Pulimurugan is a 2016 Indian Malayalam-language actionadventure film directed by Vysakh and starring Mohanlal in the title role. It was produced by Tomichan Mulakuppadam through Mulakuppadam Films and was written by Udayakrishna—half of the duo Udayakrishna and Sibi K. Thomas—in his first independent screenplay. The film also stars Kamalinee Mukherjee, Jagapati Babu, Lal, Vinu Mohan, and Bala. The film score and soundtrack were composed by Gopi Sundar, while cinematography was handled by Shaji Kumar and edited by Johnkutty.
Principal photography commenced on 16 July 2015 in Hanoi, Vietnam, and was completed in early February 2016. The film was released in India on 7 October 2016. Made on a budget of ₹25 crore, it became the first film in the Malayalam film industry to earn more than ₹100 crore and ₹150 crore, and is currently the highest-grossing Malayalam film and the third highest-grossing South Indian film of 2016. Manyam Puli, a Telugu-dubbed version, was released in 500 screens across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on 2 December 2016.
Two songs from the film—"Kaadanayum Kaalchilambe" and "Maanathe Maarikurumbe" were selected among the 70 eligible songs contending for the Academy Award for Best Original Song nomination in the 90th Academy Awards. The film score was also selected among the 141 eligible scores contending for the Academy Award for Best Original Score nomination.
Murugan (Mohanlal) lives in Puliyoor, a small forest village that is vulnerable to man-eating tigers— called Varayan Puli (striped leopard) by the villagers—and frequent human–wildlife conflicts. When he was young, Murugan's mother died after his brother Manikuttan was born. Soon after, his father was kiled by tiger; in vengeance, Murugan traps and kills the tiger with the help of his uncle Balaraman.
Years later, Murugan is a lorry driver, has married Myna (Kamalini Mukherjee), and has a daughter, Chakki. He hunts and kills rogue tigers whenever they invade the village. Acknowledging his skills in hunting Varayan Puli, the villagers call him Pulimurugan (Leopard-Murugan). Murugan is grateful to the villagers who cared for him after his parents' deaths, and is obsessively protective of Manikuttan, who is about to finish his MBA graduation in Mangalore.
One day, Kadutha, the village chief, meets a hooded stranger who asks the whereabouts of Murugan for a hunting assignment. Murugan has been away from Puliyoor for days and many people have been killed by tigers. According to Kadutha, Manikuttan's friends Benny and Shiva have arriving at Puliyoor, sent by Manikuttan to see Balaraman. Shiva's father Daddy Girija owns a pharmaceutical company that is developing a drug to treat cancer and they need ganja (marijuana) from the forest. If the medical research succeeds, Manikuttan will be offered a job in the company, so Balaraman helps them. They make a contract with Ramaiya, an illegal ganja dealer in the forest; on their return to the village they encounter a tiger but are saved by Murugan, who kills it.
Meanwhile, Manikuttan returns home after his final examinations. The forest officials have found the dead tiger's carcass at Thookupara; its killing is a violation of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, a non-bailable offence. Forest ranger R. K. is assigned to incvestigate; R.K. has a four-year-old grudge against Murugan. R.K. had once tried to molest Myna, only to be threatened by Murugan. Taking advantage on the present scenario, R.K. prepares to file a self-witness F. I. R. against Murugan, who is forced to hide. Meanwhile, ACP Iyep Zachariah arrives at Puliyoor, apparently for Murugan.
The ganja is loaded into Murugan's lorry for transporting to Mangalore. Shiva and Benny hear that a confidant of Ramaiya is in police custody; seeing a possibility of leaking the information, they are forced to transport it overnight. Shiva offer Murugan sanctuary in Kasaragod under Daddy's protection and deceives him that the police are in pursuit to arrest him for the tiger killing. A team lead by Zachariya arrives at Murugan's home. Murugan with his family escape to Mangalore in the transport and manage to escape the police. He delivers the ganja and Manikuttan gets the job he was offered.
Murugan impresses Daddy and earns his trust by helping in his business activities. Meanwhile, more people are killed by tigers at Puliyoor. In an encounter with Zachariya, Murugan learns that Daddy is illegally producing hash oil and exporting it under cover of the pharmacy where Manikuttan is working. Manikuttan co-operates with police to capture Daddy. Shiva catches Manikuttan extracting evidence of their activities and tortures him. Murugan rescues Manikuttan; in the ensuing fight, Shiva is accidentally killed by Murugan. Police ambush Daddy but he escapes.
