Poster of Tamil version
|Directed by||P. C. Sreeram|
|Produced by||S. Chandrahasan|
|Screenplay by||Kamal Haasan|
|Story by||Govind Nihalani|
|Music by||Mahesh Mahadevan|
|Cinematography||P. C. Sreeram|
|Edited by||N. P. Satish|
|Distributed by||Raaj Kamal Films International|
|Box office||₹20 crore|
Kuruthipunal/Drohi (River of Blood/Traitor) is a 1995 Indian neo-noir action thriller film cinematograph and directed by veteran cinematographer P. C. Sreeram. The film stars Kamal Haasan in the lead role, with Arjun and Nassar in supporting roles. The film featured songs and the background score was composed by Mahesh Mahadevan. Produced by Kamal Hassan, the story is a remake of Govind Nihalani's Hindi film Drohkaal, The film met with critical acclaim upon release and became a trendsetter for action films during that period of time. The film was India's official entry for the 68th Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film category, but was not nominated. The film was simultaneously made in Telugu as Drohi.This was the first Indian film to use Dolby Stereo surround SR technology.
Two honest and bold police officers Adhi Narayanan, (Kamal Hassan) and Abbas (Arjun Sarja) devise a masterful plan to bring a terrorist group in control, and send two secret vigilance officers, named Anand and Shiva on an operation called Operation "Dhanush". The objective is to infiltrate a terrorist group headed by a man named Badri, and relay information back to Abbas. After a year while relaying information to Abbas, Anand gets caught but he commits suicide before the terrorists can interrogate him. With information relayed by Anand, Abbas and Adhi know that the terrorists are picking up someone important and going to Trichy.
Abbas tightens the security at the railway station while Adhi goes to call his wife from a public phone booth. Adhi sees some suspicious activity and tries to get a closer look but the sound from his radio alerts the terrorist, a shootout follows where Adhi manages to hurt a terrorist while another tries to flee in a car but is caught as Adhi shoots at the car's tyre. The wounded terrorist gets into the railway station but gets shot down by Abbas and the car driver (Nassar) is taken into custody.
Adhi asks the driver for information on the terrorist head Badri but the driver maintains his innocence. Adhi convinced that the driver holds a mid-level position in the terrorist camp, refuses to believe him. The terrorists plan to assassinate a central minister who is visiting the city. An RPG expert is brought in to shoot down the minister, the terrorists seem to know the route which the minister will take and successfully kills the minister despite some hurdles but the RPG shooter is caught by Adhi. The shooter identifies the car driver (Nassar) as Badri.
Adhi lets Badri know that the RPG expert has spilt the beans and is willing to give more information about the other members of the terrorist organisation. Badri uses his influence and kills the RPG expert in jail. An enraged Adhi hits Badri and decides to kill Badri but then has a change of heart and interrogates him instead. Badri reveals that their spy in the Police Department is Srinivasan - Abbas and Adhi's mentor. Adhi tells the CBI about Srinivasan being a spy, but Srinivasan commits suicide before he is arrested by the CBI.
Badri's right-hand man Narasimhan sends terrorists to kill Adhi’s pet and shoots Adhi's son to show Adhi that he can kill Adhi’s family just as easily. Narasimhan threatens to kill Adhi’s family if Badri is not allowed to escape. Adhi cooperates to let Badri escape. Adhi acts as the new spy for the terrorist group. Abbas gets a little suspicious and follows Adhi when he goes to meet Badri. Abbas is caught, tortured and killed by Badri.
Overcome with sadness, Abbas’s wife Zeenath (Geetha) and their teenage daughter come to live with Adhi, his wife, Sumitra (Gouthami) and their son. Badri again threatens Adhi to let a couple of terrorists, Surendar and Mala, to come and live with him to keep a closer eye on Adhi. Overcome with guilt and grief over Abbas’s death and his betrayal of his duty, he realizes that he is travelling down the same path Srinivasan had done and decides to end the arrangement.Adhi sets up a meeting with Badri. Shiva still in contact with Adhi tells him that Narasimhan is meeting his wife and if Narasimhan dies he will become Badri's right-hand man, so Adhi goes and kills Narasimhan.
Adhi then tries to attack Badri in the safe house, but he is overpowered. Meanwhile, Surendar staying at Adhi’s house tries to rape Abbas’s teenage daughter and kills Mala when she intervenes. Sumitra intervenes and seduces Surendar. While he gets a bit too excited, she gets the gun from him and manages to kill him.
Adhi is then tortured for information about Dhanush. When only Adhi, Badri and Badri’s second in command, Shiva is left in the room, Badri reveals to Adhi that the group has even found the radio used by the spy and that Dhanush (the codename of the spy) can no longer contact the police. This surprises Adhi and he looks at Shiva, who is the spy, for confirmation. Badri notices this and realizes that Shiva is Dhanush. When Badri tries to kill Shiva, Adhi breaks free and wrestles with Badri and Adhi kills Badri.
Adhi, who believes that the mission to bring down all the terrorist organizations is more important than his life, orders Shiva to shoot him so that Shiva could continue to be the spy. Shiva shoots and kills Adhi just as the other terrorist members enter the room hearing the commotion inside. Shiva convinces the others that Badri was killed by Adhi and he killed Adhi. He proclaims that as Badri is dead, he, the second in command, will take over the reins of the group.
The story shows its ending as the beginning of a new era with the sons of Adhi and Narasimham (John Edathattil) confronting each other.
- Kamal Haasan as Adhi Naarayanan IPS
- Arjun as Abbas IPS
- Nassar as Badri
- Gautami as Sumitra
- Geetha as Zeenath
- Nizhalgal Ravi
- Anusha as Mala
- K. Viswanath as Srinivasan
- Subhalekha Sudhakar as Suri
- Ajay Rathnam as RPG shooter
- John Edathattil as Narasimham
- Arvind Krishna as Siva
The film was a remake of Hindi film Drohkaal and it was the second film directed by cinematographer P. C. Sriram. The film was initially titled Drohi which was later named for Telugu version of the film. Nassar who portrayed the role of Naxal commander revealed that he had the freedom to interpret the character in his own way and also said he "didn't act in the film, The context of every scene was so well established, that I did nothing more than maintain a stoic expression in most scenes. That my character was torturing someone and yet my face was so calm contributed to the impact." Kamal approached Arjun to portray a police officer and actor agreed to do the film even without hearing the narration.Actor Vikram rendered his voice to John Edathattil and Actress Rohini rendered her voice to Gouthami in the Tamil version.
The film won the Cinema Express Award for Best Film – Tamil, while Kamal Haasan won Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Tamil for his portrayal of Adhi Naarayanan. The film was featured as part of a retrospective to Kamal Haasan under the category "Director in Focus" at the International Film Festival Rotterdam.
Kuruthipunal had its successful run at box-office,grossing ₹20 crore far surpassing its production budget of ₹5 crore.
- List of submissions to the 68th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
- List of Indian submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
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