Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Puri Jagannadh|
|Produced by||Puri Jagannadh
|Written by||Puri Jagannadh|
|Music by||Mani Sharma|
|Cinematography||Shyam K. Naidu|
|Edited by||Marthand K. Venkatesh|
|Distributed by||Vaishno Academy|
|Box office||₹660 million (equivalent to ₹1.1 billion or US$17 million in 2015)|
Pokiri (English: Rogue) is a 2006 Indian Telugu action film, written and directed by Puri Jagannadh. The film was produced by Jagannadh and Manjula Ghattamaneni under their banners Vaishno Academy and Indira Productions respectively. The film stars Mahesh Babu and Ileana D'Cruz, while Prakash Raj, Nassar and Sayaji Shinde appear in prominent roles. The plot revolves around the life of an undercover police officer Krishna Manohar who infiltrates a mafia gang headed by a Dubai-based don Ali Bhai with the pseudonym Pandu.
Made on a budget of around ₹100—120 million, the film's principal photography commenced in November 2005 and lasted till April 2006. Most of the film was shot in and around Hyderabad and Chennai except for a song which was shot at the province of Phuket in Thailand and the city of Bangkok. The cinematography was done by Shyam K. Naidu, and was edited by Marthand K. Venkatesh. The soundtrack and background score were composed by Mani Sharma.
Pokiri was released on 28 April 2006, to positive critical feedback, and collected a distributor's share of ₹420 million. The film grossed ₹660 million worldwide and remained the highest-grossing Telugu film of all time for three years, until it was surpassed by Magadheera in 2009. The film was also one of the fourteen south Indian films to be screend at the IIFA Film festival 2006. The film won four Nandi Awards and two Filmfare Awards. The film's success catapulted D'Cruz into stardom and brought recognition to Jagannadh as a writer and director.
The film was remade into Tamil as Pokkiri in 2007 by Prabhu Deva with Vijay and Asin portraying the lead roles. Deva remade the film into Hindi as Wanted in 2009 with Salman Khan and Ayesha Takia portraying the lead roles. In 2010, the film was further remade in Kannada as Porki by M. V. Sridhar with Darshan and Pranitha Subhash portraying the lead roles.
In Hyderabad, two rival mafia gangs headed by Dubai-based don Ali Bhai and Narayana resort to criminal activities such as extortion, murder and coercion for various reasons and the new commissioner of police Sayyad Mohammad Pasha Qadri focuses on making the city a better place by eliminating all of them. Pandu, a remorseless gangster living in Hyderabad along with his friends, attacks Ali Bhai's henchmen for money offered by Narayana. He later joins Ali Bhai's gang for monetary reasons. He falls in love with Shruti, an aerobics teacher who rejects his advances.
Shruti lives with her widowed mother and brother and her neighbour Brahmi, a software engineer, pesters her to marry him. Also, a corrupt police officer named Pasupathy who works for Ali Bhai, falls in love with Shruti and decides to make her his mistress, undeterred by multiple rejections from her. After Pandu kills a henchman of Narayana, he is confronted by Pasupathy from whom he rescues Shruti from getting molested. She meets him the next day to thank him and Pandu introduces himself as a self-employed person who undertakes any activity for money. Both develop unspoken romantic feelings on each other which angers Pasupathy.
Shruti's employer Suryanarayana suggests her to marry the one she loves to face Pasupathy. She meets Pandu and proposes to him, and after an attack by Narayana's henchmen on Pandu and their subsequent murders, Pandu reveals that he is a gangster and suggests her to rethink. After Shruti distances herself from Pandu, Pasupathy frames her in a sexual assault case by a few gangsters with an intention of ruining her life and subsequently making her his mistress. Learning this, Pandu attacks Pasupathy in incognito and warns him that he shall face dire consequences if proven guilty.
