Indian (1996 film)
|Directed by||S. Shankar|
|Written by||Sujatha Rangarajan|
|Screenplay by||S. Shankar|
|Story by||S. Shankar|
|Produced by||A. M. Rathnam|
|Edited by||B. Lenin|
V. T. Vijayan
|Music by||A. R. Rahman|
Sri Surya Movies
|Distributed by||Sri Surya Movies|
Indian (pronunciation (help·info)) is a 1996 Indian Tamil-language vigilante action film written and directed by Shankar and produced by A. M. Rathnam. The film stars Kamal Haasan in dual roles opposite Manisha Koirala, Urmila Matondkar and Sukanya. Nedumudi Venu appears in a pivotal role. The film's score and soundtrack are composed by A. R. Rahman, while cinematography was handled by Jeeva.
The film focuses on an ex-freedom fighter turned vigilante bent on rooting out corruption, and his son, who is at the other end of the spectrum by facilitating corrupt practices leading to some unfortunate events. He is well trained in Varma kalai, an ancient lethal martial art used for close-quarters combat (Choreographed by Aasan R. Rajendran).
The film opened to critical acclaim on the way to becoming a commercial blockbuster in the Tamil film industry. Indian was selected by India as its entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards in 1996, but was not nominated. The film also went on to win three National Film Awards including that of Best Actor for Kamal Haasan's portrayal, while his performance also saw him win at the Filmfare Awards and the Tamil Nadu film fare award. It was the highest-grossing Tamil film upon its release, beating the collections of Baashha until surpassed by Chandramukhi nine years later.
A series of murders take place in Avadi, Chennai, in the same pattern; stabbing by a knife. Each time the victim is paralysed before being killed. Police, led by CBI officer Krishnaswamy (Nedumudi Venu), suspect several people, and they narrow down the killer by his age, which should be more than 70 years based on the writing style of a letter left behind by the killer while murdering his most recent victim, an officer in the government treasury. The officer is killed by an old man who is later known to be Senapathy (Kamal Haasan), a veteran Indian freedom fighter who was a member of the Indian National Army led by Subhas Chandra Bose, for threatening a poor old woman to bribe him to hand over compensation amount of ₹10,000 given by the government as her husband got killed in a riot.
Chandrabose alias Chandru (Kamal Haasan) is a small-time broker stationed outside the Regional Transport Office at Chennai, who, along with his assistant Subbaiah (Goundamani), aid people in greasing the right officials inside the RTO for getting permits and licenses. Subbaiah and Paneerselvam (Senthil), an RTO official, are engaged in regular tiffs. At the same time, Aishwarya (Manisha Koirala), Chandru's love interest and an avid animal rights activist, also battles it out with Sapna (Urmila Matondkar), a medical student and the daughter of an RTO official, for Chandru's affection. Chandru hobnobs with Sapna and her family to secure a job as a brake inspector at the RTO. Aishwarya is irked by the fact that Sapna, as well as her mother, are exploiting Chandru's situation, getting him to do grocery shopping, laundry, and almost every household chore. But eventually, Sapna realises that Chandru loves Aishwarya and gives up her love. It is soon revealed that Chandru is none other than Senapathy's son. They both had fallen out due to Senapathy's excessive insistence on honesty and righteousness, which Chandru considers to be dead and worthless.
Meanwhile, Krishnaswamy manages to trace his way to Senapathy's house posing as a freedom fighter eligible for Swathantra Sainik Samman Pension Scheme. When he tries to arrest Senapathy, Senapathy and his wife Amirthavalli, a puppeteer, escape with his expertise in Varma kalai. Senapathy then goes on to commit a murder in front of television audiences by killing a corrupt doctor, who refused to treat Senapathy's daughter Kasturi (Kasthuri), who was suffering from third-degree burns, because he insisted on a bribe which Senapathy refused, thus killing her. Public support surges for Senapathy as he exposes so many corrupt people. Senapathy does not do his son any favours either. Chandru, who managed to bribe his way to a brake inspector job, takes a bribe and gives a safety certificate to a bus with faulty brakes, which eventually kills 40 school children it is carrying, plus the driver driving it. But, Chandru tries to put the blame on the bus driver for drunk driving and manages to bribe a police officer and a doctor on the same. Senapathy is bent on giving Chandru the same punishment as he gives others, i.e., death. Despite pleas from Amirthavalli and Aishwarya to spare Chandru's life, Senapathy heads for the airport where Chandru is attempting to flee to Mumbai. A chase then culminates at the airport, where Senapathy kills Chandru and apparently dies in an explosion involving an aeroplane. However, Krishnaswamy, on investigating the recorded footage, discovers that Senapathy escaped moments before the jeep exploded.
