Aval Appadithan is acknowledged as one of the finest films made in Tamil, which broke the grammar of film making followed then. Though it did not achieve big commercial success. It was noted for it’s very stylistic film making and cutting-edge dialogues, a large portion of them in English. This was the first film made by the students of Film Institute, Chennai, paving the way for students of cinema to be part of film industry and make a mark.
Aval Appadithan was given the Second Best Film of the Year award; Nallusamy and Gnanasekharan got the Best Cinematographers of the Year award from the Tamil Nadu Government for 1978-79 for this film and Sripriya received the Best Actress (Special Award) Award for the year.
Ananda Vikatan in it’s review (19/11/1978), critically mentioned the gaps in the film, especially too many dialogues in English, the excessive focus on “naturalism” and lower standard of technical (especially cinematography) work. However, it still appreciated the film and mentioned, “None of the actors have acted in the film. Everyone has immersed in the character they played, leading to one really acting before the camera but just living the characters. The director demonstrated his intention to stand out from others and his keeness to tell something different.”
Kamal Haasan in a workshop described the film as “Unconventional way of film making”. The confidence and command of the film maker comes out strongly in this film. Renowned film critic, Mrinal Sen remarked, “The film was far ahead of it’s times.”
Made by students of Tamil Nadu Film Institute, this landmark film, acknowledged by critics and film makers for finest film making techniques, is complete in every respect: direction, performances, screenplay, music, editing, cinematography and other departments. The film was ahead of it’s times and hence could not achieve the desired commercial success. However, it is one of that Tamil Cinema can be proud of.
Aval Appadithan used the maximum possible number of close up shots, which was novelty and a challenging job. It was shot with approximately 8230 meters of negative and the team incurred just Rs. 20000 for the outdoor shooting equipments.
Kamal Haasan as a film maker of documentary in the film, interviews women in a scene. It was a real scene; they were shooting without any rehearsals by meeting women in buses and at colleges at the spot. These scenes were shot in live-recording method, which was widely appreciated.
Aval Appadithan, used sharp contrasts of black and white lend an almost surreal atmosphere to the movie. The dialogues were sharp, almost considered vulgar by many. A lot of English was also used in the film.
C. Rudraiah did not work with any director as an assistant. In the same way, cinematographers Nallusamy and M. N. Gnanasekharan also had not worked with anyone earlier, this was their first film.
Aval Appadithan was completely shot without make up and in outdoor locations. It was awarded A certificate by the Censor Board. Since the subject was bold, there were no takers for it. After being shown to several distributors and exhibitors, Safire theatre group finally came forward to screen the film. It was one print one theatre release film in the beginning.
The film did not initially receive a big response from the public. However, after film makers Bharathirajaa and Mrinal Sen saw it and their positive comments about in magazines, college students started watching the film; then the common public came and started appreciating it. Slowly the film picked up and achieved success.
Music by Ilaiyaraaja. He was already very soon the highest paid music director of that time, but since this film was produced by the students of Film Institute, he was very considerate and charged less. The music was a hit. Rajini too coming from Film Institute, acted freely for the students despite his busy schedule.
[10/30, 7:22 AM] Blr. amarmath Rk Fan: 38YearsOfThappuThalangal
Rajini’s emotion in the climax left the viewers spell bound
Thappu Thalangal was directed by K. Balachander and produced by KB close associates banner Premalaya which released in 2 languages Tamil and Kannada. The Kannada version Thappida Thala released before the release of Tamil Version on Oct 6th & and Thappu Thalangal was released for 1978 Deepavali (30.10.1978). Two more Rajini films were released together with Thappu Thalangal and they are Thaai Meethu Sathyam and Aval Appadithan
Following movies were released on the same day :
Pilot Premnath – Sivaji Ganesan – A.C. Thrilokchandar
Sigappu Rojakkal (28/10/78) – Kamal Hassan – Bharathiraja
Manitharil Ithanai Nirangala – Kamal Hassan – R.C. Shakthi
Kanna Moochi – Sivakumar – R. Pattabiraman
Vandikaran Magan – Jaishankar – Amirtham
Athistakaran – Nagesh – Venu
Thanga Rangan – Thengai Srinivasan – Dakshnamoorthy
At Chennai, Thappu Thalangal was released at Pilot, Broadway, Krishnaveni and Uma as a regular shows at all theaters.
This was a black and white film which was produced in very low budget. Inspite of big films like Pilot Premnath, Sigappu Rojakkal, Thai Meethu Sathyam, Vandikaran Magan, etc Thappu Thalangal did a decent business and commercially became a hit.