Murugan returns home; the hooded stranger is revealed to be Daddy, who is seeking revenge for his son's death. He assembles a group of henchmen and assassins, and ambushes Balaraman and villager Poongayi Sasi. Daddy and his gang take Balaraman and send Sasi back with severe injuries. Murugan decides to kill Daddy and a battle with the assassins ensues. Murugan kills them all and saves Balaraman. Daddy is killed by the tiger and Murugan kills it.
- Mohanlal as "Puli" Murugan
- Kamalini Mukherjee as Myna, Murugan's wife
- Jagapati Babu as Daddy Girija
- Lal as Balaraman, Murugan's uncle
- Vinu Mohan as Manikuttan, Murugan's brother
- Bala as Shiva, Manikuttan's friend
- Nobi as Benny, Manikuttan's friend
- Suraj Venjaramoodu as Poongayi Sasi
- Kishore as R. Krishna "R. K" Kumar, Forest Ranger
- Siddique as Iyep Zachariah, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP)
- Namitha as Julie
- Nandhu as Dhivakaran, forest guard
- Makarand Deshpande as Ramaiya, a dacoit and marijuana dealer
- M. R. Gopakumar as Kadutha, village chief and vaidyar
- Sethulakshmi as Bhavanithalla, Balaraman's mother-in-law
- Hareesh Peradi as Mestri, Girija's right-hand man
- Baby Durga Premjith as Chakki, Murugan's daughter
- Master Ajas as young Murugan
- Sudheer Karamana as Cherkalakkaran "Kayikka" Khader
- Sasi Kalinga as Balan chettan, tea shopkeeper
- Idavela Babu as Julie's husband
- Santhosh Keezhattoor as Murugan's father (cameo appearance)
- Antony Perumbavoor as Jeep driver (cameo appearance)
- Anjali Aneesh Upasana as Murugan's mother (cameo appearance)
A week after the release of Vysakh's directorial debut film Pokkiri Raja in 2010, its producer Tomichan Mulakuppadam talked with Vysakh for a future collaboration with Mohanlal in the lead role, who had already agreed to do a film with Vysakh before he debuted with Pokkiri Raja. The project was greenlit, but did not progress into a planning stage. Pokkiri Raja co-writer Udaykrishna was hired as a writer. Despite further discussions regarding the project, no progress occurred until 2014.
Pulimurugan was conceived by Udayakrishna, who developed the story idea from stories he heard during his childhood in eastern Ernakulam District. The stories presented the lives of people in Pooyamkutty, a small forest-area village where the villagers often had to fight with wild animals for living. At the time, Udayakrishna hinted about the character to Mohanlal, who showed interest. It is the first independent work by Udayakrishna after his split from the duo Udayakrishna and Siby K. Thomas.
The initial development of the project began in late December 2014, few days after the release of Vysakh's Cousins. Udayakrishna told Vysakh the plot about a jungle village which is frequently attacked by wild animals and a hunter who takes revenge on the animal. Vysakh decided it would be his next film. Together they developed the story; they were aware of the large funding required to realise the film. When they told the story to Mulakupadam, Vysakh asked him to wait a month. In meantime, Vysakh and Udayakrishna started researching for the film to get an understanding about the subject. A month later, they met Mulakuppadam, saying the film could not be started with a fixed budget, filming schedule or a release date, to which Mulakuppadam agreed. They next met Mohanlal, who already knew the plot idea from Udayakrishna. They told him the opening 15 minutes in much detail; he was impressed but was skeptical about the feasibility of it. Vysakh was also skeptical about shooting some of the sequences. Mohanlal was also asked to give no deadlines in terms of his dates, schedule or release; Mohanlal said he is ready to do it anytime they wanted.
To write a detailed screenplay, Vysakh and Udayakrishna stayed in a small house in Kerala for around three months. They travelled to get ideas about picturing the written scenes and prepared storyboards for the screenplay. They could not find any references for the man-animal fight scenes, so they consulted graphic experts to visualise the scenes. Mohanlal suggested engaging Thai fight-master Kecha, who is familiar with choreographing stunts with animals, to choreograph the film's stunts. Kecha asked for four years' time, which they could not afford, so they signed Peter Hein. Hein, who had not done man-animal fights before, took his preparation time for the film. The makers travelled to locations in South Africa and Vietnam to study tigers, their behaviour and how to tame them for filming. A one-week fight-training camp was conducted for Mohanlal in Vietnam, but the camp was dismissed after the first day after Hein was impressed with Mohanlal's action skills.
