Saroja Saamaan Nikaalo – The thesis

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This post is very Chennai centric. Apologies to those readers who might feel a little left out.

Jillumadrasi asks me,

will someone please explain this “saroja samaan nikalo” funda to me. I am completely out of it, I know ..

(For the completely and hopelessly uninitiated, that is an expression uttered before a popular song from the cult movie about street cricket, Chennai 600028)

I turned to good old Google, and it turns out she doesn’t have much of a clue either. Not one to give up wasting time so easily, I even tried the new Google Tamil on-screen keyboard widget:


No luck with that either.

But, after some devious and cunning use of Google (I bribed it with 2 Marina beach Chilli bajjis), Balaji did lead me to this excellent trivia blog on Kollywood which informed me,

According to SP Charan, this line is inspired from a piece of dialogue from Mudhalvan, when the one-day CM, Arjun, asks a Saettu (colloquial reference to a north Indian businessman) to vacate the flat which was originally allocated for a slum-dweller. The Seth tells his wife, “Sushma, saara saamaan nikaalo…

As a concerned citizen of the blogosphere wondering why some responsible blogger has not expounded far more on the origins and symbolism of this sophisticated piece of Chennai verbiage, I took it upon myself to put this matter to motion (In the blogosphere, no matter is put at rest, everything is renegotiable)

The origins of “Saroja Saamaan Nikaalo” – The unanswered questions

We know Sushma is the wife of the Saettu (Tanglish reference to opulent North Indian (usually Marwari) living in TN) but why did she metamorphose to Saroja?

The Saettu in Mudhalvan clearly instructs Sushma to nikaalo (remove) saara (all) saamaan (stuff). But PremG Amaren very clearly skips the “saara”. A rudimentary knowledge of advanced calculus tells me that the difference between “saara” and no “saara” is “some mysteriously missing stuff”. What is that? Where is it hidden? What hidden message is being conveyed by the deliberate deletion of that word?

The context of “Saroja Saamaan Nikaalo” – The unexplored obtuse angles

To begin to answer the questions above, one needs to understand the broader socio-political context in which the two movies were set. Mudhalvan was a 1999 Shankar potboiler set in an era when it was fashionable for a Tamil hero to show the big bully North Indian who the boss was. “Saara Saamaan Nikaalo” was a rallying call. It was an outcry of suppressed Tamil chauvinism. It was, in true Tanglish style, a polite reminder to those pesky Northies to take their saamaan and move out.

Ofcourse, in 2007, things have changed. The pointless anti-Hindi aggression of the 90s has been replaced with the Jalsa-laced sarcasm of the new Chennai millennium. Nobody wants to be heard mouthing jingoistic phrases such as “Saara Saamaan Nikaalo” any more. The cult heroes of Chennai 600028 aren’t the crass types who shout their voices hoarse at Anti-Hindi protest marches. They simply want the “Saamaan” (items) to come out (Nikaalo) and do jalsa. And the item girls do come. And note, our heroes don’t want “all” (Saara) of them. Just the ones who are game enough to dance to a gaana-song.
As they say, North South bhai bhai. South baays North gaals oh-boy oh-boy.

Which leaves us with why Sushma turned into Saroja? Simple. Proper speakers of Tanglish will unfortunately pronounce Sushma as “Susuma”, which, as we all can agree, sounds ridiculous. Thus the change to an earthy item-girlesque name – Saroja.


32 responses to “Saroja Saamaan Nikaalo – The thesis”

  1. Marc Avatar

    It is really odd how it became popular. I don’t think there is any other instance of such a thing happening. That is, dialogue spoken by a relatively unimportant character in a movie becoming a sort of meme.

  2. anantha Avatar


  3. anantha Avatar

    Btw, did you check the interlude in the song between 1:14 and 1:32 of this song below? 😀

    I am *VERY* proud of myself!

  4. jillumadrasi Avatar

    aa h…a ….

    You devoted an entire post to clear my chinna sandegam!

    Truly, ami tumake bhalo bashe…

  5. jillumadrasi Avatar

    aiyyo! Now, I also wish someone who went to this talk:

    Aug. 23: Badri Seshadri, publisher, New Horizon Media – ‘Street Cricket in Chennai’. With clips from the film – ‘Chennai 600 028’

    will share it on YouTube.

  6. krishashok Avatar

    You are welcome.

    Oh yes I did. Spidey Saamaan Nikaalo 😉 That’s how I found your blog, I think.

    i love lucy,
    Thank you

  7. ChronicWorrier Avatar

    Do you do posts on request? Case study: Omahazeeya wahiyayan meehavevasayan in the song Uyirin uyire from Kaakha Kaakha. (I probably got the lyrics all wrong, all the more reason to hear yr interpretation.)
    Mikka nanri.

  8. Chennaifan Avatar

    Saar..unga kaala konjam kaaminga!!!

    Epidi ipidi elam??

  9. Pri Avatar

    thanks. i now have some basic information which i will use and misuse each time someone asks me wtf my tee shirt reads.

