Muthu (1995 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||K. S. Ravikumar|
|Produced by||Rajam Balachander|
|Screenplay by||K. S. Ravikumar|
|Music by||A. R. Rahman|
|Edited by||K. Thanigachalam|
Muthu is a 1995 Indian Tamil-language drama film directed by K. S. Ravikumar. It is a loose remake of the Malayalam film Thenmavin Kombath (1994). The film stars Rajinikanth and Meena in lead roles. The film's score and soundtrack is composed by A. R. Rahman.
Muthu was released on 23 October 1995, during Diwali, and became a major success. The film became one of the highest-grossing Tamil films at the time, running for over 175 days in theatres across Tamil Nadu. A dubbed Japanese version released in 1998 and became a major success in Japan.
Muthu is a kind-hearted man working in the zamin of Sivakami Ammal taking care of the chariot and the horses used by her son Raja Malayasimman. Muthu is very loyal to the zamin family and in the meantime, Muthu and Raja encounter Ranganayaki, a stage artist during their visit to a show and Raja immediately falls in love with Ranganayaki. Ambalathar is the maternal uncle of Raja and he has plans of getting his daughter Padmini married to Raja.
Ranganayaki’s drama troupe faces financial issues and Raja offers jobs to the entire troupe in his zamin. Now Muthu and Ranganayaki fall in love with each other and Sivakami gets to know about this. Kaali is a spy for Ambalathar working in the zamin and keeps informing him about the happenings in the zamin. Kaali lies to Raja that Muthu is forcing Ranganayaki to marry him. This angers Raja and he has Kaali beat up Muthu, then orders him to leave the zamin. Sivakami gets angry on hearing about her son’s behaviour and informs him the truth that both Muthu and Ranganayaki are in love which shocks Raja. She reveals that Muthu is the real proprietor of Sivakami and Raja's property.
The story moves to a flashback where it is shown that Muthu’s father is the zamindar and real owner of all the properties. Rajasekhar is the cousin of zamindar. Sivakami is married to Rajasekhar and their son Raja is adopted by the zamindar as he did not have children. Later the zamindar’s wife gives birth to a child and dies. Rajasekhar and Ambalathar plan to grab the zamindar’s properties by forging false documents. The zamindar on knowing these worries about the nature of people around him and decides to give all the properties to Rajasekhar and his family and also to leave the place along with his son Muthu. But Sivakami pleads for guilty of her husband and asks to at least give his son so that she will raise him. The zamindar hands over Muthu to Sivakami but says that he should be brought up as an ordinary man, not as a zamindar, and Sivakami agrees. Rajasekhar feels bad about his cruel activities and upon seeing the generous behaviour of the zamindar, commits suicide. The zamindar leaves the place and Sivakami moves to another town. She informs everyone that the zamindar’s child is dead as she has been asked to raise the child as a normal man by the zamindar.
Sivakami says that the zamindar currently lives in a nearby place as a nomad and Raja, realising his mistake, decides to go and meet zamindar and bring him back. Kaali overhears the conversation made between Sivakami and Raja and informs to Ambalathar. Now Ambalathar decides to murder Raja and frame Muthu so that he can take over all the zamin properties. But he is saved by zamindar and is married to Padmini. Finally, Muthu comes to know all the truth and wishes to see his father but he leaves the place before Muthu could reach there. He asks Sivakami whether his father didn't like him and regrets that at least while leaving he could've blessed him. Suddenly in a fast wind, his father's robe flies in the air and falls on him. Muthu considers it as a sign of blessing and prays in silence. Muthu becomes the new zamindar, but prefers to see himself as a worker.
As seen in opening credits:
- Rajinikanth as Muthu and Zamindar (Muthu's father)
- Meena as Ranganayaki
- Sarath Babu as Raja Malayasimman
- Radha Ravi as Ambalathar
- Senthil as Thennappan
- Vadivelu as Valayapathy
- Jayabharathi as Sivakamiyammal
- Subhashri as Padmini
- Ponnambalam as Kaali
- Vichithra as Rathidevi
- Raghuvaran as Rajasekhar
- Tiger Prabhakar as S. P. Pratap Rayudu
- Kanthimathi as Poongavanam
- Pandu as Pallavarayan
- Kumarimuthu as Kamalakannan
- K. S. Ravikumar as the Tamil-speaking Malayali (cameo appearance)
Muthu is a loose remake of the 1994 Malayalam-language film Thenmavin Kombath. It was directed by K. S. Ravikumar, who also wrote the screenplay. Although the film was produced by K. Balachander's company Kavithalayaa Productions, Balachander was not credited as producer; Rajam Balachander and Pushpa Kandaswamy were. Jayaram was offered a role but declined since it involved slapping Rajinikanth; the role went to Sarath Babu. Years later Jayaram recalled, "if I had slapped Rajni in Muthu, his fans would have taken me apart!" Shooting locations included Kerala, and the Lalitha Mahal in Mysore.
