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The Duo (1997)
"Iruvar" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  14 January 1997 (India)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 1,605 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 4 critic

Mani Rathnam's take on the real-life rivalry between M.G. Ramachandran and Karunanidhi.



(screenplay), (story), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview:
Anand (Anandan)
Prakash Raj ...
Tamil Selvam (Tamilzhchelvan) (as Prakashraj)
Kalpana / Pushpa (as Aishwarya Rai)
Gautami ...
Selvam's lover
Revathy ...
Selvam's wife
Anna Durai (the party leader)
Madhoo ...
Special Appearance (Song "Narumugaiye") (as Madhubala)
Ravi ...
Ramani's manager
Rajesh ...
Party functionary
Delhi Ganesh ...
Anandan's helper
Sunder Rajan ...
Police Commissioner


A struggling actor Anandam (Mohanlal) is befriended by up and coming grassroots leader and scriptwriter Tamilchelvam (Prakashraj). As Anandam grows in popularity, he becomes an important tool for the Tamilchelvam and his party in wooing the public. After the death of the party leader Annadurai (Nasser), both protagonists find themselves in candidacy for the top spot, the schism is inevitable. Written by Joyojeet Pal

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Release Date:

14 January 1997 (India)  »

Also Known As:

Iruvar  »

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Did You Know?


The film was showcased in The Masters section at the 1997 Toronto International Film Festival. The film won the Best Film award at the Belgrade International Film Festival. See more »

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User Reviews

Mani Ratnam's best
1 June 2008 | by (Malaysia) – See all my reviews

'Iruvar' is easily Mani Ratnam's best work to date- well researched, well planned, tight screenplay, wonderful classic resembling songs, great camera-work, above all, stellar star cast and performances. The scene on the rooftop of Tamil Selvam (Prakash Raj)'s house where Anand (Mohan Lal) is urged to greet his fans is indeed, a masterpiece of a scene. I should say that 11 years has passed since this movie was made but i have loved every one who has worked on this movie. I believe Santosh Sivan is the best cameraman in India, and I am also saddened that he is not doing cemeraworks for Mani Ratnam anymore (this and Dil Se were both class). I loved Mohan Lal, and ever since then, any of his movies failed to come anywhere near as impactful as this. Above all, there is Aishwarya Rai. There are many people who doubt her acting prowess, claiming her to be nothing but glamorous and beautiful. This is, I admit, the second best all-time single film performance by an actress that i have witnessed in my life thus far (ranking first is the Clementine Wozniacki played by Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine). Ash is tremendous in enacting the role of both a village girl and a seductive actress. There is not a single scene which she fails to impress. Considering this her debut movie, i would say that she always carried great potential, i have seen rushes on the sets of the films that she has worked and i observe that she certainly is a very committed lady trying to portray the role in the best way possible. It's only sad that directors get stuck up when giving her roles. Sanjay Leela Bhansali only gave her HDDCS and Devdas where she played beautiful, exuberant young ladies but did not give her the role he gave to Rani in Black. Ash is easily the most talented of all the actresses, not only the most beautiful, her performances in Mani Ratnam's films (Guru) proves that. He seems to be the only director who knows how to use her talent and also beauty both appropriately. The thing about Iruvar is that the songs never look out of place. They are not abrupt nor mindless. This film, as i have witnessed, has changed a common perception that a good movie shouldn't have song and dance sequences. This is a good movie, and it is even a better movie for its song and dances. They are not out of place because all the songs refer to movies which Anand was acting in, and at the same time, all were gorgeously shot. 'Aayirathil Oruvan' had great locations and camera-work, so did 'Venilla', while 'Aayirathil Oruvan' too is the best shot-under-pouring-rain song i have seen so far. And i am writing this 11 years after the movie released, and five years after i watched it for the first time. I still can't erase it off my memory (I played the movie so many times that i ended up tarnishing the VCD), so i feel it deserves an IMDb review.

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