The film is a trend setting film in Tamil Cinema on love and bonding among the siblings and how each of them support the other brothers, despite adversities. The film also dwells on the need for farmers in villages to focus on cultivation instead of looking at city life. The film was a critical success and earned a certificate of appreciation from National Awards for its theme.
Pazhani(Sivaji Ganesan) a widowed farmer lives with his three younger brothers, Velu(Sriram), Raju(S. S. Rajendran), and Muthu(R. Muthuraman) and orphaned niece Kaveri(Devika). The entire family toils on land leased from Chokkalingam(T. S. Balaiah) and lead a content life together. Velu's wicked wife Nagamma leaves him after a fight with the brothers. After much pacification by Pazhani, she returns to live in a nuclear family with her husband. Muthu likes Emily(Pushpalatha), a college student.
Chokkalingam is a cunning and wicked person who is encouraged by his accounts Kalyanam(M. R. Radha) and Santhanam(Nagesh). Chokkalingam, who has an eye on emily invites her home and tries to molest her and Muthu who happens to be there rescues her, after beating Chokkalingam. Chokkalingam decides to take revenge on Pazhani's family. Pazhani and his brothers find a treasure and since it's Chokkalingam's land, they hand it over to him. The police enquire Chokkalingam and he shows a smaller pot of treasures. However, when Pazhani is interrogated, he honestly states that it was a bigger pot of treasure, leading to a raid and seizure of the treasure in Chokkalingam's house.
Chokkalingam in anger sells the leased land and Pazhani pleads for mercy. But Chokkalingam pays no heed. Meanwhile, Emily completes her studies and leaves to Chennai and this saddens Muthu.
Vino Bhave's Bhoodan(Land donation) Movements gains momentum in all villages and Chokkalingam generously 5 acres of rocky and barren land. The same land is donated by the organisers to a deserving Pazhani. Pazhani motivates his frustrated brothers to work and make the rocky and arid land fertile. Chokkalingam cunningly offers Rs. 2,000/- to Pazhani as a loan after obtaining his signature on a blank stamp paper for developing the land.
A jealous Nagamma spreads rumour that Chokkalingam favours the family because he is in a relationship with Kaveri. Pazhani immediately announces the engagement of Kaveri and Raju. Furious Nagamma poisons Pazhani's cow and Velu suspects Nagamma and while scolding her, he is bitten by a snake and dies. Nagamma reforms shocked with the sudden demise of her husband. As per Velu's desire the marriage of Raju and Kaveri takes place.
It is harvest time and chokkalingam sends his people to harvest at the land developed by Pazhani with his brothers.
Pazhani and his brothers get shocked and demand the reason. Chokkalingam shows borrowing of Rs. 12, 000/- on the stamp paper signed by Pazhani and states that since he did not repay the loan, he is harvesting to recover the dues. Pazhani is shocked at Chokkalingam's lies and deceit. Raju and Muthu get demoralized and leave the village. Kaveri decides to stay with Pazhani, who is devastated after losing his land and brothers. Raju and Muthu meet Emily at Chennai and with her help get a job and save money to buy land for their brother. Time passes and Raju and Muthu manage to save and convey this through a letter to Pazhani. But Gopal, a co-worker steals that money. An angry Raju attacks Gopal and is jailed for assault. Emily's mother dies and Muthu marries Emily. Pazhani on receiving the letter comes to meet his brothers and gets shocked to know that Raju is jailed and Muthu is married. Dejected with life, he returns to the village.
Meanwhile, Chokkalingam tries to molest nagamma and she escapes. To take revenge, Chokkalingam brands her a prostitute and brands Kaveri who comes to her support and they are excommunicated from the village. Pazhani hear this, gets angry with the villagers and becomes insane. Raju, upon release returns to the village to see this and goes to attack him. A scared Chokkalingam takes refuge in temple. Pazhani's forgiving attitude reforms Chokkalingam and he apologises for his crime and surrenders to the Police. Meanwhile, Santhanam finds out that most of Chokkalingam's land did not belong to him. The lands are taken over by the cooperative society and distributed among the landless villagers, including Pazhani's family. Muthu also returns to the village and everyone unites to work and reap the benefits.Sivaji Ganesan as Pazhani
Sriram as Velu, Pazhani's First younger brother
S. S. Rajendran as Raju, Pazhani's Second younger brother
R. Muthuraman as Muthu, Pazhani's Third younger brother
T. S. Balaiah as Chokkalingam Pannaiyar
Devika as Kaveri (as Raju's wife)
M. R. Radha as Kalyanam, Chokkalingam's Accountant
Nagesh as Sandhanam, Chokkalingam Accountant
Pushpalatha as Emily
The film does not have any artiste credit in the titles; instead it displays the credits of technicians. The film presents a radical concept of farmers should be in village and cultivate the lands so that city people will get the food.
The first Tamil film to present the concept of bonding and love among the siblings and the role of farmers in village. The film was a critical success and ran for 100 days and also won a certificate at National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil for the year.
Soundtrack was composed by Viswanathan-Ramamoorthy and Lyrics by Kannadasan. The audio was released under the label Saregama.
The film for the first time presents the bonding and love among the four siblings on screen and all the four actors have done a great job portraying their role with maturity. Sivaji Ganesan and S. S. Rajendran excelled in their role. The film's songs, which become hugely popular, contributed to the film's success. The theme on the role of farmers in the village and why they should focus on cultivating is relevant even today. The concept of living for each other among brothers set a trend in Tamil cinema. The concept of an elder brother living for other brothers and sacrificing was followed in several films in Tamil Cinema, after the success of this film. Some example can be Vanathai Pola (2000) and Aanandham (2001).
G. Dhananjayan in his book Pride of Tamil Cinema wrote that the film "for the first time presents the bonding and love among four siblings on screen and all the actors have done a great job in portraying the roles with maturity".
The film received a certificate from National Awards for Best film in the year 1964 for its theme of cultivating lands and bonding between brothers.
The film has an interesting Kadha Kaalatchepam (discourse) on the misdeeds of the landlord Chokkalingam by Nagesh and Party (songs sung by Kothamangalam Subbu) and begins with Bala Bheema bala bheema unga balathai Konjam... which impressed everyone. Surprisingly, the film does not have any artiste credit in the beginning or at the end. Only the technicians credit appeared in the film. The film presents a radical concept of farmers should be in Village and cultivate the lands so that the people in the city get their food. The film talks about why the people from village without any education should not go to the city and city should have educated people and uneducated should work on lands to support the people in the cities.