Ali Bhai visits Hyderabad and assassinates Narayana. He meets Pandu to discuss the murder of a minister by blowing up a balloon which the latter disapproves as it would involve killing innocents. In the middle of their argument, Qadri arrests Ali Bhai and tortures him. His henchmen retaliate by filming a video when Qadri's daughter is enticed into sexual activity by the minister's son and release it to the media. They also kidnap her, forcing the police to release Ali Bhai. At the same time, Pandu manages to catch hold of the gangsters who pretended to rape Shruti after which she reconciles with him.
Qadri's daughter is sedated upon which she reveals that an undercover police officer whose father's name is Suryanarayana has been infiltrating the gang for a while. Ali Bhai kills Suryanarayana's son Ajay, assuming him to be the mole. However, Suryanarayana reveals that Ajay was his adopted son, and that Pandu is actually Krishna Manohar I. P. S., his biological son who infiltrated his gang upon Qadri's directions. Suryanarayana is killed and Manohar traps Pasupathy to kill Ali Bhai before he initiates his plans of bomb-blasts across Hyderabad.
Manohar kills Ali Bhai's henchmen one by one at Binny Mills and Ali Bhai offers Pasupathy a hefty sum to kill Manohar which however fails. In a final confrontation, Manohar kills Ali Bhai by slitting his throat. Qadri's daughter is saved and when Pasupathy tries to backstab Manohar, he is shot dead by the latter who cites his catchphrase, "Once I commit to something, even I can't convince myself."
- Mahesh Babu as Krishna Manohar I. P. S. / Pandu
- Ileana D'Cruz as Shruti
- Prakash Raj as Ali Bhai
- Nassar as Inspector Suryanarayana
- Ashish Vidyarthi as Sub Inspector Pasupathy
- Sayaji Shinde as Sayed Mohammad Pasha Qadri, commissioner of police
- Ajay as Ajay
- Brahmanandam as Brahmi – Software Engineer, Shruti's neighbour
- Ali as the president of the beggars association
- Venu Madhav as the vice-president of the beggars association
- Satya Prakash as Narayana
- Isai as Guru
- Subbaraju as Nayar
- Jyothi Rana as Mona
- Master Bharath as Shruti's brother
- Mumaith Khan in an item number "Ippatikinka"
After Andhrawala (2004) became a commercial failure, its director Puri Jagannadh planned a film titled Sri Krishnudu from Surabhi Company starring Chiranjeevi in the lead. He later felt that narrating the story to Chiranjeevi, gaining his acceptance, and the filming would be a long and tiring process. He instead chose to revive the script of Uttam Singh S/O Suryanarayana which was written by him during the production of Badri (2000). He approached Pawan Kalyan to play the lead role who declined it. Later, he approached Ravi Teja who accepted to play the lead role with Nagendra Babu bankrolling the film. However, Teja was approached to reprise Cheran in the Telugu remake of the 2004 Tamil film Autograph. Teja could not decline the proposal as he liked the original very much, due to which Uttam Singh S/O Suryanarayana was temporarily shelved. Jagannadh meanwhile directed and produced 143 (2004) but Teja failed to allot call-sheets and waled out of the film. Jagannadh wanted to experiment by casting Sonu Sood in the lead role which too failed to materialise.
