Kaththi

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Kaththi
Kaththi poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byA. R. Murugadoss
Produced byAllirajah Subashkaran
K. Karunamoorthi
Written byA. R. Murugadoss
Starring
Music byAnirudh Ravichander
CinematographyGeorge C. Williams
Edited byA. Sreekar Prasad
Production
company
Distributed byAyngaran International
Eros International[1]
Release date
  • 22 October 2014 (2014-10-22)
Running time
161 minutes
CountryIndia
LanguageTamil
Budget48-54 crore[2]
Box officeest. 130 crore[3]

Kaththi (About this soundpronunciation ; transl. Knife) is a 2014 Indian Tamil-language action film directed by A. R. Murugadoss, and produced by Allirajah Subaskaran under the banner Lyca Productions, along with Ayngaran International, as the co-producer and Eros International, who distributed the film.[4] The film stars Vijay in a dual role as lookalikes Kathiresan and Jeevanantham, and focuses on the issue of farmers committing suicide due to corporate encroachment. Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Tota Roy Chowdhury and Sathish, appear in other prominent roles.

The film's principal photography commenced on 3 February 2014 in Kolkata, and shooting took places in Chennai, Nellore and Kadapa. This film marks the second collaboration of Vijay and Murugadoss, after Thuppakki (2012). The cinematography for the film was handled by George C. Williams and the film was edited by A. Sreekar Prasad. The music is composed by Anirudh Ravichander, and the film's soundtrack received positive responses upon release.

Kaththi was released worldwide on 22 October 2014, coinciding with the Diwali festival, and received positive responses, with praises for the story and screenplay by Murugadoss, Vijay's performance, and the film's score and soundtrack.[5] Before, the film's release, it faced controversies for plagiarism allegations,[6] and the business link of Subaskaran, the film's producer, with Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa, which resulted Tamil fringe groups to protest against the film.[7] Kaththi emerged as one of the highest grossing Tamil film of 2014, grossing 130 crore, thus becoming a success.[3] It was also one of the highest-grossing Tamil film in U.S at that time.[8] The film was dubbed into Hindi as Khaki Aur Khiladi. Despite being dubbed into Telugu,[a] the film was remade into Telugu as Khaidi No. 150, starring Chiranjeevi.

Plot[edit]

In Kolkata, prisoner Kathiresan "Kaththi" helps the police capture an escaping prisoner Vivek Banerjee but escapes afterwards. He goes to Chennai to escape to Bangkok with his friend Ravi. However, he drops this plan after meeting and falling in love with Ankitha, who dupes him into believing that she wants to marry him after realising that he is having a crush on her and gives him a false phone number claiming it is her own.

Later, Kaththi and Ravi notice Jeevanandam, who resembles Kaththi, being shot by a group of thugs. They admit him to a hospital, and Kaththi decides to impersonate the injured Jeeva to escape from the police. Under Jeeva's name, Kaththi and Ravi enter an old-age home run by Jeeva with the intention of stealing 25 lakhs from there for their Bangkok trip, until Kaththi learns about Jeeva's mission.

Jeeva is a communist ideologue and post-graduate in hydrology from the arid village of Thanoothu in Tirunelveli district who had discovered groundwater under some lands of the village which could be used as an irrigation source not only for the village, but for the entire Tirunelveli district and the neighbouring Thoothukudi district. However, a greedy MNC owner Chirag cheated the villagers into giving their lands for the construction of a factory. Jeeva gets arrested by the police, and six villagers commit suicide to bring this news to the media forefront and release Jeeva from prison. On learning of the plight of Jeeva and the villagers, Kaththi decides to fight for their cause while still posing as Jeeva.

The people of the old home and Kaththi go to the jury and try to convince him to go in favour of them, but Kaththi starts stating rules and scares the main jury person (whom Chirag had bribed). Kaththi then sends a person (disguised as a hairdresser) to Chirag and makes him lay a fingerprint on Chirag's neck. After that, Chirag sends 50 men to kill Kaththi, but he defeats them. Meanwhile, Jeeva finds himself in the Kolkata prison. With the help of Vivek, who has heard his story and plans to kill Kaththi, he escapes with Vivek's henchmen.

