Minnale (transl.Lightning) is a 2001 Indian Tamil-language romance film directed by Gautham Vasudev Menon. The story was written by Menon and Vipul D. Shah, starring Madhavan, Abbas, Reema (in her Tamil film debut), Vivek and Nagesh. The film tells the story of a love-struck man, stealing the identity of his former college foe, to pursue his lady love and the eventual repercussions he has to face, when his cover is blown before he could come clean.

Minnale poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGautham Vasudev Menon
Written byGautham Vasudev Menon
Vipul D. Shah
Produced bySunanda Murali Manohar
CinematographyR. D. Rajasekhar
Edited bySuresh Urs
Music byHarris Jayaraj
Cee (I) TV Entertainment
Release date
  • 3 February 2001 (2001-02-03)
Running time
171 minutes

The film's original soundtrack composed by debutant music composer Harris Jayaraj, became popular prior to the film's release. The cinematography of the film was handled by R. D. Rajasekhar and it was edited by Suresh Urs. The film was released on February 3, 2001 to positive reviews from critics and enjoyed commercial success at the box office.[1] Menon remade the film the same year in Hindi as Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein, with Madhavan reprising his role.


Rajesh Shivakumar and Sam are students at an engineering college in Ooty. Sam is a top-performing student who is popular with the students and faculty, while Rajesh, an underperforming student, is notorious for his rebellious, violent and misogynistic attitude. This contrast in personalities puts the two students at loggerheads throughout their college days, with both of them engaging in constant fights and pranks with each other. Upon graduating, Sam and Rajesh decide to never see each other ever again. Sam goes to the United States as he has secured a job while Rajesh decides to stay in India.

Two years later, Rajesh is a software engineering instructor in Chennai and roams around in his free time with his close friend Chockalingam "Chokku". He stays with his grandfather Subbuni, a librarian from the Aminjikarai neighbourhood of Chennai. Rajesh's affection for his grandfather is such that he even refuses to accept an on-site opportunity in Singapore so that he can be with him. While on a trip to Bangalore, he comes across a young woman dancing with children in the rain and gets immediately smitten by her when he sees her face lit by the flash of a lightning bolt. He comes across this woman again during a friend's wedding and soon learns that the woman's name is Reena Joseph and she works as a chartered accountant at Ford, Bangalore. Some days later, Rajesh, who is back in Chennai, notices Reena again, this time exiting a Ford office cab. He and Chokku pursue Reena, but lose track of her in a mall.

Rajesh and Chokku meet Reena's best friend Vasuki at a market, and enquire about Reena. Vasuki informs them that Reena has been transferred to Chennai, however, when she realises that Rajesh is in love with Reena, she angrily mentions that Reena has already been engaged to an Indian American software engineer from Seattle named Rajiv Samuel, who happens to be her childhood friend, hence it would be futile to pursue her. Rajesh is upset at this development; however, on learning that Reena has never seen Rajiv since her childhood, and on the goading and encouragement of Subbuni and Chokku, decides to pursue Reena. He comes to her house impersonating Rajiv. Reena is smitten by Rajesh and within a few days, she reciprocates Rajesh's love. Rajesh decides to reveal his true identity to her, but before he can, the real Rajiv arrives in Chennai. When Reena realises that the "Rajiv" she loves is an impostor, she breaks up with him and warns him never to come near her again.

Rajesh, Chokku and their friends decide to meet Rajiv to somehow convince him to break his engagement with Reena. To Rajesh's shock, he finds out that Rajiv is Sam. Enraged at the fact that Rajesh cheated Reena, Sam refuses to break up their engagement. Rajesh also tries to seek Reena's forgiveness, to no avail, and stalks her while she is on a date with Sam at a restaurant. Sam notices this and both he and Rajesh engage in a brawl which is stopped by Reena, who again warns Rajesh never to come near her. Rajiv also threatens to kill Rajesh if he sees him at the same place as Reena ever again. Enraged, Rajesh, Chokku and their friends decide to beat up Sam in a parking lot, but Rajesh backs out at the last minute, accepting the bitter truth that Sam and Reena are going to get married as well as realizing what he did all this while was wrong.

Rajesh decides to accept the on-site opportunity in Singapore which he had earlier rejected, to forget Reena. Meanwhile, Reena realises that she has fallen in love with Rajesh, due to the five days they spent together by his pretending to be Rajiv. On the wedding day, Sam realises the love Reena has for Rajesh. He immediately cancels the wedding and takes Reena to the airport, where Rajesh is about to board a flight to Singapore. Sam tells with a very heavy heart to Rajesh that although they will always be enemies, he cannot marry a girl who does not love him. He tells him to take good care of Reena and he leaves by telling that they both should never ever ever meet again in life.



