Thacholi Ambu

Thacholi Ambu is a 1978 Indian Malayalam-language historical drama film directed and produced by Navodaya Appachan under Navodaya Studio. It was the first anamorphic CinemaScope film in Malayalam. Starring Prem Nazir in the title role, Sivaji Ganesan, Ravikumar and Jayan.[2][3] Made on a cost of ₹30 lakh, the film grossed ₹1 crore at the box office.[1]

Thacholi Ambu
Thacholi Ambu.jpg
Directed byNavodaya Appachan
Written byN. Govindan Kutty
Based onVadakkan Pattukal
Produced byNavodaya Appachan
CinematographyU. Rajagopal
Edited byT. R. Sekhar
Music byK. Raghavan
Distributed byNavodaya Release
Release date
  • 27 October 1978 (1978-10-27)
Running time
155 minutes
Budget₹30 lakh[1]
Box office₹1 crore[1]


Thacholi Ambu's uncle, the great warrior Thacholi Othenan speaks to him through an oracle to go to Ponniyam Parunthunkalkotta. Ambu befriends the poor ferryman Mayan Kutty and his grandson Kunjali and learns that Parunthunkalkotta Panicker had murdered his uncle and implicated Mayan Kutty's son Bappu as the assassin. Bappu and his family flees from the bloodthirsty mob. But as he saves his eldest son from a crocodile, the mob catches up with Bappu and kills him. The child is lost and the bereaved Mayan Kutty manages to pack the rest of the family to a safe shore.

Thacholi Ambu learns that he can't conquer the fort unless he recovers the magic amulet which his uncle Thacholi Othenan had left with his wife Kunjitheyi, the sister of Parunthunkalkotta Panicker. He disguises himself and makes his way to the Fort to participate in a Grand Festival along with Mayan Kutty and Kunjali. There he meets his aunt Kunjitheyi and cousin Kanni with whom he promptly falls in love.

Meanwhile Mayan Kutty is stuck by how much Kutty, the army chief and younger son of Parunthunkalkotta Panicker resembles his own dead son Bappu. In fact Kutty is Bappu's lost eldest son. By the time the truth is known Kutty had already declared a duel with Kunjali, his biological brother who had threatened his villainous adoptive elder brother Ithiri. Kutty is torn between his loyalty to his adoptive family and his biological family who have truth on their side. Ambu makes his way to the fort to save Kunjali from the duel.Kutty makes sure that the magical amulet reaches his aunt who will restore it to the rightful owner, Thacholi Ambu. A furious Mayan Kutty shoots Parunthunkalkotta Panicker with the same gun with which he had murdered Thacholi Othenan all those years ago.



Thacholi Ambu is the first Malayalam film in CinemaScope.[4] Sivaji Ganesan ventured to enact the film's action scenes without the use of a stunt double. During the filming of one such scene, he fell from a height of six feet. A shield fell on his hand and injured him severely, resulting in him being hospitalised for many days.[5]


The music was composed by K. Raghavan and the lyrics were written by Yusufali Kechery.

Song Singers
"Anuraagakkalariyil" K. J. Yesudas
"Makaramaasa Pournamiyil" P. Susheela, Chorus
"Naadapuram Palliyile" Vani Jairam
"Naanam Kunungikale" S. Janaki, P. Susheela
"Ponniyam Parunthunkal" P. Susheela, Chorus
"Ponniyam Poonkanni" P. Susheela
"Thacholi Veettile" P. Susheela


Kousigan of Kalki wrote[clarification needed].[6]The film performed well at the box office.[7] Made on a cost of ₹30 lakh (₹3 million), the film grossed more than ₹1 crore (₹10 million) at the box office.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Pillai, Sreedhar (15 April 1982). "Padayottam set to be the biggest thing in films in south India". India Today. Archived from the original on 23 July 2019. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  2. ^ Manmadan, Prema (4 March 2011). "Still raring to go". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  3. ^ Mannath, Malini. "An interview with Navodaya Appachan". Chennai Online. Archived from the original on 26 March 2009. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  4. ^ "Filming the third dimension". The Hindu. 1 May 2003. Archived from the original on 6 July 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  5. ^ Ganesan, Sivaji; Narayana Swamy, T. S. (2007) [2002]. Autobiography of an Actor: Sivaji Ganesan, October 1928 – July 2001. Sivaji Prabhu Charities Trust. p. 159. OCLC 297212002.
  6. ^ கௌசிகன் (12 November 1978). "தச்சோளி அம்பு". Kalki (in Tamil). Archived from the original on 23 March 2023. Retrieved 23 March 2023.
  7. ^ "Remembering 'Kolilakkam' superstar Jayan on his 35th death anniversary". International Business Times. 16 November 2013. Archived from the original on 15 August 2016. Retrieved 10 December 2016.

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