On 3 November 2004, Jagannadh met Mahesh Babu at Taj Hotel to narrate the film's script which told the story of Uttam Singh, an undercover police officer infiltrating a mafia gang as a criminal to kill its kingpin. Mahesh liked the script but suggested Jagannadh to remove the Sikh backdrop for nativity reasons which the latter obliged and replaced the existing title with Pokiri. The former wished that this film's production should begin in the next year after completing his ongoing commitments. The latter meanwhile directed Akkineni Nagarjuna in Super (2005). While reworking on the script, Jagannadh took inspiration from Marana Mrudangam (1988) and State Rowdy (1989). Pokiri was jointly produced by Jagannadh and Manjula Ghattamaneni under their banners Vaishno Academy and Indira Productions respectively, on a budget of ₹100—120 million.[a]
Cast and crew
For Pokiri, Mahesh sported a longer hairdo compared to his previous films and shed five kilos of weight. He used a new wardrobe and the same pair of shoes throughout the film. Jagannadh wanted to cast Ayesha Takia as the female lead. Due to a last minute change, the makers opted for a replacement to Takia and considered several actresses including Deepika Padukone. Jagannadh approached Parvati Melton to play the female lead who declined the offer since her parents were against her decision to become an actress during that time. He also approached Kangana Ranaut who could not allot her callsheets since she was busy filming her portions for Gangster (2006). After watching Ileana D'Cruz in the stills of her Telugu debut Devadasu (2006), Jagannadh signed in her as the female lead since he needed a girl with teenager looks to play the role of an aerobics teacher.
Prakash Raj and Ashish Vidyarthi were cast in negative roles where the former played a mafia kingpin and the latter played the role of a corrupt police officer who added that a villain's role is more fun than that of the hero's. Sayaji Shinde and Nassar played the other two principal characters of the film. Jyothi Rana played the role of the mafia kingpin's moll in the film, marking her debut in Telugu cinema. Isai and Subbaraju were cast for negative roles as well, with the former making his debut in Telugu cinema. Ali played the role of a beggar and shared screen-space with Brahmanandam and Venu Madhav. Jagannadh added that these trio would provide the situational humour. Master Bharath played the role of D'Cruz's brother in the film. Mumaith Khan performed an item number in the film.
Jagannadh wrote the film's story, screenplay and the dialogues with Meher Ramesh assisting him as a script associate. After working with Chakri for multiple times in the past, Jagannadh chose Mani Sharma to compose the film's music upon Mahesh's suggestion. Shyam K. Naidu took charge of the film's cinematography and Marthand K. Venkatesh its editing. Chinna and Krishna were the film's art director and executive producer respectively.
Pokiri was predominantly shot in and around Hyderabad, especially in Annapurna Studios, the aluminium factory near Gachibowli, Gayathri Hills and Golconda Fort. The film was shot in 100 working days, from November 2005 to April 2006. Most of the scenes were shot in a single take and Mahesh took time to adjust to Jagannadh's style of filmmaking. Chennai-based stylist Chaitanya Rao designed the styling for Mahesh and D'Cruz. By late February 2006, 80% of the film's shoot was wrapped up with the shoot of the film's climax and two songs pending, making it the fastest shot Telugu film starring Mahesh in the lead role.
The song "Gala Gala" was shot at the province of Phuket in Thailand and the city of Bangkok. During the shoot of the song "Jagadame", Shyam K. Naidu was busy on the sets of Munna (2007) and expressed his inability to attend the film's shoot. Cinematographer K. V. Guhan, who worked for Mahesh's Athadu (2005), was recruited to film the song. The film's climax sequences were shot in March 2006 at the defunct Binny Mills located in Chennai under the supervision of FEFSI Vijayan. He suggested Jagannadh to include a scene where Prakash Raj fails to hear anything for a while after Mahesh hits him in the climax sequence.
Mahesh said in an interview that he had to shoot for 38 days continuously for the film's climax and two songs, adding that he had to visit a hospital due to a shoulder pain. During the shoot of an underwater sequence, few electrical lights were placed. The electricians changed the lines and as a result of shock circuit, a unit member died of electric shock. However, Mahesh got out of the pool two seconds before the short-circuit happened which he termed a "miracle".
