Michael Madana Kama Rajan

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Michael Madana Kama Rajan
L to R: Madan and Chakku Bai, Kameshwaran and Thirupurasundari, Shalini and Raju
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySingeetam Srinivasa Rao
Produced byMeena Panchu Arunachalam
Screenplay by
Story byKader Kashmiri
Starring
Music byIlaiyaraaja
CinematographyB. C. Gowrishankar
Edited byD. Vasu
Production
company
P. A. Art Productions
Release date
  • 17 October 1990 (1990-10-17)
Running time
162 minutes[1]
CountryIndia
LanguageTamil

Michael Madana Kama Rajan is a 1990 Indian Tamil-language comedy film directed by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao and written by Kamal Haasan, with Crazy Mohan penning the dialogues. The film stars Haasan in four roles alongside Urvasi, Rupini an Kushboo, while Manorama, Delhi Ganesh, Nassar, Venniradai Moorthy, S. N. Lakshmi, Jayabharathi, R. N. Jayagopal, Nagesh, Praveen Kumar and Santhana Bharathi play supporting roles. It revolves around quadruplets who get separated at birth and cross paths as adults.

Panchu Arunachalam obtained the rights to adapt a Pakistani film written by Kader Kashmiri. Despite retaining that film's premise of quadruplets being separated at birth and reuniting in climax, Rao, Haasan and Mohan created an otherwise entirely new story.[2] The film was produced by Arunachalam's wife Meena, photographed primarily by B. C. Gowrishankar and edited by D. Vasu.

Michael Madana Kama Rajan was released on 17 October 1990, Diwali day, and was commercially successful, running for 175 days, thereby becoming a silver jubilee film.

Plot[edit]

Venugopal, a wealthy industrialist, marries a woman named Sushila and they have quadruplets. His brother Nandagopal tries to have her and the newborns killed by hired goons. Alex, the leader of the goons has no desire to kill the babies, so he adopts one (Michael), leaves one in an orphanage (Subramaniam Raju), one in a temple (Kameshwaran) who is picked by a cook Palakkad Mani Iyer, and one (Madanagopal) in a car that belongs to Venugopal.

30 years later, Madhan is now a London-educated businessman. Venugopal has raised Madhan as his adopted son, not knowing that he is his biological son. Venugopal is killed by Nandagopal and his nephew, Ramu for his inheritance, but unknown to them, the will has already named Madhan as the beneficiary. Madhan returns to Bangalore from England to take over his father's company. He confronts Avinashi, his father's PA, over his embezzlement, while reluctantly promising to forgive him if Avinashi accepted his culpability.

Meanwhile, in Madras, Michael, like his foster father Alex, has become a petty criminal, and while escaping with Alex from the police, accidentally causes a fire in an art gallery where artist Shalini's paintings are being displayed for exhibition. This brings in the firefighter, Raju, who saves Shalini and her paintings, leading to romance. Raju is also in debt to a money-lender over a failed stage play. While evading him, Kameshwaran is introduced as a cook for weddings and special events. He meets Thirupurasundari and her kleptomaniac grandmother. Eventually, Kameshwaran marries Thirupurasundari.

Someone contacts Madhan over phone and tells him that his father's death was no accident, but planned, and gives him an address in Madras and a time to meet. After some distractions involving a woman named Chakkubai and her mother Gangabai, Madhan meets the caller, Sushila, who, unknown to him, is his biological mother. While escaping from goons sent by Ramu in a car, Madhan meets Raju and hires him to impersonate him in Bangalore while Madhan investigates in Madras. Meanwhile, Ramu and Nandagopal have hired Michael to kill Madhan. Michael sabotages Madhan's car, not realising it is Raju. The brakes fail on the highway, but Raju brings the car to a safe stop. Sushila meets with him thinking he is Madhan, but he redirects her to the real Madhan in Madras. Raju, Shalini, and her father arrive at Madhan's house in Bangalore. Raju confiscates Avinashi's money, not knowing Madhan's deal with Avinashi.

