Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Pazhassi Raja
Pazhassi raja 2009.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byHariharan
Written byM. T. Vasudevan Nair
Based onLife of Pazhassi Raja
Produced byGokulam Gopalan
StarringMammootty
Narrated byMohanlal (Malayalam)
Kamal Haasan (Tamil)
Shah Rukh Khan (Hindi)
CinematographyRamanath Shetty
Venu
Edited byA. Sreekar Prasad
Music byIlaiyaraaja
Production
company
Sree Gokulam Films
Distributed bySree Gokulam Release
Release date
  • 16 October 2009 (2009-10-16)
Running time
200 minutes
CountryIndia
LanguageMalayalam
Budget 20 crore[1]
Box officeest. 49 crore[2][3]

Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja is an Indian Malayalam-language historical drama film based on the life of Pazhassi Raja, a king who fought against the East India Company in the 18th century. The film was directed by Hariharan, written by M. T. Vasudevan Nair and produced by Gokulam Gopalan. It stars Mammootty with Sarathkumar, Manoj K Jayan, Suresh Krishna, Suman, Kanika Subramaniam, Padmapriya, Thilakan and Jagathi Sreekumar in supporting roles. The music score and soundtrack were created by Ilaiyaraaja, while its sound design is by Resul Pookutty. The political situation of the time is portrayed from an Indian viewpoint in the film, and the locals are treated sympathetically. The film received an overwhelming response and it has emerged as one of the top grossers in Kerala’s box office history.[4]

The film won National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam, Best Background Score, Best Audiography and Special Mention (for Padmapriya). It received numerous other accolades, including eight Kerala State Film Awards and seven Filmfare Awards South.

Pazhassi Raja was produced at a cost of 16-20 crore, making it the costliest film made in Malayalam until then.[5] It is the first Malayalam film to get a home video release in Blu-ray format. Originally filmed in Malayalam, Pazhassi Raja was dubbed in Tamil as well as Hindi. The film released on 16 October 2009 across Kerala with 150 prints.[6][7] It is often regarded as a classic in Malayalam cinema.[8]The film received an overwhelming response and it has emerged as one of the top grossers in Kerala’s box office history.[9]

Plot[edit]

The film starts in 1796, four years after the occupation of Malabar by the East India Company and towards the end of the First Pazhassi Revolt (1793–1797). The revolt is led by Kerala Varma, the Raja of Pazhassi Palace, of Kottayam house. The exploitation of the native Indian resources by the company had culminated in popular revolts against its authority across the district. With the help of Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja's uncle Kurumbranadu ruler Veeravarma, who is jealous of Pazhassi Raja for his success and influence, and Raja's old companion Pazhayamveedan Chandhu, the Company act against Pazhassi Raja. This forces Pazhassi Raja to escape to the forests of Wayanad. The tribal force led by Neeli captures Assistant Collector Thomas Hervey Baber and his fiancée Dora in the jungle, in spite of his commander's objection. The Raja treats Thomas Baber and Dora as his guest and releases them.

From there, he begins a guerrilla battles against the Company. He is supported by his army chief Edachena Kunkan and his brother-in-law Kaitheri Ambu. In the guerrilla battle-front, Pazhassi Raja uses the expertise of Thalakkal Chandu, a Kurichya soldier, and Chandu's fiancée Neeli.

During the initial phases of the battle, the Company loses many men and much money. This compels them to make a peace treaty with Pazhassi Raja. Raja agrees, hoping that this move will bring peace to the area and his people. However, the conditions of the treaty are never observed by the company. This prompts Raja to start the battle again. Similarly, Dora leaves Thomas Baber for England, having learned the betrayal done by the Company to the Raja and despite her objection to the hanging of a father and son, who refused to reveal the location of the Raja to the company. He forms useful alliances with many rulers and powerful families in the nearby places like Unni Mootha and his men.

Pazhassi Raja and his army successfully restart the battle. But the Company use heavily armed forces against him and succeed in luring many tribal leaders. This leads to the capture and subsequent hanging of Thalakkal Chandu as he was cheated by a tribal head.

