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Malaikkallan Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Tamil மலைக்கள்ளன்
Directed by S. M. Sriramulu Naidu[1]
Produced by S. M. Sriramulu Naidu
Written by Mu. Karunanidhi
Screenplay by Mu. Karunanidhi
Story by Namakkal Kavignar Va. Ramalingam Pillai
Starring M. G. Ramachandran
P. Bhanumathi
M. G. Chakrapani
Music by S. M. Subbaiah Naidu
Cinematography Sailen Bose
Edited by Velusami
Distributed by Pakshiraja Studios
Release date
22 July 1954[2]
Running time
186 minutes[3]
Country India
Language Tamil
Box office 90 lakhs

Malaikkallan (English: Thief of The Hills) is a 1954 Indian Tamil-language action film starring M. G. Ramachandran in the lead role. The film was released on 22 July 1954, and was an astounding success. It ran more than 140 days in Chennai and all other major cities.[4] It was the first Tamil film to win a President's Silver Medal.[5][6]


Vijayapuri, a beautiful hillside hamlet appears serene and restful to a casual passerby. But the happenings there are far from tranquil. Dacoities, burglaries and even kidnappings seem to be commonplace occurrences. One established perpetrator of at least some of the crimes is Kaathavarayan, his secret accomplices being some well-known public figures like the rich young wastrel Veerarajan and the Kuttipatti Zamindar.

The other dacoit is apparently the mysterious Malaikkallan. Legends are galore on his fabulous wealth, awe-inspiring exploits, contempt for the unprincipled rich, concern for the poor and needy indeed he seems to be running a veritable empire in some hidden hillock; no one has actually seen him.

There is also the wealthy merchant Abdul Raheem, who seems to disappear at regular intervals from Vijayapuri, claiming business calls at far-off places. In this hotbed of intrigue and suspicion blooms an innocent rose Poonkothai, daughter of the upright Sokkesa Mudaliar. Veerarajan is the cousin of Poonkothai and desires to marry her, but his evil reputation ensures the impossibility of such an alliance. Having lost her mother at an early age, Poonkothai is brought up by her widowed aunt Kamakshi Ammal. Kamakshi Ammal's only son Kumaraveeran went missing many years back.

Faced by stringent public criticism for their failure to tackle the audacious crimes, Sub-Inspector Arumugam arrives in Vijayapuram. But his assistant Constable Karuppiah is a bungling coward and is more a hindrance than a help in his investigations. It is at this juncture that one night when Mudaliar is away, Poonkothai is kidnapped. The happenings of that eerie night keep the village tongues wagging for many days thereafter. Two sidekicks of Kathavarayan are found tied and hanging upside down, and a piece of Poonkothai’s jewellery is recovered from them. Kamakshi Ammal is found tied-up and unconscious, and a mysterious errand-boy hands over to the attending doctor a forest herb that revives her at once. Poonkothai is said to be in the custody of Malaikkallan, who has cleverly waylaid Kathavarayan's men and taken away Poonkothai. Kathavarayan faces the ire and ridicule of Veerarajan at the behest of whom he had engineered Poonkothai's kidnapping. Goaded by this humiliation, he now sends his men far and wide in search of Poonkothai. Meanwhile, Poonkothai is safe in the magnificent hideout of Malaikkallan, perceiving his genuine concern for the downtrodden and the reverence with which he is held by his people, her contempt and mistrust turn gradually into admiration and leads to love.

Several confounding twists and turns later the truant pieces of the puzzle fall in place. Kathavarayan and Veerarajan get their well-deserved comeuppance. Malaikkallan and Abdul Raheem both turn out to be the same person who is the long missing Kumaraveeran. All is well that ends with the happy marriage of Poonkothai and Kumaraveeran.


