Veerapandiya Kattabomman (film)
|Directed by||B. R. Panthulu|
|Produced by||B. R. Panthulu|
|Written by||Sakthi T. K. Krishnasamy|
|Screenplay by||Ma. Po. Sivagnanam|
|Story by||Sakthi T. K. Krishnasamy|
by Sivaji Nadaga Mandram
|Music by||G. Ramanathan|
|Cinematography||W. R. Subbarao
|Edited by||R. Devarajan|
|Distributed by||Padmini Pictures|
Veerapandiya Kattabomman (English: Kattabomman, the Brave Warrior) is a 1959 Indian Tamil historical film directed by B. R. Panthulu. The film's screenplay was done by Ma. Po. Sivagnanam while its story and dialogues were written by Sakthi T. K. Krishnasamy. The film features Sivaji Ganesan, Gemini Ganesan, Padmini, S. Varalakshmi and Ragini in the lead roles with V. K. Ramasamy and Javar Seetharaman playing pivotal roles.
Produced by Panthulu under his banner, Padmini Pictures, Veerapandiya Kattabomman is based on the story of the 18th century South Indian chieftain, Veerapandiya Kattabomman, who rose in rebellion against the East India Company. One of the earliest freedom fighters of India, he sacrificed his life for the freedom of his motherland. The film was an adaptation of the play Kattabomman performed by Sivaji Ganesan's troupe. Most of the film was shot in Jaipur.
Veerapandiya Kattabomman's premiere was held in London on 10 May 1959. The film was a critical and commercial success and had a theatrical run of 175 days. It was dubbed and released in Hindi as Amar Shaheed in 1960. Veerapandiya Kattabomman is notable for being the first Tamil film to be shot in Technicolor. It was the first Indian film to receive international awards for Best Film, Best Actor and Best Music Director at the Afro-Asian Film Festival in Cairo in 1960.
Veerapandiya Kattabomman is the king of Panchalankurichi — a brave fighter and a devotee of his family deity, Lord Murugan of Tiruchendur. On receiving the news of robbery in his territory, Kattabomman and his retinue set out incognito to capture the robbers. When the robbers are captured, they confess that they had been hired by the British to create unrest in Kattabomman's domain. They also tell him that the British had enticed the neighbouring chieftain Ettappan to help them in their endeavour to annex Panchalankurichi. Ettappan is promised an addition of two villages to his land by the Biritsh as a price for his betrayal. Ettappan goes in disguise to Kattabomman's court and tries to frighten him with his account of the omnipotence of the British. Kattabomman is indignant and tears off Ettappan's fake beard, but spares him because he had come to his court as an ambassador.
At Chayalkudi, a village near Panchalankurichi, lives Vellaiyammal, who would marry the man who tames her bull, a proud pet. She takes her bull for participation in a game held held at Panchalankurichi under the patronage of the king. All those who attempt to tame the bull fail. At Kattabomman's call, his Commander-in-chief, Vellaiyathevan, comes forward, subdues the bull and wins Vellaiyammal's love. Later, Kattabomman comes to know of their love and gets them married.
Kattabomman receives a message from Lord W. C. Jackson, collector of Tirunelveli, who demands a meeting with Kattabomman at Ramanathapuram regarding the payment of Kattabomman's tribute. Captain Davison, a British friend of Kattabomman, advises him to go and see Jackson. Jackson, finding that Kattabomman has come to see him with his troops, demands Kattabomman to meet him alone. At the meeting, Jackson insults him and orders his arrest. Though surrounded by the British troops, Kattabomman fights his way out, but the British capture his Minister, Thanapathi Sivasubramaniam Pillai.
Some time after, Pillai is released. He brings the news that Jackson has been transferred back to England on Davison's advice. At Kattabomman's court, a British messenger sent by Colonel Ooshington, Tirunelveli's new collector, reports that Pillai and his men have looted their granaries and killed their men at Srivaikuntam. Pillai justifies his act, by saying that he instructed his men to do it due to the famine conditions prevalent in their kingdom. Ashamed of Pillai's act, Kattabomman accuses him of injustice. Pillai apologises and offers himself as a fugitive to the British, but Kattabomman refuses to hand Pillai over; instead he offers money to the British as compensation for the looted rice. Ooshington does not agree and, with Ettappan's help, instigates the neighbouring rulers against Kattabomman. Major Bannerman is placed in charge of the British troops. He and Ettappan plan to attack Panchalankurichi when the people are away attending a festival in Tiruchendur. Sunderalingam, Kattabomman's spy, overhears this and informs Kattabomman, who prepares for battle.
