Kamal Haasan, Saranya
Crime, Drama, Musical
- Release date
21 Oct 1987
- Release sources
(நாயகன்) Velu Nayakan, who witnesses the brutal murder of his father, kills a corrupt policeman and escapes to Mumbai, only to become a gangster.
An anti-government union leader's only son Sakthivel "Velu" is arrested by the police to find his whereabouts. They trick Velu into believing them as his well-wishers and release him. When Velu meets his father, the police kill t...he latter. Feeling betrayed, Sakthivel stabs the police inspector and runs away to Bombay, where he is raised by Hussain, a kind-hearted smuggler living in the Dharavi slums.
One day, when Hussain is ill, Velu, now a young man, decides to carry out the smuggling activity on behalf of Hussain. His demand for a bigger commission from the smugglers, this angers them and they involve a police inspector Kelkar to arrest Hussain and kill him in jail. When they close the case as suicide, Velu is enraged knowing the truth and murders Kelkar. He later takes care of Kelkar's family which consists of his wife and a mentally challenged son Ajit. Kelkar's wife knew that her husband's immorality resulted in his death.
Velu meets Neela, a schoolgirl forced into prostitution who has interests to pursue her education. Her innocence and courage impress Velu, and he eventually marries her. They have two children: Surya and Charumathi. Velu's power and command gradually increases in Dharavi as he voices out in support of local people which gains him huge popularity among the masses. His rival smugglers in Bombay try to murder Velu in an attack but Neela is killed instead. After avenging his wife's death, Velu sends his children to Madras to safeguard them.
As the years pass, Velu's power further increases in Bombay and is fondly called "Velu Naicker" by everyone. Surya and Charumathi return to Bombay as adults after education. Surya follows Velu's footsteps, a fact that he is initially hesitant of, and later learns to accept. But when Surya is killed trying to flee the police in a botched mission, Charumathi blames Velu for the deaths of Neela and Surya. She decides to leave Bombay citing that she wants to get away from her father and his violent ways. Charumathi disowns her father and leaves his home.
Some years later, a new assistant commissioner of police, Patil, is deputed in Bombay to eliminate the gangsters; his first target is Velu. He collects all the evidence needed for the arrest of Velu. When Velu comes to meet Patil, he learns that Charumathi is married to him and they have a son. Patil too learns that his wife is Velu's daughter and suspects that she might help her father to flee from the police.
Velu absconds and his allies are arrested. He decides to surrender to the police to save them from undergoing torture in the police station. Through Charumathi, Velu sets up his surrender. Patil is shocked due to the lack of proper evidence against Velu as none comes forward from the public as a witness against the crimes committed by him.
Patil meets Kelkar's widow and the now grown-up Ajit and requests to disclose the truth behind her husband's death in the court. She refuses and defends Velu's acts. But Ajit is shocked after learning the truth. Velu is produced in the court and is exonerated due to a lack of valid and strong evidence. He is overcome with emotion when his young grandson (Charumathi's son) asks him if he is a good or bad man, and Velu admits he does not know. Velu's grandson reveals his name as Sakthivel. Velu steps out of the court amid a big cheer from his supporters, until Ajit shoots him to avenge his father's death; Velu dies on the spot.