Meanwhile, Michael finds the real Madhan in Madras. Madhan and Chakkubai have fallen in love and Madhan presents her with a ring; unknown to them, they are being spied on by Michael and Alex. Michael follows Madhan, Chakkubai, Gangubai, and Sushila to Sushila's home where it is revealed that Madhan's father is alive but dazed from the assassination attempt. Michael and Alex arrive at the scene. Sushila recognises the father as the person who had taken her quadruplets and realises that Michael and Madhan are both her biological sons. Michael and his father knock all of them unconscious and kidnap Madhan and the others to a mountain cabin near Bangalore.

Avinashi chances upon Kameshwaran on his wedding day, and hires him to impersonate Madhan to retrieve the money that Raju confiscated. Back in Madhan's house in Bangalore, Raju and Shalini plan to meet without her father knowing. Avinashi drugs Raju's soup but the soup is drunk by Madhan's bodyguard Bheem. Raju and Shalini meet and profess their love for one another. Michael and his father arrive at Madhan's house to loot it. Michael sees Raju, mistakes him for Madhan, and thinks that Madhan has escaped from the cabin. He knocks Raju unconscious. Avinashi sees the unconscious Raju, assumes it was the effect of his drugged soup, and brings Kameshwaran into the house to retrieve his money.

Kameshwaran is mistaken for Raju by Shalini who then tries to get intimate with him. Thirupu and her grandmother drag Kameshwaran away from her. Shalini then witnesses Kameshwaran hugging Thirupu. This enrages her as she thinks that Raju is two-timing her. Chakkubai and Gangubai also arrive at the house in search of Madhan. Chakkubai mistakes Kameshwaran for Madhan and introduces herself to everyone as Madhan's fiancée, much to Avinashi's dismay, as his plan of using Kameshwaran to access Madhan's money keeps getting comically disrupted first by Raju's then by Madhan's girlfriend. Shalini takes a hunting rifle and holds everyone at gunpoint. Avinashi and the rest try to tell her that Kameshwaran is not Madhan/Raju but she does not believe them.

Meanwhile, the real Madhan has escaped the cabin with his parents and comes to the house. In the midst of all this confusion, Michael steals Madhan's wealth and escapes to the cabin. The rest of the crew follows them back to the cabin in multiple cars. Ramu and Nandagopal are already present in the cabin and hold everyone at gunpoint as they arrive one by one. All four brothers are finally in the same room at the same time and Sushila tells them that they are her quadruplets. The presence of all the people in the small cabin causes it to tilt over the cliff edge. The bad men are knocked out and the four brothers work together to safely get everyone out of the cabin. Everyone is happy as they are finally together.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

The producer/writer Panchu Arunachalam saw a Pakistani film written by Kader Kashmiri featuring quadruplets being separated at birth and reuniting in the climax. He obtained the rights to adapt that film in Tamil, with Singeetam Srinivasa Rao hired to direct, the screenplay written by Kamal Haasan and the dialogues by Crazy Mohan. While the film retained the original's core premise and Kashmiri received credit for the story, the team of Rao, Haasan and Mohan created an otherwise entirely new story. The title Michael Madana Kamarajan was inspired by a 1941 film named Madana Kama Rajan; Mohan added "Michael" to make it look more contemporary and modern. The initial idea for the backstory was how the quadruplets born to a "family planning" doctor get separated in a chaos. This idea was later replaced by a song playing during the opening credits.[11]

Haasan said he wrote the script of Michael Madana Kama Rajan "like a kolam that you teach a child. There were just a few dots and crosses. Mohan was the only one who truly got it." He said the story has its origin in Oscar Wilde's play The Importance of Being Earnest.[12] Rao described it as a "modern version of the old folk tale of a king, queen and their quadruplets who grow up in different households".[13] Despite being credited for the story, Kashmiri had not received his due of 11 lakh (equivalent to 87 lakh or US$120,000 in 2019) as of 2013.[14] The film was produced by Arunachalam's wife Meena under P. A. Art Productions, cinematography was handled primarily by B. C. Gowrishankar, and editing by D. Vasu.[1]

