Home >> Movies >> Nayakan

Nayakan Movie Details

Name: Nayakan
Censor Type: UA
Running Time: 145 min
Genre: Biography
Release Date: October 21, 1987
Director: Mani Ratnam
Stars: Kamal HaasanSaranya PonvannanNassar
Music Director: Ilaiyaraja
Producer: G. Venkateswaran

Reviews: 0 user
Check In

Nayakan Stills

Other Nayakan Stills

Recently Released Tamil Movies

Swasame 12-Jul-2019
Aruvam 05-Jul-2019
Thumbaa 05-Jul-2019
Kaalidas 05-Jul-2019
Tamilarasan 05-Jul-2019

Upcoming Tamil Movies

Mapillai Vinayagar 18-Jul-2019
Soorarai Pottru 23-Jul-2019
Mannil Indha Kadhal 09-Aug-2019
Nerkonda Paarvai 10-Aug-2019
Raju Maharaja 13-Aug-2019

Popular TV Shows

Sun TV
Parichay - Nayee Zindagi Kay Sapno Ka
Vijay TV


Credited cast:
Kamal Haasan Kamal Haasan ...
Velu Nayakar
Saranya Ponvannan Saranya Ponvannan ...
Karthika Karthika ...
Nassar Nassar ...
assistant commissioner / Charu's husband
Janagaraj Janagaraj ...
Delhi Ganesh Delhi Ganesh ...
Nizhalgal Ravi Nizhalgal Ravi ...
Tara Tara ...
Shyla in extended cameo
Vijayan Vijayan ...
Kuyili Kuyili ...
cameo appearance in Nila Adhu Vanathumele


Nayakan (English: The Hero), also known as Nayagan, is a 1987 Indian Tamil crime film, written and directed by Mani Ratnam and starring Kamal Haasan. It is based on the real-life Bombay underworld don Varada aka Varadarajan Mudaliar, and sympathetically depicts the struggle of South Indians living in Bombay. The film also stars Saranya Ponvannan in her silver screen debut, Karthika, Nassar, Janagaraj, Delhi Ganesh and Tinnu Anand. The soundtrack of the film was composed by Ilaiyaraaja and met with a successful response after release.

The film was released on 21 October 1987 on Diwali day and received critical acclaim worldwide. Kamal Haasan's performance as Velu Naicker earned him a National Film Award for Best Actor. The film also earned the National Award for Best Cinematography (P. C. Sriram) and Best Art Direction (Thotta Tharani). The film was sent by India for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 60th Academy Awards. 

In 2005, the Time Magazine included Nayagan in its list of "All-Time 100 Best Films".  This has also been included in The Moving Arts Film Journal greatest films of all time.  Nayagan was also included as one of 20 greatest Indian films of all time. This list emerged from the 'T20 of Indian Cinema' poll in which 20 experts from around the country - 10 young filmmakers and 10 seasoned critics and scholars participated.  IBN Live included the film in its list of 100 greatest Indian films of all time.

The film was dubbed in Telugu under the title Nayakudu. It was also remade in Hindi as Dayavan in 1988. A Hindi dub of the film was released in 1999 as Velu Nayakan.

Sakthivelu "Velu" Nayakar is born to an anti-government union leader. The child, Velu, is tricked by the police into locating his father, and then witnesses his father's death in a police shootout. After doing the final death rites of his father, he kills the person who was the cause for his father's death and escapes to Bombay.

Stranded and homeless in the big city, he is rescued by a kind-hearted Muslim fisherman who takes him into his home in the suburban slums of Dharavi. His foster-father is also a small-time smuggler known for his generosity in the slum. Upon his running afoul of a senior crime lord, the corrupt local police officer named Kelkar, arrests the fisherman on smuggling charges and subsequently murders him. Velu Nayakar, now a young man (Kamal Haasan) who has come into his own, goes in search of the officer and bludgeons him to death for as revenge. As an act of remorse over his guilt, he decides to adopt Kelkar's mentally-challenged son and raise him as his own.

With this act, he is seen as a saviour and a man to be feared amongst the slum residents. As their godfather and protector, he flourishes by resuming his late foster-father's local smuggling activities. He marries a destitute school-girl-turned-prostitute Neela (Saranya Ponvannan) and has two children. Conflicts and power struggles occur in the smuggling world, in which Neela becomes a casualty. Velu's children are sent away to Chennai as a result and return years later to their father's home, as young adults.

Surya (Nizhalgal Ravi), Velu's son, is eager to join his father in his activities, despite his father's reluctance. For his first real test, he is required to eliminate a potential witness against his father; he does this by hiring outside thugs. They succeed in eliminating the witness, but their failure to cover their tracks leads police to him at a petrol bunk and an accident costs him his life. Velu is heartbroken. Velu's daughter (Karthika) is at odds with her father over his form of justice and killings, but Velu refuses to end his activities. As a last straw, she leaves her father and detaches her relationship.

A newly appointed assistant police commissioner (Nassar) starts afresh to bring Velu Nayakar to justice over his alleged activities and manages to secure an arrest warrant. This commissioner is, unbeknownst to both, Velu's son-in-law. After continued pursuit resulting in the thrashings by police and self-immolation of slum dwellers, Velu surrenders to the police to spare the lives of the residents of his slum. He is tried in court but is released due to the lack of adequate evidence. A supportive and emotional crowd gathers at the courthouse, awaiting his release. Velu is greeted by an excited crowd but their joy turns to sorrow when he is shot dead by his mentally-challenged adopted son, who eventually learned the truth behind his biological father's murder.

The original producer Muktha V. Srinivasan had narrated the story to Sivaji Ganesan who agreed to act in the film. Amala was roped in as heroine and paid advance and her dates confirmed. However Ananthu, then an associate of Kamal Haasan, felt that it would be a Sivaji-focused film and not a Kamal Haasan movie. The project was dropped. Kamal later told Srinivasan about a young upcoming director Mani Ratnam. Mani initially planned to complete the shooting in 60 days and 70 rolls of film. The salary for Kamal Haasan was INR17.5 lakh and the initial budget for the film was INR60 lakh. But soon, time and cost over-run had nearly doubled the budget.

Nevertheless, shooting commenced in November 1986 and the first schedule lasted 10 days. All the scenes that were shot were scrapped and the screenplay had to be rewritten. Shooting was postponed. A new heroine character (the wife of Velu Nayakan) was created and Saranya was introduced. Using photographs of the Dharavi slum, art director Thota Tharani created a set at Venus Studios in Chennai, which turned out three times more expensive than planned.Thousands of junior artists were hired to create that atmosphere. The remaining portion was shot at Bombay.

After the completion of shooting, a press meet was convened where it was revealed that the movie was based on a don Varadaraja Mudaliar’s life. So, the censor board at Chennai initially refused to permit the release of the movie, since it was based on a living person. When the film was completed and the first print was ready, it ran for 3 hours. G. Venkateswaran bought negative rights of the film after Mukhtha Srinivasan sold all the areas to distributors.   




Official Site:





Release Date:


Box Office


Rs. 1 Crore (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

G. Venkateswaran

Technical Specs


Nayakan Movie News

People who liked this also liked...

User Reviews

About Tamil Star, Tamil movies, Tamil Actors, Tamil Actresses, Tamil Cinema & Kollywood
© Copyright Tamil Star Inc, 1999-2019. All rights reserved. Entertainment and Information Portal, TamilStar.com  Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions