Muthal Mariyathai – Raja’s Finest

muthal mariyathai

Both Rajas, Bharathiraja and Illayaraja at their height of performance. One Raja setting the village scene for what seems like to be finest piece of storytelling effort while other Raja enriching the whole experience with the soul-searching flute. All this along with a wonderful cast that includes one of India’s all-time greatest actors, Sivaji Ganesan. I don’t know who steals the show and thats one reason why this film, watched nearly after a decade, blew me away. Despite shot with a shoe string budget which limits the story to a small village and a knee-deep pond, Muthal Mariyathai re-enforces storytelling capabilities and proves beyond doubt that storyline is a true hero.

A middle aged man falling in love with a girl who is younger than his daughter can’t be told more refined than this. The perfect setting of a village cast and an exotic romantic interlude of Ranjani form the rest of the film. Even when one would fail to notice the actual point in story when Malaichaami falls in love with Kuyilu, its Bharathiraja’s deft storytelling skills that makes you buy the middle aged man’s romance. Of course, the story gets a little twisted to still be politically correct that Malaichaami never shared bed with his original wife. I couldn’t overlook this defect yet I can understand the ‘thaaimaargal’ reason why Bharathiraja had to introduce this in the movie. I would have celebrated this as finest piece of cinema if only it was that way. But we know the limitations of film making in Tamil Nadu.

Bharathiraja paying a fine tribute to the university of acting, Sivaji, with the characterization Malaichaami gets him to under-play his role. One could not easily spot Sivaji’s best films for there are much more than what our memories can hold. Be it Uttama Puthiran or Bhaagapirivinai or Bale Paandiya or Kappalotiya Thamizhan, it tough to talk about Sivaji in less than 5 minutes. His role in Muthal Mariyaadhai is defintely a gem in the long list of best sivaji films. Raadha as Kuyilu and Vadivukarasi as Ponnatha share the accolades alongwith Sivaji. Without them in respective roles, I can’t imagine Muthal Mariyaadhai to be as perfect as now.

This is by far the one of best BGMs in Tamil film history. I ain’t exaggerating here. Just one shot, if you notice, you know why I’m so happy about Illayaraja’s BGM. The scene as the villagers start searching for Ranjani as she is killed by drowning in water. That flute just pierces you. Small pieces of BGM like these are all over the movie and I have to saw that this is Illayaraja’s finest. His second best is for Naadodi Thendral, again for Bharathiraja. If it is Muthal Mariyaadhai for Illayaraja it’s Swades for Rahman. These movies clearly show that the musician is excited about the project as there is always a special care in the BGM of every single shot. Malayasia Vasudevan and Illayaraja also kalaasifying the songs. Every song better than one another and it reaches the peak in andha nilaava thaan song where Illayaraja utters in husky voice, adi podi pulla, ellam duppu !!

Now that I’ve refreshed myself with Muthal Mariyathai, the next time when my mallu friends yap about mallu movies, I would hand them a recording of Muthal Mariyadhai and walk out. Rest understood.

33 responses to “Muthal Mariyathai – Raja’s Finest”

  1. Zero Avatar

    Now that I’ve refreshed myself with Muthal Mariyathai, the next time when my mallu friends yap about mallu movies, I would hand them a recording of Muthal Mariyadhai and walk out. Rest understood.
    Stylishly put! But, really can’t say how many of our movies are real yappy..
    As for the movie itself, my star of this movie is IR!! The movie has got fantastic songs too and are the foremost reasons why I really like Malaysia Vasudevan as a singer.


  2. Lazy Geek Avatar

    Zero, True. Malayasia’s voice was loud and clear. Just perfect.


  3. Chenthil Avatar

    Lyrics by Vairamuthu –
    Poongathu thirumbumaa
    Eam Pattai Virumbumaa

    I think this was the last movie that all IR, BR and Vairamuthu worked together. Vairamuthu for all his technique doesn’t fit well in ARR’s music as much as he did in IR’s music is my opinion.


  4. Somu Avatar

    To explain the significance of BGM in any movie, I remember one TV show, where they showed the same flute scene with and without the BGM… and Illayaraja’s flute made a sea of difference to the scene…

    And Sivaji after having been playing lot of playboy roles with sagging cheeks which never even fit his personality, this was sure a welcome break to watch…

    Vairamuthu’s poongaatru won him a national award…

    One of my fave Bharathiraja movie…


  5. Manoj Avatar

    A true Mallu movie-buff will only be amused at Bharathiraja’s directorial touches (ex.Shivaji flinching as Radha’s feet hit the ground on her return). And they’ll probably hand you a copy of say, something like ‘Thoovaana Thumbigal’. A classic Padmarajan movie that also had a ‘forbidden love’ premise. While Shivaji did a great job in MM, I personally think Mohanlal’s performace in this movie (TT) ranks among his best. A must for anyone who hasn’t seen much of Malayalam movies and more importantly, the work of one of India’s finest and maybe most under-rated talent – P.Padmarajan.

