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Thulluvadho Ilamai

Thulluvadho Ilamai (transl. Exuberance of Youth) is a 2002 Indian Tamil-language coming of age drama film co-written and directed by Kasthuri Raja. It is co-written by Raja's elder son Selvaraghavan and introduced Raja's second son Dhanush as an actor, who plays the lead role. Alongside Dhanush, the film also introduced other newcomers Abhinay, Sherin, Ramesh, Shilpa and Gangeshwari and features prominent film personalities Vijayakumar, Ramesh Khanna, Pyramid Natarajan as well. While the soundtrack was composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja, Viji Manuel composed the film score. The film was released on 10 May 2002 and proved to be highly successful at the box office.[1]

Thulluvadho Ilamai
Thulluvadho Ilamai.jpg
Directed byKasthuri Raja
Produced byM. Ramakrishnan
Screenplay bySelvaraghavan
Story byKasthuri Raja
Ramesh Khanna
Music byOriginal Songs:
Yuvan Shankar Raja
Background Score:
Viji Manuel
CinematographyAshok Raaj
Arvind Krishna
Edited bySuresh Urs
Karthik Cine Visions
Release date
10 May 2002
Running time
144 minutes

The film depicts the story of six high-school classmates, three boys and three girls, coming from different strata of society, who have each their own problems in their respective families and escape from their homes, deciding to live together on their own with the help of an older friend of theirs.


Mahesh (Dhanush) is the son of a poor fisherman (Thalaivasal Vijay). He grows up seeing his parents always having sex or fighting.

Pooja (Sherin) is the daughter of an orthodox and very strict businessman (Pyramid Natarajan), who is always suspicious about her.

Vishnu's (Abhinay) father neglects his mother and instead has his maid servant as his paramour.

Anitha's (Shilpa) parents live abroad, concentrating merely on their work and business, having no time for their daughter and always neglecting her.

Harish (Ramesh) is regularly beaten up and mistreated by his sadistic father.

These five people and another girl named Divya (Gangeshwari) are high school students and best friends. When they find out that Anitha is addicted to drugs, they decide to run away from their homes along with Mani (Ramesh Khanna), a pavement bookseller and an older friend of theirs in order to rehabilitate her, but also as a result of their discontent and feeling of alienation from their respective families.

However, their attempts are a waste. They struggle to survive in the outside world. Being young and immature, their daily life becomes hell for them. They reside in a hotel and get caught by the police who mistake them to be doing illicit activities. Rescued by Mani, they roam the streets and seek shelter in abandoned places. They try to make money for themselves after the cash they brought with them is taken by the inspector.

Contacting their parents make their situation worse. All of them realize that their parents do not care about them at all and wouldn't even bother to worry if they are dead. Feeling disappointed they continue on their journey. Pooja and Mahesh, at a stage, get intimate much to Divya's shock. When she questions Ramesh and scolds Divya, neither of the speak a word. Vishnu soon realizes that the remaining money he had went missing, and Anitha too is no where to be found. Suspecting her to have been going behind drugs they start looking for her. Late at night, Vishnu, Mani and Mahesh go look for Anitha while Pooja and Divya stay with Harish.

They spot Anitha being brought by a man to be sell her as prostitute and Harish fight them, only to get stabbed. Realizing that they have no other way to survive 'safely' in this world, they decide to return home. They finally return to their school, where the principal (Vijayakumar) lectures the students' parents, blaming them for the students' escape attempt and misbehavior.

Hearing the principal's words and her father scolding her, Pooja consumes an unnamed acid from her school Lab while hearing that, Mahesh jumps from the second floor. Both are rushed to the hospital where fortunately, they survive. Ignoring the parents, the rest of their class and batch mates get into the ICU to meet them.

Happy that they are save, they start laughing and mocking each other. The principal tells the parents that they are not worried about what happened and are happy. Feeling ashamed, the parents leave the children alone.

