Pushpaka Vimana (1987 film)

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Pushpaka Vimana (Kannada)
Pushpaka Vimanamu (Telugu)
Pesum Padam (Tamil)
Pushpak (Hindi)
Movie Poster for Kannada (left) and Telugu (right)
Kannada ಪುಷ್ಪಕ ವಿಮಾನ
Hindi पुष्पक
Directed by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao
Produced by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao
Shringar Nagaraj
Screenplay by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao
Story by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao
Starring Kamal Haasan
Tinu Anand
Farida Jalal
P L Narayana
K S Ramesh
Prathap Pothan
Music by L. Vaidyanathan
Cinematography B. C. Gowrishankar
Mandakini Chithra
Release date
10 September 1987
Running time
124 minutes
Language Silent Film
Budget 35 lakh (US$52,000)[1]

Pushpaka Vimana (English: The Love Chariot) is a 1987 Indian silent, black comedy film written, and directed by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao. Touted to be the first Indian silent full-length feature film, it was produced by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao and Shringar Nagaraj. Upon release, the film garnered highly positive reviews, and remained a box office hit. The film had a 35-week theatrical run in Bengaluru.

The film has received the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment, and Filmfare Award South for Best Film. The film was premiered at the International Film Festival of India, 1988 Cannes Film Festival in the International Critics' Week, and retrospective at the Shanghai Film Festival, and Whistling Woods International Institute.


The film follows an unnamed, almost penniless and unemployed youth (Kamal Haasan) whose fortunes change when he stumbles upon a millionaire drunk by the roadside. He takes the millionaire prisoner in his house and assumes his identity to taste the luxury of a five-star hotel. Suddenly a lady (Amala) luck smiling upon him, when he takes up the Identity of a rich man. The young man gets to live in a five-star hotel. A hired killer (Tinu Anand) has set his eyes on the young man, having mistaken the young man for the rich man too.

Posing as the rich man, the youth meets a girl, who is the daughter and assistant of a magician (K S Ramesh), who is residing in the hotel with his daughter and wife (Farida Jalal). Unknown to everybody, the rich man's brother has ordered a hit on him. The brother plans to usurp the whole estate by later killing his sister-in-law (Ramya). The hired killer too thinks like everybody else that the young man is actually his target.

The killer comes up with ingenious ways to kill the young man, but falls in his own trap. All this time, the young man remains ignorant about the dangers in his life. One day, however, the young man figures out that the killer is in the hotel to kill someone, but is unable to find the identity of his target. Suddenly, the hotel owner (Loknath) dies in his own hotel of old age. In a montage shown about the owner, the young man realises that the owner was a poor man, just like him. Seeing what the owner achieved by fair means, the young man begins to question his actions.

Some days later, the roadside beggar dies and municipality people come to take his dead body. However, seeing the beggar's stash, they nearly throw his body on the pavement and start stealing the money. The young man decides to make things right. Meanwhile, the killer and the rich man's brother realise that they were targeting the wrong man all the time. At this time, the rich mans wife learns of her brother-in-law's treachery, upon which he locks her up in the bungalow.

The young man figures out the killers plan and sets the rich man free. He explains the situation to the rich man. The rich man goes back to his bungalow, where he learns the truth. While the rich man and the young man are able to rescue the rich man's wife, the police arrest the villains. After the matter has been taken care of, the young man decides to come clean to the magician's daughter as well. He learns that the magician's daughter's family is about to leave the hotel.

The young man confesses the truth to the magician's daughter, but to his surprise she forgives him. While leaving the hotel, she drops a rose wrapped in a paper from her car, meaning that she has given him her address. However, before the young man can get the paper a gust of wind takes it away and it rolls all the way down the gutter implying the lovers never unite. The young man is not able to get the magician's daughter, but some days later, he is shown in a line for a job vacancy, although this time he has a rose in his hands and hope in his eyes. While it is not clear that the young man got the job or not, it is certain that his outlook towards life has changed.




