Murattu Kaalai (1980 film)

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Murattu Kaalai
Murattu Kaalai.jpg
Directed byS. P. Muthuraman
Written byPanchu Arunachalam
Produced byM. Kumaran
M. Saravanan
M. Balasubramaniam
Edited byR. Vittal
Music byIlaiyaraaja
Release date
  • 20 December 1980 (1980-12-20)
Running time
144 minutes[1]

Murattu Kaalai (transl. Raging Bull) is a 1980 Indian Tamil-language action film directed by S. P. Muthuraman, and written by Panchu Arunachalam. The film stars Rajinikanth, Rati Agnihotri, Sumalatha and Jaishankar. It revolves around Kaalaiyan, an honourable villager who, despite being wealthy, chooses to live modestly while Sundaravelu, a less honourable man from the neighbouring village, tries to grab Kaalaiyan's land.

Murattu Kaalai was the first film for Rajinikanth with AVM Productions, and the company's re-entry into Tamil cinema after a long sabbatical. It was released on 20 December 1980 and became a major commercial success. The film was also instrumental in establishing Rajinikanth as both an action hero and superstar. It was remade again in Tamil under the same title and released in 2012.


Kaalaiyan, a well-to-do and honourable landlord, lives modestly with his four brothers in a village. Sundaravelu is an equally rich but less honourable landlord in the neighbouring village. He lusts for Kaalaiyan's property and sends his assistant Saamipillai to him with an offer to buy his property. Saamipillai's family was burnt to death by Sundaravelu's father; Saamipillai had joined Sundaravelu's service as a mole, planning to destroy Sundaravelu at the appropriate time.

Kaalaiyan refuses to sell his property. Saamipillai, knowing well that Kaalaiyan is the best jallikattu player around, advises to Sundaravelu to organise a jallikattu game in the village festival and announce the reward as his sister Soundaryam's hand in marriage. Kaalaiyan wins, but refuses to marry Soundaryam as he is aware of Sundaravelu's devious plan, thus disappointing Soundaryam, who loved him, and also insulting Sundaravelu.

Sundaravelu falls in love with Kannamma, a girl of his village and proposes to her. When she refuses, he tries to molest her and she comes to Kaalaiyan seeking protection. Kaalaiyan allows her to stay at his house. She takes care of all the domestic work and impresses Kaalaiyan's brothers. When the villagers talk ill of Kannamma, Kaalaiyan's brothers decide to get Kannamma and Kaalaiyan married. To stop the wedding, Sundaravelu, at the instigation of Saamipillai, sends his henchman Sangili, who previously killed Kannamma's father, to fight Kaalaiyan. Kaalaiyan subdues Sangili but spares him.

Sundaravelu kills Sangili and frames Kaalaiyan. The police arrive at Kaalaiyan's marriage venue to arrest him. He escapes and hides in a forest. Soundaryam, coming to know about the misdeeds of her brother and his plans to destroy Kaalaiyan, argues with her brother and goes to the forest in search of Kaalaiyan. She finds him and reveals the truth. Sundaravelu, who had secretly followed Soundaryam to the forest, fights Kaalaiyan and takes his knife to kill him, but ends up killing Soundaryam, who came between the two.

Kaalaiyan is again framed for murder by Sundaravelu, the police intensify their search and a team of officers reach the forest. One of them is Sundaravelu's man and he attacks an officer. The corrupt officer assumes he is dead and leaves the place, but Kaalaiyan finds and saves him. Sundaravelu learns that the attacked officer survived and sends a group of thugs to attack Kaalaiyan when he is travelling in a train. Kaalaiyan fights the thugs and subdues them all; he forces one of them to inform Sundaravelu that Kaalaiyan and the policeman are dead.

During Sundaravelu's birthday party celebrations, Kaalaiyan and Kannamma come there disguised as dancers. When Sundaravelu gifts them money, Kaalaiyan reveals his true identity. A fight ensues, until a team of police officers arrives to arrest Sundaravelu for his crimes. When he demands witnesses and proof for his crimes, Saamipillai comes forward and agrees to give all the evidence, revealing his identity. Sundaravelu realises that he does not have any support and shoots himself dead to avoid arrest.




AVM Productions founder A. V. Meiyappan wanted S. P. Muthuraman to direct a film for AVM featuring Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, and Muthuraman agreed. However, a month later, Meiyappan died and Muthuraman became upset at not fulfilling his wish. Soon after, Meiyappan's son M. Saravanan reminded Muthuraman about his father's wish and said he, along with his brothers, would produce the prospective film, reinvigorating Muthuraman. Rajinikanth, who had a long-time desire to appear in an AVM film, readily agreed when approached by Muthuraman. However, Haasan was reluctant as he and Rajinikanth did not intend to act together again; Haasan told Muthuraman to make a separate film for each actor. Saravanan decided that work on the Rajinikanth film begin first.[3]