In August 2015, Bengali actress Kamalini Mukherjee was announced as the female lead opposite Mohanlal in her first association with Mohanlal. Mukherjee had worked with Vysakh in a guest appearance in Cousins (2014). According to Mukherjee, her role is quite rustic and is not the type of role she has previously portrayed, and "the character has no urban nuances or traits".Lal officially confirmed his role in an interview in early September 2015, which he said he would play alongside Mohanlal. In the same month, Kishore revealed his role as a forest officer. Kishore, who was changing from negative to positive roles at the time, said he took the role because it was a Mohanlal film. Some pictures of South Indian actress Namitha taken in the filming location surfaced on the internet on 13 September, confirming her presence. She plays Julie, a girl from an affluent family.
Telugu actor Jagapati Babu reportedly joined the film on 14 September. In an interview the same month, Bala confirmed his involvement with the film. Bala was reported to have opted out from director Siva's Tamil film Vedalam (2015) in favour of a prominent role in Pulimurugan.Suraj Venjaramoodu confirmed his part the following month.
Vinu Mohan starred as Manikuttan, the younger brother of Murugan. The film shows a deep bond between the siblings. The presence of Makarand Deshpande was revealed when the official poster was released on 15 April 2016. Deshpande plays a wood smuggler; he described his role as a "quintessential bad guy who works for someone. I walk around in getups that can have a camouflage effect in the forest, so that I am not spotted easily." Murugan's childhood role was played by Master Ajas, who was selected after Vysakh saw his performance as a contestant in the Indian dance reality show D 4 Dance. Ajas was suggested to Vysakh by Nobi, who also plays a supporting role. Ajas made his acting debut in the film; before filming began he was given special training by the stunt team for fighting and running.
Anjali Aneesh plays Murugan's pregnant mother.Sudheer Karamana was signed for the role of a Muslim character named Kayikka, who appears in a single scene.M. R. Gopakumar was cast as the village chief Kadutha. Other supporting roles are played by Siddique, Nandhu, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Sasi Kalinga, Sethulakshmi, Chali Pala, Hareesh Peradi, V. K. Baiju, Kannan Pattambi and Jaykrishnan.
The film's costume designer was Arun Manohar. The design of Mohanlal's Pulimurugan outfit was based on the sketches drawn by poster designer-cum-storyboard illustrator Subin Sudhakaran. All crew members committed to the film with a 30 percent reduced remuneration for the sake of reducing its cost overrun. The film's art director was Joseph Nellickal, Johnkutty was the editor, the production controller was Noble Jacob and Satheesh Kavilkotta was the executive producer. Binu Manambur and Nadeem Irani were the production managers.
The film was reportedly due to start production in September 2014. In June that year, Vysakh said the film would be made after the release of Cousins in December 2014. In April 2015, Udayakrishnan announced plans to start filming in June and July, with the first schedule starting in Vietnam and the remaining portions being filmed in Kerala.Principal photography and a pooja ceremony for the film was held in Hanoi on 16 July 2015. Filming began in Kochi, Kerala, on 24 July 2015. Mukherjee joined in this schedule. The next schedule was planned to start in a forested area of Pooyamkutty in Kothamangalam, Eranakulam district, in early August 2015. Pindimedu waterfall near Pooyamkutty was a central location, serving as the place where Murugan lives.
The fictional village Puliyoor was created on a set in Pooyamkutty that included a wooden bridge and Murugan's hut. Filming took place for 90 days in the protected forest area in Pooyamkutty. The production team left the set of the hut intact after filming there ended. The hut was created on a rock beside the Pooyamkutty River. Ninety percent of the film was shot in the forest. Much of the film was shot in and around Pooyamkutty, including forested areas of Mamalakandam, Tholnada, Kurunnumedu, and Knacherry. A tea shop was created on a set in Blavana near Pooyamkutty town and a scene in which Murugan reveals his love to Myna was shot at Kalladi Pocket. The tribal colony where the village chief Kadutha lives was filmed at the tribal settlement in Panthapra, Mamalakandam. Some portions were shot deep in the forest near Pooyamkutty; the cast and crew had to travel for 90 minutes and then trek for another 30 minutes to reach the location. No rehearsals were conducted for any scenes, except for the action sequences.
