Pagal Nilavu

Pagal Nilavu (transl. The Afternoon Moon) is a 1985 Indian Tamil-language film directed by Mani Ratnam, featuring Murali, Revathi and Sathyaraj in the leading roles. It is about a carefree youth caught between his loyalty to a mafia don and his love for a cop's sister. The film's score and soundtrack were composed by Ilaiyaraaja which were widely acclaimed, while the cinematography of the film was handled by Ramachandra Babu. Pagal Nilavu marked Mani Ratnam's entry into Tamil cinema.[2]

Pagal Nilavu
Pagal Nilavu poster.jpg
Directed byMani Ratnam
Produced byT. G. Thyagarajan
Written byMani Ratnam
A. L. Narayanan (dialogues)
Sarath Babu
Music byIlaiyaraaja
CinematographyRamachandra Babu
Edited byB. Lenin
Release date
  • 5 June 1985 (1985-06-05)
Running time
145 minutes[1]


Selvam is an aimless youth in Muttam, Kanyakumari. Out of a sense of deep gratitude, he ends up joining the gang of Devaraj alias Periyavar and complications arise when he falls in love with Jyothi, the sister of Peter, an honest and committed police inspector who is newly posted to the town. Periyavar pretty much runs the town and though he helps people in need, he is a diabolical kingpin who will not compromise on his hold of the town for anything. He wins Selvam's undying loyalty when he helps him with money and power at a critical juncture to save his mother.

In this backdrop Peter takes charge and moves into the town with his sister and daughter. Being uncompromising in his morals, Peter is automatically drawn into a game of one-upmanship with Periyavar and his gang. He also consequentially cannot stand Periyavar's chief henchman Selvam, and is consequentially drawn into continuous verbal and physical duels with him. Selvam meanwhile falls hook line and sinker to Jyothi and tries every trick in the book to woo her and eventually wins.



Mani Ratnam and G. Thyagarajan of Sathya Jyothi Films were childhood friends and after the latter became a producer, he was keen to make a film directed by Ratnam. Like with the producer of Unaru (1984), Ratnam initially narrated the script of Mouna Ragam (1986), then under the title of Divya, but Thyagarajan wanted an action film; the pair eventually began work on Pagal Nilavu. The producer suggested that Sathyaraj should play a character, while Murali and Revathi were also signed on for the lead roles in the film. Sarath Babu and Raadhika were also selected to portray supporting roles. As the film was set in a small town milieu, Ratnam felt that he could not do justice to the local dialogues and A. L. Narayanan was drafted in to help work on the dialogues.[4] The film was Ratnam's first in Tamil.[5]

Pagal Nilavu was the first Mani Ratnam film to have standalone songs, which had to be picturised and he shot the videos of "Maina Maina" and "Nee Appothu", one after another. To include more commercial elements, Thyagarajan included a comedy tack written by J. Livingston and Kumar, featuring Goundamani as a Malayali.[6] Cinematography was handled by Ramachandra Babu, and editing by B. Lenin.[1]


The music was composed by Ilaiyaraaja.[7]

No. Song Singers Lyrics Length
1 "Maina Maina" Ilaiyaraaja Gangai Amaran 04:23
2 "Nee Appothu" Malaysia Vasudevan, S. P. Sailaja 04:24
3 "Poo Maalayae" Ilaiyaraaja, S. Janaki 04:21
4 "Poovilae Medai" P. Jayachandran, P. Susheela 02:39
5 "Vaarayo Vaanmathi" Ramesh, Usha Srinivasan 04:33
6 "Vaidhegi Raman" S. Janaki 04:22


The film was unsuccessful at the box office.[2]


  1. ^ a b Rangan 2012, p. 289.
  2. ^ a b "Happy birthday Ilaiyaraaja and Mani Ratnam!". Deccan Herald. 2 June 2018. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d Rangan 2012, p. 1.
  4. ^ Rangan 2012, pp. 24–26.
  5. ^ Rangan 2012, p. 24.
  6. ^ Rangan 2012, p. 27.
  7. ^ "Pagal Nilavu (1985)". Music India Online. Retrieved 6 February 2019.


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