The Company started hunting for Pazhassi and his army chief Edachena Kunkan. In a bloody fight, Edachena Kunkan kills Pazhayamveedan Chandhu. But he is surrounded by the company. Instead of surrendering before them, he commits suicide. This makes Raja's army weaker. But Pazhassi Raja, even though knowing that he is going to die, goes for a last fight against the company. After a glorious fight, Pazhassi Raja is killed by the company. The film ends with the assistant collector Thomas Baber placing the body of the Raja in a litter and his famous words: "He was our enemy. But he was a great warrior, a great man and we honour him." The Company officers respond by saluting the corpse of the Raja and acting as Pall-bearers.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

M. T. Vasudevan Nair, Hariharan, and Mammootty are working together after two decades; their previous association was Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha, which turned out into a landmark film in Malayalam. It was about Chanthu, a legendary warrior in the Northern Ballads. Through Pazhassi Raja, they made another biopic, on the life of Pazhassi Raja. Gokulam Gopalan was the film's producer. The total budget of the film is about 27 crores, which makes it the most expensive Malayalam film ever made.[10][11] The sounds in the battle scenes of the film were recreated under Academy Award winner Resul Pookutty as he joined in the project only after its completion.

The Kerala High Court ordered the producers of the film to avail the benefit of entertainment tax concession for viewers of Pazhassi Raja.[clarification needed][12]

Casting[edit]

Mammootty plays the title role of Pazhassi Raja. There are three heroines: Padmapriya appearing as a tribal girl, Kanika as Pazhassi's wife and Linda Arsenio as Dora Baber, fiancée of Assistant Collector Thomas Baber.[13] Linda is a theatre artist in New York who also acted in the film Kabul Express.[14]

Through this film, Sarath Kumar makes his debut in Malayalam cinema. He portrays Edachena Kunkan, the chief lieutenant to Pazhashi Raja.[15] Suresh Gopi was originally cast for the role. However, he refused to accept. Later, he clarified that he couldn't act in the film due to personal reasons, and it would always be a loss for him.[16] Suman portrayed Pazhayamveedan Chandu which marked his acting debut in Malayalam.[17] Biju Menon was originally cast for the role, but he opted out after a few days of shooting, citing physical difficulties in shooting fight scenes.

Filming[edit]

The filming began in February 2007 from Palakkad.[18] The filming lasted for two and a half years and was completed in August 2009.[19] Sound mixer Resul Pookutty recreated all location scenes to ensure perfection.[19] About the delay in making, Hariharan said: "The film's shoot took two years to complete, when it should have been completed in eight months. The delay was not because of me. Neither was it because my producer, Gokulam Gopalan, was short of money; I must really thank my producer, without whom a film like Pazhassi Raja would never have been made. The delay was because some of the stars were not willing to allot the extra time that was required for the film. They probably didn't realise this film would become a milestone in their careers. Making Pazhassi Raja was a great challenge for me. Directing Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha was a cakewalk, compared to this."[20]. One of the fight sequence in the film (between Mammootty and Suman) had been deleted from the movie due to over duration. The scene was removed from the theatres in the first week and again added after 75 days. However, the response for this was not satisfying as people liked this sequence.

Music[edit]

The film features six original songs composed by Ilaiyaraaja. The original background score was composed by Ilaiyaraaja, conducted by László Kovács and performed by the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra in Budapest.[21] It took three months for Ilaiyaraaja to complete the background score.[22] On 25 September, Think Music released a soundtrack album, featuring only the songs.[23] The songs received mixed to negative critical reviews and "did not go the way that it was expected".[24] Following the setback of the soundtrack album, Ilaiyaraaja stated that he was not satisfied with the lyrics of the poet O. N. V. Kurup, who penned two songs for the film. Ilaiyaraaja won the National Film Award for Best Background Score[25]

Track listing[edit]

Original version

All lyrics are written by O. N. V. Kurup, Gireesh Puthenchery and Kanesh Punoor; all music is composed by Ilaiyaraaja.