While in Pooyamkutty city, a scuffle between the crew and the local natives happened on the night of 10 September 2015. Apparently the driver of the lorry "Mayil Vahanam" (used as the ride of Murugan in the film) started the trouble. Fistfights ensued between local people and the crew members, and a native youth was hospitalized with severe injuries. In late September 2015, there were reports that filming in the forest areas of Pooyamkutty was halted upon a stay order issued by Kerala High Court after a petition alleging the materials used for creating film sets was damaging the ecosystem and the team were planning to execute bomb explosion scenes. The Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of the area said the court directed him to watch the location to ensure the filming progressed without causing any damage, but the news about filming being halted was false. Filming also took place in Perumbavoor, Ernakulam district, in September 2015.
The scene involving Pulimurugan's encounter with Kayikka and the fight sequence was shot in 10 days in October 2015. After taking a short break in the beginning of November 2015, Mohanlal returned to the sets in Ernakulam on 10 November. On 20 November 2015, The Times of India reported that Mohanlal still had 19 more days left for filming; he already spent almost three months for the film with sporadic breaks. In that month, Vysakh narrowly avoided an accident in the shooting location outside a warehouse near Kothamangalam. Hein was performing high-speed stunts with a car to be used in the film, Vysakh jumped away before Hein took a swerving reverse towards him. A large part of the action sequences were shot in November 2015. For some stunt scenes it was decided to use stunt doubles, but Mohanlal preferred to do it by himself and, motivated by this, Mukherjee also avoided using a stunt double for a scene. Hein said about his experience directing Mohanlal; "Normally in films we see heroes standing aside and [stunt doubles] doing the stunt scenes. Here it is just the opposite; I am lucky."
Because filming with wild animals is not allowed in India, the crew travelled abroad to film the scenes involving a tiger. The tiger scenes were filmed during January 2016 at locations in Bangkok, Thailand. The tiger was trained by Bangkok-based trainers under the supervision of Hein. The initial plan was to use graphics but the team later decided to use a real tiger. They first went to South Africa to shoot the tiger scenes but the results were not suitable. After trying to find locations in Vietnam, the tiger scenes were eventually filmed in one month in Thailand. The original plan was to use a leopard, but leopards run too quickly and a man running with it would look unrealistic. The decision to uses tigers was also taken because tigers are the only big cats that can be tamed and trained conveniently. Changes were made to the script accordingly. To direct the man-tiger fight sequences, Hein researched tigers for months and declined films that could have earned him crores. Mohanlal said Hain "showed me how they breathe". The tigers for filming were provided by the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. Four tigers were used in the film; the crew camped for 10 days to familiarise themselves with the tigers before filming.
According to Vysakh, while filming with tigers, the schedule was decided by the tigers and depending on their mood to perform. The tigers usually participated for an hour or two, mostly in the early morning or late evening. The maximum delay in production was caused by the decision to use a live tiger, which consumed the most number of days that account 10 percent of the total film. It took an overall 35 days to film the tiger episodes. Although graphics were also used, over 80 percent of the tiger scenes were filmed with a real tiger. The last 22 minutes of the film, the climax, was shot in 56 days. The tiger den shown in the climax was created in a studio set. Mohanlal joined for his remaining schedule in the third week of January 2016 for a two-week-long filming schedule. It was reported that on 27 January, Mohanlal's car was hit by a speeding tipper lorry at Illithode, Malayattoor, on his way to the location and he escaped unhurt. Later, his driver clarified that it was not Mohanlal's car but a crew vehicle. The final schedule continued until early February 2016, for re-shooting some sequences in the location in Ernakulam. Mohanlal, who gave 90-day dates for the filming, filmed for 115 days. The whole filming schedule was completed in 220 days. The film was initially planned with a 100 days schedule, with 60 days for Vysakh and 40 days for Hein for stunt choreography but Vysakh took 100 days and Hein took 120 days.
Hyderabad-based Firefly Creative Studio handled the visual effects for the film. The studio was suggested to the production team by Hein, who had earlier worked with them in Baahubali: The Beginning (2015). There were only a few members from the VFX team present during film's pre-production work. The visual effects supervisor was Murali Manohar. Enough time was allowed for the VFX work. Four crore of the film's budget was spent on the visual effects. It took 200 days to complete post-production.
