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30 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

One of the best Indian movies I have ever seen.

Author: siva_kumar from Bahamas
21 February 2001

The film draws heavily upon Mario Puzo's Godfather, however, the Indian adaptation of the well known story is simply superb. Manirathnam has done a wonderful job in re-creating the life and times of a local mafioso in the slums of Bombay. The art direction is flawless, and captures the time period perfectly. The music by Illayaraja is haunting, and reflects the nostalgic music of the early 70s. However, the high point of the movie is the excellent performance of Kamal Hassan. His potrayal of Velu-Nayakan is by far the best I have seen in Indian movies. The Hindi remake of this movie is sub-standard and poor. I highly recommend this movie to someone who has never seen it before.

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23 out of 28 people found the following review useful:


Author: ozzyrocks86 from Rochester, NY
2 January 2004

Kamal Hassan's extraordinary performance is the highlight of the film. This movie is perhaps the greatest gangster movie made in India, even though it is heavily inspired by the Al Pacino-starrer The Godfather. Kamal rightfully won the National Award for his performance. Great cast, great performances, solid direction from Mani Rathnam, great screenplay = one great movie. Highly recommended. A+.

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35 out of 55 people found the following review useful:

stop calling it a remake

Author: murali83 from United States
12 September 2005

now, lets get this straight, godfather was a bad adaptation of the novel and that becomes one of the all time best movies. if manirathnam makes a movie out of the real life story of velunayagam mudaliar then it is called a remake of godfather, what crappy logic is this.

In all aspects the movie is perfect, acting by kamal, direction is amazing and mind blowing music by the maestro Illayaraja.

set in the slums of bombay, it shows the life of velu who becomes a local don just like it happened in the true life of velunayagam mudaliar. the dialogues are memorable and the dialogue between kamal and his grandson is something that i can never forget.

watch it rightaway and stop this crap about it being a remake of godfather. Hollywood has made 100's of movies better than godfather, but nayagan is by and far among the 5 best movies ever made in India.

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

The best middle-of-the-road Indian film

Author: Vogon Warrior ( from India
27 September 2004

Mani Ratnam rose to fame with this superb, Godfather-inspired, crime story. Kamal Hassan, in a National Award-winning role, is the highlight of this film. WAtch out for the scene where he says "Naa adichcha nee sethuruve (You will die if I hit you)" to a police officer. Based on a real-life don, Varadarajan Mudaliar, Nayagan was praised by critics and audience alike, a rarity in India. Illayaraja's music is haunting. "Tenpaandi Cheemayile", sung by Kamal Hassan, is a classic. Photography is brilliant. Mani Ratnam is top-of-the-pops. Sign of things to come? Janakaraj as the gangster's friend is an inspired selection. This is as good as it gets for bridge cinema.

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

a maniratnam classic, ..brings out the tear drop in you.

Author: kr-aravind from India
26 February 2006

It is really difficult to express the experience of watching nayakan in words, the real life story about the transformation of a boy into a rebel and then a don, brilliantly portrayed by one of the greatest actors alive today, Kamal Hassan.

While the film draws little inspiration from "The Godfather trilogy", the emotions and trauma associated with many events , along with ilayaraja's rendition of 'thenpandi seemayile' , really does make this movie very special!, nothing to beat this one, among the best movies i have ever seen. I can rate it along with American beauty, shawshank redemption or even amelie.

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15 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

One of all time greats

Author: pvsk
6 August 2001

One of the movies where the star cast have lived the roles not just performed , well supported by Editing, Cinematography and background score . A must see. KamalHasan has given really a masterly performance for which he got the national award rightly.

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14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Truly inspired and inspirational!!!

Author: Karthik S ( from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
5 October 2005

Inspired by the true life story of Mumbai's Tamil don, Varadaraja Mudaliar, the movie 'Nayakan' portrays it so vividly and realistically of how the real-time character known popularly as 'Varadha Bhai' fled Tuticorin(Tamil Nadu) to seek his future in Mumbai. He came to be known as one of the godfathers of modern gangsterdom. Some other prominent names during his period were Karim Lala, etc. The days he spent fighting Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray who tried to run the Tamils out of Mumbai are golden days in history. Probably, the respect and influence Varadaraj Mudaliar had among the public inspired people like Dawood Ibrahim and others to take to such businesses. Mani Ratnam deserves full credit for the subject and screenplay. Kamal Hassan at the best of his career at an age of 32 playing the character of a 60-year-old man so perfectly with utmost ease.