    As for music, yeah, Raja was definitely much ahead of his time. My only complaint being ‘Aye Kuruvi’ should’ve been a full-length song.


  6. Zero Avatar

    Yeah. Personally (as I said in my comment) I am not much a fan of the movie and wouldn’t rank it among the best of Tamil cinema itself. Coming to the main reason why I have added this comment-
    /**Raja was definitely much ahead of his time**/
    This term “much ahead of his time” is misleading (and condescending too). I say it is misleading coz it sounds as if by now, we already have many IRs (the rest of them being who reached “on time” :p) :). Hope you used it just as a phrase to mean that he was great!


  7. Nitin Avatar

    I haven’t seen this movie in years now, but this movie is always made fun off by all the comedy shows on tv,even vivek does a good impression of sivaji in the movie Parthiban Kanavu.


  8. Mani Avatar

    Satharana Oru Kallaiyae nadikka vachavru aache ( Comes in one vadivelu comedy ) Quiet true !!


  9. sreekrishnan Avatar

    true when we look back lot of such movies do make the tamil film industry proud …. but let e tell you there are certain under-rated mallu films that are too much

    for example
    Manichitrathazhu – the original chandramukhi (the best ever screenplay)
    Kireedom – tooo touching..mohan lal
    Kaliyattom- adapted from othello .. but mindblowing localization
    chitram,kilukkam and loads of such mohanlal-priyan combo ….

    even they have a lots to baost better we critisize the directors like perarasu who spoil the flow that barathiraja started !

    You could probably kalasify Kannada … i feel the music directors over there dont even match out Chennai Silks Rmkv and Pothys ad music!


  10. Raja rasigan Avatar
    Raja rasigan

    very tough to say that this was the best BGM by IR… if u listen to movies by fazil, manirathnam, rajkiran for which IR composed music, i am sure ur opinion wud change with each of the movies….


  11. nivas Avatar

    true…when i watched this movie in TV sometime back, i was quite taken by surprise at it’s quality – theme, subtle treatment and acting. I would rate it as Bharathiraja’s best movie after “Vedham Pudhidhu”.


  12. aNTi Avatar

    NADODI THENDRAL!!!!!!!!!!!

    Mano sang one his best ever – Aathi idhu vaathu kootam!


  13. Madhusudanan Ramadevan Avatar
    Madhusudanan Ramadevan

    LG, you know when i was reading your blog i was wondering where you would mention about ar rahman and there you go, you mentioned him in Swades.I think IR’s best was in Mouna Raagam, though i agree to MM whole heartedly.But rahman’s best was in Uyire.I apppreciate the way you appreciate other MDs works.You are a true music(Rahman) fan.Rahman fans always appreciate others works but i never came across a IR fan accolading others particularly Rahman’s.

    Especially the guys around in their 35s-40s are IR fans.Whenever they hear a IR song they ask “idhu maadhiri oru pattu rahmanaala kudukka mudiymaa da???”

    What do you think about these people??????


  14. Lazy Geek Avatar

    Manoj, Agreed it may not as subtle as the mohanlal movie you had mentioned. Ofcourse I’m giving you the benefit of doubt and I haven’t watched that movie, still, what you said could hold true. My whole point of thar remark was to say the mallu world that we also can make movies like Mthal Mariyathai and Mullum Malarum. And that stems rom the fact that there ‘were’ many good malayalam films those days.

    Zero, Come on…you should be counting this one of tamil cinema’s finest classics. why wouldn’t you ?


  15. Lazy Geek Avatar

    sree krishnan, i’m not sure if you are aware of kannada film industry. once it used to be the breeding place of creativists, not anymore and thats a pity.


  16. Lazy Geek Avatar

    raja rasigan, i didn’t say that this is the only th best raaja movie. clearly one of the finest. well, there are atleast a dozen of them.

    jacky, thanks for reminding me of that pointer. i read it sometime back but forgot the link.

    Anti, true about mano. more than that all songs were so damn melodious. think about sandana maarbiley and oru kanam oru yugamaaga…


  17. jaya Avatar

    “Bharathiraja’s deft storytelling”… totally agree.. one of the best when it came to mann vaasanai ponggum stories.. including Karuthamma was my fav… he is indeed a fantastic auteur.. when it came to thrillers too, he never failed to deliver – Sigappu Rojakkal a fine example.. but I was totally disappointed when after a long time he came back with the offering of Kangalal Kaidhu Sei. Except for the screeplay techniques, there was not much of a directorial touch of Raja at all…


  18. ram Avatar

    lazy, if u still have the cassette/dvd with u, go to the scene where sivaji comes out of his house (One of the early scenes in the movie) and looks up at the sky and listens to the birds chirping…andha moment-la bgm-a gavineenge…it perfectly illustrates the “freedom” of the shivaji character…check it out and lemme know…


  19. cogito Avatar

    Long time since I saw this movie. All I remember now is Raja’s music and vairamuthu’s lyrics. ” methaya vaanginen ..thookatha vaangala” …..


