avatar

    Nizhal Nijamakirathu is one of those handful of B/W films I have watched on large screens in Theater. I also accidentaly came across(it was telecast in the regional language sunday mathyanam padam in 90’s)the telugu(or kannad version i dont remember exactly) version where Rajnikanth plays Kamals role, and that was one of Rajni’s brilliant performances. It was a charcater which had the shades of his character from the movie Aval Apadi than..its a pleasure watching Rajnis performance in that version.

    Both songs in the film are brilliant ones. I once met Hanumanthu in westmambalam in a very impoversihed locality residing in a mansion sort of housing. It was one of his memorable performances. I personally like the kamal charcater in the film very much.


  6. DNA Avatar

    While on a KB spree, try watching “Punnagai” with Gemini Ganesan. Slightly melodramatic and 100% pathos, but neverthless a great movie celebrating “Gandhian idealism”. Again, not for a weekend watch!


  7. Paravasam Avatar

    Loss of KB’s touch in his recent movies may have something to do with the passing away of Ananthu… IMO. Also, some of my KB favorites are Vaaname Ellai, Unnal Mudiyum Thambi and Varumayin Niram Sivappu.


  8. VK Avatar

    enga irutnhu brother intha padangalai parkarail??


  9. ram Avatar

    DNA, i had the chance to meet KB earlier this year (i am a good friend of Vasanth, his erstwhile assistant, who introduced me to KB)…I asked him to choose ONE film among his 100-odd works to be his personal favorite and he replied, “I have worked in several genres…but if I were to choose one, it would be PUNNAGAI.”

    Anyways, Lazy, Nizhal Nijamaagiradhu is part of my Kamal collection…I love the movie…Kamal’s dialogues sizzle with sharpness and wit…I like the scene outside the temple where he apologizes to Sumithra and says, “Ullukkulla Irukkara Vihaaram Thaan Viswaroopam Eduthuchu-nu Nenakkaren.”

    Shoba was fantastic as the “veguli” maid servant…and yeah, “Kamban Yaemaandhan” epdi marakka mudiyum…
    romba solliteenge ille…indha weekend oru looku vidren!!


  10. DNA Avatar

    Ram, I remember KB saying that even in one of his interviews. The stand out performance of Gemini is remarkable. I miss Raj TV Movie channel and those semester “study” holidays!


  11. thennavan Avatar

    (Maththa commentsukku solren idhai) Kamban emaandaanai solreengale (not that it is not my favorite; in fact I have seen this movie several times as I have seen those of every other director worth his salt like Sridhar for example), innum oru nalla paattai vittutteengale:

    Ilakkanam maarudho
    Ilakkiyam aanadho
    Idhu varai nadiththadhu
    Adhu enna vedam
    Idhu enna paadam, and the best lines within that are
    Deivangal ellaam unakkaaga paadum
    Paadaamal ponaal edhu deivamaagum
    Marupadi pirandhidum unakkoru paadhai
    Uraippadhu geethai.

    Far-out lyrics 🙂


  12. Paddy Avatar

    Wat ever we say..KB has a style!KB and Ananthu combi…created the magic!I really loved the movie “Edhirneechal”!


  13. mutRupuLLi Avatar

    Sumitra’s role was one of the earliest feminists in Tamil cinema (i guess u can call Vijayanthimala in AVM’s PENN as one early day version of feminist). A pity, that Tamil cinema has not had more of such characters.

    Good watch and has been said already two ultimate songs…. in Kamban Emandhan and Illakannam Marudho. Kannadasan/MSV combo at their best.


  14. J. Rajni Ramki Avatar

    Telugu version of the film is “Vayasu bilisindi” in which someone did the direction part and K.B did the screen plan, the movie packed lot of awards in telugu cinema. More to say abou the Performance by Super Star who did the role of Kamalhaasaan, is really treat to watch. To me, it’s a “must see” movie of Rajni and it’s the only non-commercial telugu film did by Rajni.


Create a website or blog at