All these are told in a flashback where Mahesh, now in military, comes back to his school and recalled the memories. He had not disturbed Pooja after that and has no idea where his friends are now. Assuring himself that they would have been well off as he is now, he gets interrupted by the principal. But the principal does not recognize Mahesh and walks off. Mahesh tells himself that the principal does not remember him as he would have seen many students in all these years.



Selvaraghavan, son of director Kasthuri Raja had written the script and also directed the film. When his family faced financial pressures in the early 2000s with his father was out of work, and subsequently they decided to put their remaining earnings into the film. Featuring his brother Dhanush in his first role, alongside Sherin and Abhinay, the film told the coming-of-age story of six high school students and featured a hit soundtrack by Yuvan Shankar Raja.[2]


Thulluvadho Ilamai
Soundtrack album by
1 March 2002 (India)
GenreFeature film soundtrack
Length36:48 (First release)
43:24 (Second release)
LabelStar Music
Sa Re Ga Ma
ProducerYuvan Shankar Raja
Yuvan Shankar Raja chronology
Thulluvadho Ilamai
Manadhai Thirudivittai

The soundtrack was composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja, marking the first collaboration of the Yuvan Shankar Raja-Selvaraghavan duo, which would later go on to become one of the most successful combos in Tamil cinema.[3][4][5][6] Viji Manuel composed the film score on Yuvan Shankar Raja's request who had to leave for London on an urgent work.[7] The soundtrack initially featured 7 songs overall, later a second CD was released which included 3 additional short tracks. The song "Theenda Theenda", based on the Carnatic rāga Reetigowla,[8] had two versions, a female solo and a duet version. The lyrics were written by Pa. Vijay except for the song "Kann Munney", which has lyrics written by Selvaraghavan.

The album, receiving positive reviews, described as youthful and refreshing, is considered a breakthrough album for composer Yuvan Shankar Raja, turning him into a leading composer in the Tamil film industry. Thanks to this album, he grew up in popularity, particularly among the younger generation, who could identify themselves with the songs.[9]

Track Song Singer(s) Duration Lyricist Notes
1 "Idhu Kaadhala" Yuvan Shankar Raja 4:32 Pa. Vijay
2 "Theenda Theenda (Duet)" P. Unnikrishnan, Bombay Jayashree 5:21 Pa. Vijay
3 "Kann Munney" Yuvan Shankar Raja, Timmy 6:01 Selvaraghavan
4 "Vayadhu Vaa Vaa" Srinivas, Harini 4:28 Pa. Vijay
5 "Neruppu Koothadikudhu" Venkat Prabhu, Chitra Sivaraman 5:10 Pa. Vijay
6 "Theenda Theenda (Solo)" Bombay Jayashree 5:19 Pa. Vijay
7 "Kaatrukku Kaatrukku" Harish Raghavendra, Harini, Febi Mani, Sunder Rajan 5:57 Pa. Vijay
Second release
8."Theepiditha Kangal"Boney2:19
9."Vaanam Oru"Yuvan Shankar Raja, Boney, Lavanya2:46
10."Theme Music"Instrumental1:31


After taking a small opening, the film began to get teen audiences to cinema halls for its adolescent themes, while also being publicized in quarters as "soft porn" film. It subsequently went on to become a sleeper hit and won positive reviews from critics for breaking the stereotypes of Tamil films.[1] Post-release, Selvaraghavan stated that he had also directed the film but was forced to credit his more established film-maker father Kasthuri Raja as the director, in order to help the project find a distributor.[2]


This film was later remade for Telugu audience, in 2003, as Juniors starring Allari Naresh and Sherin reprising her role.


  1. ^ a b "Movies: The Rediff Review: Thulluvatho Ilamai". Rediff. 23 July 2002. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  2. ^ a b
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  8. ^ Charulatha Mani (25 November 2011). "Arts / Music : Riveting Ritigowla". The Hindu. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  9. ^ "The experience called Yuvan Shankar Raja". Behindwoods. Retrieved 12 July 2012.

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