No.TitleArtist(s)Length
1."Mathangananamabjavasa" (Lyrics: Traditional Sanskrit Sloka)K. J. Yesudas1:16
2."Kunnathe Konnaykum" (Lyrics: O. N. V. Kurup)K. S. Chithra5:12
3."Aadiushassandhya Poothathivide" (Lyrics: O. N. V. Kurup)K. J. Yesudas, M. G. Sreekumar, Chandra Sekharan, Vidhu Prathap5:29
4."Ambum Kombum Komban Kattum" (Lyrics: Gireesh Puthenchery)Ilaiyaraaja, Manjari, Kuttappan4:59
5."Odathandil Thalam Kottum Kattil" (Lyrics: Gireesh Puthenchery)Chandra Sekharan, Sangeethaa-Sangeetha Sajith5:07
6."Aalamadankala Mythavanalle" (Lyrics: Kanesh Punoor)M. G. Sreekumar, Vidhu Prathap, Ashraf Thayineri, Edavanna Gafoor, Faisal Elettil, Krishnanunni4:47
Tamil version (Dubbed)[26]

All lyrics are written by Vaali; all music is composed by Ilaiyaraaja.

No.TitleArtist(s)Length
1."Mathangananamabjavasa" (Lyrics: Traditional Sanskrit Sloka)K. J. Yesudas1:16
2."Kundrathu"K. S. Chithra5:12
3."Aadi Mudhal"Madhu Balakrishnan, Rahul Nambiar, Roshini5:29
4."Agilamellam"Murali4:59
5."Moongil Thanni"Karthik, Roshini5:07
6."Ambum Kombum"Rahul Nambiar, Priya4:47

Hindi version (Dubbed)

All lyrics are written by Manoj Santoshi and Manisha Korde; all music is composed by Ilaiyaraaja.

No.TitleArtist(s)Length
1."Pritam Dil"Shreya Ghoshal5:01
2."Yaar Hai Badle"Shaan, Kunal Ganjawala4:42
3."Yeh Dharti Bhi"Shaan, Kunal Ganjawala5:16

Release[edit]

The film was released on 16 October as a Diwali release with 130 prints in the original Malayalam version and later on 17 November with 150 prints in Tamil.[27] Later, on 27 September 2013, Goldmines Telefilms launched the trailer of the Hindi dubbed version of the film, at their YouTube channel.[28] The full Hindi version of the film was digitally released on YouTube on 11 October 2013.[29]

Home video[edit]

Moser Baer Home Entertainment released the film on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, SuperDVD and VCD in India. The home video rights was bought by Moser Baer for a record sum of 62 lakhs. Pazhassi Raja was the first regional language film to be released in the Blu-ray format.[30] The DVD version of the film was released on 1 May 2010 as a two-DVD set.[31] It is available in 16:9 Anamorphic widescreen, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, progressive 24 FPS, widescreen and NTSC format.[32]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Nowrunning comments that the film is an "exotic chronicle that stuns us with its fascinating tale", and that "this is the stuff that tours de force are made of".[33] Rediff gave the film 3.5 stars out of 5, praising the script and the technical brilliance of the film.[34] Sify described the film as one "that will be treasured for years to come".[35]

However, Rediff also stated that "sentimentalism bogs down the pace [of the film]" at several occasions of the story.[34] Ilayaraja's music also received criticism, and the critics further accused the film of taking some cinematic liberties on history.[35] The Hindu said, "the host of people who play English Lords and East India Company chiefs appears theatrical. Even Linda Arsenio, the English Lady Dora Baber, isn't spontaneous" and "while on editing, certain parts seem to have been trimmed in haste and hence hang without relevance. Strangely, despite an action-oriented story and mind-boggling stunts, the film sags at points."[36] Other critics pointed the sloppy fight scenes and the English accent of Padmapriya who has dubbed for herself in the film.[37]

Box office[edit]

Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja collected around 1.65 crore from first day over the all releasing centres. The film had a record opening, collecting 7.65 crore in its first week, which was the highest ever first week recorded for a film in Kerala, at the time it was released.[38][39][7] The film collected ₹ 31 lakhs in its first week in Chennai box office.[40] The film collected a revenue of about ₹32 crore after its theatrical run.[41][42]The film ran for 150 days in 5 theatres in kerala[43] and grossed ₹49 crore in total as revenue and business.[44][45]

Accolades[edit]

