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Updated: June 20, 2012 10:57 IST

Karnan rocks in re-run, set to hit century

Meera Srinivasan
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still from the epic film Karnan, which is about to reach the 100-day mark in its digitised re-run. Photo: Special Arrangement.
THE HINDU still from the epic film Karnan, which is about to reach the 100-day mark in its digitised re-run. Photo: Special Arrangement.

For some it's the screen presence and powerful performance of Sivaji, while others are addicted to the music score

Watching a film at Sathyam cinemas on Friday, S. Manickam was transported back in time to 1964 when he caught the first show of ‘Karnan' in Ooty. Over four decades later, he was there to watch the same film. And the magic, he says, is intact.

It seemed so, at the end of the matinee show at the multiplex. A woman, easily in her sixties, came out with moist eyes, while a little boy, who looked barely 10, stepped out grinning widely. The ‘Karnan effect', it seems, can evoke different responses in different viewers.

In a week from now, the celebrated Sivaji Ganesan-film will reach the 100-day mark in its re-run. Producer of the digitised version, Shanthi Chockalingam of Divya Films, along with fans of the actor, are planning a big celebration.

“For all you know, the film might complete 125 days too. All the credit goes to Sivaji's fantastic performance, the great music score, the dialogue and the costumes,” Ms. Chockalingam said. Some city schools even made bulk bookings for students to watch the epic film.

Class VII student M. Akshaya, a Vijay fan, seemed on the verge of shifting loyalties. “Sivaji was superb. In the end, when he lies down on his mother's lap and cries, I also cried,” she said, looking mildly embarrassed. What is it about the film that has struck a chord with film buffs across generations, one wonders?

For some it's the screen presence and powerful performance of Sivaji, while others are addicted to the Viswanathan-Ramamoorthy music score. For a few others, it is the charm of watching an epic they have read and how it willingly lends itself to the cinematic idiom.

Interestingly, many of the fans even defend the film anticipating any possible criticism that could arise against it. Geetha Krishnamani, a proud ‘Sivaji fanatic', has seen the film thrice since it was re-released in March. “You can see how passionate these artistes are. Not just Sivaji, even Asogan, NTR and Savithri… all of them are remarkable,” she said. It's not melodrama, but intense performance, she said.

Mr. Manickam said the film seemed longer now than it did the first time around. But he was quick to add, “With such great performances, it doesn't really matter.”

For Sathyam Cinemas and Escape, the two theatres in Chennai where the film is playing now, ‘Karnan' has proved a double delight — good business and a new audience. According to Swaroop Reddy of Sathyam Cinemas, several senior citizens were now spotted at the theatres.

“Karnan has drawn a different set of audience that has, perhaps, not had a multiplex experience earlier. The film has a brand value that has lasted several decades,” he said. Many senior citizens, some using walkers and even wheelchairs, were seen gathering at Sathyam to watch the film. Many of them said they were there for the first time.

Sivaji seems to have won a whole new generation of fans too. His son, actor Prabhu, said many friends, including some young people, called him to say how much they loved the film.

“My father never cared if a role had scope for heroism or not. He always chose characters that had good potential for him as an actor. It is heartening to see Karnan's phenomenal success now,” Prabhu said.

Director Panthulu and his father, Mr. Prabhu said, shared a special bond. “And look at NTR in the film — he comes in just 10 to 12 scenes but just steals the show. All the actors in the film bring in their own charm to the screen. But I am touched to see how daddy's fans love him so much even today. I tell myself, daddy is alive.”

