Monday, February 20, 2012

'Karnan', The 1963 Tamil Classic Movie - Unforgettable Movie!

Karnan, Tamil Classic Movie

When my children admired English movies and discussed about how they were made, what class they have got, etc. I went defending our regional movies, saying that we don't have that much funds or technical facilities, world viewers, etc.  But after reading about the movie, Vijeta (1982), I did a post on it here), wherein I came to know that some of our films were made with great effort.  I take a passage from my review:

The film is notable for some rarely seen aerial photography of combat aircraft active with the IAF in 1980's.  The central character of Angadh himself, is a MiG-21 pilot and is shown flying the aircraft in ground attack role in the 1971 India-Pakistan war.  Much of the movie, including the climax involving MiG-21bis, was shot at Pune.  The IAF No.4 squadron (the Oorials), provided the pilots and planes for the film's aerial sequences.  The movie included good colour footage of the Oorials aircraft in fight and in operations.

But even before that, in 1963 Tamil movie 'Karnan'  a lot of effort was taken for the authenticity of the war scenes.  It was not given much light until now, or I have never read anything about it.  The Hindu article about the Centenary celebration of the Director of that movie, Shri B.R.Panthulu, his son said this:

“The money involved was on a mind-boggling scale. For the first time, a story from an epic was shot in opulent locations such as the palaces of Jaipur. Huge moving chariots were made in Chennai and transported to Kurukshetra, where the war sequences were filmed.Government permission was sought, and cavalry and infantry from the Indian Army were brought to the locations at Kurukshetra and the first rows of the charging armies on horses and elephants had soldiers from the Indian Army” 

I still remember the war scene where in Karnan speaks to Krishna...Bheeshma in the arrow-bed etc.  We keep seeing the movie at home too, often.  Shivaji is a great actor and the Andhra super star of those days, N.T.Rama Rao acted as Krishna in that movie.  As everybody knows, Karna is a story in Mahabharata, our Hindu classic epic. Karna is the son of Kunti from Surya Deva...wikipedia gives a short summary here!

The music for the movie is by the famous M.S. Viswanathan and Ramamurthy duo.  They used Hindustani ragas for all the songs and rare instruments which were never used earlier in Tamil films like sarangi, dilruba, Santoor, Shehnai etc. Each and every song is a gem of its own.  Now, let me show some videos of the songs.  You can see the grandeur of the picturization here:

The above song is in raaga Hameer Kalyan.  Savithri looks so beautiful...lyrics is interesting! Shivaji is best for historical movies...his features, his accent suit them very well.

You can see the Beluru (Karnataka) architecture as the backdrop in the above song. Raag Saaranga, I think.

The next one is sung in the war field.  Krishna says that the whole world is acting according to his wish, whether good or bad.  Seergaazhi Govindarajan is singing:

I searched for other beautiful songs from this movie, but couldn't get them.  I love the song 'aayiram karangal neetti' a lot.  But couldn't get it.  Anyway, the above songs show the calibre of the music in this movie.

Edited to add (21.2.12) a scene where Karnan and Duryodana's wife (Savithri) are playing chess.  As you know, Karna and Duryodana are very close friends.  Still, when Karnan took the liberty to pull his friend's wife's waist chain, he feels awkward, she too. But Duryodana ignores it and discusses about the game.  This story is often quoted for true friendship.  I wanted to include some war scenes but no, I couldn't get any in you tube.  So this scene will show the people who have not seen the movie, a glimpse of how it will be.  This movie was made in Telugu(Karna) and Hindi (Daanveer Karna) too!

P.S.: Second part of this post is here

Top still courtesy: Google


Usha Pisharody said...

Very well researched post. Yes, truly, we cannot appreciate enough the efforts of the filmmakers of the yester years who had no fancy stuff to work with as they do now. Those were MOVIES!

I remember Vijeta very well. My elder brother was a cadet at the NDA when the shooting for the film was going on, and Kunal Kapoor was one of the cadets, for quite a few days, to get the feel of being one! I so loved the film too. Especially the bond between his mother and him!


Destination Infinity said...

They are releasing a digital version of this movie in theater it seems. I am going to see it :) Wonder how I missed watching this movie earlier! I like the efforts taken by the Ramanand Sagar Mahabharat team as well. I still remember certain scenes from that TV serial. I guess all that the current stars can come up with is, 'Kolaveri kolaveri di'!!!

Destination Infinity

KParthasarathi said...

Very nice post written after much study.I had also read Pantulu's sons' article.We are no less inferior to others in creativity and innovation if given the facilities.It speaks volumes of the efforts made to produce such great films.
You post takes one to the olden days
Thanks a lot

Kavita Saharia said...

I wish our entertainment channels aired more of regional movies in their original version and with english subtitles.I have always movies from South and find them much more better than many bollywood ones.When in school we were showed a Tamil movie named 'Sankshipta Ramayana' that was dubbed in Hindi and the special effects in the movie were simply superb.
I have seen Vijeta and remember your review too.

Sandhya said...

USHA PISHARODY: The director who directed this movie, also directed many more historical movies in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. All were magnum opus of our film history! He had guts to spend money and took great efforts to look for the proper technicians etc. Really, B.R. Panthulu is a great personality. Have you seen the movie? D.I. Says they are going to re-release this in digital format. The war scenes are really great. I wanted to add some of those scenes. But the whole movie is available, not particular scenes. Ramanand Sagar must have got inspired by Panthulu's movies!