In August 2015, Mohanlal said in an interview with Amrita TV, Pulimurugan has an animal as the antagonist and the story goes through the emotions of the human and the animal. The film's tagline is "The Wild Hunter", which was revealed in the release of its first-look poster on 6 August 2015. According to website Onmanorama, the poster featuring Mohanlal illustrated his character as a hunter, looking "intense like a predator whose sight set on the prey and is getting ready to launch himself on it, right hand clutching the ground and right leg firmly dug into the soil gathering force, left hand spread like a wing to maintain the balance and left leg placed strategically to give additional thrust for the attack."
The story happens in a village called Puliyoor. Mohanlal plays Pulimurugan, a man who helps the villagers. According to Vysakh, unlike his earlier film, which he describes as "complete entertainers with a lot of colour and action", the colour palette used in Pulimurugan is "subdued and realistic". Because the story takes place in a forest village, an earthy colour tone was used in the film with mainly greens, browns and subtle yellows to keep it realistic.
Pulimurugan was initially planned for release at Christmas in December 2015; because filming was continuing the release was postponed until the Hindu festival of Vishu in April 2016. The release date was again postponed to July because filming was not completed before the deadline of March 10 and the two-and-a-half-month-long post-production work began at the end of March. The film's release was again postponed and was released on 7 October 2016.
The film was released in the United Arab Emirates and Gulf Cooperation Council on 3 November 2016. It was shown in 350 screens in 82 theatres, with 630 shows on the opening day; the largest-ever release for an Indian film, surpassing the records of Kabali (425 shows) and Sultan (225 shows). It was released in 140 screens in the United Kingdom on 4 November.Pulimurugan was released in Japan by Celluloid Japan with an initial release starting from 20 November 2016. The film was dubbed into Telugu language as Manyam Puli and was released on 2 December 2016 in 500 screens across Andhra Pradesh and Telengana, and was distributed by Saraswathi Films.
On its opening day, Pulimurugan earned ₹4.05 crore in Kerala, making it the highest opening-day gross for a Malayalam film and the second-highest of any film (behind Tamil-language film Kabali) in the state. Pulimurugan grossed ₹4.83 crore on Sunday 9 October, taking its 3-day gross to ₹12.91 crore and setting the record for the highest-opening-weekend at the state box office. In 5 days, Pulimurugan's earnings in Kerela exceeded₹20 crore; the fastest time for any film. In 8 days' theatrical run, the film is estimated to have grossed about ₹30 crore in the state.
Pulimurugan set a new Malayalam-film record by completing 10,000 full-house shows in 14 days, and grossed over ₹46 crore from theatres all over India, with ₹40 crore from Kerala alone. The film eaned ₹60 crore in 17 days of its theatrical run in India. In a month of its release, Pulimurugan became the first Malayalam film to gross 100 crore at the box office. Until 23 November 2016, the film grossed ₹125 crore worldwide.Manyam Puli after completing 50 days run collected ₹12 crore from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana box office. As of January 2017[update], Pulimurugan has collected over ₹152 crore from ticket sales worldwide. It is also the third highest-grossing South Indian film of 2016.
Overseas, Pulimurugan created a record for the highest-opening-weekend gross for an Indian film in the UAE, grossing ₹13.83 crore in the first weekend (3-6 November) and exceeding the earnings of Kabali, Sultan, and Baahubali: The Beginning. In the US box office, it grossed more than $236,000 in less than a month and became the highest-grossing Malayalam film in the US, exceeding the earnings of Premam. It also became the highest-grossing Indian film in the United Kingdom in its opening weekend there, grossing £90,162 and surpassing the earnings of Oppam. The film collected over ₹35 crore from the UAE box office when it had run for 50 days. The film ran for 98 days in the UAE and became the third-longest-running film there, behind Drishyam (125 days) and Titanic (110 days). It collected ₹37.09 crore from the UAE box office.
Awarding the film 3.5 on a scale of 5, Nelson K. Paul from Malayala Manorama wrote; "The narrative is straight and tight. Most importantly, the movie is engaging throughout and doesn't slip off. Though it's an action thriller primarily. Vysakh has all the ingredients laced in for a well-balanced mix. The director has made sure that the elements he put in are there for a reason". He praised Mohanlal's "super flexible in stunt scenes" and his "mighty impressive" efforts, Kumar's cinematography and Hein's "adrenaline-filled action" choreography, with a special mention for the climax fight. He also commended the characterisation of Myna and the onscreen chemistry of Mohanlal and Mukherjee.
