Murattu Kaalai (1980 film)
|Directed by||S. P. Muthuraman|
|Produced by||M. Kumaran|
|Written by||Panchu Arunachalam|
|Edited by||R. Vittal|
Murattu Kaalai (transl. Raging Bull) is a 1980 Tamil-language Indian 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 (Rajinikanth), an honorable villager who, despite being wealthy, chooses to live modestly while Sundaravelu (Jaishankar), a less honorable 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. It was also instrumental in establishing Rajinikanth as both an action hero and superstar. The film was remade again in Tamil under the same title and released in 2012.
Kaalaiyan, a well-to-do and honorable landlord, lives modestly with his four brothers in a village. Sundaravelu is an equally rich landlord with a contrasting character in the neighbouring village. He has an eye on 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 without revealing his background, planning to destroy Sundaravelu at the appropriate time. When 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 (instigated by Saamipillai) sends his henchman Sangili to fight Kaalaiyan. Kaalaiyan subdues Sangili and 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 to him. Sundaravelu, who follows 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 removes his disguise. 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.
- Rajinikanth as Kaalaiyan
- Rati Agnihotri as Kannamma
- Sumalatha as Soundaryam
- Suruli Rajan as Saamipillai
- Y. G. Mahendra as Kaalaiyan's first brother
- G. Srinivasan as Kannamma's father
- Shantharam as Sangili
- Rajappa as Kaalaiyan's second brother
- Master Ramu as Kaalaiyan's third brother
- S. A. Ashokan (Guest appearance)
- Thengai Srinivasan (Guest appearance)
- Jaishankar as Sundaravelu
AVM Productions founder A. V. Meiyappan wanted director S. P. Muthuraman to make 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, and instead told Muthuraman to make two separate films for each actor. Saravanan decided that work on the Rajinikanth film begin first.
Panchu Arunachalam developed the script for the film, which was titled Murattu Kaalai. It marked the fourth collaboration between Muthuraman and Rajinikanth, and Rajinikanth's first with AVM. The film also marked the comeback of AVM to films after a long sabbatical. It was co-produced by Saravanan's brothers M. Kumaran and M. Balasubramaniam, photographed by Babu and edited by R. Vittal.
Rajinikanth was cast as the male lead Kaalaiyan. Rati Agnihotri portrayed the female lead Kannamma, and Sumalatha portrayed the second female lead Soundaryam. This was the first film where Jaishankar, who was generally known for playing heroic roles, played an antagonist, the landlord Sundaravelu. According to Muthuraman, the producers were initially hesitant to approach Jaishankar, 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. Suruli Rajan was cast as the mole Saamipillai, G. Srinivasan as Kannamma's father and Shantaram as Sundaravelu's henchman Sangili. Y. G. Mahendra, Rajappa and child actor Ramu portrayed three of Kaalaiyan's four younger brothers.
The makers chose to shoot the film in Pollachi as it had all that the script required: fields, forests, hills and rivers. The fight sequence at the top of a train was choreographed by Judo. K. K. Rathnam, and took three days to film. Rajinikanth wore a wig throughout the shoot to portray Kaalaiyan.
The music was composed by Ilaiyaraaja and the lyrics were written by Panchu Arunachalam. The song "Entha Poovilum" was inspired by Georges Bizet's L'Arlésienne Suite Number one, 4th Movement, called "Carillon". The song "Pothuvaaga En Manasu Thangam" became immensely popular among fans of Rajinikanth, and featured prominently in the election campaign of 1996.
|1.||"Entha Poovilum"||S. Janaki|
|2.||"Puthu Vannangal"||S. Janaki|
|3.||"Pothuvaaga En Manasu Thangam"||Malaysia Vasudevan|
|4.||"Maane Machchan"||S. P. Sailaja|
Release and reception
Murattu Kaalai was released on 20 December 1980. 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. The film was a major commercial success, running for over 100 days in theatres.
Murattu Kaalai introduced the trend of introduction songs which went on to become a trademark in Rajinikanth's films. The film also confirmed Rajinikanth's status as a superstar. 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." The climax fight sequence and the jallikattu scene remain as landmark fight sequences in Tamil cinema. "Seeviduven" (transl. I'll chop off your head) became one of the popular catchphrases from the film.
Murattu Kaalai was remade again in Tamil under the same title by K. Selva Bharathy. This remake featured a remix of "Pothuvaaga En Manasu Thangam". The remake was released in 2012, and failed to repeat the success of the original. 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.
In popular culture
In Muthu (1995), the title character (Rajinikanth) is seen performing the song "Podhuvaga En Manasu" on the stage. In Subramaniapuram (2008), Azhagar (Jai) and Paraman (Sasikumar) are seen watching Murattu Kaalai at a theatre. In Enthiran (2010), Pachaimuthu (Kalabhavan Mani) utters the dialogue "Seeviduven" while threatening Vaseegaran (Rajinikanth). The 2017 film Podhuvaga Emmanasu Thangam was named after the song from Murattu Kaalai.
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