During those days, this film opened with reservation in all the city theaters and it is not easy to pull the audience to the theaters for one film but Rajini created waves and proved that he can pull the audiences to all his 3 films at a time.
In Thappu Thalangal, the major plus point was KB dialogue and daring attempt in the film industry after Arangetram.
Rajini with a big mustache was a big attraction at the Pilot theatre (where Suriya dances in Vaarnam Aayiram first soon) stills board. Kamal only plays a minuscule guest role but he had a good coverage in the stills. People were trying to assume the story of the movie looking at the stills, with some people saying, Kamal is the hero, he and Sarita are happy going couple and Rajini disturbs their life and he is the villain etc. Ultimately every one got it wrong, Rajini was the hero of the film.
This film received well critically, with people appreciating the acting of Rajini. “Ennada Polladha Vazhkai” song was a rage that time, with radio playing the song very frequently. Rajini’s acting in the climax scene was a revelation and Tamil cinema had not seen such type of emotions from any actor for an action packed emotional climax. Rajini would have just killed the villan (Sundar – Kannada Actor), and will be returning with a satisfying and yet regretful emotion, only to meet his sister who will tell him that, she is now happy and she has just married to the villain with out realizing that Rajini has killed him. That emotions which he displays in the climax left the viewers spell bound. Rajini will display mix of loud laughter, cries, anger, anguish, disgust, disappointment, all in one shot in that scene. Rajini character “Devu” became famous those days!
According to the box office performances, Thappu Thalangal ran more than 75 days in all the major cities and distributors share was very profitable and motivated them to buy forthcoming Rajini movies.
One of the leading producer Panchu Arunachalam explained about the black and white low budget movie releases. During 60’s & 70’s, it will not cost more than 6 to 7 lakhs to produce a film for upcoming actors. If they release the film with 25 prints, definitely they will earn around 25 to 30 lakhs for a good film and this will be considered as a great business those days. This is the scenario for our Thappu Thalangal.
Number of days Thappu Thalangal managed to run in the city areas as follows:
Madurai – Sivam – 89 Days in 3 shows (highest run)
Coimbatore Arul 75 Days 3 shows
Salem Theater name unknown – 75 Days in 3 shows
Chennai – Pilot – 74 Days in 3 shows
Chennai – Broadway – 75 Days in 3 shows
Chennai – Krishnaveni 68 Days in 3 shows
Chennai – Uma 68 Days in 3 shows
Trichy Theater Name Unknown – 61 Days 3 shows Vellore Raja 40 Days in 3 shows
[10/30, 7:48 AM] Blr. amarmath Rk Fan: 38YearsOfThaiMeethuSathyam
Thai Meethu Sathyam was released on 1978 Deepvalai (30/10/1978)
At Chennai, Thai Meethu Sathyam was released at Welington, Abirami and Pandiyan as a regular shows at all theaters.
This was a typical cowboy style movie and Rajini got to increase his fan base through this movie. This film was produced by Devar Films (MMA Chinnappa Devar) and it was considered as a big budget movie during that time. Earlier, Devar refused to finance Rajini movies! Then, how come he produced this film?
Bhairavi was produced Kalaignanam. Initially, Devar agreed to give financial support for this film but when he heard that Rajini is the hero of the movie, he withdraw the support and advised Kalaignanam to stop the movie or change the hero. Devar informed that Rajini is only fit for villain and not for hero. How dare you chose a existing villain as a hero and hero as villain ( Srikanth was acting hero those days) and he assured to Kalaignanam that it will be a big loss. With all these burden, Kalaignanam decided to produce this movie with Rajini as a hero.
When the film was released, Devar saw Bhairavi in Rajakumari Theater. He was quite shocked to see the response for Rajini and during the interval itself the film was declared as hit. Devar withdrew all the words and asked Kalaignanam to sign Rajini for their banner. Followed by that, Kalaignanam came along with Rajini to see Devar and he appreciated Rajini’s performance immediately. Devar signed Rajini for 2 films consecutively and they are Thai Meethu Sathyam and Annai Oru Alayam. He gave 1.50 lakhs as fee for both movies.
The above experience was shared by Kalaignanam in RAJ TV on the eve of Rajini’s 2005 birthday.
According to Box Office, Thai Meethu Sathyam was a Clear Winner and easily ran 100 days in Tamil Nadu
Chennai – Wellington 102 Days (3 shows)
Chennai – Abirami 75 Days (3 shows)
Chennai – Pandiyan 75 Days (3 shows)
Salem Alankar 100 Days (3 shows)