Casting[edit]

Haasan played four distinct characters who are quadruplets: the criminal Michael, the businessman Madanagopal, the cook Kameshwaran and the firefighter Subramaniam Raju. To portray each quadruplet, Haasan sported different looks; for Michael, he grew his hair long and had a French beard; for Madan, he wore glasses and was clean-shaven; for Kameshwaran (also clean-shaven), he brushed his hair back and applied a vibhuti tilaka on his forehead; for Raju, he kept his mustache thick and hair short.[15] In keeping with the quadruplets' diverse upbringings, he even had different speaking styles for each quadruplet: a "gruff" accent for Michael,[6] an English one for Madan, a Palakkad one for Kameshwaran, and Madras Bashai for Raju.[16]

Urvashi played Kameshwaran's love interest Thirupurasundari,[17] this being her second Tamil film after Mundhanai Mudichu (1983). She dubbed in her own voice at Haasan's insistence.[5][18][19] Khushbu was cast as Raju's love interest Shalini after a meeting with Arunachalam's son Subbu.[2][20] Nagesh initially wanted to play a different role from Madan's PA Avinashi, but when Haasan asked him if he would play his role, Nagesh retorted, "As if you'd give me that if I asked you for it!" He was interested in playing Thirupurasundari's kleptomaniac grandmother before S. N. Lakshmi was cast.[12] Haasan cast Praveen Kumar as Madhan's bodyguard after being impressed with his performance as Bhima in the TV series Mahabharat; the bodyguard was named Bheem as a reference to the earlier role.[2] Delhi Ganesh, who played Kameshwaran's foster father Mani Iyer, also used a Palakkad accent for his character.[21] Santhana Bharathi was cast as Michael's foster father after Haasan recommended him to Rao.[22]

Filming[edit]

The song "Sundhari Neeyum Sundharan Njanum" was filmed entirely in slow-motion at 48 frames per second.[13][23] Rao initially wanted the picturisation with 20 widows in background, but changed the idea after hearing the tune of the song.[13] The song "Rum Bum Bum Arambum" was choreographed by Prabhu Deva.[2] The climax sequence, featuring a "cliff-hanging-house", was based on a similar scene from the American film The Gold Rush (1925).[24] The exterior portion was shot in Coonoor and the interior of the house was shot in studio, in a hydraulic set.[2][13] Kabir Lal was selected as cinematographer for the climax sequence due to the complexities involved with shooting multiple lookalikes.[11] Due to his rapport with Panchu Arunachalam, Santhana Bharathi was allowed to aid post-production works such as dubbing and re-recording.[22]

Soundtrack[edit]

Michael Mathana Kama Rajan
Soundtrack album by
Released1990
GenreFeature film soundtrack
LanguageTamil
LabelEcho

The soundtrack was composed by Ilaiyaraaja.[25] The song "Kadha Kelu Kadha Kelu" narrates the backstory of the quadruplets' separation, and serves as the "opening montage song".[26] Haasan wanted a song like "Margazhi Thingal" (a verse from the devotional poem Thiruppavai) to feature in the film, so "Sundhari Neeyum Sundharan Njanum" was conceived. K. J. Yesudas was supposed to sing the song, but due to his busy schedule Ilaiyaraaja insisted on Hassan singing it.[27] The Malayalam lyrics in the song were written by Poovachal Khader.[23] "Rum Bum Bum Arambum" was inspired by Bill Haley & His Comets' version of "Rock Around the Clock".[28] The soundtrack also had two songs "Mathapoovu Oru Penna" and "Aadi Pattam Thedi" which were not picturised.[29][30] For the Telugu-dubbed version Michael Madana Kamaraju, Rajashri wrote all the lyrics.[31] "Vechalum Vekkama Ponnalum" was recreated by Ilaiyaraaja's son Yuvan Shankar Raja for Dikkiloona.[32]