Panchu Arunachalam developed the script for the film, which was titled Murattu Kaalai.[3] It marked the fourth collaboration between Muthuraman and Rajinikanth, and both men's first with AVM.[5][6] The film also marked the comeback of AVM to Tamil films after a long sabbatical.[7] It was co-produced by Saravanan's brothers M. Kumaran and M. Balasubramaniam, photographed by Babu and edited by R. Vittal.[8]

Casting and filming[edit]

Murattu Kaalai was the first film where Jaishankar, who was generally known for his heroic roles, portrayed a negative character.[9] According to Muthuraman, the producers were initially hesitant to approach him, given his image, but Jaishankar agreed without any reservations. Rajinikanth wanted Jaishankar to get equal prominence in all the film's promotional material, and it happened that way.[10][11] The makers chose to shoot the film in Pollachi as it had all that the script required: fields, forests, hills and rivers.[12] The introductory jallikattu sequence and succeeding song "Pothuvaaga En Manasu Thangam" were shot at Paganeri, a village near Karaikudi.[13] The fight sequence at the top of a train was choreographed by Judo. K. K. Rathnam,[7] and took three days to film.[14] Rajinikanth wore a wig designed by B. Natesan throughout the shoot to portray his character.[3][15] The climax initially had the antagonist beaten and dragged by the police, but Rajinikanth could not bear to see Jaishankar in such a position; it was changed to have the character commit suicide to avoid arrest.[9]


The music was composed by Ilaiyaraaja and the lyrics were written by Panchu Arunachalam.[16][17] The song "Entha Poovilum" is based on Antonio Ruiz-Pipó's Cancion y Danza.[18] "Pothuvaaga En Manasu Thangam" became immensely popular among fans of Rajinikanth,[19] and featured prominently in the 1996 Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly election.[1]

1."Entha Poovilum"S. Janaki 
2."Puthu Vannangal"S. Janaki 
3."Pothuvaaga En Manasu Thangam"Malaysia Vasudevan 
4."Maame Machchan"S. P. Sailaja 
5."Kodanu Kodi Konda Selvanai Padunga"Malaysia Vasudevan, S. Janaki 

Release and reception[edit]

Murattu Kaalai was released on 20 December 1980.[20] The review board of the magazine Ananda Vikatan gave the film a B rating (equal to 40 or 45 marks out of 100), calling it a mass commercial entertainer.[21] The film was a major commercial success, running for over 100 days in theatres.[22]


Murattu Kaalai popularised the trend of introduction songs which went on to become a trademark in Rajinikanth's films.[23][24] The film also confirmed Rajinikanth's status as a superstar.[25] As film historian G. Dhananjayan noted, "With [Murattu Kaalai], Rajinikanth went from being an acting hero to an action hero. He became a larger-than-life hero and superstar after this film."[26] The train fight and jallikattu scenes remain landmark fight sequences in Tamil cinema.[27][28] N. S. Ramnath wrote in Forbes India that though Tamil cinema became more experimental in the 1970s, Murattu Kaalai's success "put a stop to experimentation in films, and pushed everyone on to the masala bandwagon".[29] "Seeviduven" (transl. I'll chop off your head) became one of the popular catchphrases from the film.[30]

Murattu Kaalai was remade again in Tamil under the same title by K. Selva Bharathy. The remake featured a remix of "Pothuvaaga En Manasu Thangam".[31] It was released in 2012,[32] and failed to repeat the success of the original.[33] R. S. Prakash of Bangalore Mirror compared Veeram (2014) to Murattu Kaalai because of how it depicted the male lead's relationship with his four younger brothers.[34]

In popular culture[edit]

In Muthu (1995), the title character (Rajinikanth) is seen performing "Podhuvaga En Manasu" on stage.[35][36] In Subramaniapuram (2008), Azhagar (Jai) and Paraman (Sasikumar) are seen watching Murattu Kaalai at a theatre.[37][38] In Enthiran (2010), Pachaimuthu (Kalabhavan Mani) utters the dialogue "Seeviduven" while threatening Vaseegaran (Rajinikanth).[39] The 2017 film Podhuvaga Emmanasu Thangam was named after the song from Murattu Kaalai.[40]


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  2. ^ a b c Ramachandran 2014, p. 117.
  3. ^ a b c d e f முத்துராமன், எஸ்பி. (2 March 2016). "சினிமா எடுத்துப் பார் 48: ரஜினி விக் வைத்து நடித்த ஒரே படம்!". Hindu Tamil Thisai. Archived from the original on 16 August 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
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  5. ^ Ramachandran 2014, pp. 116–118.
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  20. ^ Saravanan 2013, p. 237.
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  36. ^ Ramachandran 2014, p. 163.
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  38. ^ Subramaniapuram (motion picture) (in Tamil). Company Productions. 2008. From 47:12 to 51:54.
  39. ^ Enthiran (motion picture) (in Tamil). Sun Pictures. 2010. From 1:48:57 to 1:49:00.
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