Pushpaka Vimanam was touted to be the first full-length silent feature film in Indian cinema.[2] The film was produced by Kannada actor Shringar Nagaraj and remains his only film he had produced in his whole career. He agreed to produce the film after he heard the script and also Singeetam couldn't find the right person.[3] Singeetam revealed that the idea of the film came during the shoot of a film while assisting K. V. Reddy in which there was a scene where comedian had to emote fear without dialogues. Kamal agreed to work on the film after being impressed by the script.[4]


Since the film had no dialogues, Singeetham cast actors from all over India like Tinu Anand, Farida Jalal. P. L. Narayana was cast as a beggar and Samer Kakkar who became popular with Television series Nukkad portrayed a rich drunkard. Amala was selected as lead actress after attempts to sign Neelam has failed.[5]


Thotta Tharani constructed a street set for the film, beside the Hyland Hotel in Bengaluru. The little ramshackle room where Kamal lived, and the building itself, was constructed above the hotel. Most of the shooting was done in Windsor Manor Hotel in Bangalore.[5]

Awards and recognitions[edit]

National Film Awards
Filmfare Awards South[7]

The film was premiered at the International Film Festival of India, 1988 Cannes Film Festival in the International Critics' Week,[9][10][11] and retrospective at the Shanghai Film Festival, and Whistling Woods International Institute.[12][13]


The film was released in Kannada and Telugu under the same name. The film was also released in Tamil and Hindi as Pesum Padam and Pushpak respectively. Telugu version was distributed by Sravanthi Ravikishore and Hindi version was distributed by Rajendra Kumar.[5]The film was also dubbed in Malayalam as Puspakavimana.


Amala listed Pushpaka Vimanam among Vedham Pudhithu (1987), Agni Natchathiram (1988), Siva (1989) and Karpoora Mullai (1991) as her most memorable films.[14] The film is listed among CNN-IBN's "hundred greatest Indian films of all time".[15] The film was listed by Rediff in its list "Singeetham's gems before christ".[16] On Kamal's birthday, 7 November 2015, Latha Srinivasan of Daily News and Analysis considered Pushpaka Vimanam to be one of the "films you must watch to grasp the breadth of Kamal Haasan's repertoire".[17]


  1. ^ K. R. Manigandan (13 April 2016). "ShotCuts: What's worrying Kamal?". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Pushpaka Vimanam was India's first silent film". The Times of India. 
  3. ^ http://archive.mid-day.com/news/2008/jul/1607shringar-nagaraj-birthday.htm
  4. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20101230173410/http://www.telugucinema.com/c/publish/movieretrospect/retro_pushpakavimaanam_1988.php
  5. ^ a b c http://web.archive.org/web/20101231015109/http://www.telugucinema.com/c/publish/movieretrospect/retro_pushpakavimaanam_1988_2.php
  6. ^ "35th National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  7. ^ http://archive.is/ZoiwQ
  8. ^ Dave, Kajol. "Filmfare trivia: Kamal Haasan". Filmfare. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "Need for a universal story". The Hindu. 
  10. ^ "'Pushpak' completes 25 years: Tinnu Anand, Amala go down memory lane". IBNLive. 
  11. ^ "Sakhya Indian Cinema Club: Pushpaka Vimanam (The Love Chariot)". Graduate Union. 
  12. ^ "Kamal's 25 years old film in Shanghai Film Festival — Kamal 25 Years Film In Shanghai Film Festival- Pesum Padam- Pushpak- Pushpaka Vimanam- Singeetham Srinivasa Rao- Singeetham Srinivasa Rao — Cinemalead.com -". 
  13. ^ http://whistlingwoods.net/Celebrate-Cinema/screening-schedule.pdf
  14. ^ Kannan, Uma (17 May 2010). "'I'm strictly against authority'". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 21 April 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2016. 
  15. ^ 100 Years of Indian Cinema: The 100 land mark Indian films of all time|Movies News Photos-IBNLive
  16. ^ http://www.rediff.com/movies/slide-show/slide-show-1-south-interview-with-singeetham-srinivasa-rao/20100907.htm#5
  17. ^ http://www.dnaindia.com/entertainment/report-birthday-special-films-you-must-watch-to-grasp-the-breadth-of-kamal-haasan-s-repertoire-2143008

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