In his review for The Indian Express, Manoj Kumar R. rated Pulimurugan 3.5 stars out of 5. He praised Mohanlal's acting and the "high-voltage" stunts, and called the screenplay "tight and engaging" with Sunder's film score and Kumar's cinematography adding to the film. He wrote; "It is a simple movie that basically aims to entertain the audience. The movie does not dwell too much on the man-animal conflict and discusses what is right or what is wrong". According to him, Vysakh has succeeded in exploiting the stardom of Mohanlal.The Times of India critic Sanjith Sidhardhan rated the film 3.5 on a scale of 5 and wrote that the film's strength is "a fleshed out story and pacy screenplay that takes its protagonist out of the wild and puts him in the world of ruthless men—a scenario where the hunter becomes the prey ... The movie has a good enough story to keep the audience engaged while providing ample thrills through Peter Hein-choreographed fantastic action sequences". He also praised Sunder's "rousing theme music" and the "crisp" editing that made the "161-minute runtime a breeze".
In his review for Rediff.com, Paresh C. Palicha commented; "It is Mohanlal's calibre as an actor that makes this thriller a really thrilling experience. Udaykrishna's writing and Vysakh's direction use him very well, knowing what will work with his fans". He rated the film 2.5 stars out of 5. The reviewer from Sify gave a positive review, describing it as a "winner all the way" and a "super entertainer", and said; "with breathtaking visuals, top notch performances, superb action sequences and thrilling music, Vysakh has cooked a delicious treat. Though it is a bit too long at two hours and 41 minutes, this one keeps you engaged for sure". Sify noted Hein and Kumar for the stunts and visuals, called the performances of Mohanlal "an absolute delight to watch", and praied other cast members including Lal, Babu, Venjaramoodu, Kishore, and Ajas. Sify concluded that "Pulimurugan wins with the hard work that has gone into its making. It's the kind of masala that is superbly enjoyable and then there is Mohanlal in terrific form."
Writing for the International Business Times, Anu James gave a positive review, writing that "though Mohanlal doesn't deliver any punch dialogues, his screen presence and thrilling action sequences are the [unique selling propositions] of the action thriller. Despite being a 56-year-old, the flexibility he has while performing the stunts deserves a special mention." She also praised Hein's stunt choreography, Kumar's cinematography, Sunder's film score, and the performances of Babu, Lal, and Ajas. Krishna B. Nair of Metromatinee wrote a positive review, calling it a "visual extravaganza plus an edge-of-the-seat experience!", and said, "Pulimurugan has a very impressive first half, not so fast paced yet thrilling second half and an absolutely stunning climax". She praised Mohanal's "dedication for the intense stunt sequences" and his combination scenes with Mukherji, who is "equally aggressive and adventurous" as Mukherji. James also praised Sundar's film score, Kumar's cinematography, the VFX work, and Hein for introducing "high-voltage ... whole new action sequences to the Malayali audiences", which "struck a chord with the moviegoers".
Two songs from the film—"Kaadanayum Kaalchilambe" and "Maanathe Maarikurumbe" were included by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the selection list of 70 songs eligible for contending for the nomination in the 90th Academy Awards for the Best Original Song category. The film score was also selected among the 141 eligible scores contending for the Academy Award for Best Original Score nomination.
The film's soundtrack and film score were composed by Gopi Sunder. The soundtrack runs for over ten minutes and has three tracks; a duet sung by K. J. Yesudas and K. S. Chithra, a solo by Vani Jairam, and a theme song by Sunder. Rafeeq Ahammed, Murukan Kattakada, and B. K. Harinarayanan were the lyricists. The music album was released on 5 October 2016 in an event held at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Kochi. Vysakh and Udayakrishna were absent from the function; they were busy with the release.
All music composed by Gopi Sunder.
In late December 2015, Sunder announced that the film would have two songs and more might be added, one of which would be a lullaby sung by S. Janaki and another song sung by Jassie Gift and Shreya Ghoshal. Janaki, however, announced her retirement from singing in the second half of 2016. She was replaced with Jairam, and Gift and Ghoshal were replaced with Yesudas and Chithra. Sunder approached Yesudas with the composition of "Kaadaniyum Kalchilambe" in late August 2016—his first association with Sunder. Including his discussions with Yesudas, the recording process was completed in one-and-a-half hours. Ahammed was the lyricist. The song was recorded on 27 August 2016. The theme song starting with the line "Muruga Muruga" was written by Harinarayanan; its lyrics were written after finishing the composition. The songs were recorded in a studio in Ernakulam.
