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The violent mobster in Nayakan is a savior deity. Gangster Epic Despite adapting conventions from the gangster drama genre in the West, Nayakan's pedestalling accomplishment is an autochthonous realism interspersed with commercial elements from popular Indian cinema.

The painstakingly constructed period verisimilitude revolutionized the commercial medium with an aesthetic virtuoso usually reserved for art-house films. Receiving near-unanimous critical acclaim upon its release in October as well as subsequent box office success, Nayakan remains to date one of the finest gangster dramas to come from India's cinemas.

Thirty years on, no list of the best Indian films of all time is complete without Nayakan. A status foreseen by an India Today reviewer who believed the gangster epic deserved " a permanent place in the Indian cinema pantheon " after watching Nayakan at the 12th International Film Festival in Delhi In her retrospective of '80s Bollywood, writer Madhu Jain proclaims Indian screen legend Kamalhaasan, who plays the titular Mafioso Velu Naicker, as Indian cinema's " actor of the decade " for his performance in films like Nayakan.


However, as the review makes clear, it failed to. India's intelligentsia also felicitated Nayakan.

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Three National Film Awards were given by the state in Nayakan was also included in the Moving Arts Film Journal's list of hundred greatest films of all time in The international film database IMDb currently ranks Nayakan as the third highest rated film from India of all time, making it the top Indian gangster film on the list. Needless to say, a polysemic text like Nayakan opens itself to diverse and at times contradictory interpretations. Professor Venkatesh Chakravarthy, writing in The Toronto Review, reads Nayakan intertextually with other films by Ratnam as permeated by a middle-class Hindu worldview and morality.

The Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema interprets the parochialism of Nayakan as a form of ethno-linguistic nationalism. The portrayal of mob boss Velu Naicker being the composite of three decades of iconic Tamil politicians' images in India. The interpellation of a migrant community forced into insularity by an inhospitable host environment creates the conditions for provincialism in this reading.

The significance of Nayakan also lies in its religious allegory. While this supertext seems too obvious to miss, such an interpretation appears either disregarded at best or suppressed at worst. The entreatments of deification in Nayakan are not merely instantiations but a coherent motif of mythic ascent. An epic bildungsroman, Nayakan is the celluloid simulation of a hero's apotheosis from street urchin to deity, summoning memories of extradiegetic realities.

If the transformation of Shakthivelu to Naicker-Ayya is a heroic journey of sorts, it is also, more importantly, a process of involuntary deification, as such.

Veneration of the urban social bandit by the slum dwellers in the text coheres with the subaltern predilection to ascribe divinity to the benign though we are warned of the consequences of blind faith. Critical to the mythopoeia of Nayakan is the dynamic of bouleversement, which is the inversion of existing power structures, mythology, and even popular cultural stereotype. Cultural expectations are overturned in a variety of ways, which appears consonant with the film's creative enterprise.

Through these subversive devices, Nayakan opens pathological vistas into why and how men become gods in specific historical and political contexts.

She's Dating the Gangster () - IMDb

Plot Summary Nayakan begins with a Tamil boy, Shaktivelu Naicker, fleeing from India's southeastern coast after stabbing to death the policeman who executed in cold blood his trade unionist father, who is wrongly accused of being a terrorist.

Velu, who drifts up northwest to the city of Bombay, befriends a Tamil street urchin who brings him to the petty smuggler Hussein Bhai living in the city's shantytowns. Hussein Bhai takes both kids under his care. The devout and compassionate Hussein Bhai's creed, 'as long as you do good for people, it is not wrong', impels Velu who both literally and figuratively picks up the smuggling ropes from him.

When we meet Velu again as an adult he stands up to the North Indian Inspector Kelkar water-cannoning the slum populace. Velu is brutally tortured in jail for his impudence. When Velu tries to supplement Hussei Bhai's smuggling to demand higher wages, his boss gets Kelkar to kill Hussein Bhai.

Velu avenges Hussein Bhai's murder by slaying Kelkar. Velu also has to protect the slum dwellers from being evicted by a Hindi-speaking real estate baron, in cahoots with a local crime boss, who wants to build a shopping mall where the shantytown stands.

Supplanting the crime boss, Velu becomes the mafia-don Naicker-Ayya to the migrant Tamils and Velu Bhai to his underworld colleagues. As Naicker fortifies his smuggling empire and takes over control of Bombay's harbor, rival mobsters murder his wife. Naicker, in turn, eliminates his wife's killers. His motherless children, sent to live with their aunt after their mother's death to insulate them from Naicker's life of crime, grow up to become adults who take antithetical positions towards their father the city's godfather.

His son Surya aspires to follow his father's suit but his daughter Charumathi detests her father's lifestyle, blaming him for her mother's demise.

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When Surya dies in a car crash at a petrol station after bungling a cover-up job to put away a testifier, seeing her brother's death as the last straw, Charumathi leaves home. Hide Caption 8 of 25 Photos: Great movie twists "Soylent Green" — What is Soylent Green, the popular foodstuff in an overcrowded future?

Great movie twists "Planet of the Apes" — Five years earlier, Heston revealed another of the movies' great twists at the end of "Planet of the Apes" Believing he's traveled to an alien world populated by talking apes, it's only as the movie concludes -- with the Statue of Liberty emerging from a beach -- that he realizes he's on a future Earth.

Hide Caption 10 of 25 Photos: Hide Caption 11 of 25 Photos: Sutherland's character has visions of seeing his child in a red coat, but it's actually a serial killer -- and Sutherland's visions are actually about himself. The haunting film was directed by Nicolas Roeg. Hide Caption 12 of 25 Photos: Great movie twists "The Wicker Man" — When the chaste detective played by Edward Woodward travels to a small island to investigate a missing child in 's "The Wicker Man," little does he realize he's about to become the sacrifice he thought he was looking into.

Christopher Lee, who plays the island's leader, has said he believes "The Wicker Man" is "the best-scripted film I ever took part in. Well, there's a reason only Norton's character can see Durden: He exists only in the narrator's troubled mind. Hide Caption 14 of 25 Photos: And thus the battle between the Rebels and the Empire becomes very personal. Hide Caption 15 of 25 Photos: Great movie twists "Saw" — For almost the entire running time of "Saw"a corpse lies in a pool of blood on the floor of well-hidden washroom.

Meanwhile, two chained figures, played by Cary Elwes and Leigh Whannell, realize they're part of a brutal serial killer's game. After much gore and misdirection, the serial killer is revealed to be the corpse -- who's not so dead after all. Hide Caption 16 of 25 Photos: Great movie twists "Diabolique" — The French film "Diabolique" remains a model for the psychological thriller. A wife and a mistress decide to murder their shared lover, a brutal schoolmaster.

But when his body disappears, who's really controlling the plot? Turns out the real target was the wife. But the movie lets the audience wonder if she, too, is really dead.

Hide Caption 17 of 25 Photos: Hide Caption 18 of 25 Photos: As the movie ends, he blissfully walks on water, giving his character a holier level. Hide Caption 19 of 25 Photos: Great movie twists "The Cabin in the Woods" — "The Cabin in the Woods" is, like "Scream," as much a parody of horror movie cliches as it is a horror movie itself. But the final twist, including an uncredited performer, shows that underneath the parody is an apocalyptic heart.

Hide Caption 20 of 25 Photos: Hide Caption 21 of 25 Photos: In the film, a reporter Warren Beatty, left, with Hume Cronyn, center turns up an assassination conspiracy, but instead of revealing it to the world, he ends up the target.