Gautham Vasudev Menon launched a Tamil romantic film titled, O Lala in 2000 with the project eventually changing producers and title into Minnale with Madhavan, who was at the beginning of his career, being signed on to portray the lead role.[2] About the making of the film, Menon revealed that he found it difficult as the team was new to the industry with only the editor of the film, Suresh Urs, being a prominent technician in the industry.[3] Menon had come under further pressure when Madhavan had insisted that Menon narrated the story to his mentor, Mani Ratnam, to identify if the film was a positive career move after the success of his Alaipayuthey. Despite initial reservations, Menon did so and Ratnam was unimpressed; however Menon has cited that he thought that Madhavan "felt sorry" and later agreed to continue with the project.[3]

Miss World 1999, Yukta Mookhey was considered to play the film's heroine during July 2000, as was Isha Koppikar, but eventually they were left out and Reema Sen, who appeared in her first Tamil film, was cast.[4][5] Minnale also saw Madhavan collaborating with Abbas for second time after Kannada film Shanti Shanti Shanti. Post-release, Abbas felt that his scenes had been cut from the film and accused Madhavan of playing a role in editing his sequences out from the film.[6]


The film was advertised as a Valentine's Day release in 2001 in Tamil Nadu, but was released on February 2, 2001, and upon release it went on to become a large success commercially. Madhavan became extremely popular among the youth after the release of Alaipayuthey, but had a setback as his next film flopped. Minnale made him once again popular among the youth. Savitha Padmanabhan of The Hindu claimed that the film had a "lot of verve and vigour" and that it was "sure to go down well" with the "yuppie, college-going youngsters".[7] A reviewer, Shilpa Kannan from Zee TV, also gave the film a positive review, writing "the entire movie is given an advertisement like treatment by the director. It is glossy, stylish, youthful and trendy".[8][9] The movie was dubbed into Telugu under the name Cheli and also performed well at the box office, owing to Madhavan's popularity in Andhra Pradesh.[10][11]

The success of the film led to producer Vashu Bhagnani signing Menon on to direct the Hindi language remake of the film, Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein, which featured Madhavan reprising his role. The Hindi version gained mixed reviews and subsequently went on to become an above average grosser at the box office.[12] However, the film belatedly gained popularity through screenings on television and subsequently developed a cult following amongst young audiences and the actors released a video thanking the film's admirers for their adulation on the fifteenth anniversary of the film's release.[13][14]


The music and background score of the movie were composed by Harris Jayaraj. The audio cassette of the film was released in Chennai at a function in January 2001, where the songs were also screened.[15] Upon release, the soundtrack received critical acclaim and was a major contributor to the film's commercial success.[16] Harris Jayaraj won his first Filmfare Best Music Director award in Tamil breaking A. R. Rahman's successive win for 9 years. The song "Vaseegara" is set in Natabhairavi raga[17] marked the debut of poet Thamarai as a film song lyricist.

All songs except Ivan Yaaro and Iru Vizhi Unadhu (Ore Nyabagam) were reused in the film's Hindi version Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein by Harris himself.


The songs "Azhagiya Theeye" and "Vaseegara" inspired films of the same names.[18][19]


  1. ^ "More for Maddy's crowd". The Hindu. 27 October 2001. Retrieved 18 September 2017.[dead link]
  2. ^ Kumar, Ashok (2009). "My First Break". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  3. ^ a b Rangan, Baradwaj (2011). "Shooting from the Lip". Baradwaj Rangan. Archived from the original on 12 August 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". cinematoday2.itgo.com. Archived from the original on 16 August 2003. Retrieved 12 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 May 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 April 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Padmanabhan, Savitha (9 February 2001). "Film Review: Minnale". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 13 November 2002. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". cinema.zeenext.com. Archived from the original on 8 April 2001. Retrieved 12 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Kalki review
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 June 2021. Retrieved 14 February 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Archived copy". go4i.com. Archived from the original on 2 August 2001. Retrieved 12 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ Adarsh, Taran (2001). "Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein". Bollywood Hungama. Archived from the original on 22 September 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  13. ^ "Bollywood's Cult Classics". PINKVILLA. Archived from the original on 3 February 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  14. ^ "Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein turns 15: Watch Madhavan deliver THE dialogue from the film". India Today. 19 October 2016. Archived from the original on 10 September 2017. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". chennaionline.com. Archived from the original on 4 February 2001. Retrieved 12 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "My First break". The Hindu. 3 July 2009. Archived from the original on 17 December 2018. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ S, Srivatsan (19 February 2020). "I was devastated when Mysskin called me a 'sidekick': Prasanna on playing 'second-hero' roles, and his upcoming 'Mafia'". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 24 February 2020. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  19. ^ "Films add glamour to harvest festival". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 10 January 2003. Archived from the original on 4 July 2003.

External linksEdit