Sunder, who generally takes around one month to finish the music for a film, took three months for Pulimurugan and worked in two schedules. Without any short-notices, Vysakh gave Sunder enough time to compose the score. He composed while watching a rough version of the film before the final editing. At that time, the computer-generated imagery of the tiger was at its early stage and far from perfect, so Sunder had to envisage the tiger while composing for these scenes. The composition of score was completed on 11 September 2016. The DTS pre-mixing of the music was done on 17 September at G Studio in AVM, Chennai.
The first music video from the film, "Kaadaniyum Kalchilambe" sung by Yesudas and Chithra, was released via YouTube on 14 September 2016—the day of the Hindu festival Thiruvonam. The song features Mohanlal and Mukherji enjoying their country life. Nivedita Mishra of Hindustan Times said, "It is a paean to marriage ... Kaadaniyum Kalchilambe is a beautiful celebration of Kerala—so lush and so soothing to the eye and so lovingly captured by cinematographer Shaji Kumar". Anjana George of The Times of India also gave a positive review, highlighting its visuals and saying, "while beautifully showcasing the chemistry between Lal [Mohanlal] and Kamalini, the director has also tried to capture the magical splendour of forest. The lovely shades of green, yellow, orange and blue are being magnificently used in the visuals." On 11 October 2016, in response to audience demand, Sundar released the theme song attached with a video of the making of the film. The film's second music video, "Manathe Marikurumbe" sung by Jairam, was released on 27 October 2016.
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'Being a hero is not a very easy task. You have to dance around trees, not to mention all the odd and unnatural things you have to do. Now I am spared of all that.'
Jagapathi Babu reveals why playing an antagonist is far more rewarding than being a hero.
With over 120 films in a career spanning 25 years, Jagapathi Babu is a force to reckon with in Telugu cinema.
He has worked in all four South Indian languages with top directors and even boasts of a biopic on television titled Samudram. The series portrayed his successes and failures as a lead hero and eventual rise as a character artist.
With the growing trend of powerful, good looking antagonists, Jagapathi Babu with his stylish salt and pepper look has bagged two big films -- Vijay’s much-hyped 60th film helmed by director Bharathan and Vishal’s Kaththi Sandai.
Recently, the actor was also in the news for having launched a portal for aspiring actors and film technicians called the Clikcinecart.
In this exclusive interview with Rediff.com contributor S Saraswathi, the charming actor talks about juggling projects in South Indian languages, surviving in this industry and the launch of his new talent portal.
How do you feel about being the new villain in town?
It is not that I have been doing only negative roles; there have been all sorts of characters. In fact, I want to add even more variety to my roles.
I am always looking for something out of the box, it could be anything, even a villain character. I would love to do it.
When I consider a part, I understand that it will not be as important as that of the hero. My only criteria is that it has significant potential, at least that of a second-in-command.
What I look for is a good director. Being a villain or not is a choice I make. Life is all about learning and growing as we go along.
You have bagged two big Tamil films: Vijay’s 60th film and Vishal’s Kaththi Sandai.
Things just happened. It was Vijay’s film at first and then I was offered a part in Vishal’s Kaththi Sandai too.
It feels good to be a part of two big Tamil films. Both Vijay and Vishal are very popular and it is no surprise that their films create a buzz.
Even my friends in the Telugu film industry are congratulating my decision. I am very happy about it. Chennai has been my home for many years and I am comfortable here.
I also enjoy the opportunity to meet other actors, and work and learn in a different environment.
From lead actor to character artist to villain, was the transition difficult?
Actually, being a hero is not easy. You have to dance around trees, not to mention all the odd and unnatural things you have to do. Now I am spared of all that.
As a villain, my character will get beaten up and will probably be dead, but I am okay with that.
Also, there is the advantage of zero responsibility. The aspect of building my character is the director’s headache, and the commercial aspect or success of the film rests on the shoulders of the hero.
So I don’t have any headache. It is really very simple. When I give up the tag of the so-called hero, I not only get my freedom, but all the additional benefits without any of the responsibilities.
But aren’t the benefits of a hero much more substantial, be it money or fame?
No, I think I am earning more money and fame now.
Earlier when I was a hero, I had so much responsibility. I used to return the money when the producers ran into losses. I did a lot of that during my initial days, which I don’t have to do anymore. Today I don’t give, I only take.
So whatever money comes is mine. That way I am playing safe. Again as a hero, we have to give at least 70-80 days for a film, but now it is just 20-30 days. I also get to do wide variety of roles; the only thing I miss is the heroines, nothing else (laughs).
