Moondru Mugam (Eng: Three Faces) is a 1982 Indian Tamil-language action film directed by A. Jagannathan. The film stars Rajinikanth in three distinct roles as Alex Pandian, Arun and John. The film was a blockbuster and ran for 175 days in theaters. It received the Tamil Nadu State Film Award Special Prize in 1982.
Arun, the son of a rich businessman Ramanathan, returns to India after 10 years in the United States, but as a saint. His shocked father enlists a press reporter, Rekha, to change him back to normal. Rekha first sets up an interview, which he thwarts. Later, on the pretense of taking him to a temple, she plans another set up.
On the way to the temple, Rekha pretends that the car has broken down and he leaves to roam around a bit when sees a crying child and offers a chocolate. Suddenly he is swarmed by more children and other villagers who confront him of being a child-kidnapper. Using the event, Rekha cuts Arun’s beard off, a symbol of piety. After a few more set up events, he renounces his sainthood.
Later, Arun goes to work and is puzzled about why his father has been sending money to a woman named Sagaya Mary for over twenty years. In a parallel scenario, a man informs Sagaya Mary that someone has proposed to her nephew John. When asked about John’s parentage, she opens up about her brother and John’s father, Alex Pandian.
A flashback ensues that explains Alex’s story. Alex, a scrupulous police officer, is ruthless on criminals and clashes with the mob boss, Egambaram. After repeated confrontations, Egambaram fatally stabs him. With his last breath, Alex vows that he will be reborn to take revenge. When Alex dies, so does his wife after giving birth to twins. Ramanathan’s wife gives birth in the same hospital but the child dies, as with her previous three pregnancies. Sagaya Mary hands over one of Alex’s children to them and he is christened Arun, while she raises the other child, John.
On his 25th birthday party, Arun gets a divine epiphany that makes him realise he is the reincarnation of Alex. He is asked to meet a woman named Asha at a hotel but it proves to be a set up. In the ensuing battle for survival, he kills the attacker and goes to jail. He comes to court to reveal the truth when suddenly a man claiming to be Alex shows up and says that he is not dead but had been in Sri Lanka the whole time. The man posing as Alex is actually John. Unknown to Arun, he is working with Egambaram, the man who murdered his father.
Later, Arun says he concocted the fact that he was an incarnation of Alex Pandian to draw the killers out. Soon, John finds the truth about Alex Pandian and Arun and fights to save his brother. However, John is fatally wounded by Egambaram who he eventually kills and throws into the sea, the same way his father was killed. The film ends with Arun and Rekha getting married.
Directed by A. Jagannathan
Produced by Thamizhazhagan & G. Thyagarajan
Screenplay by Kanaga Shanmugan, P. L. Sundar Rajan, Thamizhazhagan & Ratha Veerannan
Story by Peter Selvakumar
Starring Rajinikanth, Raadhika
Music by Sankar Ganesh
Cinematography Viswam Natarajan
Edited by K. R. Krishnan
Production Sathya Movies
Distributed by Sathya Movies
Release date 1 October 1982
Running time 134 minutes