  20. nandha Avatar

    This is not to start a fight, but just a personal opinion.
    I dont think u will ever manage to shut a mallu up when it comes to their movies. For a mallu who grew up in the ’80s watching the “cant get more real than this even in real life” acting by a mammooty or a mohanlal or a nedumudi…, watching a tamil movie always comes as a bit of a cultural shock. Tamil movies always looked too “cinematic” or “artificial” to a mallu. Ofcouse there are exceptions like a kamalhassan.
    MM is definitely a good movie, no doubt.But the ranjini& her lover charachter was too bad in acting&…… and I dont wanna criticise barathiraja’s direction, ‘coz I know it will hurt people’s sentiments.
    I think the reason a mammooty or mohanlal never reached a cult status like rajani or kamal in the 80’s was ‘coz they played such common charachters that people identified them as their friend or their neighbor. But from the mid ’90s onward, mallu movies has gone to the dogs.Now they all look like cheap imitations of tamil movies.No wonder a tamil movie gets better opening in kerala now than a malayalam movie.
    In the present state of affairs, when both mallu& tamil movies r trying to play it to the galleries, tamil movies definitely look much better ‘coz they had all of the ’80s to practice making such movies, when mallus were trying to make movies to win all the awards.
    I sincerely hope mallu movies get their groove back. Meanwhile, I would anyday watch a vikram or a surya or for that matter a vijay’s dance& fight than a dileep/boban.


  21. ammani Avatar

    Funny, we were discussing Mudhal Mariyaadai just this morning in a completely different context!


  22. Ganesh Avatar

    As per your request, I have uploaded new audio blog check it out and let me know



  23. Sureshkumar Avatar

    haven’t seen this movie yet. but yes, illayaraja’s music was great. S.Janaki and Vairamuthu got National Award for the “Vettir veru vaasam” songs in this movie.


  24. bart Avatar

    I second Nivas in saying that “Vedam Pudhidhu” is my personal BR’s best..
    MM was great with the “story telling” being the hero. A titbit I remember about the movie. For that year, Radha, for her performance, was nominated for National Award. But Suhasini walked away with it for her Sindhu(Bhairavi) act. The reason quoted for Radha not getting the award was that she didn’t dub her voice 🙂
    IR was the lifeline for the famous “pa” varisai directors during that time – bharathiraja, balachander, bhagyaraj..


  25. CrazyGeek Avatar

    One more master piece of IR’s BGM – PooVizhi Vasaliley.. (Fazil Movie)


  26. Keerthivasan Avatar

    thot i’d read a “Happy Bday Dude !” post today 😦


  27. Nithya Avatar

    It was definitely BR’s best effort, and I’d also call it Sivaji’s best… coz he was never so subtle in any role b4… he dint have pages to dialogue to mouth, instead his body language spoke volumes… My favorite in the movie is Ponnatha though… One of the finest performances by a tamil actress…

    I wudnt call it IR’s best though… Was watching Idhayathai thirudadhe only yday and what darn good BGMs!!!! And what abt films like Johnny which had fantastic bgms… maybe MM was IR’s best in the village setting movies..:D

    Apart from the omnipresent flute, I jus love the BGMs when he lifts that stone, when they throw his towel into the water and catch fish, and when he eats that meen kozhambu in her house… immortal stuff from IR… the songs jus rock, right from “hey kiliyirukkudhu maramirukkudhu” to vetti ver vasam..

    and well, talking bt Nadodi thendral, how cud u not mention Maniye manikkuyile, which has one of IR’s best interludes and is Mano’s best number till date..:)


  28. Bhaskar Avatar

    Hi Lazygeek, MM is one of my all time favourites and your post made me to rent the tape and watch all over again. Inspite of my 18 month old daughter creating her own BGM throughout the movie, I was able to appreciate IR’s classic touch to every scene. The one I love the most is for the stone lifting scenes. from intial disappointing try to the final success, the score by IR is so elevating it enthrals you like no other !.


  29. aNTi Avatar

    Nithya/LG: Thanks for reminding me of all those songs. Sometimes you hear songs and they gradually recede to the back of your mind and once someone mentions them, you can’t go without those songs playing in your mind all day! Nadodi Thendral is one such soundtrack, though I love Aathi idhu vaathu kootam enough to hum it regularly…


  30. sreekrishnan Avatar

    Ya true .. i understand kannada was once good .. not now .. i know that from the fact that our mani had also started off in his earlydays with kannada…
    and abt the BGM’s how can one forget “sattena vazhindhadhu nenjam .. sarkarai aanadhu kanner ” from Kannathil… Im sure that particular situation when madhavan asks simran .. “enna kalyanam pannikariya” and the song flows in …. truely mindblowing..heard that rahman handpicked one of vairamuthus poem (like evano oruvan vaasikiraan..alaipayuthey)”..and made it up for BGM!!
    True …IR fans never appreciate music from others !


  31. fawz silvester Avatar
    fawz silvester

    its very good and i hope that you will send me some songs.


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