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Top 10 Punch Dialogues of Tamil Cinema
Punch dialogues, contrary to popular opinion, are not something new and they have always there in movies, even in Hollywood ones, for that matter. For a punch dialogue to reach the masses and to remain embedded in their consciousness, it is not required that the dialogue should get repeated often. Clark Gable’s ‘Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn’ in ‘Gone with the wind’ has been one of the immortal lines ever. Which tells you that a dialogue just delivered once with telling effect is often enough. And who can forget Marlon Brando’s ‘Make me an offer I can’t refuse’ in ‘Godfather’?
For a punch dialogue to enter the hall of fame, it should meet certain qualifications. One, it should be able to stand the test of time; another is that the dialogue should get so popular that it should unobtrusively become part of our everyday language.

Have a look at our collection of some of the best ‘punch’ dialogues ever to grace the Tamil silver screen!
Vanji Kottai Valiban
10.‘Manandal Maha Devi. Illayael Marana Devi!’ – P S Veerappa, the evil scheming minister does not just stop with one of his trademark guffaws but also has the temerity to announce his liking for Savithri, the Princess Mahadevi , and steals thunder from an upcoming handsome hero MGR with this punch line in Mahadevi.

9.‘Sabaash, sariyana potti!’ – P S Veerappa goes ballistic, watching the competition between the dancing sensations of those times, Padmini and Vyjayanti Mala, with this innocuous but popular line in ‘Vanchi Kottai Valiban’.
You hear this piece of dialogue even today whenever two beautiful females appear in public places and someone has said this dialogue is a “gentleman’s version of a wolf-whistle.”

8. ‘Netrikann thirapinum kutram kutramae!’ – A P Nagarajan is not one to be outdone by an angry Shiva (Sivaji) who arrives at the durbar of the Pandian King to defend the ditty he ghostwrites for Dharumi and comes up with this classic one-liner in Thiruvilayadal. Has almost attained the status of a literary metaphor and probably has even inspired someone to start a magazine bearing that name.
Vietnam Veedu
7. ‘Nee munthinda nokku, naan munthinda nekku’ – Prestige Padmanabhan Sivaji feels traumatized after his retirement from service and also by the neglect and indifference of his beloved children. He has only this one-liner to console his wife Padmini in ‘Vietnam Veedu’ and the handkerchiefs come out to stifle the sobs and sniffs from the ladies section of the hall.

6.‘Parattai, patthavachitiyae parattai!’ – 16 Vayathinile is a watershed film in the Tamil cinema history for it irrevocably altered the course of movies made this side of Cooum. Bharathiraja came into his own, Ilayaraja the maestro gave the music lovers a taste of things to come and Rajini, Kamal and Sridevi showed they had arrived.
If Sappani ('Aathaa Aadu valathuchu...kozhi valathuchu...naay valakkala...') got rave reviews and awards, it was Rajini (‘Idhu eppadi irukku’) who walked away with the front benchers’ whistles. But, no one can forget this dialogue which continues to be in vogue and used in every day conversation even now. The Goundamani phenomenon was born with this movie and thanks to ‘Parattai’, he has gone on to give many kick-ass (?!) performances with his dim-witted deputy, the semi-trousered Senthil.
5.‘Neenga nallavara kettavara?’ – The grandson of Varadaraja Naicker (Kamal Hassan) asks a seemingly innocent question in ‘Nayagan’, little knowing its deep philosophical implications. Naicker is stumped and says he does not know. Was the do-gooder criminal a good guy or a bad one? Was this question meant for the viewers?

4. ‘Kadavulae, Kadavulae’- Rajini to Kushboo in Annamalai. Thanks to a comedy with a snake and this classic line.
Also, this film incidentally was the first one that carried ‘Super Star’ Rajini in graphics in the opening credits.
3.‘Mannippu, thamizhla enakku pidikkatha vaarthai!’ –Statistics and violence prone Professor Ramana takes up arms to protect the society against corrupt officials and with this classic quote, polishes off vermin, in Eastwoodian style. The line has entered into every day language and has been parodied tirelessly, an indication of the popularity of a dialogue. Some say that this was the movie that brought out the politician in Vijayakanth to the fore. If ‘Captain’ ever has a successful political career, then this line will probably attain a cult status among his followers.
Rajini & Vadivelu
2.‘Maapu, vechuttanya aappu!’ – ‘Neenga engiyo poittenga saar’ says an admiring ‘Yettu’ to his smirking boss Janagaraj in ‘Apoorva Sahodarargal’ and caused a laugh riot among Tamil audiences across the world. But, the number two status has to go to Vadivelu who brought the theatre down with his antics with this one in Chandramukhi. And one never knew what happened to ‘Kovalu’ whose search he was on!
1.‘Naan oru thadavai sonna nooru thadavai sonna madhiri’ – If one were to name a dialogue as the ‘mother of all punch dialogues’, then this one has to get the honor.

(There is an interesting story behind the origin of this quote. While at home, Rajini, once overheard his wife Latha scolding their children, when they were showing slackness in doing their homework. Like a school teacher, she told them angrily, “I can’t repeat things again and again. If I explain something once then that means I have explained to you hundred times!” And thus an immortal line that would launch a thousand parodies was born.)
The quote shows no signs of decline in popularity despite the passage of time – the movie appeared a decade ago - and it still remains the pet theme of many mimicry artistes, copywriters and writers of SMS jokes. Another charm of ‘Naan oru thadavai sonna’ is that no one but Rajini could have pulled it off the way he did it in ‘Baasha’. In fact, it would be right to say that the concept of punch dialogues for heroes started only after the arrival of this gem of a dialogue!
Everyone has his own list of favourites and this just happens to be the list of our editorial team. We invite our readers to send their comments along with their own list of Top Ten to: behindw@behindwoods.com
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