Mappillai(1989) – All is changed BUT Rajini!

This week saw the release of one reasonable movie in Bollywood and Kollywood put together (I AM ignoring Akshay Kumar’s Thank You) – Mappillai; the remake of the 1989 Rajinikanth movie with his “Mappillai”(son-in-law) Dhanush in the leading role.  I haven’t gotten a chance to catch the new movie yet. Since it is going to be a while before I get to do that(if I ever), I decided I should watch the original Rajini movie.

Cast: Rajinikanth, Srividya, Amala, and more
Director: Rajasekar

Mappillai is the story of war between a mamiyar(mother-in-law) and mappillai. Rajarajeshwari(MIL) is mad that her daughter married a poor guy Arumugam(SIL) against her wishes. She cunningly brings him home so that she can plot and separate the newly weds. Little does she know that the SIL is none but Rajinikanth who not only defeats her, but does that in super-style and changes her from an arrogant, cruel, lady to an “adarniya Bharatiya nari”. Each time MIL plots something more and more malevolent against SIL, he hits back flamboyantly!

Set in the days when Indian cinema was dominated by stories and plots of family wars, domestic violence, and rich girl-poor boy love stories, this movie would surely have stuck a chord with the audience. At least then! There is always a drawback of watching a movie 20 years post its release. The scenarios have changed, thinking has evolved, then’s “in-thing” is out, technology has improved and so on. (Just so that I do not get killed by an ardent Rajini fan!) I found myself laughing out loud at certain scenes and thankful that Indian Cinema is not so naive anymore. It goes without saying that this movie belongs totally and totally to Rajini-ism. From fighting the bad guys, saving his family from a drowning car, catching a baby as if its the World-cup finals, saving his MIL from bad guys, and doing all this in less than 10 minutes in the climax its RajiniMAX!

Things that absolutely had me in splits:

  • Check out Rajini’s intro scene. He breaks into a mandapam on his bike, breaking a glass window. And there are some women standing and watching him and one of them is actually beaming widely!  That I am sure is not what she was supposed to be doing there! (Also notice Amala wearing her shoes on the kalyana medai! Objections!)
  • How long has it been since a girl jumped down a bridge into the river ‘cos the hero asked her to? And lo, he also instantly falls in love with her! (Ok, this one is probably still happening out there! Yet, I laughed.)
  • Absolutely loved the Chiranjeevi scene. Wonder if its the Junior Chiru in the new version!
  • Just the word “Manjal-Kumkumam” was enough to stop a cruel heart for an instant!

With a slight hesitation, I say that the movie did entertain me!

And has made me curious about the latest version! I am waiting to see it – to know what changed!

Watch out for a special review on the new version soon!



  1. Saw the new version but nothing to compare the old one. Its no way near to it. Wasted my time more than the money watching Mappilai Version 2

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