Track list
No.TitleLyricsSinger(s)Length
1."Kadha Kelu Kadha Kelu"Panchu ArunachalamIlaiyaraaja, Deva 
2."Rum Bum Bum Arambum"VaaliS. P. Balasubrahmanyam, K. S. Chithra 
3."Siva Rathiri"VaaliK. S. Chithra, Mano 
4."Sundhari Neeyum Sundharan Njanum"Panchu Arunachalam, Poovachal KhaderKamal Haasan, S. Janaki 
5."Vechalum Vekkama Ponnalum"VaaliMalaysia Vasudevan, S. Janaki 
6."Mathapoovu Oru Penna"VaaliK. S. Chithra 
7."Aadi Pattam Thedi"VaaliMano, K. S. Chithra 
Telugu
No.TitleLyricsSinger(s)Length
1."Kadha Chebutha"RajashriSingeetam Srinivasa Rao 
2."Rum Bum Bum Arambum"RajashriS. P. Balasubrahmanyam, K. S. Chithra 
3."Siva Rathiri"RajashriS. P. Balasubrahmanyam, K. S. Chithra 
4."Sundharudeevu Sundari Nenu"RajashriS. P. Balasubrahmanyam, K. S. Chithra 
5."Ee Kerintha"RajashriS. P. Balasubrahmanyam, K. S. Chithra 

Release[edit]

