Veerapandiya Kattabomman (film)

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For the 1993 film, see Kattabomman (film).
Veerapandiya Kuttabomman
Veerapandiya Kattabomman Poster.jpg
Promotional Poster
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
Based on Kattabomman 
by Sivaji Nadaga Mandram
Starring Sivaji Ganesan
Gemini Ganesan
S. Varalakshmi
V. K. Ramasamy
Music by G. Ramanathan
Cinematography W. R. Subbarao
Edited by R. Devarajan
Padmini Pictures
Distributed by Padmini Pictures
Release dates
  • 16 May 1959 (1959-05-16)[1]
Running time
166 minutes
Country India
Language Tamil

Veerapandiya Kattabomman (English: The Brave Kattabomman) is a 1959 Tamil feature film written by Sakthi T. K. Krishnasamy and directed by B. R. Panthulu. The cast includes Sivaji Ganesan, Gemini Ganesan, Padmini, S. Varalakshmi, and V. K. Ramasamy. Veerapandiya Kattabomman is based on the story of the eponymous Tamil chieftain who rose in rebellion against the East India Company and fought with alien combination. One of the earliest freedom fighters of India he laid his life in sacrifice at the altar of freedom of his motherland.This film was dubbed in Telugu (Veerapandya Kattabrahmana 1959) and Hindi (Amar Shaheed 1960). Sivaji`s performance won him an international award at the Egypt Film Festival. Veerapandiya Kattabomman is notable for being the first Tamil film to be shot in Technicolor.[2] This movie ran 100 days in 28 theatres. 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.[3]


Veerapandiya Kattabomman is the Rajah of Panchalankurichi in the extreme south of India — a brave fighter and a devotee of his family deity, Lord Subrahmaniya of Tiruchendur. On receiving the news of loot and arson in his territory, he himself sets out in disguise to encounter the robbers. The robbers are captured and they confess that they had been hired by the British to create unrest in his domain. They also tell him that the British had enticed the neighbouring chieftain Ettayappan to help their endeavour to annex Panchalankurichi.

Ettayappan is promised by the British an addition of two villages to his land as a price for his betrayal. Ettayappan 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 out the mask of Ettayappan but spares him because he had come to his court as an ambassador. At Chayalkudi, a village near Panchalamkurichi, lives a beautiful damsel, Vellaiamma, who would marry the man who tames her bull, a proud pet. She takes her bull for participation in the games to be held at Panchalamkurichi under the patronage of the king. No-one dare touch Vellaiamma's bull. At Kattabomman's call, his Commander-in-chief Vellaiathevan, comes forward, subdues the bull and gets the prize — the hands of the beautiful Vellaiamma.

Kattabomman is delivered a message from the collector Jackson that he should meet him on an appointed day, following which he would be deprived of his kingdom. Davison, a British friend of Kattabomman advises him to go and see the collector. Jackson, finding that Kattabomman has come to see him with his troops, changes his camp from place to place and finally meets him at Ramnad. In the interview, Jackson insults him and orders his arrest. Though surrounded by the British troops, Kattabmman fights his way out and joins his troops. But his Minister is captured by the British.

Some time after, the Minister is released. He brings the news that Jackson has been transferred home on the advice of Davison. Life in Panchalamkurichi goes on with the usual gaiety. At Kattabomman's court, a British messenger comes and reports that the Minister and his men have looted their granaries and killed their men at Srivaikuntam. The Minister justifies his act, by saying that he instructed his men to do it as there was a shortage of food grains due to the British amassing all rice in their granary.

The king accuses him of injustice and he is ashamed of his Minister's acts. The Minister apologises and offers himself as a fugitive to the messenger, whose soldiers are about to handcuff the Minister. But Kattabomman is infuriated and cries that he will never betray his Minister and fail in his duty as a king. The messenger hangs down head in shame and walks out. The king's brother Oomaithurai says that the British will start attacking them. A spy is sent by Kattabomman to the enemy camp and discloses the plans which Ettayappan has drawn up for the British forces for launching an attack on Panchalamkurichi on the day of the festival at Tiruchendur when Kattabomman and most of the people would be away from the capital. Kattabomman gets prepared to meet the enemy.

