Kizhakke Pogum Rail (English: Eastbound Train) is a 1978 Indian Tamil film, directed by P. Bharathiraja, starring newcomers Sudhakar and Raadhika in lead roles. The film had a musical score by Ilaiyaraaja and was released on 10 August 1978. The film was a blockbuster and completed a 364-day run at the box office.
The film starts with the young woman Panchali (Raadhika) gets off the train named ‘Kizhakke Pogum Rail’ and lands in the village Thamaraikulam which follows strict rules. There, Panchali is accommodated by her sister Karuthamma (Gandhimathi) and her brother-in-law Ramaiah (Goundamani), Panchali informs her that their mother died a couple of days ago. Ramaiah starts to have an eye on Panchali.
Paranjothi (Betha Sudhakar) is an unemployed graduate and a big fan of poet Subramania Bharati who lives his father Maruthu (G. Srinivasan) and his sister Kanniyamma. His father Maruthu is a barber and considers Paranjothi as a good-for-nothing like all the villagers. After getting married, Kanniyamma leaves her birth home to live with her husband’s family.
Panchali and Paranjothi slowly fall in love with each other. One day, the villagers spots Paranjothi running behind Panchali. At the gram panchayat (village court), the panchayat members blame Paranjothi for trying to behave badly toward the young woman. Only the retired military man Pattalathaar (Vijayan) and the farmer Ponnandi (K. Bhagyaraj) support him but the panchayat members overlook them and they punish him. Maruthu shaved off the hair of his son and Paranjothi parades on donkey in the streets of the village. Whereas Ramaiah forces his wife Karuthamma to burn Panchali’s arm with a piece of wood.
After the humiliation, Maruthu commits suicide in the village’s lake, Paranjothi decides to leave the village and he promises Panchali that he will come back to marry her. He also informs her that he will write a message on the last compartment of the ‘Kizhakke Pogum Rail’ train. In city, after several interviews, he finally finds a decent job. In the meantime, at village court, Ramaiah complains that Karuthamma is a barren woman and he puts forward his wish to get married with Panchali. Few day later, the village is battered by heavy rains. To stop the rain, the villagers contrive the way to stop it, executing an ancient belief : one virgin woman has to walk naked around the village at sunrise. Unexpectedly, Panchali is chosen to be that woman.
The day of the ritual, Paranjothi gladly returns at his village and he sees Panchali completely naked. Despite the fact that Paranjothi was devastated, he covers Panchali with his Dhoti and they both run away from the angry villagers. Pattalathaar helps the couple by stalling the villagers and he is killed in the process. The lovers manage to catch the running train ‘Kizhakke Pogum Rail’ under the eyes of the villagers.
Directed by P. Bharathiraja
Produced by S. A. Rajkannu
Written by R. Selvaraj (dialogues)
Screenplay by P. Bharathiraja
Story by R. Selvaraj
Starring Sudhakar, Raadhika, Janagaraj, Vijayan, Goundamani
Music by Ilaiyaraaja
Cinematography P. S. Nivas
Edited by T. Thirunavukkarasu
Production Sri Amman Creations
Release date 10 August 1978
Running time 125 min