Michael Madana Kama Rajan was released on 17 October 1990, Diwali day.[1] It was commercially successful and ran for 175 days, thereby becoming a silver jubilee film.[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Dhananjayan 2011, p. 134.
  2. ^ a b c d e Suganth, M (17 October 2020). "Celebrating 30 years of Kamal Haasan's comic masterpiece Michael Madana Kama Rajan". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 4 January 2021. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  3. ^ Ge, Krupa (11 June 2019). "Ms. Representation: Crazy's women – A lesson in writing". Cinema Express. Archived from the original on 28 September 2020. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  4. ^ Rangan, Baradwaj (17 October 2020). "Michael Madana Kama Rajan Turns 30: A "Critical" Look At This Beloved Kamal Haasan-Singeetam Srinivasa Rao-Crazy Mohan Comedy". Film Companion. Archived from the original on 13 November 2020. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  5. ^ a b Dhananjayan 2011, p. 135.
  6. ^ a b c Mehar, Rakesh (17 October 2016). "What makes 'Michael Madana Kama Rajan' the finest Tamil comedy till date". The News Minute. Archived from the original on 27 September 2017. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  7. ^ Dhananjayan 2011, p. 136.
  8. ^ "Noted Kannada Lyricist Jayagopal dead". DNA India. PTI. 19 May 2008. Archived from the original on 15 January 2021. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  9. ^ Ramakrishnan, N. (10 June 2020). "Remembering Crazy Mohan, a year after his death". Business Line. Archived from the original on 7 December 2020. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  10. ^ ராம்ஜி, வி. (18 October 2020). "'திருப்பு திருப்புன்னான்', 'மீன் பிடிக்கிற கரண்டி', 'கேட்ச் மை பாயிண்ட்', 'கடன்பட்டார் நெஞ்சம் போல் கலங்கினான்', 'அங்கவஸ்திர ஜரிகை மாதிரி மளிகை லிஸ்ட்', 'இது இங்கிலீஷ் மீனாக்கும்!', 'பீம்பாய் பீம்பாய்'; - காமெடியில் தனி சரித்திரம் படைத்த 'மைக்கேல் மதன காமராஜன்' 30 ஆண்டுகள்!". Hindu Tamil Thisai (in Tamil). Archived from the original on 1 November 2020. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Retro Ticket (15 November 2020). "Reel #10 | Michael Madana Kamarajan | MMKR | Greatest comedy ever? | Kamal, Crazy Mohan, Singeetham". YouTube. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  12. ^ a b Suganth, M. (11 June 2020). "Kamal Haasan shares delightful trivia on Michael Madana Kama Rajan". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 22 June 2020. Retrieved 12 June 2020.
  13. ^ a b c d Gopalakrishnan, Aswathy (29 October 2016). "Singeetam Srinivasa Rao Interview: "The Golden Rule Of Cinema Is That There Is No Golden Rule"". Silverscreen India. Archived from the original on 9 June 2020. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  14. ^ "Kader Kashmiri's case against Kamal Haasan". The Free Press Journal. 25 January 2013. Archived from the original on 3 October 2020. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  15. ^ Raj, Maya (July 2010). "Style Sutra: Kamal Haasan". South Scope. p. 52.
  16. ^ Sundaram, Nandhu (28 November 2020). "30 Years Of Michael Madana Kama Rajan: An Ode To Kamal Haasan's Genius". Moneycontrol.com. Archived from the original on 28 November 2020. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  17. ^ Vasudevan, K. V. (26 November 2016). "A filmy reunion". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 3 December 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  18. ^ Shiva Kumar, S. (17 June 2005). "The beauty of comic timing". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 16 October 2020. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  19. ^ Rangan, Baradwaj (11 November 2020). "In front Of The Camera, There Is No Suriya, Vijay Or Dhanush: Urvashi". Film Companion. Archived from the original on 17 November 2020. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  20. ^ Manoj Kumar, R (6 July 2019). "South Stream: Kamal Haasan's Michael Madana Kama Rajan". The Indian Express. Archived from the original on 12 June 2020. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  21. ^ Kolappan, B. (11 June 2019). "The king of comedy leaves his fans in tears". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 15 January 2021. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  22. ^ a b Suganth, M (17 October 2020). "It was quite challenging to work on a tilting set: Santhana Bharathi remembers Michael Madana Kama Rajan". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 30 December 2020. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  23. ^ a b Ramnath, Nandini (19 February 2017). "Picture the song: 'Sundari Neeyum' is a slo-mo beauty". Scroll.in. Archived from the original on 15 January 2021. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  24. ^ Kamath, Sudhish (4 January 2008). "No, thank you! -- Welcome". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 25 January 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  25. ^ "Michael Madhana Kama Rajan (1990)". Music India Online. Archived from the original on 20 February 2009. Retrieved 5 February 2009.
  26. ^ a b "Vidya Balan is impressed by Michael Madhana Kama Rajan". The Indian Express. 16 October 2019. Archived from the original on 30 May 2020. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  27. ^ Rangan, Baradwaj (4 September 2014). "And more on the Ilaiyaraaja connection". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 24 May 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  28. ^ "Tamil Copycat Songs". Facebook (in Tamil). Vikatan TV. 21 April 2015. From 2:30 to 2:40. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  29. ^ Venkateswaran Ganesan (10 January 2015). "Mathaapoovu Oru Pennaa -- Michael Madana Kamarajan (Unfeatured Song)". Retrieved 28 September 2017 – via YouTube.
  30. ^ Envazhi (21 August 2012). "Aadi Pattam Thedi Sennel... A rare gem of Ilayaraaja — Envazhi spl". Retrieved 28 September 2017 – via YouTube.
  31. ^ "Michael Madana Kamaraju". JioSaavn. Archived from the original on 15 January 2021. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  32. ^ "Santhanam's 'Dikkilona' trending at the top, fans rejoice". The Times of India. 24 December 2020. Archived from the original on 20 January 2021. Retrieved 24 February 2021.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Dhananjayan, G. (2011). The Best of Tamil Cinema, 1931 to 2010: 1931–1976. Galatta Media.

External links[edit]