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13 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

The Godfather comes to Tamil, with a difference

Author: Hemanth Kumar from Fremont, CA
14 August 2001

Even though Nayagan seems like a compressed version of The Godfather series and despite the fact that a lot of the scences in the movie give you sense of deja vu(after you've watched Godfather. Nayagan is probably one of the best movies made in Tamil(and may be in any Indian language). Apart from changing the very face of movie making in India, it had send so many refreshing trends.

Nayagan is the story of a boy(Velu), who loses his father(a Trade Union leader) and runs away to Bombay, after assualting the Police who kills his father. In Bombay he is brought up by a pious Muslim fisherman. By turn of events, Velu is pulled into committing Crime(and fighting too). Velu grows into a Don and slowly the power of it takes him to a different world, where he is the command, but he slowly losses his dear ones and it finally ends with his death at an old age, with a moral message that one who lives by the sword(gun), dies by it.

Kamal had given one of his best performances in this movie, for which he rightfully won the National Award for Best Actor. The Music of Illayaraja, Photography of P C Sreeram and the Art of Thotta Tharani were other High points of the movie, not to mention the magical touch of Manirathnam, who made a permanent name for himself after making Nayagan.

A must watch movie, for anyone who hasn't seen it.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Watch it!

Author: Krishna R ( from Zurich
28 December 2004

This is, till date, the best Indian movie ever made. A fantastic star cast(Kamal Haasan, Nasser, Janakaraj), splendid direction(Mani Rathnam) and excellent music score by the maestro Illayaraja made the movie do wonders in the box office. Kamal Haasan, who was already a super star when this movie was made, proved that he can get into any ones shoes. Here he played the role of an angry young man who becomes a Mafia don with almost the entire city supporting him. With this movie and a National Award for the Best Actor, he came to be known as the best actor in Indian Cinema.

Mani Rathnam became a nation-wide celebrity with this movie and every movie he made after Nayagan raised expectations among the audience.

The story is that of a Mafia don, who is a kind of Robin hood for his own people, takes justice into his hands and kills the baddies. He earns respect from his people, incurs the wrath of the other underworld thugs, and is feared by the police, till a honest cop decides to challenge him. Though the story is similar to The Godfather, the way in which this movie is shot is different and keeps the viewer engrossed from the first scene till the end, when the 60 year old hero is assassinated in public for a brutal murder he did 30 years back.

Nayakan - Slick, stylish and interesting.


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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

classic....... by Mr. Mani ratnam

Author: chennaimarina_12 from chennai
30 July 2006

this film is an out an out kamal hassan and Mani ratnam film, without Mani ratnam kamal would not have been able to display his magic, and without kamal, Mani would not have been able to show his magic. velu is a boy living in Tamil nadu. his father a labor leader is murdered by a ruthless police officer. velu decides to take revenge, and is supported by his friend, Sela(janagaraj). they both kill the police officer, and escape to Bombay, where they get shelter in a Muslim house hold. kamal naturally treats "Abba" the Muslim man, who is into smuggling. when he gets old he hands the small business to velu, who extracts more money for goods than his precede ever did. the rival parties get angry and pay bribe to a police man to get Abba killed. when velu gets to know this, he tracks down the police officer tactically. i must stop here to mention the marvellous sequence . great background score, Mani ratnam at his best, and kamal looking totally angry. he kills the police officer in front of everybody. the police officer though married used to molest women. the police came inquiring, but no one opened their mouth. from that day onwards velu became 'velu nayagan'. he became the ultimate don in Bombay, supporting the poor's cause, and going to any extent to fulfill it. he even got a poor child treatment in one of the best hospitals in Bombay for free. you must watch the movie, i can't spell its magic here, you have to watch it!

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