On the day of the battle, Vellaiyammal pleads Vellaiyathevan not to go because the previous night she had a nightmare, which had evil omens in them. Notwithstanding her entreaties, Vellaiyathevan sets out. In the battle, Vellaiyathevan is killed. Vellaiyammal, on learning of his death, kills the man who killed him, avenging her husband's death. She finds Vellaiyathevan's corpse and, out of grief, falls dead on it. Bannerman's troops attack Panchalankurichi with heavy artillery and Kattabomman's army suffers badly. Kattabomman is wounded in the neck, but is saved by his brother, Oomaithurai. Sensing that the fort cannot survive more cannon barrage, Kattabomman and Oomaithurai flee to the adjoining kingdom of Kovilpatti. Pillai misleads the British soldiers who are on the trial of Kattabomman by dressing himself as Kattabomman. From Kovilpatti, Kattabomman and Oomaithurai then flee to Pudukkottai. Thondaimaan, the king of Pudukkottai, is ordered by the British to capture Kattabomman and Oomaithurai. Afraid, Thodaimaan captures the two and hands them over to the British. While Oomaithurai is jailed, Kattabomman faces a summary trial by the British and is hanged from a Tamarind tree at Kayatharu.
- Lead actors
- Sivaji Ganesan as Veerapandiya Kattabomman
- Gemini Ganesan as Vellaiyathevan
- Padmini as Vellaiyammal
- S. Varalakshmi as Jakkamma
- Ragini as Sundaravadivu
- Supporting actors
- V. K. Ramasamy as Ettappan
- Javar Seetharaman as Major Bannerman
- O. A. K. Thevar as Oomaithurai
- M. R. Santhanam as Thanapathi Sivasubramaniam Pillai
- A. Karunanidhi as Sunderalingam
- S. A. Kannan as Captain Davison
- C. R. Parthiban as Jackson Durai (Lord W. C. Jackson)
- Baby Kanchana as Meena
The idea to make a film adaptation on the life of Veerapandiya Kattabomman occurred to many producers in the late 1940s, just after India's freedom from the British Raj. In 1947, soon after the British left India, a production company[b] announced its intention to produce Kattabommu (named after the rebel's real name), a "mammoth production" which was to star P. U. Chinnappa; it did not materialise.
The concept of Veerapandiya Kattabomman began when Sivaji Ganesan and Sakthi T. K. Krishnasamy were travelling via Kayatharu,[c] the place where Kattabomman was hanged. While catching a glimpse of the place, Ganesan expressed a desire of doing a play based on Kattabomman's life, to which Krishnasamy immediately gave his consent and started to write the play. Coincidentally, Sivaji’s first exposure to the world of acting was when he saw a street play on Kattabomman’s life titled Kambalaththaar Kooththu. Krishnasamy completed writing the script for the play in a month's time and the play was launched in Salem on 29 August 1957. Ganesan had invested close to 50,000[d] for the play's sets and costume designing. On seeing the play, producer B. R. Panthulu decided to adapt it into a feature film and hired Krishnasamy to write the dialogues. The play was staged 16 times before it was adapted into a film. G. Dharmarajan, who was the play's set designer, was selected to be the film's set designer. For the purpose of making the popular play as a film, a "History-Film Format Research Group" was formed under the leadership of Ma. Po. Sivagnanam with Sakthi Krishnasamy, Panthulu, Ganesan, P. A. Kumar, K. Singamuthu and S. Krishnaswamy as members.
Ganesan originally offered the role of the character Vellaiyathevan to S. S. Rajendran, who declined it due to his commitment with the film Sivagangai Seemai (1959). He later requested actress Savitri to ask her husband Gemini Ganesan to play the role, which she willingly agreed to do despite being pregnant at that time. Padmini, O. A. K. Thevar and V. K. Ramasamy were chosen to play Vellaiyammal, Oomaithurai and Ettappan respectively. S. Varalakshmi was chosen to play Kattabomman's wife Jakkamma, and also worked as a playback singer. C. R. Parthiban played the role of Jackson Durai. Kattabomman's daughter in the film, Meena, was a fictional character created by Krishnasamy. The character was based on Krishnasamy's own daughter, Mynavathi, who died when she was five years old. Krishnasamy initially refused to include the scene involving Meena's death as it reminded him of his daughter, but finally did so reluctantly. The character was played by Baby Kanchana.