Soundtrack album cover
|Soundtrack album by Mani Sharma|
|Released||6 April 2006|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|Mani Sharma chronology|
The official soundtrack of Pokiri was composed by Mani Sharma, the lyrics of which were written by Bhakarabhatla, Kandikonda and Viswa. Jagannadh wanted Sharma to compose six songs, with two duets between the lead pair, three solo numbers by the male lead and an item number. During the shoot of Sivamani (2003), Jagannadh listened to the song "Listen to the falling rain" which sounded like the song "Gala Gala parutunna Godarila" from the Telugu film Gowri (1974). He later came to know that the latter was inspired by the former, and Jagannadh decided to reuse the same tune with modernised instruments and altered lyrics. Sharma was accused of copying the tune of the song "Jaleo" composed by Ricky Martin for the song "Devuda" sung by Naveen.
The film's soundtrack, marketed by Aditya Music, was released on 4 April 2006 at Hotel Viceroy in Hyderabad with Mahesh's father Krishna attending the event as the guest of honour. Sify called the soundtrack a peppy one and chose "Gala Gala" as the pick of the album. IndiaGlitz called it a "run of the mill" album that lacks freshness. The reviewer chose "Devuda", "Gala Gala" and "Ippatikinka" as the picks of the album, rating each 3.5 out of 5. Cinegoer rated the soundtrack 3 out of 5 stars and stated "The first time you hear Pokiri, the sound of it is good; it doesn't start to grow on you after a while, but a few of the numbers are hummable and ring in your ears", calling it a "mixed bag for Mani Sharma". The reviewer chose "Dole Dole" and "Gala Gala" as the picks of the album, rating each 3.5 out of 5.
|2.||"Dole Dole"||Viswa||Ranjith, Suchitra||04:43|
|4.||"Ippatikinka"||Bhaskarabhatla||Khushi Murali, Suchitra||04:38|
|6.||"Choododdantunna"||Bhaskarabhatla||Karthik, Mahalakshmi Iyer||05:02|
Release and reception
Pokiri was scheduled for a worldwide release on 21 April 2006. Due to delay in post-production activities, the film's release was postponed to 28 April 2006, clashing with Bangaram and Veerabhadra. The film received an 'A' (Adults only) certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification for containing obscene sequences and excessive violence. Dil Raju 's Sri Venkateswara Creations, Mallikharjuna films and Great India films acquired the theatrical distribution rights of Nizam,[b] Ceded and overseas regions respectively. Pokiri was one of the fourteen south Indian films that were screened at the IIFA film festival 2006 held at the Dubai International Convention Centre in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Reviewing the film, The Hindu wrote "An out and out action flick, one can see the director's thirst to cash in on the audience craze for such films. Nevertheless it's Mahesh Babu's show all the way." Regarding Mahesh's performance in the film, Y. Sunita Chowdary of The Hindu wrote "Mahesh's understated performance in Pokiri allows him to effortlessly reclaim the title of a star, overshadowing more questionable recent career choices". Sify stated that Pokiri was designed as a "mass masala extravaganza which satisfies the undemanding viewers". The reviewer added that Mahesh's screen presence works to the advantage of the film.
Rediff.com stated "Sporting a new, rugged look, 'Prince' Mahesh Babu has stolen the show. He carries the film on his shoulders, consolidating his winning streak after last year's Athadu. Another highlight of the film is its well-choreographed action sequences (if you can digest the violence), which give it a slick look." IndiaGlitz gave a positive review stating "In Pokiri, the hero is introduced to us a ruthless baddie, part of the huge underbelly of mafia. By the time we come to the denouement, there is much twist and turn. If you like some racy action, fun, glamour and love, then Pokiri would be your kind of film."
According to Sify, Pokiri took an "extraordinary" opening across the globe and was able to cash in on the four-day weekend holidays. Pokiri was released in a single screen (Jayaprada theatre) in Chennai where it registered an occupancy of 98.5% standing in the second place in the city's box office chart, which Sify called an "awesome" feat. The film collected a fifty-day run on 17 June 2006 in nearly 300 centres and by then, the film managed to collect US$350,000 and became the highest grossing Telugu film in the United States. By July 2006, the film managed to collect approximately ₹350—400 million and became the highest grossing Telugu film of all time. The film collected ₹120 million in Nizam region alone, breaking the previous record set by Indra (2002) and collected approximately ₹25 million at the United States box office.
