|Written by||S. Shankar
|Music by||A. R. Rahman|
|Cinematography||K. V. Anand|
|Editing by||B. Lenin
V. T. Vijayan
|Running time||171 minutes|
|Box office||100 crore (US$15 million)|
Mudhalvan (English: Chief Minister) is a Tamil political thriller film co-written, directed and co-produced by S. Shankar. The film features Arjun, Manisha Koirala and Raghuvaran in the lead roles with Manivannan, Vijayakumar and Hanifa portraying other significant roles. The film featured an award-winning soundtrack composed by A. R. Rahman, cinematography by K. V. Anand and dialogues by Sujatha.
The film revolves around an ambitious TV journalist, Pughazhendi, who interviews the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Pughazhendi asks the tough questions, the Minister starts trembling and asks him to put his money where his mike is, and become the CM for a day. After using up a few lifelines mentally, he agrees and does such a great job on his first day, that the voters eventually elect him to be their permanent leader. The subsequent unpopularity and jealousy that the Chief Minister goes through results in him taking revenge on Pugazhendi, and how he is stopped forms the crux of the story. The film was one among 1999 Deepavali releases and became a blockbuster.
The story focuses on Pughazhendhi (Arjun). He happens to be an ambitious TV cameraman, working for “Q TV”. His opposite person is the Chief Minister (CM) of the state, played by Raghuvaran.He behaves like a responsible and corrupt free minister who does anything for the betterment of their wards.But this is put to test,when a riot is triggered between some college students and bus drivers, which threaten to touch upon the touchy issues of castes and political abasement.Problem aggravates to the extent that the CM has to take up a decision to put this unrest to an end.But he reacts otherwise,which results in human losses and damage to the public property.His unwillingness to take strong action to quell the violence, for fear of estranging any of his political bases,is revealed to Pugazhendi who accidentally captures it in his camera. To set things right, he then appears on a live interview with Pughazhendi, who had coincidentally captured the CM's earlier unwillingness to take a stand, on camera.
In this interview in response to Pughazh's pointed questioning about the poor working of his government, the CM ducks the question by instead talking about how difficult his job is, and by challenging Pugazh to be the CM for one day. Pugazh reluctantly accepts the seat of the Chief Minister in the place of Aranganathan (Raghuvaran). Educated and vigilant, Pugazh moves fast. He takes care of almost every aspect in a day's time, giving the slum their rightful apartments and getting jobs for the unemployed, suspending inefficient and corrupt government officers. All the way he is assisted by the secretary, Mayakrishnan (Manivannan). As the last act of the day he gets Aranganathan arrested as he is the root of all the corruption. But Aranganathan bails out, passes an ordinance to nullify all orders passed by Pugazh when he was the CM. Taking Pugazh's success as an insult, Aranganathan sends goons to get him killed and destroys his house.
Meanwhile Pugazh falls in love with an innocent village girl called Thenmozhi (Manisha Koirala). But her father (Vijaykumar) wants his daughter's suitor to be a government civil worker. So after his tenure as a one-day CM he starts preparing for the Indian Civil Service Examination when his earlier secretary comes in and tells him that Pugazh's popularity has rocketed sky-high and people want him to become the next CM of the state. He refuses but then Aranganathan's henchman attacks the Q TV news agency and wrecks it tooth and nail. Mayakrishnan then tells Pugazh that he has become a part of politics and Aranganathan will never leave him at peace and Pugazh's lawsuit against Aranganathan is bound to fail. But Thenmozhi's father dissuades Pugazh from joining politics. However, on seeing the people’s plight and Mayakrishnan's advice he agrees to stand in the elections.
In the ensuing state elections, he wins by full majority(unanimously). But Thenmozhi’s father angered by Pugazh's decision refuses to let his daughter marry him. Here, Aranganathan’s political allies desert him causing his defeat. On becoming the chief minister, Pugazhendhi brings about lots of improvements and quickly becomes an idol in the people’s eyes. However his growing popularity is threatened continuously by Aranganathan who uses his henchmen to kill him or at least tarnish is image as a public hero. But Pugazh promptly answers by digging out all accusations against Aranganathan and his allies. This, however, causes a reunion of Aranganathan and his allies. After a failed attempt on Pugazh's life by hiring an assassin, a bomb is detonated at his home killing his parents.