- Kamal Haasan as Senapathy (Indian) and Chandrabose alias Chandru (dual role)
- Sukanya as Amrithavalli, Senapathy's wife
- Kasthuri as Kasturi, Senapathy's daughter & Chandru's sister
- Manisha Koirala as Aishwarya ( Voice over by Rohini)
- Urmila Matondkar as Sapna ( Voice over by Bhanupriya)
- Nedumudi Venu as Krishnasamy ( Voice over Nassar)
- Goundamani as Subbaiah
- Senthil as Panneerselvam
- Nizhalgal Ravi as Corrupt doctor
- Crazy Mohan as Parthasarathy
- Omakuchi Narasimhan as Lorry driver
- Ajay Rathnam as Freedom Fighter
- Manorama as Kuppamma
- Bala Singh as Treasury department officer
- Ponnambalam as "Kada" Kumar
- Mahanadi Shankar
- Chokkalinga Bhagavathar
- Vikram Dharma
- Kovai Senthil
- Aruna Irani as Gulabo Ram. Khilawan (Hindi version only)
- S. Shankar in a special appearance
Soon after the release of Gentleman (1993), Shankar narrated a script titled Periya Manushan to actor Rajinikanth, but the pair did not end up collaborating. He then considered making the film in Telugu with Rajasekhar in a leading role, alongside either Nagarjuna or Venkatesh, but the plans did not materialise. In June 1995, producer A. M. Rathnam signed on Shankar to make the venture featuring leading actor Kamal Haasan in the lead role. The film, retitled as Indian, was initially reported to be loosely based on the life of prominent Indian freedom fighter, Subhas Chandra Bose.
Shankar tried to cast Aishwarya Rai to make her debut and portray the leading female role. Still, her commitment to her advertisement agency until October 1995 meant that she was unavailable to sign the film. Subsequently, Manisha Koirala, who appeared in the critically acclaimed 1995 Mani Ratnam film Bombay was selected as the lead heroine. The producers signed on Raadhika to play the pair of the older Kamal Haasan in the film, but her television commitments meant that she was unable to sign a contract. Urvashi's sister subsequently replaced her, only for Shankar to throw her out for missing a day's schedule to attend her wedding. The role was finally handed to Sukanya, who had previously appeared alongside Kamal Haasan in Mahanadhi. Hindi actress Urmila Matondkar was signed to play a role in the film after the producers were impressed with her performance and the success of her 1995 Hindi film, Rangeela. Nassar was chosen to portray an important character in the film; however, as he was busy with other films, he could not accept the offer instead, he provided a voice for Nedumudi Venu. Then Shankar hired Malayalam famous character artist Nedumudi Venu to play the role. The producers engaged Hollywood make-up artistes Michael Westmore and Michael Jones to work on the designs for the senior Kamal Haasan's and Sukanya's look in the film.
For production work, Shankar visited Las Vegas to learn about new technology and purchased cameras for the production. Furthermore, the director visited Australia alongside cinematographer Jeeva and music director A. R. Rahman to location hunt and to compose tunes. The film's unit were given strict orders to maintain privacy, with Hindi actor Jackie Shroff being notably turned away from visiting the shooting spot. A song for the film was shot at Prasad Studios featuring Kamal Haasan and Urmila Matondkar alongside 70 Bombay models. This led to a protest from the Cine Dancers Union who argued that Tamil dancers should have been utilised instead, with Shankar opting to pay them off to avoid further hassle. Another duet between Kamal Haasan and Manisha Koirala was shot near the Sydney Opera House in Sydney and Canberra for fifteen days. A flashback song was canned with four hundred dancers and a thousand extras at Gingee with Kamal Haasan and Sukanya, while another song featured shooting in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Graphic designer Venky noted that Indian was his most difficult project to date (in 1997) with a scene constructed to feature Kamal Haasan's character alongside freedom fighter, Subhas Chandra Bose. Venky had to remove blemishes on the film reel of Bose provided by the Film Division's archive before merging Kamal Haasan on to the shot to make it appear that the pair were marching in tandem.
It was the most expensive Indian film at the time. According to an estimate by film critic G. Dhananjayan, the production budget was approximately ₹80 million. Rediff.com estimates the film's budget to be ₹150 million ($4.23 million). The music video for "Akadanu Naanga" directed by Padam Kumar and choreographed by Vaibhavi Merchant, cost about ₹15 million ($423,370), equivalent to ₹70 million ($989,487) adjusted for inflation.
|Soundtrack album by|
|Recorded||Panchathan Record Inn|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
Sa Re Ga Ma
|Producer||A. R. Rahman|
|A. R. Rahman chronology|
The soundtrack album includes five tracks composed by A. R. Rahman, and was released in 1996 by Pyramid.  The soundtrack proved successful upon release and was also released in Hindi as Hindustani by TIPS and in Telugu as Bharateeyudu by T-Series. The lyrics were written by Vaali and Vairamuthu for the original version, P. K. Mishra for Hindustani and Bhuvanachandra for Bharateeyudu.