Unaware that Jeeva and Vivek's henchmen are headed for Chennai, Kaththi makes efforts to convince the media to bring the plight of the villagers to national consciousness, but the media is uninterested as they feel it is not a sensational news. A few days later, at the Madras High Court, the judge declares the verdict in favour of Jeeva and the villagers, but adds that Chirag has claimed that certain villagers working abroad have shown their support for the factory. If they cannot prove that their support was faked by Chirag within the next five days, the verdict will go in Chirag's favour.

Since the villagers who have denied supporting the factory are abroad and cannot come to Chennai within five days to rebut Chirag's claims as their passports are held by their contractors, Kaththi decides on drastic measures to sensationalise the issue. He, Ankitha, Ravi, and the old-age home inmates block water supply to Chennai by sitting on the pipelines which carry water to Chennai from five lakes. With the plight of Chennai people due to no water supply having gained national attention, Kaththi comes out of the pipeline after a few days and highlights the villagers' plight in a speech to the media, which is telecast nationwide and moves many people. By now, Kaththi has discovered that Jeeva has escaped and is searching for him.

Meanwhile, Jeeva and Vivek's henchmen reach Chennai, but Jeeva is kidnapped by Chirag's henchmen. While in Chirag's custody, he sees Kaththi's speech on television and is moved by his efforts to help the villagers. On the night before the verdict, Kaththi's bluff is exposed, but he promises the villagers that he will surely help them. He tells them that Jeeva is alive, that he will rescue him from Chirag and hand him back to the villagers with the assurance of a positive verdict. Kaththi goes to Chirag's office, rescues Jeeva and kills Chirag.

The next day, the verdict is declared in favour of Jeeva and the villagers. Kaththi, despite this success, does not take part in the ensuing celebrations. Instead, he surrenders to the police and returns to the Kolkata prison after promising Ankitha, who has now fallen in love with him, that he will marry her once he is released.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

In 2012, it was reported that Murugadoss and Vijay would work together again.[9][10] Murugadoss confirmed the same on his Twitter page.[11] According to sources, the film was not a sequel to Thuppakki.[9] Ayngaran International and Lyca Productions were confirmed to be the producers and distributors of the film.[12] Murugadoss replaced his usual music director Harris Jayaraj with Anirudh Ravichander and signed George C. Williams as the cinematographer, who had filmed Raja Rani, (2013) which was produced by Murugadoss himself.[13] Art director Lalgudi N. Ilayaraja, who had won the National Film Award for Best Production Design in Vishwaroopam (2013), was selected to handle the art direction for the film.[14] The film was earlier rumoured to be titled as Dheeran.[15] Another potential title for the film was Vaal.[16] In March 2014, Murugadoss confirmed that the film would be titled Kaththi and that it was scheduled to be released on Deepavali.[17]

Casting[edit]

In September 2013, Samantha Ruth Prabhu was selected as the lead female lead.[18] Bengali actor Tota Roy Chowdhury was signed for portraying the antagonist role, an international gangster named Vivek Banerjee.[19] In March 2014, Bollywood actor Neil Nitin Mukesh was selected to be a part of his project, thereby making his début in Tamil cinema through the film. Murugadoss also stated that Vijay would play a dual role.[20] Sathish was chosen to play a supporting role.[21] Sayaji Shinde and Subbu Panchu were selected to play pivotal roles in the film.[17]

Neil was inspired by his look in his début film, Johnny Gaddaar (2007). He described his character as one who does not "fight the hero with physical power, but with intelligence".[22] He learned Tamil for his role, as he did not want to speak his dialogues without understanding their meaning.[23] Neil had lost weight for the role and modelled his looks to be along the lines of Brad Pitt and David Beckham.[24]

Filming[edit]

The film was launched in Kolkata on 3 February 2014 by its producers Ayngaran International with a pooja ceremony in front of the Kalighat Kali Temple, after which principal photography began.[25][26] The first schedule of filming was done on Kolkata and Hyderabad.[27][28] In between, Murugadoss, took a break to promote his then upcoming Bollywood film, Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty (2014), the Hindi remake of Thuppakki (2012).[29] The film was then shot in Pushpa gardens in Chennai, where a huge set which costed around 12.5 million (US$180,000) was erected and most of the indoor scenes were completed in this set.[30] Shooting continued for a 40-day-long schedule in and around the city. By July 2014, 60% of the shooting had been completed and the team shot a few scenes in Kadapa.[31] The final leg of the film began on 1 August 2014 at Chennai.[32]