In the final attempt Aranganathan orders his P.A. to destroy law and order and cause bomb explosions in various parts of the city. But a priest is able to overhear a few men planning to detonate bombs. He immediately notifies Pugazh's office via the "Complaint Box" department. Aranganathan's P.A. is arrested and under tactical inquiry by Pugazh and his secretary, he discloses the location of the bombs. A Bomb Squad successfully defuses all the bombs. Aranganathan, however, uses this success against Pugazh by blaming the young CM for the bomb. Seeing no way out, Pugazh summons Aranganathan to the secretariat and creates a situation such that it would seem as if Aranganathan was there to shoot Pugazh but failed. The security guards shoot down Aranganathan killing him. Pugazh, secretly tells Mayakrishnan the truth but Mayakrishnan believes that Aranganathan deserved it. Thenmozhi's father also comes to realize that Pugazh is in fact a great man who sees duty before everything else and allows Thenmozhi to marry him. The final scene shows Tamil Nadu developing over the years under Pugazhendhi's Government.
- Arjun as Pughazhendhi
- Manisha Koirala as Thenmozhi
- Raghuvaran as Aranganathan
- Manivannan as Mayakrishnan
- Vadivelu as Palavesham
- Vijayakumar as Thenmozhi's father
- Haneefa as Chinnasami
- Laila as Shuba
- Sushmita Sen in a special appearance
The film's first choice was Rajnikanth and the second choice was Ajith Kumar and Vijay_(actor). The lead actresses considered were Sushmita Sen, Aishwarya Rai and Kajol but none of them were available but Sushmita agreed to do a cameo in the song, Shakalaka Baby. Later,it was finalised that Arjun and Manisha Koirala would play the lead roles.
The lead role was initially written with Rajinikanth in mind, but was not able to be retained. It was Kamal Haasan, who suggested Arjun and he was signed on. Despite reports that Shilpa Shetty was added to the cast in February 1999, it was later clarified to be untrue.
Upon release on 7 November 1999, this high-budget production won positive reviews and was successful at the box office. The film was then dubbed and released in Telugu as Oke Okkadu and later remade in Hindi as Nayak starring Anil Kapoor.
The The Hindu cited that "Shankar scores again". In regard to the lead performances, Arjun is described as having "acquitted himself with aplomb", whilst Manisha's performance was criticized with claims that she "lacks the freshness that one always associates her with". The critic also referred to Shankar's direction and Sujatha's dialogs as a "positive", whilst drawing praise to the videos of the songs describing that "every song and dance sequence seems a magnum opus by itself". The New Indian Express described the film as "absorbing" and praised certain scenes, although it criticized the videos of the songs as a "fiasco".
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, ruling Tamil Nadu, was upset with the film. That in the view of the DMK, the film suggested its rule was even worse than that of AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalitha. Raghuvaran, who played a venal chief minister and whose dialogue was delivered in a raspy voice, was taking off on state Chief Minister Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi. Interestingly, while the Tamil Nadu ruling party reportedly viewed the film as an attempt to slur their Thalaivar, in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, the reaction was the polar opposite. In Andhra Pradesh, thus, Arjun who by force of circumstance becomes Chief Minister for a day and who, in those 24 hours, managed to do enough good to create a public outcry demanding that he enter active politics and take over as Chief Minister for good, was seen as a mirror image of Chandrababu Naidu. Thus, the Andhra Chief Minister invited director Shankar as his special guest, requested a special screening of the film and lauded the ideals the director had expressed in his film.
|Soundtrack album by A. R. Rahman|
|Recorded||Panchathan Record Inn|
|Label||Five Star Audio|
|Producer||A. R. Rahman|
|A. R. Rahman chronology|
The release of the soundtrack was held at Satyam Cinema, Chennai on 31 October 1999 with two songs from the film being performed on stage. The special guests for the event were actor Kamal Haasan and actress Sushmita Sen, who performed an item number in the film. The event was well attended by the cast and the crew of the film, with other guests including cinematographer P. C. Sriram, actress Sarika and actor Suriya.
The soundtrack features six songs composed by A. R. Rahman and lyrics penned by Vairamuthu. The song "Shakalaka Baby" was re-edited by A. R. Rahman and featured on the hit international musical production Bombay Dreams, which ran in Europe and North America from 2002 to 2005. This version was also released as a single. A Mandarin Chinese remix of the track sung by Singaporean singer Kelly Poon was featured in her album In the Heart of the World (2007).
The soundtrack was a phenomenal success and the initial day audio sale alone was more than three lakh units.
|1.||"Kurukku Chiruththavale"||Hariharan, Mahalakshmi Iyer||6:42|
|2.||"Mudhalvanae"||Shankar Mahadevan, S. Janaki||6:40|
|3.||"Uppu Karuvadu"||Shankar Mahadevan, Kavita Krishnamurthy||5:38|
|4.||"Azhagana Ratchashiyae"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Harini, G.V.Prakash||6:11|
|5.||"Ulundhu Vithakkaiyilae"||Swarnalatha, Srinivas||6:05|
|6.||"Shakalaka Baby"||Vasundhara Das, Pravin||5:28|
- "True box office kings". moviecrow. Retrieved 23 Feb 2012.
- "Audio CDs stay in tune with digital era"