Organisation Award Category Winner
Directorate of Film Festivals[46] National Film Awards Best Feature Film in Malayalam Gokulam Gopalan
Special Jury Award Padmapriya
Best Background Score Ilaiyaraaja
Best Audiography Resul Pookutty
Kerala State Chalachitra Academy[47] Kerala State Film Award Best Director Hariharan
Best Screenplay M. T. Vasudevan Nair
Second Best Actor Manoj K. Jayan
Second Best Actress Padmapriya
Best Film Editor A. Sreekar Prasad
Best Art Director Muthuraj
Best Costume Designer Natarajan
Best Dubbing Artist Shoby Thilakan
Filmfare[48] Filmfare Awards South Best Film
Best Director Hariharan
Best Supporting Actor Manoj K. Jayan
Best Supporting Actress Padmapriya
Best Lyricist O. N. V. Kurup
Best Male Playback K. J. Yesudas for "Aadiushassandhya Poothathivide"
Best Female Playback K. S. Chithra for "Kunnathe Konnaykum"
Annual Malayalam Movie Awards[49] Annual Malayalam Movie Awards (Dubai) Best Movie
Best Director Hariharan
Best Script Writer M. T. Vasudevan Nair
Best Actress Kanika
Best Supporting Actor Manoj K. Jayan
Best Special Performance Padmapriya
Best Music Director Ilaiyaraaja
Best Singer (Female) K. S. Chithra
Best Sound Effects & Engineering Resul Pookutty and Amrit Pritam
Surya TV[50] Surya Film Awards Best Script Writer M. T. Vasudevan Nair
Best Actor Mammootty
Best Actress Padmapriya
Best Art Director Muthuraj
Best Make-up man George
Best Costume designer Natarajan
Best Male Dubbing Artiste Shoby Thilakan
Vanitha[51] Vanitha Film Awards Best Script Writer M. T. Vasudevan Nair
Best Actor Mammootty
Best Actress Padmapriya
Best Supporting Actor Sarath Kumar
Best Male Singer K. J. Yesudas
Best Female Singer K. S. Chithra
Kalakeralam[52] Kalakerala Film Awards Best Film
Best Actor Mammootty
Second Best Actor Manoj K. Jayan
Best Music Director Ilaiyaraaja
Asianet Asianet Film Awards Best Film Award Gokulam Gopalan

References[edit]

