Watch Nayagan

"Are you a good man or a bad man?"
  • NR
  • 1987
  • 2 hr 25 min
  • 8.6  (22,823)

Nayagan is a 1987 Indian Tamil-language film that tells the story of an auto-rickshaw driver (Kamal Haasan) who becomes a powerful mafia don in Mumbai. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest Indian films of all time and received critical acclaim for its script, acting, and direction. The film starts with a scene where an old man(Sathyaraj) tells his life story to a reporter. Initially, he is just a poor Tamil Muslim who lives in a slum in Mumbai. He is known as Velu and earns his living as an autorickshaw driver. He is compassionate towards others and will not hesitate to put himself at risk for the sake of those he loves.

One day, his life changes when he rescues a local don's daughter from some goons. The don takes Velu under his wing and soon Velu becomes a trusted ally of the don. Velu, who now goes by the name of Nayagan, starts climbing the ranks of the underworld, but his conscience keeps haunting him. He juggles between his newfound power and his obligations towards his family.

The film expertly portrays Nayagan's character arc, from being a man who just wants to make a living to becoming the most feared mafia don of the city. The highlight of the film, however, is not Nayagan's rise to power but his journey as a human being. The script expertly weaves in social commentary about the lives of Tamil Muslims in Mumbai and the state of the city's slums.

Kamal Haasan delivers a career-defining performance as Nayagan. He brings a sense of vulnerability and rawness to the character, and one cannot help but root for him despite his wrongdoings. Saranya Ponvannan portrays Nayagan's wife, who has to bear the brunt of her husband's actions. She delivers a nuanced performance, showing the pain and inner turmoil that her character goes through.

The film is further elevated by its music and cinematography. Ilaiyaraaja's haunting score complements the narrative perfectly, and PC Sreeram's camerawork captures the grittiness of Mumbai's underbelly. Director Mani Ratnam expertly blends all these elements into a cohesive whole and delivers a film that is an experience in itself.

One of the key reasons why Nayagan is revered today is because of its impact on Indian cinema as a whole. The film set a new bar for Indian films in terms of realism and storytelling. It inspired a whole new generation of filmmakers, who sought to tell stories that were grounded in reality and had characters that were relatable to the masses.

In conclusion, Nayagan is a landmark film in the history of Indian cinema. It is a cinematic masterpiece that expertly weaves together elements of crime, drama, and social commentary. Kamal Haasan's performance stands the test of time, and the film's impact continues to be felt in Indian cinema to this day.

Nayagan doesn't appear to be available from any streaming services.
Add this movie to your Watchlist to get notified when it's available.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 25 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    8.6  (22,823)