The film completed 100-day run in 200 centres and 175-day run in 63 centres. The film completed a 200-day run in 15 centres and a 365-day run at a theatre in Kurnool becoming the first Telugu film to do so in the last two and a half decades. The film was screened in Bhagiratha theatre, Kurnool at a stretch for 500 days at the rate of four shows per day and collected a share of ₹6 million. In its lifetime, Pokiri grossed ₹660 million and collected a distributor share of ₹420 million at the global box office. It held that position until 2009 when Magadheera pushed it to the second spot after its nine-day run.
|Nandi Awards||Best Popular Feature Film||Puri Jagannadh, Manjula Ghattamaneni||Won||
|Best Editor||Marthand K. Venkatesh||Won|
|Best Fight Master||FEFSI Vijayan||Won|
|Best Male Dubbing Artist||P. Ravi Shankar||Won|
|54th Filmfare Awards South||Best Director – Telugu||Puri Jagannadh||Won||
|Best Actor – Telugu||Mahesh Babu||Won|
|Santosham Film Awards||Santosham Best Actor Award||Mahesh Babu||Won||
|Vamsee Film Awards 2007||Best Actor – Male||Mahesh Babu||Won||
The film has been remade in various languages across India. The film was remade into Tamil as Pokkiri by Prabhu Deva which featured Vijay and Asin in the lead roles. The film marked Deva's debut as a director in Tamil cinema. Deva remade the film into Hindi as Wanted in 2009 featuring Salman Khan and Ayesha Takia. Wanted became the second highest grossing Hindi film of all time at that point. Pokiri was remade into Kannada as Porki in 2010 by M. D. Sridhar. It featured Darshan and Pranitha Subhash in the lead roles.
Pokiri 's success elevated Mahesh to super-stardom and brought recognition to Jagannadh as a writer and director. The sequences featuring Brahmanandam as a software engineer, the comedy track of Ali and Brahmanandam, Mahesh asking D'Cruz to give him upma at the railway station were acclaimed. The usage of doctor sleeves increased in Andhra Pradesh after Mahesh sported them and they continue to influence the fashion even today. However, after the film's release, many films were released that had titles bordering on to the cuss words which included Jagannadh's next film Desamuduru (2006). Mahesh revealed that he became confused after the film's success which influenced his decision making during the selection of scripts, which landed him in a career slump of nearly five years.
D'Cruz received her breakthrough in Telugu cinema with this film. Trade analyst Sridhar Pillai said in June 2006 that the trade in Andhra Pradesh felt that her glamour, screen presence and on-screen chemistry with Mahesh worked to the advantage of Pokiri. Pillai termed her as the "new pin-up girl of Telugu cinema". Talking about being typecast post the success of Ye Maaya Chesave (2010), its female lead Samantha Ruth Prabhu cited the example of D'Cruz being typecast in similar roles post the success of Pokiri and felt that it had become mandatory for her to wear a bikini in every film ever since.
Pokiri was parodied in several films. In Desamuduru, the character Gudumba Shankar, a saint played by Ali, is seen imitating Mahesh's mannerism from the song "Dole Dole". Brahmanandam's introduction scene in the film Jalsa (2008) is a spoof of Mahesh's introduction as a police in Pokiri. The same sequence was spoofed in the films Sudigadu (2012) where the protagonist is named Shiva Manohar I. P. S., and also in Race Gurram (2014). The protagonist in Eega (2012), a fly, imitates Mahesh's mannerisms from the song "Jagadame" after injuring the antagonist played by Sudeep.
- Sify claims the film's budget as ₹100 million (equivalent to ₹170 million or US$2.6 million in 2015), where as The Hindu claims the film's budget as ₹120 million (equivalent to ₹210 million or US$3.1 million in 2015)
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