Actor Role
M. G. Ramachandran Malaikkallan / Abdul Raheem / Kumaraveeran
P. Bhanumathi Poonkothai
Sriram[7] Veerarajan
M. G. Chakrapani Sub-Inspector
P. S. Gnanam Kamakshi
D. Balasubramaniam Sokkesa Mudaliar
T. S. Durairaj Karuppiah
Surabhi Balasaraswathi Janaki
V. M. Ezhumalai Sadaiyan
Sandhya Parvathi alias Chinni
E. R. Sahadevan Kathavarayan
S. M. Subbaiah Naidu Doctor


A blend of Robin Hood and The Mark of Zorro, written by Namakkal Kavignar Va. Ramalingam Pillai (Namakkal Kavignar).[8] A well-known writer, poet, artist and freedom fighter, he was nominated as the Poet Laureate of the Madras Government in 1949. Malaikkallan had been prescribed as the non-detailed text for the high school curriculum in the early 50s, and the story had become very popular.[3]

Tamil filmmaker A. P. Nagarajan was cast as a police inspector wearing a turban and all. However, after shooting some scenes with him, Naidu for some reason chose to replace him with M. G. Chakrapani.[1] During filming, a leopard went missing on the sets. A. Pattabhiraman, director of Raja Theatre locked himself in a cage saying, "This is the last place where the leopard will find me!"[9]


S. M. Subbaiah Naidu scored the music, while the lyrics were penned by Namakkal Ramalingam Pillai, Ra. Balasubramaniam, Thanjai N. Ramaiah Dass and Makkalanban. The song Eththanai Kaalam Thaan Yemaatruvaar became so popular that MGR then decided to insert at least one such philosophical song in his future projects. It was the first song that T. M. Soundarrajan had sung for M. G. Ramachandran, after the success he sang many songs for him.[8]

Track list
No. Title Singer(s) Length
1. "Yethanai Kaalamthan Yematruvar" T. M. Soundararajan  
2. "Neeli Magan Nee Allava" P. A. Periyanayaki  
3. "O Amma O Ayya" P. A. Periyanayaki  
4. "Unnai Azhaithathu Yaaro" P. Bhanumathi  
5. "Pengale Ulangalile" P. Bhanumathi  
6. "Nalla Sagunam Nokki" P. Bhanumathi  
7. "Naane Inba Roja" P. Bhanumathi  
8. "Naalai" P. Bhanumathi  
9. "Thamizhan Endroru Inam" T. M. Soundararajan  


The film was released on 22 July 1954 with length of 5175 metres and with run time of 186 minutes.[3] Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan in its review dated 12 September 1954 mentioned that film "has several amazing moments which increase the heartbeats of the audience... Various fight scenes, dances and comedy scenes make the film a mass entertainer".[10]


S. M. Sriramulu Naidu of Pakshiraja Studio in Coimbatore secured the rights to the story and decided to produce and direct a movie based on it, in 6 languages- Tamil (Malaikkallan with MGR), Telugu (Aggiramudu with N. T. Rama Rao),[11] Malayalam (Thaskaraveeran with Sathyan), Kannada (Bettada Kalla with Kalyan Kumar) and Hindi (Azaad with Dilip Kumar) and Sinhalese (Surasena).[1]

Except Azaad that had music by C. Ramchandra, S. M. Subbaiah Naidu composed music for the movie in all the other languages.


The film created the trend of the concept of "Robin Hood" and inspired various films like Neelamalai Thirudan (1957), Malaiyoor Mambattiyan (1983), Gentleman (1993) and Sivaji (2007).[10] The film also created the trend of philosophical songs and introduction songs for the lead actors.[12]



  1. ^ a b c "Malaikkallan". thehindu. Retrieved 2014-06-10.
  2. ^ The Indian Express, 22 July 1954
  3. ^ a b c Dhananjayan 2014, p. 110.
  4. ^ Pande, Ram (1985). Congress 100 Years. Jaipur Pub. House. p. 286. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
  5. ^ "History of Tamil Cinema". Retrieved 2008-11-30.
  6. ^, cast crew information
  7. ^ "SRI RAM". Antru Kanda Mugam. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  8. ^ a b Dhananjayan 2014, p. 111.
  9. ^ K. JESHI. "Blockbusters of Coimbatore". The Hindu. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  10. ^ a b Dhananjayan 2014, p. 112.
  11. ^ M L Narasimham. "AGGIRAMUDU (1954)". The Hindu. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  12. ^ K. JESHI. "Celluloid stories". The Hindu. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  13. ^ "2nd National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 23 August 2011.


  • Dhananjayan, G. (2014). Pride of Tamil Cinema: 1931 to 2013. Blue Ocean Publishers. ISBN 978-93-84301-05-7.

Further reading

  •[permanent dead link], "About Homage"
  •, "Malaikallan for Diwali"
  •, "Rajkiran revives Malaikallan"

External links

  • Malaikallan on IMDb
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