Thappida Thala

Thappida Thala
Directed by K. Balachander
Produced by B. A. Ramanujacharya Pandit
.B M. Venkatesh
Chandulal Jain
Prasanna Kumar
Screenplay by K. Balachander
Story by K. Balachander
Starring Rajnikanth
Music by Vijaya Bhaskar
Cinematography B. S. Loknath
Edited by N. R. Kittu
Lalitha Lakshmi Combines
Release dates
6 October 1978
Running time
131 minutes
Country India
Language Kannada

Thappida Thaala (Kannada: ತಪ್ಪಿದ ತಾಳ, English: Wrong Notes) is a 1978 Indian Kannada language film directed by K. Balachander. It stars Rajnikanth and Saritha in the lead roles.

It was simultaneously made in Tamil as Thappu Thalangal. It was later remade in Malayalam as Kazhukan


Devu (Rajnikanth), a local thug whose weapon of choice is a bicycle chain he sports casually around the neck. He charges 30 to slice a finger, 300 to chop a hand, 3000 for the leg, and ten times as much to dispose off the whole body. On one of his nightly rounds, he is pursued by a cop and seeks refuge at a whorehouse run by a hooker Sarasu (Saritha). Despite her vehement protests, he stays put and leaves only at daybreak, but her persistent cough stays with him. At a theatre, Devu watches an advertisement for Glycodin Cough Syrup and proceeds to buy her a bottle. They bond over the cough syrup and philosophize late into the night, exchanging notes on their immoral lifestyles.

Devu's assault on a trade union leader delivering medicine to a critically ill worker leads to a mishap. Watching the wailing of the widow of the worker, he is traumatized and breaks down at Sarasu's place. In an inspired moment, he suggests they remap their lives and chart a moral course. Sarasu is attracted by the notion of giving up prostitution and leading a normal life as Devu's wife, though she wonders if they will be able to pull it off. The couple go to great lengths to secure a job for Devu and lead a normal life, but there are too many skeletons in the closet. Devu is no longer feared for his might, and Sarasu's past clientele continue to haunt the joint. She gets a loan for Devu from his evil brother Soma, who continues to harass her on that pretext. In a particularly traumatic sequence of events, Sarasu is raped by Soma as a helpless Devu watches, pinned down by Soma's henchmen. The couple resolve to repay Soma's loan, and Devu undertakes a botched robbery attempt. Devu is imprisoned and in his absence, Sarasu has an abortion. The couple's plans for normality never attain fruition. The inevitable return to lives of vice is especially tragic and heartbreaking.

Balachander excels at the verite portrayal of the daily drama in the lives of pimps, hookers, and their varied clientele, as well as the politicians who hire thugs like Devu to achieve their aims through violence. Devu's inherent goodness is contrasted with his "evil twin", a stepbrother Soma who thwarts his every attempt at morality and finally succumbs at Devu's hands. Kamal Haasan has an interesting cameo as a Hindi speaking client of Sarasu. Balachander skewers middle-class morality and takes potshots at the hypocrisy of do-gooders. In the final analysis, the film is an indictment of society at large, for not allowing lesser mortals to rejoin society and return to a life of normality.



Thappida Thala
Soundtrack album by Vijaya Bhaskar
Released 1978
Genre Feature film soundtrack

Vijaya Bhaskar composed the music for the soundtrack album that consists of three tracks.[1]

1."Thappida Thalagalu"  Hunsur KrishnamurthyS. P. Balasubrahmanyam 
2."Yaathara Vichithra Baalu"   S. P. Balasubrahmanyam 
3."Olavinda Nalle"   Vani Jairam 


  1. "Thappida Thala (1978)". 27 April 2013. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
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