In late August 2014, 15 days of filming, including patch-work and a few fight sequences, remained.[33] Filming moved back to Hyderabad, where the rest of the fight sequences were canned.[34] On 1 September 2014, the second half of the film was nearly completed.[35] Additional filming took place at the Chennai Central railway station.[36] On 4 September 2014, Neil Nitin Mukesh dubbed in Tamil himself for his role and completed his dubbing portions for the first half of the film.[37] The climax sequences were shot in Nellore on 23 September 2014.[38] The song "Selfie Pulla" was shot in Mumbai. About 100 dancers participated in the song sequence.[39] Filming of the song was completed on 30 September 2014, with the filming of the entire film also being completed as a result.[40]

Themes and influences[edit]

As Thuppakki (2012), the actor-director's previous collaboration,[41] is based on stopping terrorism by tracking down, destroying and deactivating the sleeper cells. This film deals with farmers whom are against with corporate encroachment. The film portrays incidents, like the 2G spectrum corruption case, and encroachment of Pepsi company in the banks of river Thamirabharani.[42] A petition was filed against the film, for the 2G dialogue, however the issue has not been considered.[citation needed] The character Jeevanantham, played by Vijay in the film, is inspired from a real-life social activist.[43] The film along with Rajinikanth's Lingaa, which was released on the same year, which has many similarities in common, was listed in an article by Behindwoods.[44]

Music[edit]

The soundtrack album and background score were composed by Anirudh Ravichander, in his first collaboration with Vijay and A. R. Murugadoss. The soundtrack album consists of seven tracks, with lyrics written by Madhan Karky, Yugabharathi, Pa. Vijay and Hiphop Tamizha.[45] On 22 June 2014, coinciding with actor Vijay's birthday, a theme music which was accompanied with the motion poster was released on YouTube. The album songs, in its entirety was released on 24 September 2014, at the audio launch event held at The Leela Palace Hotel in Chennai.[46] The songs as well as the film score was widely appreciated;[citation needed] On 28 January 2015, the crew released the film's original background score in a jukebox format on YouTube, to coincide with the film's 100-day celebration.[47]

Release[edit]

Kaththi was released on 22 October 2014, coinciding with the Diwali festival. The film was released in more than 1300 screens worldwide.[48] The film released in 400 screens in Tamilnadu,[48] 350 screens in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana,[48] and 200 screens in Kerala,[48] setting a record at screen count.[49]

In overseas, the film was released in USA in 96 screens, which stands next to Kochadaiiyaan (2014), which was released in 104 screens,[48] and in Canada, the film released on 21 screens.[48] The film released in United Kingdom on 70 screens,[48] and in France on 24 screens. The film released in Sri Lanka, on 28 screens, and in Australia on 16 screens.[48] The film was released in Malaysia on 120 screens, which is highest for a Tamil film at that time.[48]

Distribution[edit]

The satellite rights of the film were sold to Jaya TV.[50] T. Shibu of Thameens Films promoted and distributed the film in Kerala.[51] The theatrical rights in Tiruchirappalli and Thanjavur were sold to T. Siva.[52] Producer Tagore Madhu bought the film's Telugu dubbing rights.[53] MM Media, previously known as GK Media, acquired the film's theatrical rights in the USA.[54] The film released worldwide on 22 October 2014.[55] It has been dubbed in Hindi as Khaki Aur Khiladi.[56]

Marketing[edit]

The first look motion poster was released on 22 June 2014, coinciding with Vijay's birthday.[57] It features a creative design of prominent places in Chennai, and the entire city itself recreated and draped in the form of news headlines.[58] The official teaser of the film was released on 24 September 2014, at the audio launch event.[59] The trailer of the film was unveiled on 15 October 2014, a week ahead of the film's release, and got positive response from viewers.[60]

Controversies[edit]

Plagiarism allegations[edit]