Shooting for the film took place at Jaipur. With help from Janakaraja – the man in charge of the cavalry division, the production unit of Veerapandiya Kattabomman managed to get hold of the cavalry and soldiers for the shot. Veerapandiya Kattabomman is notable for being the first Tamil film to be shot in Technicolor.[e] Panthulu introduces the film by adopting director Cecil B. DeMille's tactic of personally introducing the film on camera. During the making of the film, producer S. S. Vasan was also planning to make a film on Kattabomman and was writing a series in his magazine Ananda Vikatan. Ganesan had to personally meet him and request him to drop the plan.
Original Album Cover Art
|Soundtrack album to Veerapandiya Kattabomman by G. Ramanathan|
|Released||1 December 1959|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
Veerapandiya Kattabomman 's original soundtrack album was composed by G. Ramanathan, while the lyrics were written by Ku. Ma. Balasubramaniam. The soundtrack album was released on 1 December 1959 under the label of Saregama. The album became a major breakthrough for P. B. Srinivas, then a struggling playback singer, who was recruited by Ramanathan to sing the track "Inbam Pongum Vennila", which was picturised on Gemini Ganesan and Padmini, with P. Susheela. The song "Pogaathe Pogaathe" is based on the Mukhari Raga. Theatre actor K. B. Chellamuthu was the violinist for the songs. "Inbam Pongum Vennila" was remixed by Hiphop Tamizha in the film, Aambala (2015).
According to S. R. Ashok Kumar of The Hindu, "Manam Kanintharul" and "Singara Kanne", both of which were sung by Varalakshmi, "remained all time favourites." On the song, "Pogaathe Pogaathe", singer Charulatha Mani said that it was "a meandering, melancholic Mukhari."[f] She also labelled Ratnamala's singing as "expressive". G. Dhananjayan, in his book, The Best of Tamil Cinema, called the songs "memorable", further stating that they contributed to the film's success.
All lyrics written by Ku. Ma. Balasubramaniam.
|1.||"Inbam Pongum Vennila"||P. B. Sreenivas, P. Susheela||4:42|
|2.||"Maattuvandi Pootikittu"||T. M. Soundararajan, T. V. Rathinam||2:53|
|4.||"Anjatha Singam"||P. Susheela||3:26|
|5.||"Aathukkulle"||Tiruchi Loganathan, K. Jamuna Rani, V. T. Rajagopal||3:14|
|6.||"Singara Kanne"||S. Varalakshmi||3:10|
|7.||"Karantha Palaiyum"||T. M. Soundararajan||2:45|
|8.||"Takku Takku"||S. Varalakshmi, P. Susheela, A. P. Komala||3:23|
|9.||"Manam Kanintharul (Vetrivadivelane)"||V. N. Sundharam, S. Varalakshmi||3:21|
|11.||"Veerathin Chinname"||Seerkazhi Govindarajan||1:04|
|12.||"Pogaathe Pogaathe"||A. G. Ratnamala||2:40|
Veerapandiya Kattabomman was released in May 1959, with a final length of 5,512 metres (18,084 ft). The film's premiere was held in London on 10 May 1959. It was a commercial success and had a theatrical run of 100 days before going on became a silver jubilee film.[g] The film was dubbed and released in Hindi as Amar Shaheed in 1960.
Veerapandiya Kattabomman received positive reviews upon release. Ananda Vikatan, in its original review date 24 May 1959, wrote, "[Veerapandiya] Kattabomman will not leave the hearts of the people who have seen it... Sivaji Ganesan has acted so well. This film adds pride to every person born as a Tamilian". L. K. Advani, one of the current senior leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party, said, "I have seen the Tamil movie of Veerapandia Kattabomman [sic], acted by Shivaji Ganesan, many times. It is fresh in my memory."
Janani Karthik of The Times of India wrote, "Watch this [film] for the legendary actor's performance, something that old-timers remember even today". IndiaGlitz praised Ganesan's performance and mentioned his scene with Parthiban as one of the film's highlights before concluding, "This movie is sure to give you the Goosebumps with Shivaji's [sic] powerful acting and a sense of what rebellion and freedom fighting is." Behindwoods wrote, "Everything about this movie is truly epic."
