Release date5 June 1985 WriterG.M. Kumar (additional material), G.M. Kumar (developer), Mani Ratnam CastMurali (Selvam), Revathi (Peters Sister), Sathyaraj (Devarajan), Goundamani, Sarath Babu (Peter) Similar moviesRelated Mani Ratnam movies
Pagal Nilavu (English: The Afternoon Moon ) is a 1985 Tamil film directed by Mani Ratnam, featuring Murali, Revathi and Sathyaraj in the leading roles. It is about a carefree youth caught between his loyalty to a mafia don and his love for a cop's sister. The film's score and soundtrack were composed by Ilaiyaraaja, while the cinematography of the film was handled by Ramachandra Babu. Pagal Nilavu marked Mani Ratnam's entry into Tamil cinema, though the film became a failure at the box office.
Selvam (Murali) is an aimless youth in Muttam, Kanyakumari who, out of a sense of deep gratitude, ends up joining the gang of Devaraj aka Periyavar (Sathyaraj) and the complications which arise when he falls in love with Jyothi (Revathi), the sister of Robert Manohar (Sarat Babu) an honest and committed police inspector who is newly posted to the town. Periyavar pretty much runs the town and though he helps people in need, he is a diabolical kingpin who will not compromise on his hold of the town for anything. He wins Selvam’s undying loyalty when he helps him with money and power at a critical juncture to save his mother.
In this backdrop Robert takes charge and moves into the town with his sister and daughter. Being uncompromising in his morals, Robert is automatically drawn into a game of one-upmanship with Periyavar and his gang. He also consequentially cannot stand Periyavar’s chief henchman Selvam, and is consequentially drawn into continuous verbal and physical duels with him. Selvam meanwhile falls hook line and sinker to Jyothi (Revathi) and tries every trick in the book to woo her and eventually wins.
Murali as Selvam
Revathi as Jyothi
Sathyaraj as Devarajan
Sarath Babu as Robert Manohar
Raadhika in guest appearance
Goundamani as George Kutty
Mani Ratnam and Thyagarajan of Sathya Jyothi Films were childhood friends and after the latter became a producer, he was keen to make a film directed by Ratnam. Like with the producers of Unaru (1984), Ratnam initially narrated the script of Mouna Ragam (1986), then under the title of Divya, but Thyagarajan wanted an action film in the commercial mould and the pair began work on Pagal Nilavu. The producer suggested that Sathyaraj should play a character, while Murali and Revathi were also signed on for the lead roles in the film. Sarath Babu and Raadhika were also selected to portray supporting roles. As the film was set in a small town milieu, Ratnam felt that he could not do justice to the local dialogues and A. L. Narayanan was drafted in to help work on the dialogues.
Pagal Nilavu was the first Mani Ratnam film to have standalone songs, which had to be picturised and he shot the videos of "Maina Maina" and "Nee Appothu", one after another. In order to include more commercial elements, Thyagarajan included a comedy tack written by Livingston and Kumar, featuring Goundamani as a Malayali.