Thayilla Pillai

Thayilla Pillai (transl. The Motherless Child)[2] is 1961 Indian Tamil-language drama film directed and co-produced by L. V. Prasad and written by M. Karunanidhi from a story by S. R. Pinisetty. The film stars T. S. Balaiah and M. V. Rajamma, with G. Muthukrishnan, Kalyan Kumar, S. Rama Rao, Manohar, L. Vijayalakshmi, Madhuri Roy, Sandhya and T. P. Muthulakshmi in supporting roles. It tells the story of a mother torn between her love for her orthodox Brahmin husband and her son.

Thayilla Pillai
Thayilla Pillai poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byL. V. Prasad
Produced byA. Anand
L. V. Prasad
Screenplay byM. Karunanidhi
Story byS. R. Pinisetty
StarringT. S. Balaiah
M. V. Rajamma
Music byK. V. Mahadevan
CinematographyK. S. Prasad
Edited byA. Sanjeevi
Prasad Movies
Distributed byGemini Studios
Release date
  • 18 August 1961 (1961-August-18)
Running time
173 minutes[1]

Thayilla Pillai speaks against the caste system in India. It was co-produced by A. Anand, photographed by K. S. Prasad, and edited by A. Sanjeevi. The film was released on 18 August 1961 and became a commercial success, running for over 100 days in theatres. It was remade in Malayalam as Pravaham (1975).


The conservative Brahmin Pathanjali Sasthri severs relations with his modern brother-in-law Bharati, a doctor. When Sasthri's wife Parvathi, who had two miscarriages, finds herself pregnant, she goes to her brother to get medical aid and incurs the displeasure of her husband. The wife gives birth to a son but simultaneously adopts the son of a lower-caste woman who died in childbirth, creating some confusion for Sasthri as to which baby is his son. Eventually the couple raise the adopted child while their biological son becomes a rickshaw-puller. The two boys grow up and become friends. In the end, the family reunites.



Thayilla Pillai was directed by L. V. Prasad and produced by A. Anand under Prasad Movies.[3] Although Prasad was the co-producer, he was not listed as such in the opening credits.[4] The screenplay was written by M. Karunanidhi,[3] based on a story by S. R. Pinisetty.[5] Cinematography was handled by K. S. Prasad, art direction by Thotta, and the editing by A. Sanjeevi.[3] The final length of the film was 15,567 feet (4,745 m).[6]


Like many films Karunanidhi wrote, Thayilla Pillai reflects his political ideology.[7] It speaks against the caste system in India,[1][8] and the problem of "orphan children".[9] Karunanidhi said that, through the character of Pathanjali Sasthri, he portrayed "how casteist feelings, age-old customs and rituals and superstitious beliefs had been deeply entrenched in the human psyche for generations."[10]


The soundtrack was composed by K. V. Mahadevan and the lyrics were written by Kannadasan, Kothamangalam Subbu and A. Maruthakasi.[1][11] The playback singers were T. M. Soundararajan, Sirkazhi Govindarajan, P. B. Sreenivas, A. L. Raghavan, P. Susheela, Jamuna Rani, Soolamangalam Rajalakshmi, R. Balasaraswathi Devi and L. R. Eswari.[3] The songs "Chinna Chinna Ooraniyam", "Kaalam Maruthu Karuthu Maruthu" and "Kadavulum Naanum Oru Jaathi" attained popularity.[12]

No. Songs Singers Lyrics Length
1 "Cheeradum Painkiliyae" R. Balasaraswathi Devi Kothamangalam Subbu 04:16
2 "Chinna Chinna Ooraniyam" Soolamangalam Rajalakshmi Kannadasan 03:47
3 "Vaamma Vaamma Chinnamma" Sirkazhi Govindarajan, P. Susheela Kannadasan 04:30
4 "Kaalam Maruthu Karuthu Maruthu" A. L. Raghavan, L. R. Eswari Kannadasan 04:16
5 "Kadavulum Naanum Oru Jaathi" A. L. Raghavan Kannadasan 04:10
6 "Padikka Vendum Pudhiya Paadam" P. B. Sreenivas, Jamuna Rani A. Maruthakasi 04:25
7 "Oorar Aadithuvittar" T. M. Soundararajan Kannadasan 03:57
8 "Thotta Kaigal" P. Susheela Kannadasan 03:32
9 "Chinna Chinna Ooraniyam" – 2 R. Balasaraswathi Devi Kannadasan 02:02

Release and receptionEdit

Thayilla Pillai was released on 18 August 1961,[13][14] and distributed by Gemini Studios.[15] The Indian Express applauded the film, particularly Balaiah's performance, saying he "outshines all others in the cast". The reviewer also praised Rama Rao and Muthulakshmi for providing "good comic relief", and director Prasad for being able to "blend comedy and emotion so well".[9] The film was commercially successful, running for over 100 days in theatres.[16] It was later remade in Malayalam as Pravaham (1975).[17]


  1. ^ a b c Rajadhyaksha & Willemen 1998, p. 371.
  2. ^ Narwekar 1994, p. 242.
  3. ^ a b c d e f தாயில்லப் பிள்ளை [The Motherless Child] (PDF) (song book) (in Tamil). Prasad Movies. 1961.
  4. ^ Prasad, L. V. "My 55 years experience". Prasad Group. Archived from the original on 19 February 2019. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  5. ^ Thai Illa Pillai (motion picture) (in Tamil). Prasad Movies. 1961. Opening credits, from 0:00 to 2:23.
  6. ^ Film News Anandan (2004). Sadhanaigal Padaitha Thamizh Thiraipada Varalaru [Tamil film history and its achievements] (in Tamil). Chennai: Sivagami Publishers. Archived from the original on 19 February 2019. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  7. ^ "Life of Kalaignar M Karunanidhi in cinema". The New Indian Express. 7 August 2018. slide 11. Archived from the original on 19 February 2019. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  8. ^ Thoraval 2000, p. 324.
  9. ^ a b "Baliah steals the show in "Thai Illa Pillai"". The Indian Express. 18 August 1961. p. 3.
  10. ^ Karunanidhi, M. (9 August 2018). "Excerpts from a special article written by Karunanidhi". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 19 February 2019. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  11. ^ "Thaayilla Pillai". JioSaavn. Archived from the original on 19 February 2019. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  12. ^ Swathi (25 August 2018). "கலைஞர் என்னும் கலைஞன் – 14 : தாயில்லாப் பிள்ளை" [Kalaignar alias the artist – 14: Thayilla Pillai]. Valai Tamil. Archived from the original on 19 February 2019. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  13. ^ Rathinagiri 2007, p. 66.
  14. ^ "திரையுலகில் கலைஞர்" [Artist in the world of films]. Dinamalar (in Tamil). 27 July 2018. Archived from the original on 26 October 2018. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  15. ^ "தாயில்லா பிள்ளை" [The Motherless Child] (PDF). Dinamani (in Tamil). 2 September 1961. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 July 2017. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  16. ^ தீனதயாளன், பா (28 August 2015). "தாய்மையின் ராணி!- எம்.வி. ராஜம்மா" [Queen of Motherhood! – M. V. Rajamma]. The Hindu (Tamil). Archived from the original on 30 November 2019. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  17. ^ Vijayakumar, B. (3 December 2010). "Tamil Movies made in Malayalam". Old is Gold. Archived from the original on 8 February 2019. Retrieved 9 February 2019.


External linksEdit