|Directed by||Saravana Subbiah|
|Produced by||S. S. Chakravarthy|
|Written by||Saravana Subbiah|
|Cinematography||Ravi K. Chandran ISC|
R. D. Rajasekhar ISC
|Edited by||Sreekar Prasad|
|Distributed by||Nic Arts|
Citizen is an Indian 2001 Tamil action thriller film written and directed by Saravana Subbiah and produced by S. S. Chakravarthy. The film features Ajith Kumar in four roles with Meena, Vasundhara Das and Nagma playing the supporting roles, with Devayani playing a short cameo role. The film's score and soundtrack were composed by Deva, and cinematography was handled by Ravi K. Chandran. The plot of the film revolves around Arivanandham alias Citizen, a Hindu adhering to Hinduism who disguises himself as a Christian named Anthony, and as a Muslim named Abdullah, in order to seek revenge from his village's destroyer and also to get justice for the Indian Law. The film was declared Hit at the box office, with media also praising and appreciating Ajith's performance, and since this movie, Ajith has a pet nickname called "The Ultimate Star".
Arivanandham is a man who runs a shop. He kidnaps three government officials and tells the press his name is Citizen by changing his appearance to their jobs. Meanwhile, CBI Officer Sarojini is given the case of finding the officials and capturing Citizen. She finds evidence that they link to a village called Atthipatti. She goes to a place, where they keep old maps of India. She notices that from 1970-80, the village was missing. She then inquires a Church Father who knows about Atthipatti. He gives them a box full of evidence about the village. She then discovers that the people of Atthipatti are under a old river, which is a construction site. She orders her men to dig it up, and they find corpses. Sarojini finds links to Arivadhanam but cannot identify him. Arivadhanam kidnaps the third man but is stuck in traffic. Sarojini is also in traffic. To clear the traffic, Arivadhanam creates a problem and sorts it out by donning a traffic inspector's identity. Sarojini drops her handkerchief while in her car, then Arivadhanam swaps it with a paper and gives it to her. She accepts it, then Arivadhanam phones her and tells her she met with Citizen. Outraged, Sarojini decides to ambush his hideout. They track down his location, but he is nowhere to be found. They find masks, computers, and newspaper cuttings. Sarojini finds Arivadhanam in a mosque and arrests him. Arivadhanam is taken to court and is inquired about why he kidnapped the officials. He retells his memory.
Subramaniam is one of the people in Atthipatti. He lives on a island surrounded by water with his son Arivadhanam and wife Sevali. Subramaniam and his people complain about the water and how they need protection from it. They decide to visit the collector (one of the three officials), who tells them they need a lawyer. The lawyer tricks them into believing they need more officials to protect the land and how he cannot do anything. They decide to go to the MLA, but he also says he cannot do anything. The people are then told they have been tricked and decide to embarrass the three by throwing mud on the collector, forcing the MLA to eat moldy rice, and pushing the lawyer in the water. The officials hatch a plot to kill all of the people. When they are sleeping, the officials kidnap them and chain them to a boat. They strip the women and whip the men. Sevali hides but is found with her friend's son and her own son. The lawyer tries to strip her, but she jumps into the sea. The son is chained, but she unlocks him. He survives, but the rest die. Arivadhanam is asked by the judge what their punishment should be. He replies he should withdraw their citizenship and their families. Arivadhanam is released.
- Ajith Kumar has played 4 different roles in the movie, in order of appearance: Arivanandham/ Abdullah/ Anthony/ Subramaniam
- Meena as Sevali
- Vasundhara Das as Indhupriya
- Nagma as CBI Officer N. Sarojini Harichandra Naidu
- Nizhalgal Ravi as Collector Santhanam
- Devan as DGP Devasakayam
- Mohan Natarajan as Judge
- Pandiyan as Vaappa
- Dr. Sharmila as Vaappa's wife
- Cochin Hanifa as Manmadha Kutty
- Vinu Chakravarthy as Minister Idithaangi Vaithiyar
- Rajesh as Judge Krishnan
- Rajeev as Public Prosecutor
- Ajay Rathnam as ACP Krishnamoorthy
- Chandrasekhar as Church Father
- K. R. Vatsala as Devasakayam's wife
- Sethu Vinayagam as Minister
- Cell Murugan as an Advocate (Uncredited Guest Appearance)
- Kanal Kannan in a cameo appearance as comic rowdy
Early indications suggested that the film directed by Saravana Subbiah was a remake of the 1973 English film The Day of the Jackal, but it proved to be untrue. Ajith Kumar put on weight for the film, which would feature him in nine roles, and he claimed that he was inspired by Kamal Haasan's award-winning performances. Sameera Reddy was originally a part of the cast but canceled due to conflicting commitments. Subsequently, singer Vasundhara Das, who had earlier appeared in Hey Ram, was chosen to play the leading lady, while Nagma was selected to essay the role of a police officer. A special feature on the making of the film was broadcast by Sun TV in May 2001. Gemini Ganesan was also initially meant to play a role in the film, but his character was later altered in the script and replaced by Pandiyan.
After months of pre-production, shooting started on 28 December 2000 with Ajith and Vasundhara Das, with Ravi K. Chandran as cinematographer who had replaced P. C. Sriram in the project. The location for the Athipatty scenes was an island situated on the outskirts of Chennai, and it took three hours for the team to travel from the city and then by boat to get there. A scene filmed at Rajaji Hall featured five thousand of Ajith's fans as extras. A song in the film was shot in Australia in mid 2000, delaying the proposed release date of 1 May.
Upon release Citizen received positive reviews from critics and was successful and completed 100-day run at the box office, justifying a relatively large budget of ₹8 crore. The review from The Hindu labelled it as a "definite milestone in Ajit's acting career", but criticised the synchronisation between the dubbing artiste, Anuradha, and Nagma.
The film was later dubbed and released as Citizen in Telugu, to mixed reviews. The actor and director began to work on another project titled Itihasam, written by Sujatha and focusing on caste issues, but the production was shelved.
|Soundtrack album by|
|Track list (Tamil)|
|1.||"Australia Desam"||Hariharan, Harini||6:46|
|3.||"Pookara Pookara"||Shankar Mahadevan, Vasundhara Das||6:20|
|4.||"Chikkimukki Kallu"||Shankar Mahadevan, Sadhana Sargam||6:51|
|5.||"I Like you"||Vasundhara Das||6:53|
|6.||"Merkey Vidhaitha Sooriyaney"||Shankar Mahadevan||6:13|
|Track list (Telugu)|
|1.||"Oh Priyathama"||Hariharan, Harini||5:56|
|3.||"Poojari Poojari"||Shankar Mahadevan, Vasundhara Das||6:20|
|4.||"Chikki Buggha"||Shankar Mahadevan, Sadhana Sargam||6:51|
|5.||"I Like You"||Vasundhara Das||6:53|
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