The Tamil soundtrack of Indian was a major success, having sold about 600,000 records within days of release. The Hindi soundtrack, called Hindustani, sold a further 1.8 million units, bringing total sales to at least 2.4 million units.
|2.||"Maya Machindra"||Vaali||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Swarnalatha||5:37|
|3.||"Pachai Kiligal"||Vairamuthu||K. J. Yesudas, Nirmala Seshadri||5:50|
|4.||"Telephone Manipol"||Vairamuthu||Hariharan, Harini, Srinivas||6:15|
|5.||"Kappaleri Poyaachu"||Vaali||P. Susheela, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam||6:28|
All lyrics are written by P. K. Mishra.
|1.||"Latka Dikha Diya Humne"||Swarnalatha||5:44|
|2.||"Maya Machindra"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Swarnalatha||5:37|
|3.||"Pyaare Panchhi"||K. J. Yesudas, Nirmala Seshadri||5:50|
|4.||"Telephone Dhoon Me"||Hariharan, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Srinivas||6:15|
|5.||"Kashtiyaan Bhi"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Sadhana Sargam||6:28|
|6.||"Latka Dikha Diya Humne (version-2)"||Suchitra Krishnamurthy||5:48|
All lyrics are written by Bhuvanachandra.
|2.||"Maya Machindra"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Swarnalatha||5:37|
|3.||"Pachani Chilukalu"||K. J. Yesudas, Nirmala Seshadri||5:50|
|4.||"Telephone Dhwani La"||Hariharan, Harini, Srinivas||6:15|
|5.||"Teppalelli Poyaka"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Sujatha Mohan||6:28|
The film opened in May 1996 to predominantly positive reviews from critics and was commercially successful at the box office, breaking records for a Tamil film and earning over ₹250 million. The film ran to packed houses for several months in Tamil Nadu and was dubbed and released in Telugu as Bharatheeyudu. Prior to the release of the film, the team also planned a Hindi version of the film, with a few re-shot scenes including Aruna Irani in place of Manorama. The Hindi version also fared well after its release on 23 August 1996. In 2015, the Hindi version Hindustani was screened at the Habitat Film Festival.
A critic from India Today praised Shankar's script, noting that "with the right mix of pop patriotism, anti-establishment diatribes and other commercial cinema ingredients, Shankar's latest creation has south India applauding" before adding that "the real triumph of the film is the effective make-over that believably transforms the actors". Another film critic wrote that "Indian represents Shankar's best effort to date both in terms of the effectiveness of the message he conveys and the entertainment value of the movie as a whole", adding that "the movie features a hardhitting message as well as a great performance from Kamal as an old freedom fighter with a new agenda, impressive special effects and extravagant song sequences." The film went on to win three National Film Awards: Best Actor for Kamal Haasan's portrayal, Best Art Direction for Thotta Tharani's pre-independence sets and Best Special Effects for Venky's graphics work. It also achieved regional success, winning Best Film and Best Actor awards at both the Filmfare Awards and from the Tamil Nadu State. It also became the Indian submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1997, though eventually did not make the shortlist.
|List of awards and nominations|
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Nominee(s)||Result||Ref.|
|National Film Awards||July 1997||Best Actor||Kamal Haasan||Won|||
|Best Art Direction||Thotta Tharani||Won|
|Best Special Effects||S. T. Venky||Won|
|Tamil Nadu State Film Awards||–||Best Film (First prize)||A. M. Rathnam as a producer||Won|||
|Best Actor||Kamal Haasan||Won|
|Filmfare Awards South||30 August 1997||Best Film – Tamil||A. M. Rathnam as a producer||Won|||
|Best Actor – Tamil||Kamal Haasan||Won|
|Cinema Express Awards||–||Best Film||A. M. Rathnam as a producer||Won|
|Best Actor||Kamal Haasan||Won|
In 2011, producer A. M. Rathnam discussed the idea of a sequel to this project as anti-corruption leaders like Anna Hazare were becoming active. In September 2017, a sequel was announced jointly by Shankar and Haasan, with Dil Raju handling production. It entered production after Haasan completed work on Vishwaroopam II and Sabaash Naidu as Indian 2. The following month, Raju left the film which was then picked up by Lyca Productions. The film features Haasan reprising his role as the titular character along with new addition of actors including Siddharth, Kajal Aggarwal, and many others. The soundtrack will be scored by Anirudh Ravichander, the first time for a film starring Kamal Haasan. Kabilan Vairamuthu will be rendering his service for dialogue.
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