Vijeta was a superb movie. The close up shots of Kunal's training session was very good. So your son, brother, all are in defence? Great family, Usha! Really admire you!

DESTINATION INFINITY: Yes, Mahabharat was taken in a better way than Ramayana. Even now, we can watch it. Aaamir Khan once said in an interview that 'we can make thousands of movies from Mahabharata stories. It is a treasure trove'! The whole movie is taken very carefully, not only the war scenes. Shivaji, Savithri, Muthuraman, even Asokan were at their best. Yes, the movies of those days were loud, but it was the trend of those days. I will wait to see your review after you watch it. I needed some more clips/song sequences to write this article better. I didn't express what I thought properly here.

You are so fond of this 'kolaveri' song! You seem to quote it often! Sometimes we need songs like these for a change. Did you see Sonu Nigam's Son's version? It is beautiful!

KPARTHASARATHY: Yes, we are in no ways inferior to foreigners in creativity. We don't have worldwide audiences, though it is improving 'Lagaan'like movies have become successful.

Yes, it is nice to go back and remember the old times, school days, again!

KAVITA: It must have been 'Sampoorna Ramayanam', a Telugu movie. I remember watching it. It is a very good movie. Children would like it even now. Lava Kusha story part was covered a lot in that movie, I think. The songs were also famous.

Yes, they should air movies which made a difference esp. so that the current generation would become familiar with them. We seem to watch the same type of movies all the time.

You might get that movie with English sub titles, Kavita. Your children might enjoy! You reminded me to do that to my relatives too, esp. children who are abroad. They seem to be open to anything Indian, esp. the parents want to pamper children with true Indian things.

P.N. Subramanian said...

Beautiful review. Thanks for transporting me into the past.

radha said...

I hear a lot about old tamil movies at family get togethers - maybe next time I can contribute too!

Shail said...

I agree with you Sandhya. Some of the old mythological movies had better special effects compared to say, the modern Ramayana (Ramanand Sagar) that was aired on TV.
Like Usha says, a well researched post! :)

Bikram said...

Wow, you have really sat down and did a lot of research to write all thins.

I think every good movie takes a lot of effort to make. ANd they take time to make too.. now like these days where hindi movies are basically like factory made .

Some of the old movies were much before their time for sure


ashok said...

Truly a classic....I was watching 'ratha kaneer' in yotube yesterday...amazing!

Sandhya said...

PN SUBRAMANIAM: Thank you, Surbramaniam Sir!

RADHA: Yes, these classic movies are seen by families again and again, Radha! The mythological stories are entirely different!

SHAIL: Thank you, Shail!

BIKRAMJIT: We see this movie often at home but never knew about the efforts taken by the director! We can sit with the whole family and watch these movies and they are expensive to make too! I remember watching this movie in a theatre near our house in my school days!

ASHOK: Yes, Raththak kanneer is also a good movie...I had watched it long long back! MR Radha's talent has come to Radhika now. She is a good actor too.

Baskar K said...

The real hero of the movie is Kannadasan, who is the lyricist. If you observe the lyrics in detail... You will notice the depth of knowledge of religion, dharma, philosophy and most important total and absolute of the the Tamil Language... I personally wept on the day he died

Sandhya said...

BASKAR K: I can understand. I too am a great fan of Kannadaasan.

Ullaththil nalla ullam is the best example of his knowledge of religion and mythology. I like 'aayiram karangal' too...beautiful. The combination of MSV, Ramamoorthy and Kannadaasan gave us gems in film music which reached even ordinary people. I liked even 'yennuyir thozhi'...the lyrics of that song shows her frustration beautifully.

Thank you, Baskar.

kanagu said...

This is one real Epic!!! I love this movie very much... stunning colours, grandeur and incomparable acting from everyone.. who can play the role of Karna and Krishna now??? no one can do it and I am glad that its getting re-released and I am sure gonna watch it in theatre... The decision to re-release clearly says they can't remake this classic!! :) :)

I love many scenes in this movie and songs are gem!!! My mom loves 'ullathil nalla ullam' very much.. the lines have so much meaning.. :)

I really loved the acting of NTR in this.. If I think of Krishna he is one who comes in my mind... so beautiful acting!!! the expression he gives while talking to Kunthi was really good...

And for 'Aayiram karangal neeti' song.. it is available here..

Thanks for this post!!! Loved it :)

Sandhya said...

KANAGU: First, let me thank for the links to the beautiful songs, Kanagu!

I am going to watch the film again when it is released again now!

I remember the trend of those days: People used to talk like how NTR spoke in the movie - Telugu accented Tamil! Everybody treated him as Rama and Krishna, in those days, esp. Telugu people!

Ramachandran said...

The real hero Musician at this picture is shehhnai Sathyam......!
who has revealed his best at the music position at the film.

Sandhya said...

R.RAMACHANDRAN: Welcome to my blog, Mr.Ramachandran!

I love all the songs in the movie. All are Hindustant raaga based songs. The melody is more.

Shehnoy in Ullaththil nalla ullam? Yes, it is very good. Thank you.

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