Theatrical release poster
|Produced by||Murasoli Selvam|
|Screenplay by||M. Karunanidhi|
|Story by||T. Damodaran|
|Edited by||P. Venkateswara Rao|
Palaivana Rojakkal (lit. Desert roses) is a 1986 Indian Tamil-language political satire film written by M. Karunanidhi and directed by Manivannan. It is a remake of the Malayalam film Vartha, released earlier the same year. The film stars Sathyaraj, Lakshmi, Nalini and Prabhu in lead roles. It focuses on a journalist, his lover and his friend as they fight a corrupt system to expose unscrupulous politicians. Palaivana Rojakkal was released on 1 November 1986 and became a commercial success.
Journalist Sabarathinam, his lover and his friend fight a corrupt system to expose unscrupulous politicians.
- Sathyaraj as Sabarathinam
- Lakshmi as Surya
- Nalini as Rani
- Prabhu as Babu
- Malaysia Vasudevan as VJV
- Vasanth as Sekar
- Vinu Chakravarthy as Aalavandhan
- S. S. Chandran as Kannayiram
- Delhi Ganesh as Chinnaiah
- Janagaraj as Majunu
- Venniradai Moorthy as P.A of Aalavandhan
- Thyagu as Ekambaram
- Charuhasan as Sabarathinam's grandfather
- Madhuri as Shanthi
- Chinni Jayanth as Sekar's friend
- Kamala Kamesh as Saraswathi (Guest appearance)
- Vijayan (Guest appearance)
Politician M. Karunanidhi's production company Poompuhar Productions, after a layoff, sought to raise both political and financial capital. They chose to remake the 1986 Malayalam film Vartha in Tamil with the title Palaivana Rojakkal, meaning "desert roses". Karunanidhi wrote the screenplay and dialogue, while Manivannan directed the film, which was produced by Murasoli Selvam. Sathyaraj said he accepted to act in the film because it was a remake of a successful film, and was guaranteed to do well. Cinematography was handled by A. Sabapathi, and editing by P. Venkateswara Rao. Karunanidhi appeared as himself onscreen, giving the opening and closing monologues.
Palaivana Rojakkal is about the freedom of the press, and the "struggle between corrupt politicians and angry heroes". Writing in the Economic and Political Weekly, historian Kanakalatha Mukund considered that Karunanidhi, unlike in Parasakthi (1952) and Manohara (1954) where he "virtually blasted the audience with extremely dramatic, alliterative dialogues", used "a far more subdued and sophisticated style to convey his political message" in this film. Film critic Baradwaj Rangan compared Palaivana Rojakkal to Parasakthi for the way they "took on the times".
Release and reception
Palaivana Rojakkal was released on 1 November 1986, during Diwali day. In a review dated 7 November 1986, The Indian Express wrote, "One sees [Karunanidhi's] stamp in the hyperbolic references to the pen being mightier than the sword, and in certain needless allusions, but these however are not too long or too frequent to detract from the value of the film. The main strength of [Palaivana Rojakkal] is that it has some lively characters." Ananda Vikatan, in a review dated 23 November, said the film stands out because of the right cast chosen to play the various roles. The reviewer added that the artistes had acted competitively with each other, thus enhancing the appeal for the film and being worthy of appreciation. The reviewer added that the film stood out for attacking the-then political powers, and the backbone of the film was the dialogue written by Karunanidhi who adapted himself well for the 20th century and wrote dialogues which could be liked even by contemporary audiences. The reviewer said the director needs to be appreciated for making a hard-hitting film without worrying about the political consequences, and rated the film 51 out of 100.
Following Karunanidhi's death in August 2018, Baradwaj Rangan called Palaivana Rojakkal "the most sensational movie from the mighty pen of Kalaignar Karunanidhi". Despite facing competition from Maaveeran and Punnagai Mannan, the film emerged a commercial success, and was instrumental in establishing Sathyaraj as a "mass hero". It also led to a slew of political films being made, mainly those which spoke against MLAs and ministers, depicting them as womanisers, drunkards and wheeler dealers.
- "Fruits of Honesty". The Indian Express. Indian Express Limited. 7 November 1986. p. 14.
- "'உங்கள் உப்பு என் உழைப்புக்குத்தானே தவிர என் உடலுக்கில்லை' - கருணாநிதியின் பெண் கதாபாத்திர வசனங்கள் #MissUKarunanidhi". Ananda Vikatan (in Tamil). 10 August 2018. Archived from the original on 7 February 2019. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
- Palaivana Rojakkal [Desert Roses] (motion picture) (in Tamil). Poompuhar Productions. 1986. Opening credits, from 0:00 to 7:55.
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- Mukund, Kanakalatha (13 July 1996). "Elites vs Subalterns or Ideology vs Methodology?". Economic and Political Weekly. Vol. 31. Sameeksha Trust. p. 1881.
- Ilaiyaraaja (1986). பாலைவன ரோஜாக்கள் [Desert Roses] (liner notes) (in Tamil). Echo Records.
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- "Palaivana Rojakkal". The Indian Express. Indian Express Limited. 1 November 1986. p. 7.
- "பாலைவன ரோஜாக்கள்" [Desert Roses]. Ananda Vikatan (in Tamil). 23 November 1986.
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