  10. krishashok Avatar

    Chronic Worrier,
    Saroja Saamaan nikalo is a matter of national importance. Osama’s love song that he wrote to his school time girlfriend, who rejected his advances and asked him to go and do agriculture (Osamasiya Wahiyayan Nee Vevasaayaan..) is not. But I will ponder upon it and see if any hidden messages exist. If they do, I will let you know. If they don’t, Ill make some up, and let you know.

    Thank you. But as I stated in the Priestly matters post, I do not approve of any form of foot-touching 🙂

    You have a SSN t-shirt? Dayumn. I need one of those.

  11. krishashok Avatar

    Innaadhu? relatively unimportant characteraa? As PremG Amaren would say “Idhu Inna Kodumada saami”

  12. balachandar s Avatar

    annae. from the web2labs we are thinking about a honorary doctorate for our thalai. engaeyo poiteenga.

  13. anantha Avatar

    Pri: You have a tshirt that reads SSN? :O

    HOW do I get one of those????????

  14. Srikanth Avatar

    Annathey, bilaagu summa tucker-a keedhuma.

  15. Pri Avatar

    but there are tons of other places online that you could use too.

  16. I Avatar

    aayiram por kaasu dhan kudukanum. sooperappu.

  17. Karthik Abhiram Avatar

    Awesome post!!

    @ChronicWorrier: Thanks to a Rs 50 DVD edition of “Kaakha Kaakha” (copied off an Ayngaran videos original), I have an explanation coming right from the horse’s mouth (Gautham Menon’s Director Commentary)… it doesn’t actually mean anything 🙂 He just wanted some unusual vocals there it seems. Whether Menon or Jayaraj came up with that, is another question though.

    I better get back to doing some work now.

  18. Ravi Avatar

    Another thing why SAROJA SAAMAAN NIKALO became so famous is because of the STAR VIJAY Programme, “Kalakka Povadhu Yaaru” now termed as “Kalakka Povadhu Champions, part III”, where they use this sentence and a piece of the music towards the end of this song, before they introduce a performer to the audience. I think, this STAR VIJAY programme gave huge popularity to this song, rather than the song getting popularised on its own.

  19. Giridhar Chandrasekar Avatar

    @Anand: Deivameeee….இப்படி ஒரு சக்க மொக்கைய இது வரைக்கும் எங்கயும் பார்த்தது இல்லே …கேட்டது இல்லே ..

    @ Ravi: did u watch the special kalaka povathu yaaru where vivek was the guest? He asks the hosts…..”யாரு அந்த சரோஜா? எந்த மலிகை கடைக்கு போனாங்க ? ஏன் இன்னும் சாமான் எடுத்துட்டு போகல?” Namma மொக்கை Deivam Anand has probably answered him….

  20. Giridhar Chandrasekar Avatar

    Sorry …mix up.. @ Ashok…. not @ Anand

  21. Pri Avatar

    Saara samaan = Saaro ja 😛

  22. Jaya Avatar

    Aaathaa .. Maariyaathaa .. evvlo per vettiya irukkom!!

    Whatever it is .. Saroja Saamaan Nikaalo nu kettaale oru kuthu paattu vara povudhungra oru arumayaana feeling varudhu!!

  23. ahumanbean Avatar

    KA saar,

    Please not to be apol.gising wall the time for being Madras Centric.

    Ve poovar peeples in the new HellHole called Bengaluru need our room of our own – that room I call eeet the AK blog.

    Walso, I jhimbly like being within our own lingo – witness the grrlfriend gibberishy Meenaachi-talk wonly my close grrfriends and I unnderstand, thang heavns wonly

    (re:Saroja Saamaan Nikaalo – The thesis
    August 24, 2007 · 24 Comments

    This post is very Chennai centric. Apologies to those readers who might feel a little left out.)

  24. ahumanbean Avatar

    saary saar: that room I call eet the KA blog.
    Wolso I call eet the Bikderdude space.

    And hereby I vill admit that you boys are funnier in blogosphere than ve grrls.

    Ve grrls are funnier in RL, though 😉

  25. kameene Avatar

    super paadu machi

  26. KAaddict Avatar

    Gurus of the SS…Those guys should learn how to be subtle from us…:-)

  27. gg Avatar

    sarajo samali kanno……enlightening piece of wisdom…
    ……and here i was thinking it meant….”sarajo try to manage” (samali as in manage….. )….. :/

  28. T.sengadir Avatar

    My Machan told me that this is a dialogue from Gemini, a vikram film.

  29. Askalakadibusku Avatar

    Deivaneeeee asatinga

  30. Aishwarya Avatar

    It’s been almost a decade since you wrote this but for some reason I randomly thought to look up this phrase today. What a thoughtful and interesting piece to read. You are right that this hasn’t been expanded upon a lot on the internet. I also love your sophisticated writing style.
    …Although I gotta ask, was it really pointless anti-Hindi rhetoric back in the 90s?

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