Some 40 years after it was first released, Sivaji Ganesan’s film ‘Karnan’ still works its magic. Re-released in digitised format with DTS sound on March 16, 2012, this blockbuster of yesteryear, featuring the ‘Nadigar Thilagam’ in the lead role, is creating waves all over Tamil Nadu.
Families are seen taking their little children along to teach them the Mahabharatham the easier way. Many go to the theatre just to listen to the lilting music of Viswanathan-Ramamurthy – there are 12 songs in the film - and each one is distinctly different making it a wholesome auditory experience. Except for some kids like class-10 student Gangadhar who thought there were “too many songs” in a “good film”.
The families – including 70-plus men and women - that returned from the movie discussed the finer points and this led to lengthy discussions on the epic itself. Old-timers recalled other movies on the epics and tried to educate the youngsters on the nuances of Indian literature.
The re-release of ‘Karnan’ was like the launch of a new film. There was extensive media hype and coverage. The trailer was released at a grand function and the film ‘launched’ in theatres with great fanfare.
Sivaji’s fans, long lying low, now woke to all the fizz surrounding the release of his mega movie. It was like the good old times when they used to hang out at theatres the day before the release of the movie and decorate it with his huge cutouts, danglers and banners.
The ‘Nadigar Thilagam Sivaji Samooga Nala Peravai’ went a step ahead and offered new clothes to the staff at Bharat Theatre, Chennai, where the film released.
The ‘Kodambakkam Kalaipoonga’ has published a booklet on ‘Karnan’ – containing all the credits, the lyrics for all the 12 songs, and some juicy tidbits like the fact that the war scenes were shot in Rajasthan with locals participation; and that the lyrics were written and music composed in just three days! It gives a list of theatres where the original ‘Karnan’ was screened and the number of days that it ran in those theatres.
Now posters are cropping up in Chennai (competing with new films that make such announcements) ‘Vetrigaramana 15-vadhu naal’ for the re-released ‘Karnan’ film.
More news of celebrations poured in from other theatres where the movie was released like Chromepet Vetri theatre and Tiruchy and Thanjavur theatres.
Theatres like AVM Rajeswari in Chennai are running four shows daily and it is rumoured that it even declined to release a new film. “Last week, the Rs 40 ticket was selling for Rs 200 in black. This week, it has come down to Rs 150,” said a driver who has been ferrying families to the theatre to see the movie.
Though it was not considered a super hit film (in spite of running for 100 days then in quite a few theatres) of Sivaji Ganesan, the excitement that the re-release has created vouches for the enduring charm of the actor in any role that he plays.