  1. ^ P K Krishnakumar. "Mollywod pins it's hope on summer releases". The Economic Times.
  2. ^ "Pazhassi Raja DVD sales create records! | Regional News - Yahoo! India Movies". 22 May 2010. Archived from the original on 22 May 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  3. ^ "Hariharan- MT Vasudevan prepare for Randamoozham - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  4. ^ "Pazhassi Raja". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  5. ^ "Pazhassi Raja: Costliest Malayalam film". The Times of India. 15 October 2009. Archived from the original on 7 November 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
  6. ^ "'Pazhassi Raja' hits 130 theatres in Kerala". Chennai, India. 16 October 2009.
  7. ^ a b "Kerala Box Office (Oct 21-Nov 30, 2009)". Sify. 31 August 2011. Archived from the original on 15 April 2011. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  8. ^ "10 Malayalam films to watch before you die". The Times of India. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  9. ^ "Pazhassi Raja". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  10. ^ Iyer, Radhika (15 October 2009). "Pazhassi Raja: Costliest Malayalam film". NDTV. Archived from the original on 19 October 2009. Retrieved 17 October 2009.
  11. ^ "Hariharan- MT Vasudevan prepare for Randamoozham - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  12. ^ "Pazhassi Raja: Viewers to get tax benefit". Archived from the original on 16 January 2010. Retrieved 27 October 2009.
  13. ^ "Three heroines for Pazhassi Raj". Indiaglitz. Retrieved 2 May 2007.
  14. ^ "American actress in Malayalam movie". Apun Ka Choice. Archived from the original on 3 May 2007. Retrieved 2 May 2007.
  15. ^ "Sarath Kumar speaks Malayalam". IndiaGlitz. Retrieved 17 February 2008.
  16. ^ "'Pazhassi Raja' would always be a loss for me: Suresh Gopi". Nowrunning. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  17. ^ "Suman in Malayalam". Sify Malayalam. Archived from the original on 12 January 2008. Retrieved 24 January 2008.
  18. ^ P. K. Ajith Kumar. Tribute to Pazhassi Raja. The Hindu. 19 January 2009
  19. ^ a b History in the making: Pazhassi Raja film. Press Trust of India. Times of India. 4 September 2009
  20. ^ P. K. Ajith Kumar. ‘Pazhassi Raja' reigns supreme. The Hindu. 9 April 2010.
  21. ^ "Royal rebellion". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 2 October 2009. Archived from the original on 5 October 2009.
  22. ^ Mammootty starrer 'Pazhassi Raja' ready for release. Deccan Herald. Retrieved 4 September 2010.
  23. ^ 'Pazhassiraja' had a big audio launch. TNN. Times of India. Retrieved 25 September 2009.
  24. ^ "Ilayaraja unhappy with ONV's lyrics". Retrieved 23 October 2009.
  25. ^ P Sangeetha. 'I think music, not awards'. TNN. Times of India Retrieved 17 September 2010
  26. ^ "Pazhassi Raja (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture) - EP". iTunes. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  27. ^ "Mollywood pins its hopes on summer releases". The Economic Times. 20 March 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  28. ^ "Pazhassi Raja Hindi Dubbed Official Theatrical Trailer". Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  29. ^ "Pazhassi Raja (Hindi) Full Movie". Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  30. ^ "പഴശ്ശിരാജ ബ്ലൂറേ ഫോര്‍മാറ്റ് ഡിസ്‌ക് വിപണിയില്‍" Archived 18 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine. (in Malayalam). Janayugam. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  31. ^ Buy Hindi Movies Online | Buy Hindi Movies VCD, DVD Online | Online Store for Hindi Movies
  32. ^ "Indian Entertainment News, Movie News, Movie Features - Bollywood - Tamil - Telugu - Malayalam - Kannada Movies". Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  33. ^ "A breathtaking film that demands repeated screenings!". 16 October 2009. Retrieved 17 October 2009.
  34. ^ a b "Pazhassi Raja is brilliant". Rediff. 16 October 2009. Retrieved 17 October 2009.
  35. ^ a b Sify review. Sify. Retrieved 2010-10-17.
  36. ^ "Majestic multitude – Pazhassi Raja". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 27 November 2009. Archived from the original on 1 December 2009.
  37. ^ Aiyappan, Arya (17 October 2009). "Pazhassi Raja – Review | – Oneindia Entertainment". Entertainment.oneindia.in. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  38. ^ "Kerala Box Office - 28 Sep to 20 Oct". Sify. 21 October 2009. Archived from the original on 31 March 2014.
  39. ^ "10 Mammootty films to watch before you die". The Times of India. 24 May 2016.
  40. ^ "Chennai Box office Nov 27-29". Behindwoods. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  41. ^ Webdesk (20 October 2015). "Ennu Ninte Moideen surpassed Pazhassiraja and Twenty 20 in total gross !". onlookersmedia. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  42. ^ IBTimes (21 October 2015). "Kerala box office: Prithviraj's 'Ennu Ninte Moideen' among top 5 highest grossing Malayalam movies". International Business Times. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  43. ^ "Kerala box office updates". Sify. 8 February 2010.
  44. ^ "Pazhassi Raja DVD sales create records! | Regional News - Yahoo! India Movies". 22 May 2010. Archived from the original on 22 May 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  45. ^ "Hariharan- MT Vasudevan prepare for Randamoozham - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  46. ^ "Best Feature Film Award: Kutty Srank". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 16 September 2010. Archived from the original on 18 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  47. ^ 'Pazhassi Raja' reigns supreme. The Hindu. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
  48. ^ "Filmfare Awards Winners". The Times of India. 9 August 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2010.
  49. ^ "Amma Awards 2009". Archived from the original on 27 September 2009.
  50. ^ Surya TV film awards announced. The Hindu. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
  51. ^ Vanitha film awards 2009 announced Archived 14 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Keral TV. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  52. ^ കലാകേരള അവാര്‍ഡുകള്‍; മികച്ച ചിത്രം പഴശ്ശിരാജ Archived 8 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Veekshanam. Retrieved 16 April 2011.

External links[edit]