Uthiripookkal (Eng: Scattered flowers) is a 1979 Indian Tamil drama film written and directed by J. Mahendran. The script was based on a short story titled Chitrannai by Pudhumaipithan. It stars newcomers Vijayan, Ashwini, Mathumalini and Charuhasan in prominent roles while Sarath Babu plays a cameo. Uthiripookkal’s soundtrack and background score were composed by Ilaiyaraaja. The cinematography was handled by Ashok Kumar while B. Lenin made his debut as an independent editor through the film. Uthiripookkal has been critically acclaimed and considered a landmark film in Tamil cinema. Mahendran won the Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Director and S. Janaki won the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Female Playback. In 2013, IBN Live included the film in its list of 100 greatest Indian films of all time.
Sundaravadivelu (Vijayan) is a wealthy school manager and a landlord who is a hedonist and a sadist. He finds pleasure in torturing people emotionally including his own family members. His wife Lakshmi (Ashwini) is a goodhearted homely wife, and he has two children. Sundaravadivelu never respects his wife’s feelings. He is an irresponsible husband and a father. Lakshmi’s father is indebted to Sundaravadivelu as he had borrowed money from him. Using this as a trump card, Sundaravadivelu proposes Lakshmi’s sister. But Lakshmi’s sister and father do not approve this. Sundaravadivelu is infuriated and forces out his wife from his house falsely accusing her of having an affair with the health inspector of the village. Lakshmi, who is seriously ill, passes away soon. Sundaravadivelu marries again, and his second wife shows no love or care for his kids. Meanwhile, Lakshmi’s sister develops a liking towards a school teacher working at Sundaravadivelu’s school. The teacher, knowing Sundaravadivelu’s sadism and ill mindset, resigns from school and then proposes Lakshmi’s sister. The marriage is set, and on the previous day, Lakshmi’s sister goes to Sundaravadivelu’s house, requesting him to send his kids with her, so that she can take care of her. Sundaravadivelu molests her which is seen by his second wife. His wife ditches him and go her way. The villagers are provoked and maddened now. They corner Sundaravadivelu and ask him to choose his way of death, and finish his life. Sundaravadivelu commits suicide, and in his last moments, he realises that he was always a sadist. Moments before his death he shares a tender moment with his kids.
Directed by J. Mahendran
Produced by Radha Balakrishnan
Written by Mahendran (dialogues)
Screenplay by J. Mahendran
Based on Chitrannai by Pudhumaipithan
Starring Vijayan, Ashwini, Mathumalini
Music by Ilaiyaraaja
Cinematography Ashok Kumar
Edited by B. Lenin
Production Dimple Creations
Release date 19 October 1979
Running time 129 min.