The 41-second first-look motion poster drew comparisons with the popular minute-long advertisement campaign run by a Turkish newspaper, Sabah, to announce their distribution of the New York Times as a supplement. The original advertisement features iconic images of the cities of New York City and Istanbul, designed using news articles and headlines from the newspaper to show the two cities in the form of newspaper clippings. The motion poster of the film showed prominent places in Chennai and the entire city itself in the form of newspaper clippings and headlines, just like the advertisement campaign, without an acknowledgement to the makers of the original.[61][62]

Minjur Gopi Nayinar filed a case against Murugadoss, claiming that the plot of the film was copied from his novel Mootha Kudi. Responding to the issue, Murugadoss said that he was neither aware of Minjur nor that his story was a copy, further citing the allegation as a tactic by the plaintiff to garner free publicity. He, in turn, requested the court to dismiss the petition.[6] In late September 2014, the court declared the case in Murugadoss's favour, citing lack of proper evidence found against him.[63]

Business link allegations[edit]

Subaskaran Allirajah, chairman of Lyca Mobiles, whose company Lyca Productions co-produced the film along with Ayngaran International, was claimed to have had business links with the President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa. Murugadoss and Karunamoorthy of Ayngaran International met pro-Eelam leaders – Pazha Nedumaran, director Seeman and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi's (VCK) Thol. Thirumavalavan — to explain their position regarding the allegation, but the talks proved to be inconclusive at that time.[64] A collective of four student bodies – Maatram Maanavar Ilaiyor Iyakkam, Free Tamil Eelam Students Organisation, Tamil Youth and Students Association, and Progressive Students Front – in Tamil Nadu called for a ban on the film, stating that the film promoted the economic and political interests of Sri Lanka. The students were willing to reconsider their position on the film if Lyca Productions formally withdrew as producer.[65] In August 2014, directors Seeman and Vikraman showed support for the film.[66][67]

Despite clarifications, as many as 65 Tamil groups came together to oppose the film, leading to speculations regarding Lyca stepping down as producer and handing the reins to another production group.[7][68] Karunamoorthy, however, again denied that Allirajah had business links with either Mahinda Rajapaksa or his family in any way, further saying that a press meet would be held where all doubts and suspicions regarding Lyca Productions would be clarified and that the film would be released under the Lyca Productions banner.[69]

As per Karunamoorthy's statement, a press meet was held on 16 September 2014, where the vice-chairman of Lyca Productions, Premananthan Sivasamy, Subaskaran and Karunamoorthy were present. A statement with a detailed clarification was shown in which it was mentioned that Lyca did not have any business links with Rajapaksa or anyone else related to him, thereby confirming the planned release of the film on Deepavali.[70]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Kaththi opened to positive reviews from critics.[5] International Business Times gave the film 4 out of 5 and stated, "Kaththi is a message-oriented and highly entertaining commercial movie" Vijay, in two roles, steals the show in "Kaththi". His strong screen presence adds a huge value to the project. His co-star Samantha is just his an arm candy but Neil Nitin Mukesh looks rich in stylish costumes. Rest other characters have played their parts well. And the director himself appears in one scene and it gets huge applause from the audience.[71] Sify gave it 4 out of 5 and stated, "the movie is a well made entertainer with a powerful message".[72] Desimartini gave it 4 out of 5 and wrote "A R Murugadoss delivers a sharp film with a gripping storyline. Anirudh's thrilling score, George's awe inspiring cinematography and Vijay's impressive performance make Kaththi a treat to watch!"[73] Behindwoods gave it 3 out of 5 and stated, "Murugadoss delivers a strong commercial movie with a nice social angle, in true Vijay style".[74] M. Suganth of The Times of India gave it 3 out of 5 and wrote, "Kaththi will definitely be picked up by a big Bollywood star for a remake, for the knife was bang on target".[75] S. Saraswathi of Rediff stated, "Kaththi attempts to highlight the pathetic condition of farmers, whose lives are being destroyed by callous multinational corporations" and rated it 3/5 as well.[76] Baradwaj Rangan of The Hindu wrote "The ideas are snappy – the reveal of the person injured in a shootout; the identity of a couple of television reporters – but the staging is shockingly flat."[77] Koimoi gave 2.5 out of 5 and stated that "Kaththi picks up slowly, but delivered a power packed performance."[78]

