Palaivana Rojakkal

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Palaivana Rojakkal
Palaivana Rojakkal.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byManivannan
Screenplay byM. Karunanidhi
Based onVaartha
by T. Damodaran
Produced byMurasoli Selvam
CinematographyA. Sabapathy
Edited byP. Venkateswara Rao
Music byIlaiyaraaja
Poompuhar Productions
Release date
  • 1 November 1986 (1986-11-01)
Running time
162 minutes[1]

Palaivana Rojakkal (pronounced [paːlaɪʋaɳa ɾoːdʑaːkkaɭ]; transl. Desert roses)[2] 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. 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 Sabarathnam, his lover and his friend fight a corrupt system to expose unscrupulous politicians.



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.[6] Karunanidhi wrote the screenplay, while Manivannan directed the film, which was produced by Murasoli Selvam.[3][7] Sathyaraj said he accepted to act in the film because it was a remake of a successful film and was guaranteed to do well.[8] Cinematography was handled by A. Sabapathi, and editing by P. Venkateswara Rao.[7] Karunanidhi appeared as himself onscreen, giving the opening and closing monologues.[3][9]


Palaivana Rojakkal is about the freedom of the press,[10] and the "struggle between corrupt politicians and angry heroes".[11] Writing in the Economic and Political Weekly, historian Kanakalatha Mukund noted that, in contrast Parasakthi (1952) and Manohara (1954) where Karunanidhi "virtually blasted the audience with extremely dramatic, alliterative dialogues", he used a "far more subdued and sophisticated style to convey his political message" in this film.[12] Film critic Baradwaj Rangan compared Palaivana Rojakkal to Parasakthi for the way they "took on the times".[9]


The soundtrack was composed by Ilaiyaraaja, while the lyrics were written by Gangai Amaran, and conducted by Dhina.[13]

Track listing
1."Kadhal Enbadhu"Ilaiyaraaja 
2."Thoranthu"Vani Jairam 


Palaivana Rojakkal was released on 1 November 1986, during Diwali day.[14][15] Despite facing competition from other Diwali releases such as Maaveeran, Punnagai Mannan,[16] and Aruvadai Naal,[17] the film emerged a commercial success, and was instrumental in establishing Sathyaraj as a "mass hero".[18] 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.[19]


In a review dated 7 November 1986, N. Krishnaswamy of 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."[3] 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.[20] Jayamanmadhan of Kalki wrote that the uneducated layman cannot be roused so much by the press; Palaivana Rojakkal should tap them.[21]


  1. ^ a b Dhananjayan 2011, p. 105.
  2. ^ Pillai, Sreedhar (15 January 1988). "Rush of contenders for top place in Tamil films". India Today. Archived from the original on 21 June 2018. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Krishnaswamy, N. (7 November 1986). "Fruits of Honesty". The Indian Express. p. 14. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  4. ^ "'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.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Dhananjayan 2011, p. 106.
  6. ^ Krishnaswamy, N. (24 April 1987). "Politics again". The Indian Express. p. 12. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  7. ^ a b Palaivana Rojakkal [Desert Roses] (motion picture) (in Tamil). Poompuhar Productions. 1986. Opening credits, from 0:00 to 7:55.
  8. ^ Sunil, K. P. (29 November 1987). "The Anti-Hero". The Illustrated Weekly of India. Vol. 108. The Times Group. pp. 40–41. Archived from the original on 3 March 2023. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  9. ^ a b Rangan, Baradwaj (8 August 2018). "Five Highlights From Karunanidhi's Film Career". Film Companion. Archived from the original on 7 February 2019. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  10. ^ Thiagarajan, Shantha (9 August 2018). "An idyllic setting that boosted M Karunanidhi's creativity". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 7 February 2019. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  11. ^ Maderya, Kumudan (2010). "Rage against the state: historicizing the "angry young man" in Tamil cinema". Jump Cut. Archived from the original on 23 May 2017. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  12. ^ Mukund, Kanakalatha (13 July 1996). "Elites vs Subalterns or Ideology vs Methodology?". Economic and Political Weekly. Vol. 31. Sameeksha Trust. p. 1881. Archived from the original on 3 March 2023. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  13. ^ "Paalaivan Rojakkal Tamil Film EP Vinyl Record by Ilayaraja". Mossymart. Archived from the original on 7 June 2021. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  14. ^ Rathinagiri 2007, p. 67.
  15. ^ "Palaivana Rojakkal". The Indian Express. 1 November 1986. p. 7. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  16. ^ "Rajinikanth turns 67: More than moondru mugam". The New Indian Express. 11 December 2017. Archived from the original on 20 April 2018. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  17. ^ Dhananjayan 2011, p. 107.
  18. ^ "Sibiraj is all set to make it big!". Sify. 7 November 2004. Archived from the original on 2 November 2017. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  19. ^ Shekhar, G. C. (22 January 1989). "Action!". The Telegraph. ABP Group. p. 16. Archived from the original on 3 March 2023. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  20. ^ "பாலைவன ரோஜாக்கள்" [Desert Roses]. Ananda Vikatan (in Tamil). 23 November 1986.
  21. ^ ஜெயமன்மதன் (21 December 1986). "பாலைவன ரோஜாக்கள்". Kalki (in Tamil). p. 41. Archived from the original on 27 February 2023. Retrieved 19 February 2023.


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