CHENNAI: The death of Mahalakshmi, 48-year-old daughter of Mumbai’s yesteryear don Varadharajan Mudaliar alias Varada, on Wednesday evoked memories of Charumathi, the daughter of Velu Nayakan, the protoganist of the 1987 Tamil feature film, Nayagan.
For, the character of Velu Nayakan was structured around Varada, who died in in the city a year after the film was released. It was rumoured then that Mani Rathnam, the director of the film, even screened the film for Varada, who had by then called it a day.
Despite much criticism that the film was a take-off from Hollywood blockbuster Godfather, Nayagan was a quintessentially Tamil film that narrated the story of a Tamilian from Thoothukudi (Varada is said have hailed from the same town) who lands in Mumbai as a boy and how he turns into a benevolent don.
One of the key characters, played by bubbly actress Karthika, is Charumathi, the daughter of Nayakan. In the film, Charumathi rebels against the father — Kamal Haasan who went on to win the the Best Actor award for his role — as she does not like the criminal activities indulged in by his gang members.
In one poignant scene, Charumathi tells her father to ‘stop’ everything and Velu Nayakan replies: “You tell ‘them’ to ‘stop’ first.” He also identifies ‘them’ as various villainous characters who had been responsible for the killing of a few people close to his heart and part of his life.
To the daughter, Velu Nayakan says that he cannot ‘stop’, suggesting that he a victim of circumstance. Then the daughter leaves him and returns to his life only accidentally a little before he is killed.
Nayakan, who is very fond of his daughter, and is distressed when she leaves home, however, does not agree to a close aide’s suggestion that they look for her.