This is an old Tamil movie of 1970s that was highly recommended by veteran directors of India as a must see movie. A truly great film, Pathinaru Vayathinile (or 16 Vayathinile) is about the vulnerability of a woman, and yet her strength: at the same time, she can change the life of a man through her love, and she can mar her own life by falling for the wrong man in the first place. At a time when Tamil cinema lay submerged in cliched studio dramas starring aging heroes, Bharathiraja came with a breath of fresh air with this lovely pastoral tale.
The story is about the dreams of 16 year old girl Mayil (Sridevi) in a remote south Indian Tamilian village of India. Mayil is secretly adored and love by her handicapped cousin Chappani (Kamal Hasan) and village rowdy Prayattayan (Rajnikant). Like all young girls Mayil aspires to be the school teacher and when she knows that a doctor from city is coming in her village, she gets attracted towards him. The doctor uses Mayil and leaves her to get married. After that slowly Mayil realizes the love of Chappani towards her. When Prayattayan tries to rape Mayil, in rage of anger Chappani kills Prayattayan and goes to jail. Mayil stands by the railway track waiting for Chappani to come back.
The film’s charm lies not only in three brilliant actors, who were all raw at the time–Sridevi, Rajnikanth, and Kamal Haasan–but also in the minimalistic style the film has been directed. et in rural Tamil Nadu, the film absorbs the landscape in the story, rather than extraneously focussing on the village scenes, as so often many films make the mistake of doing (for example, Paruthi Veeran). Which is why one moves in continuity and one moves with the characters to the story’s climax. Speaking of which, it is again one of the rarest and best ever seen: maybe, much oftener seen in Tamil films. There is no sweet, contrived ending as so often in Hollywood or Hindi films; and yet, it has something of a hope left. Even if Chapani is maybe going to be sentenced to death, there was always that love for which Mayil would wait forever; and nothing can discount that. One of the highlights of the film by the way is the lovely drawl in which Chapani takes Mayil’s name: mentally retarded, yes, but his intonation of Mayil’s name has that special quality; which is how probably you get the measure of Kamal Haasan.
Rajini, Kamal, Sridevi and a host of new faces star in this all-time classic, with Ilayaraja's mind-blowing score making it a movie worth watching.