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Meera SrinivasanJune 28, 2012

I fully agree with the comments of Mr. Sanjeev. But how many of us offering the Great Kannadasan's lyrics to our younger generation. I have seen in many house holds that they switch off the TV whenever any old songs are relied. The elders themselves go for some 'veripidichha' lyrics. Ok coming to the point, my vote goes to the lyric "kangal enge; nenjamum ange" in Karnan film as the full scoring of music starts after rendering a full stanza. Did you notice?

from:  K.R. Srikanth
Posted on: Jun 19, 2012 at 15:28 IST

I fully agree with Sanjeev. Most of the reviews in Tamil periodicals for this re-loaded movie failed to mention Kaviarasu Kannadhasan's part in the film's success. For record purposes, Director Bhandulu, Music Directors Viswanathan Ramamurthy and Kaviarasu Kannadhasan went into solitary confinement in a hotel in Bangalore just to create the songs with the appropriate mood and ambience. All the songs were done with in two days with Kaviarasar referring to the Bagwad Gita for the essence. The song 'Ullathil Nalla Ullam Urangathu' was an indirect reference to the late Kamaraj but sung in the context for the hero. That is the genius in Kaviarasar!

from:  R. Mahendra Raj
Posted on: Jun 18, 2012 at 12:42 IST

Karnan is really magical movie that can attract crowds to theatres even as it gets a rerelease in a modern digital format after nearly 50 years.The climax scene is a solid proof that Sivaji Ganesan has paraded his talent of making the audience cry to the core of their heart, just by his body language exhibiting the anger, fear and anguish in the verge of his death trap by NTR's Lord Krishna.When Sivaji's Karnan heaps his hands at the Viswaroopam of Krishna, we also do it with our involvement in the film!

from:  Senthil
Posted on: Jun 18, 2012 at 11:18 IST

Happy to note the century scored by the film in 2012,when the acting talents of sivaji are not well known among the youngsters and also when the fans lay importance on film techniques than acting.On the classic acting of Ganesan many came to know a quiz programme recently that Sivaji never got a national award for best acting during his era.Request government could make amends by awarding that now.On the subject of Karnan the great warrior,the readers should know about his great quality as a Giver of alms as explained in the literature.When Karnan was on his death bed in the battle field,Lord Krishna wanted to give him a boon.Karna promptly asked for a big heart in all his future births,which would induce him not to say No to anyone who asks him for alms at any time.

from:  seshachalam gopalakrishnan
Posted on: Jun 17, 2012 at 20:54 IST

At the outset ,many thanks to the Hindu for publishing this wonderful article. Well, I am an ardent lover of Sivaji and I have been watching his films right since when I was 12 yrs old ( I'm 46 yrs old now ) and would continue to do so.I watched this movie in Satyam along with my family and this was wonderful experience for all of us to watch it again.Kudos to the Viswanathan Ramamurthi for his outstanding performance , Kannadasan for the awesome depiction about Gita in two lines and to Shanthi Thanikachalam for her efforts to remake . I keep asking everybody on the streets as to whether they watched the movie as I want everybody else to enjoy - "Naan petra inbam intha vaiagum pera vendum".

from:  Parthasarathy Jagan
Posted on: Jun 17, 2012 at 13:03 IST

may be this sucess sows the seed for remaking many historical and epic movies like kappalotiya thamizhan, lava kusa, veerapandiya kattabomman etc. Also this should be motivation for current directors to take stories from history and serve it without adding the crappy - dirty current movie masala filled with sex (they call it romance) and violence

from:  sriram
Posted on: Jun 17, 2012 at 08:49 IST

Kannadasan lyrics in Karnan is numero uno. His range of lyrics right from mythological to the common place is pure genius. I put him as Tamil icon in the class of Subramanya Bharathi and Bharathidasan. Bharathi did not have cinema as a medium whereas Bharthidasan did not use cinema. Kannadasans Tamil is of new genre encompassing religion , philosophy and market place words. His Veedu Varai Uravu lyrics where he writes , Patta pinbu Gnani is outstanding. Unfortunately nobody has projected Kannadasans poetry and Tamil on global stage, which has to be done in English. Kannadasan is surely of Nobel class.

from:  Rama
Posted on: Jun 16, 2012 at 19:09 IST

Children of Teenage should view such films and realize their values . Will create a good balance of mind comparing current day films

from:  sebastian
Posted on: Jun 16, 2012 at 18:51 IST

... The voice behind NTR as Krishna is a veteran actor Sri.K.V. Srinivasan. The honey toned voice of Krishna [NTR as Krishna] makes the character of Krishna even more lovable. The writer of this article should have added some words about this too.

