Thulluvadho Ilamai (English: Exuberance of Youth) is a 2002 Indian Tamil teen coming of age film co-written and directed by Kasthuri Raja. It is co-written by Raja's older son Selvaraghavan and introduced Raja's second son Dhanush as an actor, who plays the lead role. Alongside Dhanush, the film also introduced other newcomers Abhinay, Sherin, Ramesh, Shilpa and Gangeshwari and features prominent film personalities Vijayakumar, Ramesh Khanna, 'Pyramid' Nadarajan as well. While the soundtrack was composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja, Viji Manuel composed the film score. The film was released on 10 May 2002 and proved to be highly successful at the box office.
The film depicts the story of six high-school classmates, three boys and three girls, coming from different strata of society, who have each their own problems in their respective families and escape from their homes, deciding to live together on their own the help of an older friend of theirs.
Mahesh (Dhanush) is the son of a poor fisherman (Thalaivasal Vijay), who grows up seeing his parents always having sex or fighting. Pooja (Sherin) is the daughter of an orthodox and very strict businessman (Pyramid Natarajan), who is always suspicious about her. Vishnu's (Abhinay) father neglects his mother and instead has his maid servant as his paramour. Anitha's (Shilpa) parents live abroad, concentrating merely on their work and business, having not time for their daughter and neglecting her. Harish (Ramesh) is regularly beaten up and mistreated by his sadistic father. These five people and another girl, Divya, (Gangeshwari) are high-school students and best friends. When they find out that one of them, Anitha, is addicted to drugs, they decide to run away from their homes along with Mani (Ramesh Khanna), a pavement bookseller and an older friend of theirs, in order to rehabilitate her, but also as a result of their discontent and feeling of alienation from their respective families.
However, the runaways have to face and deal with many problems and break down several barriers, realizing that they are not yet ready and matured enough to cope with life in the outside world and recognizing the importance of education. They finally return to their school, where the school principal (Vijayakumar) lectures the parents of the students, blaming them for the students' escape attempt and misbehaviour.Dhanush as Mahesh
Sherin as Pooja
Abhinay as Vishnu
Ramesh as Harish
Shilpa as Anitha
Gangeshwari as Divya
Ramesh Khanna as Mani
Vijayakumar as School Principal
Thalaivasal Vijay as Mahesh's Father
Pyramid Natarajan as Pooja's Father
Selvaraghavan, son of director Kasthuri Raja had written the script and also directed the film. When his family faced financial pressures in the early 2000s with his father was out of work, and subsequently they decided to put their remaining earnings into the film. Featuring his brother Dhanush in his first role, alongside Sherin and Abhinay, the film told the coming-of-age story of six high school students and featured a hit soundtrack by Yuvan Shankar Raja.
The soundtrack was composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja, marking the first collaboration of the Yuvan Shankar Raja-Selvaraghavan duo, which would later go on to become one of the most successful combos in Tamil cinema. Viji Manuel composed the film score on Yuvan Shankar Raja's request who had to leave for London on an urgent work. The soundtrack initially featured 7 songs overall, later a second CD was released which included 3 additional short tracks. The song "Theenda Theenda", based on the Carnatic rāga Reetigowla, had two versions, a female solo and a duet version. The lyrics were written by Pa. Vijay except for the song "Kann Munney", which has lyrics written by Selvaraghavan.
The album, receiving positive reviews, described as youthful and refreshing, is considered a breakthrough album for composer Yuvan Shankar Raja, turning him into a leading composer in the Tamil film industry. Thanks to this album, he grew up in popularity, particularly among the younger generation, who could identify themselves with the songs.
After taking a small opening, the film began to get teen audiences to cinema halls for its adolescent themes, while also being publicized in quarters as "soft porn" film. It subsequently went on to become a sleeper hit and won positive reviews from critics for breaking the stereotypes of Tamil films. Post-release, Selvaraghavan stated that he had also directed the film but was forced to credit his more established film-maker father Kasthuri Raja as the director, in order to help the project find a distributor.
This film was later remade for Telugu audience, in 2003, as "Juniors" starring Allari Naresh and Sherin reprising her role.