Numerous critics have felt that the dialogue "Naan eppo varuven, epdi varuvennu yarukkum theriyathu. Aana vara vendiya nerathula correcta vandhuduven" (Nobody knows when or how I will come, but I will come when the time is right) hinted at Rajinikanth's political aspirations. Writing for Mint, Shoba Narayan said that Rajinikanth's heroines play to every traditional stereotype, beginning with their names, and cited Ranganayaki (Meena's character) as an example, adding, "The names set the tone for the character."
|Soundtrack album by|
|Recorded||Panchathan Record Inn|
|A. R. Rahman chronology|
The soundtrack was composed by A. R. Rahman, with lyrics by Vairamuthu. Muthu is the first Rajinikanth film for which Rahman composed music. The soundtrack for this movie turned out to be a major hit and Rahman gained popularity in Japan when the movie was released in Japanese. The Hindi version is titled Muthu Maharaja and had lyrics penned by P. K. Mishra. The "Omanathinkal Kidavo" portion of "Kuluvalilae" is written and tuned by the famous Malayalam poet Irayimman Thampi.
The video for the song "Thillana Thillana" became famous for the belly dance of Meena featuring a lot of closeup shots of her navel. Rahman sampled African humming in the song; French group Deep Forest had earlier sampled the same in their song "Night Bird". "Thillana Thillana" was later adapted by Nadeem-Shravan as "Deewana Deewana" for the 1996 film Jung. The soundtrack of Muthu was selected as the most popular foreign soundtrack in Japan. The songs from Muthu were later retained in the Kannada remake Sahukara (2004).
|1||"Kuluvalilae"||Chitra, Udit Narayan, G. V. Prakash Kumar, Kalyani Menon||06:13|
|2||"Thilana Thilana"||Mano, Sujatha Mohan||06:32|
|3||"Oruvan Oruvan"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Ila Arun, A.R.Rahman||06:25|
|4||"Kokku Saiva Kokku"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Theni Kunjarammal, Febi Mani, Ganga Sitharasu, A. R. Rahman||05:30|
|1||"Thilana Thilana"||Mano, Sujatha Mohan||06:32|
|2||"Kalagalile Prema"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, K. S. Chithra, G. V. Prakash Kumar||06:13|
|3||"Konga Chitti Konga"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Ila Arun||05:30|
|4||"Virisinada Vidhi Galam"||Hariharan||06:19|
|5||"Okade Okkadu"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam||06:25|
|1||"Ooperwala Malik Hai"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Chorus||06:25|
|2||"Phoolwali Ne Loota Mujhko"||K.S. Chitra, Udit Narayan, G. V. Prakash||06:13|
|3||"Koi Samjhade"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Ila Arun||05:30|
|4||"Rangeela Rangeela"||Mano, Sujatha Mohan||06:32|
|5||"Chhod Chala Nirmohi"||Hariharan||06:19|
Release and reception
Muthu was released on 23 October 1995, on Diwali day. The film was a blockbuster and completed a 175-day run at the box office. It was dubbed into Telugu under the same title. It was also dubbed in Hindi as Muthu Maharaja and was distributed by Eros Labs. Indolink wrote "What makes the movie charming is the clean, simple hearted humour, and of course the unfailing Rajnikanth formula - dances, punch lines, fights, comedy, and restrained doses of preaching. And add some political undercurrent in the dialogue/lyrics, you have a jubilee film".
In 1996, Japanese film critic Jun Edoki discovered the film at a video shop in Singapore's Little India. He said, "[Muthu] was absolutely fascinating—even without subtitles". He then approached several Japanese distributors to release the film in Japan, before Xanadeux eventually agreed to release it. In 1998, the film was dubbed in Japanese, by the distributor Xanadeux. It was given the Japanese title Muthu Odoru Maharaja (ムトゥ 踊るマハラジャ), which means Muthu – The Dancing Maharaja.
It initially had a limited release on 13 June 1998 at Cinema Rise in Tokyo's Shibuya district, where it completed a 23-week run, selling 127,000 tickets and grossing ¥208 million ($1.7 million). It was the theatre's highest-grossing film of 1998, with distributor Atsushi Ichikawa describing it as "the 'Titanic' of the art theaters". It then received a nationwide release across 100 theatres, drawing nearly 500,000 audiences and grossing ¥400 million, which was equivalent to $3,055,651 (₹126,073,105) in 1998, or $4.8 million (₹425 million) adjusted for inflation.
Prior to Muthu, the previous highest-grossing Indian film in the country was the Shah Rukh Khan starring Bollywood film, Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman (1992), which released in Japan in 1997. Muthu surpassed it to become the most successful Indian film in Japan, as well as becoming 1998's top film in the category of independent “first-run show” theatres. The success of Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman and especially Muthu sparked a short-lived boom of Indian films released in Japan, up until 1999. Muthu was also the second highest-grossing 1995 Indian film overseas, behind only another Shah Rukh Khan starring Bollywood film, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Muthu remains the highest-grossing Indian film in Japan, as of November 2018.
Former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a special note about the reach of this film among the Japanese in his speech at the National Diet of Japan on 14 December 2006. A 4K remaster of the film was released in Japan on 23 November 2018.
- Rajinikanth – Filmfare Best Actor Award (Tamil) in 1995
The quote "Naan eppo varuven eppadi varuvennu yarukkum theriyathu. Aana vara vendiya nerathula correctaa varuven" became popular.
In popular culture
- Various scenes and songs from the film have been parodied in films such as Unnidathil Ennai Koduthen (1998), Aethiree (2004), Thiruvannamalai (2008).
- Footage from the film has been used in French film Prete Moi Ta Main (Lend Me Your Hand).
- The title sequence of (Zoku) Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei features a parody of the dance scene in the song Oruvan Oruvan.
- The BGM of this movie Sivaji.
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- Ethiri (DVD): clip from 51.39 to 51.50
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