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Patriotism in Tamil films – F’day Spl. Article by Naveen

India has just celebrated its 72nd Independence Day. From black and white to digital era, Tamil cinema has dished out many movies with patriotism as the core theme. In fact, our artistes and technicians are known for contributing to the country in real life too, be it during the times of war or calamities.
This week, Mykolllywood.com takes a look at some films which threw light on freedom struggle and eulogised those who fought for the nation’s independence.
NAAM IRUVAR 
It is a 1947 Indian Tamil film directed and produced by A V Meiyappan. The film released in January, a few months before India’s independence>
The story begins with a Subramania Bharathi anniversary and ends with Gandhi’s 77th birthday celebrations. A notable feature of the movie were its songs which were written by Indian nationalist Subramaniya Bharathi and sung by D. K. Pattammal.
‘Nam Iruvar’ was also the last film directed by A V Meiyappan and extensively portrayed the hopes and aspirations of a nation on the brink of independence.
VEERAPANDIYA KATTABOMMAN
It is a 1959 biographical war film directed B R Panthulu. The film features Sivaji Ganesan, Gemini Ganesan, Padmini, S Varalakshmi, and Ragini in the lead roles, with V K Ramasamy and Javar Seetharaman in pivotal supporting parts. The film’s soundtrack and score were composed by G Ramanathan.
Produced and distributed by Panthulu under his banner, Padmini Pictures, ‘Veerapandiya Kattabomman’ is based on the story of the 18th century South Indian chieftain of the same name, who rose in rebellion against the East India Company.
The film was an adaptation of the play ‘Kattabomman’, performed by Sivaji Ganesan’s troupe, Sivaji Nataka Mandram and written by Sakthi T K Krishnasamy. Most of the film was shot in Jaipur. ‘Veerapandiya Kattabomman’ is notable for being the first Tamil film to be released in Technicolor.
KAPPALOTTIYA THAMIZHAN
It is a 1961 movie directed by B R Panthulu. The film features Sivaji Ganesan and Gemini Ganesan in the lead roles, while S V Subbaiah, T K Shanmugham, S V Ranga Rao, Savitri and S A Ashokan appear in supporting roles.
The film is based on the life of V O Chidambaram Pillai written by Ma Po Si (M P Sivagnanam). Upon release, the film received critical acclaim and was adjudged the Best Tamil Film at the Ninth National Film Awards.
SIRAICHAALAI
It is a 1996 film co-written and directed by Priyadarshan. Set in 1915, it focuses on the lives of Indian freedom fighters incarcerated in prison during the British Raj.
The film stars Mohanlal, Prabhu, Tabu, Amrish Puri, Nedumudi Venu, Sreenivasan, Tinnu Anand, Annu Kapoor, Alex Draper, and Vineeth.
Originally produced in Malayalam as ‘Kaalapani’, the film was dubbed and released in Hindi as ‘Saza-E-Kala Pani’, Tamil as ‘Siraichalai’, and in Telugu as ‘Kaala Pani’. Amitabh Bachchan bought the Hindi dubbing rights, besides narrating the prologue for the Hindi version.
The film is about the lives of prisoners in British India who are brought to Kālā Pānī, the Cellular Jail in Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The name Kalapani is derived from the mode of imprisonment in British India. Ilaiyaraaja composed the music, the cinematography was by Santosh Sivan, and the editing by N Gopalakrishnan
INDIAN
It is a 1996 vigilante film written and directed by Shankar and produced by A M Rathnam. The film stars Kamal Haasan in dual roles with Manisha Koirala, Urmila Matondkar, Sukanya and Goundamani appearing in other pivotal roles. 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 Varmakkalai, an ancient lethal martial art used for close counter combat (Choreographed by Aasan R Rajendran).
BHARATHI
It is a 2000 biographical film starring Sayaji Shinde, Devayani and Nizhalgal Ravi. It is based on the life of Subramania Bharathi.
The film was directed by Gnana Rajasekaran and won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil for the year 2000. This film was critical acclaimed and commercially ran 100days in theatres successfully.
KAMARAJ
It is a 2004 Tamil biographical film directed by Balakrishnan made about the life of senior Congress leader K Kamaraj from Tamil Nadu, widely acknowledged as the ‘Kingmaker’ in Indian politics during the 1960s. He was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu during 1954-1963 and a Member of Parliament during 1952-1954 and 1969-1975.
Music was composed by Ilaiyaraaja and the film was produced by Ramana Communications. The film had a theatrical release across India in February 2004.

By Naveen

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