from:  Prof.R.Krishnamurthy
Posted on: Jun 16, 2012 at 18:04 IST

am 61 yrs young and a die-hard fan of Nadigar Thilakam. (i dont like people calling him just Sivaji ... He is not one amongst many .. He is a legend and even after 1000 years the film field cannot find a classic actor like him) while on my way to school, i used to just stand watch his facial expression on the posters .. He was versatile and a dedicated actor .. After seeing such epic performances of great actors the present day cinema is just pathetic .. no wonder that senior citizens are thronging the theatre to watch Karnan ..

from:  Rajan Gopalkrishnan
Posted on: Jun 16, 2012 at 16:52 IST

"Ayiram Karangal Neeti Anaikindra Thaaye Potri Arul Pongum Mugaththai Kaati Erul Neekum Thanthaai Potri..." This encomium on Surya Bhagawan is beyond words. Kavignar Kanadasan must have been in a trance possessed by a vision to pen such praise. And how apt it would be to think that Surya Bhagawan's puthran Karnan (Nadigar Thilakam) has merged one with the celestial and shines each day from the heavenly abode in all glory. Nadigar Thilagam Sivaji Ganesan Potri Potri.

from:  Srikanth Ranganathan
Posted on: Jun 16, 2012 at 16:30 IST

You have omitted to mention the contribution of poet kannadasan's lyrics in the film. All the songs in the film were hits for their lyrics and fantastic tunes.the film was a magical combination of story, performance and music. Seldom we come across such films.For elderly people like me it was going back in a time machine.

from:  G.R.Sundararajan
Posted on: Jun 16, 2012 at 15:59 IST

when I studied std X, The last chapter in Tamil was 'KARNAN' and dialogs from the film was transcripted in the book. I scored some marks in tamil since I watched this movie just some time before exams...Shivaji (was)is GREAT...But now we look cinemas for glamour and vulgar...

from:  alice
Posted on: Jun 16, 2012 at 15:54 IST

Any day, in any format Karnan was and is an epic in all sense and will be loved by all who love cinema and hindu epics.Everything about the movie was great.I would love to see it any number of times.

from:  Rajendran
Posted on: Jun 16, 2012 at 15:33 IST

I wish the article had mentioned Kannadasan's Lyrics. The lyrics for song 'Maranathai Enni' and 'Ullathil Nalla Ullam' are unforgettable. The short verses in praise of Karnan(Mannavar porulai, etc) are legendary. Kannadasan is a great poet and I wish the current generation appreciates his lyrics.

from:  Sanjeev
Posted on: Jun 16, 2012 at 15:02 IST

True actor, no comparison or followers.

from:  suresh
Posted on: Jun 16, 2012 at 13:25 IST

'Karnan' - drawing huge audience of different spectra. The reason, they are thrilled to see the legendary personalities sharing the space, with no ego/superiority, with ultimate motive being "delivering the best & neat film to the audiences"- The traits that are being missed in the current generation of films. Seeing of Yesteryear films definitely thrills the audience for the performances carries the film, and not the name.

from:  Venkatakrishnan
Posted on: Jun 16, 2012 at 10:40 IST

The viewers of this film both young and old would have been attracted to this 'Middle aged film' by the story of Karnan and the action of shivaji.We were surprised to note that this great actor Sri.Ganesan was never been honoured with the best National actor award in his life time(courtesy quiz in vijay TV by Surya).We feel this could be compensated by giving the award now.As per the story of Karnan,there was a interesting scene in the epic where Karna was in death bed.Lord Krishana asked him to name a boon wanted by Karna.The great warrior asked,"In every birth of mine,I must have a heart not to say No to any one who would come and ask for alms." This sequence read and re-read by all young and old ought to recast the destiny of mankind.

from:  seshachalam gopalakrishnan
Posted on: Jun 16, 2012 at 10:13 IST
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