Sivaji Ganesan's performance as Kattabomman earned him an international award as the Best Actor at the 1960 Afro-Asian Film Festival, held from 29 February to 11 March. It was Sivaji Ganesan's first award in his film career. It also made him the first Indian actor to ever receive an international award.
|National Film Awards||7th National Film Awards||Certificate of Merit for Best Feature Film in Tamil||B. R. Panthulu||Won|
|Afro-Asian Film Festival||Afro-Asian Film Festival - 1960||Best Film||B. R. Panthulu||Won|
|Best Actor.||Sivaji Ganesan||Won|
|Best Music Director||G. Ramanathan||Won|
In 2012, Raj Television Network announced that they would re-release Veerapandiya Kattabomman as a 3D film in early 2013, but that did not materialise. However, in March 2015, they announced that they would release a digital 5.1 surround version of the film in collaboration with Sai Ganesh Films.[h] The trailer of the digitalised version was released on 20 March 2015. Actor Prabhu, the second son of Sivaji Ganesan, in an interview with The New Indian Express, said that nine months was taken to clean the film prints and completely restore them for digitalisation.
Veerapandiya Kattabomman has often been criticised because of its historical inaccuracies. Poet Kannadasan said, "Kattabomman was not a real freedom fighter; he was a Telugu and a robber." He also stated that the Maruthu Pandiyars were the real freedom fighters and wrote a script about them, which was adapted into the film, Sivagangai Seemai. The film was released on the same month as Veerapandiya Kattabomman. Although the film was well-made, it flopped at the box office.
In his 1997 book Starlight, Starbright: The Early Tamil Cinema, Randor Guy noted that according to East India Company records, Kattabomman was of Telugu ancestry, and that he was a strong and silent man, not of dash and daring as depicted in the film. Guy also noted that Ganesan portrayed Kattabomman as a "larger-than-life-character, haranguing audiences in a high-flown Tamil replete with literary flourishes", as opposed to the real Kattabomman, who was not fluent in Tamil. In 2011, S. Theodore Baskaran said, "Kattabomman was not even a king. His arsenal had just about three to four guns. All this is well-documented, but the film showed just the opposite".
Veerapndiya Kattabomman took Sivaji Ganesan's career to greater heights. The film also became a trendsetter for presenting freedom fighters in a heroic manner, thus creating a new perception on freedom and the value of independence. The film's success encouraged many in Tamil cinema to make films based on freedom fighters and historical figures, notable of which include Kappalottiya Thamizhan (1961) and Bharathi (2000).
The Hindu wrote: "It is no exaggeration to say that Sivaji's heroic outpouring as Veerapandiya Kattabomman is an integral part of the Tamil cultural psyche". Actor Sivakumar stated that "You can’t reproduce movies like ‘Parasakthi,’ ‘Pasamalar,’ ‘Devadas,’ ‘Veerapandiya Kattabomman’ or ‘Ratha Kanneer. Suhasini listed Veerapandiya Kattabomman as her favourite period films in Tamil. An elephant called Vellaiyammal was named after the character from the film.
In Outlook's issue dated 20 October 2008, Ganesan's dialogue "Vari, vatti, kisthi...Yaarai ketkirai vari...Etharkku ketkirai vari. Vaanam polikirathu, bhumi vilaigirathu, unakken katta vendum vari....", which he speaks in the scene featuring him and C. R. Parthiban, was ranked at number 8 in the magazine's list, "13 cheesiest, chalkiest lines in Indian cinema". Behindwoods ranked the scene featuring Sivaji Ganesan and C. R. Parthiban at number one in their list of "Top 20 Mass Scenes".
- G. Dhananjayan's The Best of Tamil Cinema gives its release date as 6 May 1959, while Mohan V. Raman said that it released on 16 May 1959.
- Randor Guy does not mention the production's name.
- The author of the article, Mohan V. Raman, does not name the place where Ganesan and Krishnasamy were going to.
- The exchange rate in 1958 was 4.79 Indian rupees () per 1 US dollar (US$).
- Some portions of the film were made in Gevacolor and then converted into Technicolor at London to offer superior quality film prints.
- Mukhari here refers to the Raga on which the song is based.
- A Silver Jubilee film is one that completes a theatrical run of 175 days (25 weeks).
- The release date, however, is unspecified at present.
- Dhananjayan 2011, p. 183.
- Dhananjayan 2011, p. 182.
- Mohan V. Raman (19 July 2009). "Kattabomman". mohanramanmuses.blogspot.in. Archived from the original on 20 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
- Veerapandiya Kattabomman (DVD). Opening credits from 2:00 to 2:24.
- Guy 1997, pp. 281-282.
- Guy 1997, p. 282.
