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Avargal (Them)/1977: Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth, Ravi Kumar, Sujata, Leelavathi; Director: K Balachander

A tad stagey by today’s standards, this film still has much to recommend it.

Sujata, when young, falls in love. For various reasons, she is unable to marry her boyfriend. Instead, she ends up as the wife of Rajinikanth.

Unable to endure the sadistic ways of her husband, Sujata leaves her home with her child, to make a new life for herself in another city.

Her colleague at work, there, is the widower Kamal Haasan. He appoints himself her Man Friday and makes no secret of the torch he holds for her.

The boyfriend, meanwhile, re-enters her life. Soon after, so does her emotionally abusive husband.

That a woman could throw aside her husband was radical, way back then. The film was notable for a superb cameo by Rajinikanth.

Kamal, meanwhile, did it again: went through months of ventriloquism lessons to lend authenticity to his onscreen character who pursues the art form as a hobby and second profession.

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