Anupama Subramanian of Deccan Chronicle gave 2.5 out of 5 stars and stated, "Vijay as Kathiresan in a author backed role does a neat job to satiate his fans playing his role packing with punches, humor, romance , right emotions and of course his forte – breezy dance movements. Vijay’s lengthy speech with the press towards the end earns lot of appreciation. On the contrary, the director has etched a weak characterization for Jeevanandham, who fights for a cause, but beyond that he is projected neither brainy nor brawny. Murugadoss brings to the fore critical social issues like farmers suicide, water scarcity, etc, but at times it looks too preachy. Wish Murugadoss could have opted for a tauter screenplay."[79] Indiaglitz gave 3.25 out of 5 and stated "Vijay & Murugadoss have redefined the term ‘commercial’ once again and delivered a perfect diwali treat for the Tamil audience."[80] India Today gave 2.5 out of 5 and summarised "Kaththi is a commercial film and naturally audiences except some heroism, action and romance in it. But here Murugadoss has portrayed his hero as a messiah, a man of the masses willing to even sacrifice his life."[81] Moviecrow gave 3.25 out of 5 and stated "The movie deserves a lot of credit for taking a social cause and delivering it sincerely with just the right amount of commercial elements."[82]

Box office[edit]

Kaththi netted around 125 million (US$1.8 million) in Tamil Nadu alone.[83] It grossed around 238 million (US$3.3 million) worldwide on its opening day and 710.5 million (US$10 million) worldwide in its extended five-day weekend.[84] In Chennai city alone, the film netted 30.1 million (US$420,000) in the first week with an average theatre occupancy of 97% and stood in the first position.[85] The second week witnessed an occupancy of 85% in the city and netted around 53.24 million (US$750,000).[86] The film took a worldwide distributor share of 620 million (US$8.7 million) in just 11 days.[87] The film still stood at the number one position in Chennai by the third week resulting in a total collection of 6.798 crore (US$950,000).[88] Kaththi reached the 1 billion (US$14 million) mark in 12 days of its release.[89][90] The film was bought for a record price in Karnataka by a leading distributor, and opened well at the box-office there. The film collected around 360 million (US$5.0 million) in Tamil Nadu, 50 million (US$700,000) in Karnataka and 55 million (US$770,000) in Kerala in five days.[91][92] After a long run for nine weeks at the Chennai box office, the film netted around 78.29 million (US$1.1 million).[93] Kaththi completed a 100 days theatrical run on 29 January 2015.[94][95]

The film earned $142,805 in its USA premiere.[96][97] In France, Kaththi opened with about 3.1 million (US$43,000) which is a new record for an Indian film. The distributor Ayngaran International stated that Kaththi had the biggest opening for a Tamil film in UK since it released in over 70 screens there and also topped the weekend box office in Malaysia. It also has set new records in Singapore grossing over $201,408.[98]

Kaththi became the highest grossing Tamil film of 2014 in US.[99] In the UK box office it grossed £319,310 in 12 days. In Australia, Kaththi collected $160,890 and has surpassed the opening weekend collection of Kochadaiyaan ($119,597) and Anjaan ($107,013) for 2014. The film had a lifetime business of over A$194,341 in Australia and became the highest grossing Tamil film of the year there.[100][101] The film made approximately $1.86 million in Malaysia and has emerged as the third highest Tamil grosser.[102] The grossed an estimated 130 crore (US$18 million) worldwide, making it one of the highest grossing Tamil films of all time.[103]

Accolades[edit]

Remake[edit]

Despite having a Telugu dubbed version, the film was remade in Telugu as Khaidi No. 150 (2017), directed by V. V. Vinayak and starring Chiranjeevi, which is Chiranjeevi 150th film,[104] and is being remade in Hindi as Ikka (2021), directed by Jagan Shakti and starring Akshay Kumar.[105][106]

Legacy[edit]

The scene where Kathiresan ( Vijay ) visualizes a floor plan in three dimensions was parodied by Sivakarthikeyan in Rajinimurugan (2016).[107] The extended press conference scene, featured in the film was spoofed in Tamizh Padam 2.0 (2018).[108]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Telugu version remains unreleased to date.

References[edit]

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