On the day of the battle, Vellaiamma pleads Vellaiathevan not to go for fighting because the previous night she has had bad dream and seen evil omens in those dreams. Notwithstanding her entreaties, Vellaiathevan sets out for the battle, and so does Kattabomman. The British win because of their brutal strength. Vellaiathevan is killed, and Vellaiamma seeks out under cover of night, the man who killed her husband and avenges her husband's death by killing him. Crawling back, she falls dead on her husband's corpse.

Kattabomman is wounded in the neck. He is, however saved by his devoted followers, who take him to the adjoining kingdom of Kovilapatti. The old woman who protects the royal brothers, sends the prying soldiers away with a clever ruse. Minister Thanapati misleads the British soldiers who are on the trial of Kattabomman by dressing himself as the chief. From Kovilapatti, Kattabomman and his brother flee to Pudhukottai. Rajah of Pudhukottai, afraid of the British, instructs his men to capture Kattabomman. Kattabomman is captured and taken to the British. Undaunted Kattabomman faces a trial by the British and is hanged.


W. C. Jackson (C. R. Parthiban, left) and Kattabomman (Sivaji Ganesan, right) confront each other


The concept of Veerapandiya Kattabomman began when Sivaji Ganesan and Sakthi T. K. Krishnasamy were travelling via Kayatharu,[a] the place where Veerapandiya Kattabomman was hanged.[4] While catching a glimpse of the place, Ganesan expressed a desire of doing a play based on Kattabomman's life, to which Sakthi 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.[4] Krishnasamy completed writing the script for the play in a month's time and the play was launched in Salem on 29 August 1957. Sivaji had invested close to INR50,000 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.[4][5] G. Dharmarajan was the film's set designer.[6] 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.[7]

C. R. Parthiban was chosen to play the role of Jackson Durai.[8][9] Ganesan originally offered the role of the character Vallaithevan to S. S. Rajendran, but he declined it due to his commitment with the film Sivagangai Seemai. He later advised actress Savitri to send her husband Gemini Ganesan to play the role, which she agreed to.[5][10] Actress Padmini was chosen to play Vallaithevan's love interest Vellaiyamma, and S. Varalakshmi as Kattabomman's wife Jakkamma. O. A. K. Thevar was chosen to play Kattabomman's brother Oomaithurai, and V. K. Ramasamy as the antagonistic Ettappan.[11] 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.[4]

Shooting for the film took place at Jaipur. With help from Janakaraja – the man in charge of the cavalry division, the team of Veerapandiya Kattabomman managed to get hold of the cavalry and soldiers for the shot.[5] The film was made in Gevacolor, and then converted to Technicolor at London, to offer superior quality prints.[12] In the film, Panthulu uses director Cecil B. DeMille's style by adopting DeMille's tactic of personally introducing the film, on camera.[13] During the making of the film, producer S. S. Vasan was also planning to make Kattabomman as a film and was writing a series in his magazine Vikatan. Ganesan had to personally meet him and request him to drop the plan.[7]


Veerapandiya Kattabomman
Original CD Cover
Soundtrack album to Veerapandiya Kattabomman by G. Ramanathan
Released 1959
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Length 72:16
Language Tamil
Label Saregama
Producer G. Ramanathan

Veerapandiya Kattabomman '​s original soundtrack was composed by G. Ramanathan, while the lyrics were written by Ku. Ma. Balasubramaniam.[14] 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 picturised on Gemini Ganesan, with P. Susheela.[15] The song "Pogathe Pogathe" is based on Mukhari Raga.[16] "Inbam Pongum" was remixed by Hiphop Tamizha in Aambala (2015).[17]

No. Song Singers Lyrics
1 Aathukkulle Oothu Vetti Tiruchy Loganathan, K. Jamuna Rani, V. T. Rajagopal, A. G. Rathinamala Ku. Ma. Balasubramaniam
2 Anjatha Singam En Kaalai P. Suseela
3 Inbam Ponguma Vennila P. B. Sreenivas, P. Suseela
4 Jakkamma Seerkazhi Govindarajan
5 Karatha Paalum T. M. Soundararajan
6 Maatu Vandi T. M. Soundararajan, T. V. Rathinam
7 Manam Kanintharul V. N. Sundharam, S. Varalakshmi
8 Pogathe Pogathe A. G. Rathinamala
9 Seermevum Paanchinagar Seerkazhi Govindarajan, V. N. Sundharam, Tiruchy Loganathan
10 Singara Kanne S. Varalakshmi
11 Takku Takku S. Varalakshmi, P. Suseela, A. P. Komala