- Mohan V. Raman (8 April 2013). "The power of the pen". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 20 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
- "Rupee's journey since Independence: Down by 65 times against dollar". The Economic Times. 24 August 2013. Archived from the original on 29 August 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
- Shankar (19 March 2015). "வீரபாண்டிய கட்டபொம்மன்.... வரலாற்று காவியத்தின் சில சாதனை துளிகள்! (Veerapandiya Kattabomman... Glimpses of a Tamil classic)". Oneindia Entertainment. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
- S. Shivapprasadh (26 January 2012). "Art grand and eloquent". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 20 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
- Ganesan & Narayana Swamy 2007, pp. 120-121.
- "S Varalakshmi passes away". The Times of India. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- Udhav Naig (2 October 2014). "Fans keep the legend alive". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 25 March 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- Ganesan & Narayana Swamy 2007, p. 121.
- Sharadha Narayanan (24 October 2010). "One hundred years of superstardom". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 24 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
- "Stories of Indian freedom struggle told through Tamil films". Zee News. IANS. 15 August 2014. Archived from the original on 24 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
- Malathi Rangarajan (2 February 2012). "A 100 goes unsung". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 20 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
- Rajadhyaksha & Willemen 2014, p. 361; Guy 1997, p. 282.
- "Veerapandiya Kattabomman - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - iTunes". iTunes. 1 December 1959. Archived from the original on 24 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
- "Veerapandia Kattabomman Songs". Raaga.com. Archived from the original on 24 March 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
- B. Kolappan (14 April 2013). "Veteran singer PBS passes away". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 24 March 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
- Charulatha Mani (4 January 2013). "Notes of peace". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 24 March 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
- M. J. Prabu (26 February 2006). "Faithful to his mentor's memories". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 25 March 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- "And the film ends on a happy note". The Hindu. 16 December 2014. Archived from the original on 24 March 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
- S. R. Ashok Kumar (23 September 2009). "Yesteryear actor S. Varalakshmi dead". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 24 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
- Dhananjayan 2011, p. 184.
- Rajadhyaksha & Willemen 2014, p. 361.
- Guy 1997, p. 283.
- "Advani supports Lankan Tamils". Rediff.com. 13 February 2009. Archived from the original on 24 March 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
- Janani Karthik (15 August 2013). "Evergreen biopics in Tamil Cinema". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 24 March 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
- "End of the world movies". IndiaGlitz. 20 December 2012. Archived from the original on 24 March 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
- "Top 20 Mass Scenes - Veerapandiya Kattabomman". Behindwoods. Archived from the original on 27 March 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
- "dated March 17, 2010: Afro-Asian film festival". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
- "Sivaji Ganesan's birth anniversary". The Times of India. 1 October 2013. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
- "7th National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
- Praveen Joseph (2 January 2012). "A valiant warrior's birthplace". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
- Ganesan & Narayana Swamy 2007, p. 129; Dhananjayan 2011, p. 183.
- M. Suganth (2 April 2012). "Kattabomman in 3D!". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- "Yet Another Classic In 3d". Behindwoods. 2 April 2012. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
- "Tamil classic 'Karnan' is still ruling the Kollywood box office". CNN-IBN. 11 March 2013. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
- "Kattabomman to Thrill Once Again". The New Indian Express. 21 March 2015. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- D. Karthikeyan (23 April 2012). "MKU’s film institute may have a dream run". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
- S. Theodore Baskaran (9 November 2011). "7 Aum Arivu row: Debate rages over Bodhi Dharma's identity". Deccan Chronicle. Archived from the original on 29 July 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
- A. V. Ashok (19 July 2002). "Incredible charisma on screen". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
- N. Anand (3 January 2008). "Sivakumar not for old wine in new bottle". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
- Lakshmi Krupa (15 September 2013). "Period charm". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
- G. Srinivasan (15 September 2013). "Trumpet of Vellaiyammal at Big Temple in Thanjavur falls silent". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
- "13 cheesiest, chalkiest lines in Indian cinema". Outlook. 20 October 2008. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
- Dhananjayan, G. (2011). "Veerapandiya Kattabomman". The Best of Tamil Cinema, 1931 to 2010: 1931–1976. Galatta Media.
- Ganesan, Sivaji; Narayana Swamy, T.S. (2007). Autobiography of an Actor: Sivaji Ganesan, October 1928 – July 2001. Sivaji Prabhu Charities Trust.
- Guy, Randor (1997). Starlight, Starbright: The Early Tamil Cinema. Amra Pubs.
- Rajadhyaksha, Ashish; Willemen, Paul (1999). Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-5795-8146-6.