Have you started shooting for the Tamil films?
I will start shooting for Vijay's film from June 3. Recently, we completed the shooting for Vishal’s film in Chennai.
So what do you play, the regular corrupt politician or the undisputed dada…
Vishal’s film, it is a combination. He is not a really bad guy. He gets greedy, and then he changes, so there is nothing really bad about this character. I play Tamannaah’s brother in the film.
But in Vijay’s film, I am a complete antagonist. From a mutton stall owner, I become the head of the education department.
Two Kannada projects, one in Malayalam with Mohanlal, you seem to be juggling projects well in all four South Indian languages.
Work is still on in the two Kannada films but we are through with the Malayalam film Pulimurugan. It will be up for release soon.
I enjoy working and juggling between projects in different languages. I am a kind of guy, who cannot stay in one place; I like to travel.
I also enjoy the different culture, different food and different atmosphere. It is a whole new learning experience.
You have been part of this industry for over 25 years. Did you have to give up anything?
No, absolutely not. If you want to complain, there will be complaints everywhere, but I cannot be more blessed than this.
How many ever lives I have, I want to be an actor for sure. This is the best thing I could get. There is nothing to complain about.
What about your personal space?
No, I always do what I want to. I go to the road and eat pani puri or sundal (chickpea) in Chennai. I go to the malls, theatres...
As far as you know how you to handle things, if you don’t create the ambiance around you and act big, you are fine. Nobody really bothers you.
I do exactly what I want. Most of the time, I forget I am an artist.
The other day, for example, I was doing a shoot and there was blood all over me. I completely forgot and walked into a restaurant. People were wondering who I was. They didn’t know me, as it was Kerala, and were shocked. They thought some rowdies had walked in -- I had two-three people with me, my staff.
When I realised there was blood on my clothes, I went back to my room. Being an actor has never stopped me from doing the things I enjoy.
What does it take to survive in this industry for 25 years?
A little bit of luck. But I think it is talent and passion that helps you survive. Beyond that, it is the fans, the people, who follow you and their blessings, which help you to get through difficult times. It is a special bond. They make you a part of their own family.
Recently I came to know of a lady, who lives in Bangalore. She is originally from Andhra Pradesh and she has not met me, but she has every small data of mine. I believe she has traveled all over India praying and doing special pujas for my life and for me to be successful and happy.
So much of love, affection and blessings from so many people, it is a gift to be treasured.
Tell us about your talent portal Clikcinecart.
Clikcinecart is a talent portal, a bridge or a platform to connect the outside world -- connecting the outside talent to the elusive cinema industry.
It is not easy for people to enter the film industry. You spend a lot of time, money and effort, only to be given false hopes and promises. Most end up disappointed and disillusioned.
We wanted to open out this world of cinema, that is dominated by a chosen few, to everyone with talent and passion but without the resources and knowledge to go about it.
Nobody has done this for the last 100 years. We are also planning to produce movies. I want star producers to be born again. Also, newcomers to come in, like the NRIs.
For this, my partner Sreedhar Bhandari is in the US. We have plans to open a branch in the US and London.
Frankly, at first I did not know what I was getting into. But the moment I put my foot into it, I realised how big this is.
How does portal work?
To become a member, all you have to do is post a selfie with some background information along with a video showcasing your expertise or talent in a particular category. Clikcinecart will do the rest to make these talents connect and find each other in the film industry.
It is not just for aspiring actors, it is also for story tellers, directors, producers and other technicians. Even if you have a property to let out for film shootings, you can upload the pictures at the site. This saves the time and money on location hunting.
So basically, it is a one-stop shop, a huge film hub. Like our slogan says, ‘You tell us who you are and we will tell the world what you are.’
I want to make Clikcinecart an address for success.
Is this your way of giving back to the industry?
I certainly have this responsibility to give back, but very frankly, the idea was not mine, it was of a DOP (Director of Photography) who has been in the film industry for the past 25 years. He has been working on this for many years. He came to me with this idea and it immediately struck a chord.
I have also gone through this trauma of not becoming a star. I know what it is, all the endless struggles. There were times when I got so dejected with life that I felt there is no point in living. I don’t want others to go through that. So it is giving back with pride, with the satisfaction of having made a difference.
Tags: Clikcinecart, Jagapathi Babu, Kaththi Sandai, Vishal, South Indian