Ananda Vikatan (24.5.1959) said, "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".[7] L. K. Advani, said, "I have seen the Tamil movie of Veerapandia Kattabomman, acted by Shivaji Ganesan, many times. It is fresh in my memory."[18] IndiaGlitz said, "Shivaji as Kattabomman gives a tremendous act and the scene when Kattabomman confronts Jackson instantly comes into our mind. This movie is sure to give you the Goosebumps with Shivaji's powerful acting and a sense of what rebellion and freedom fighting is."[19] Janani Karthik of The Times of India said, "Watch this [film] for the legendary actor's performance, something that old-timers remember even today".[20]


Historical accuracies[edit]

Veerapandiya Kattabomman has often been criticised by film historians because of its historical inaccuracies.[24] 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".[25]


Veerapandiya Kattabomman was due to be re-released as a 3D film in early 2013.[26] but that did not materialise.[27]


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".[28] Actor Sivakumar stated that "You can’t reproduce movies like ‘Parasakthi,’ ‘Pasamalar,’ ‘Devadas,’ ‘Veerapandiya Kattabomman’ or ‘Ratha Kanneer.[29] Suhasini listed Veerapandiya Kattabomman as her favourite period films in Tamil.[30] An elephant called Vellaiyammal was named after the character from the film.[31]


  1. ^ The author of the article, Mohan V. Raman, does not name the place to where Ganesan and Krishnasamy were going.


  1. ^ "Untitled Document". Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Narayanan, Sharadha (2010-10-24). "One hundred years of superstardom". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  3. ^ "The landmark film is 50 year old". Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d V. Raman, Mohan (8 April 2013). "The power of the pen". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 20 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c Sivaji Ganesan (2002). Autobiography of an actor. pp. 120–121. 
  6. ^ S. Shivapprasadh (26 January 2012). "Art grand and eloquent". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 20 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c G. Dhananjayan (2011). The Best of Tamil Cinema: 1931 to 1976. Galatta Media. pp. 182–184. 
  8. ^ V. Raman, Mohan (19 July 2009). "Kattabomman". Archived from the original on 20 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  9. ^ "Times of India Publications". Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  10. ^ "Serial story, Thiraichuvai — Potpourri of titbits about Tamil cinema, gemini ganesan". Kalyanamalai Magazine. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  11. ^ "Latest India News: Business & Finance, Sports, Entertainment - Oneindia". Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  12. ^ Rangarajan, Malathi (2 February 2012). "A 100 goes unsung". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 20 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  13. ^ Rajadhyaksha & Willemen 2014, p. 361.
  14. ^ "Veerapandia Kattabomman Songs — Veerapandia Kattabomman Tamil Movie Songs — Tamil Songs Lyrics Trailer Videos, Preview Stills Reviews". Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  15. ^ B. Kolappan (2013-04-14). "Veteran singer PBS passes away". The Hindu. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  16. ^ Charulatha Mani. "Notes of peace". The Hindu. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  17. ^ "And the film ends on a happy note". The Hindu. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  18. ^ "Advani supports Lankan Tamils". 2009-02-13. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  19. ^ "End of the world movies: - Tamil Movie News". 2012-12-20. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  20. ^ Janani Karthik (15 August 2013). "Evergreen biopics in Tamil Cinema". The Times of India. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  21. ^ "7th National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved September 4, 2011. 
  22. ^ PRAVEEN JOSEPH. "A valiant warrior's birthplace". The Hindu. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  23. ^ "dated March 17, 2010: Afro-Asian film festival". The Hindu. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  24. ^ D. Karthikeyan. "MKU’s film institute may have a dream run". The Hindu. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  25. ^ "7 Aum Arivu row: Debate rages over Bodhi Dharma's identity". Deccan Chronicle. 9 November 2011. Archived from the original on 29 July 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  26. ^ "Yet Another Classic In 3d — Titanic 3d — Sivaji Ganesan — Veerapandiya Kattabomman — Karnan — Tamil Movie News". 2012-04-02. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  27. ^ "Tamil classic 'Karnan' is still ruling the Kollywood box office". IBNLive. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  28. ^ "The Hindu : Incredible charisma on screen". Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  29. ^ "Sivakumar not for old wine in new bottle". The Hindu. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  30. ^ LAKSHMI KRUPA. "Period charm". The Hindu. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  31. ^ G. Srinivasan. "Trumpet of Vellaiyammal at Big Temple in Thanjavur falls silent". The Hindu. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 


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