Karakattakkaran (transl. The Karakattam dancer) is a 1989 Indian Tamil-language romantic comedy film written and directed by Gangai Amaran and produced by Karumari Kandasamy and J. Durai. The film stars Ramarajan and debutant Kanaka in the lead roles while Goundamani, Senthil, Santhana Bharathi, Chandrasekhar, Ganthimathi and Kovai Sarala play supporting roles. Its revolves two Karakattam dancers who fall in love with each other, but circumstances and their egoistic nature prevent them from confessing their love for one another. How they overcome these forms the rest of the story.
|Directed by||Gangai Amaran|
|Produced by||Karumari Kandasamy|
|Written by||Gangai Amaran|
|Edited by||B. Lenin|
V. T. Vijayan
|Budget||est. ₹2 million|
The soundtrack was composed by Ilaiyaraaja and all the songs were well-received and, in particular, the song "Maanguyilae Poonguyile" has become a classic. The film was released on 16 June 1989 and was a major commercial success, running for over a year in theatres. It was also Goundamani's and Senthil's 100th film as a combo. Goundamani and Senthil's banana comedy got well known among the people and is still known today.
Muthaiya (Ramarajan) is the lead performer of a karagattam group based out of a village. His troupe consists of Goundamani, Senthil, Kovai Sarala, Junior Balaiah etc. Muthaiya's mother Kanthimathi was his dance guru. Similarly Kamakshi (Kanaka) is also a karagattam dancer in the nearby village and she performs regularly during temple festival of that village. Chinnarasu (Santhana Bharathi) is the village panchayat board president and he sets an eye on Kamakshi. But Kamakshi hates Chinnarasu. To take revenge on her, Chinnarasu invites Muthaiya's dance troupe to perform during temple festival instead of Kamakshi's performance.
Muthaiya performs well and is widely appreciated by the villagers. Kamakshi also likes Muthaiya's performance. Kamakshi's father Shanmuga Sundaram invites Muthaiya to his home. And to his shock, Shanmuga Sundaram understands that Muthaiya is his nephew but does not reveal it to him. Muthaiya and Kamakshi fall in love with each other. Chinnarasu gets to know about Muthaiya and Kamakshi's love affair and plans to separate them.
Chandrasekhar is Kamakshi's innocent brother in law who works for Chinnarasu. Chinnarasu persuades Chandrasekhar to challenge a dance competition between Muthaiya and Kamakshi for which both accepts. In the meantime, Chinnarasu plans to kill Muthaiya during the dance program. But Kamakshi saves Muthaiya thereby getting stabbed by a knife in her leg after the dance. Now Kanthimathi gets furious knowing that Kamakshi is her niece and takes Muthaiya along with her and also does not permit their wedding to happen. Kanthimathi reveals a flashback that Kamakshi's father is her own brother and he eloped with the jewels that were meant to be sold to meet the medical expenses of Muthaiya's father which led to his death. But Kamakshi's father arrives there and reveals the truth that while he went to sell the jewels, he was caught by the police suspecting him to be a smuggler following which he was jailed for a few years.
Now Kanthimathi realizes her mistake and unites with her brother. Also she agrees for wedding between Muthaiya and Kamakshi. Chinnarasu accuses that Muthaiah and Kamakshi misbehaved in the temple and orders them to walk on fire in the temple to prove that they are pure. Muthaiya and Kamakshi successfully walk on fire while Chandrasekhar reveals Chinnarasu's true identity in front of villagers. Chandrasekhar also pushes Chinnarasu on to the fire but is saved by Muthiya which makes Chinnarasu realize his mistake. The movie ends with Muthaiya and Kamakshi getting united.
- Ramarajan as Muththaiyaa
- Kanaka as Kamakshi
- Santhana Bharathi as Chinraasu
- Chandrasekhar as Kamakshi's uncle
- Goundamani as Thangavelu
- Senthil as Naathas
- Kovai Sarala
- Periya Karuppu Thevar
- Vellai Subbiah
- Kokila as Chandrasekhar's wife
- Junior Balaiah
- Gangai Amaran (Cameo)
Special Appearances(in the title song)
Gangai Amaran wanted to do a film on the life of Karakattam dancers and their art Karagam, when producers Karumari Kandaswamy and J. Durai approached Amaran to do a project for them they agreed to do this project. Amaran admitted that his film was reversal of Thillana Mohanambal (1968) with a change of backdrop and it was Ramarajan who suggested the story idea for the film while Amaran revealed he "didn't plan anything for the movie and went on scene by scene".
After achieving back-to-back successful films like Enga Ooru Pattukaran (1987) and Shenbagamae Shenbagamae (1988), Ramarajan was the director's natural choice for lead protagonist and it was his 18th project as actor. For the film's lead actress, Kanaka, daughter of late actress Devika made her acting debut with this film. It was Amaran's wife who suggested her for the role.
Goundamani and Senthil were chosen to handle comic relief and this film became their 100th collaboration together. The comedy track was written by A. Veerappan. Since Amaran wanted a female dancer for Ramarajan's troupe, Kovai Sarala was cast. Santhanabharathi was chosen as the antagonist while Shanmugasundaram, was cast as Kanaghaa's father and Gandhimathi as Ramarajan's mother. Vagai Chandrasekar was selected to play Kanaga's brother-in-law.
Similar to Thillana Mohanambal (1968), this film also followed the lives of two artist families locked in a feud raised by a romantic interests of the lead pair.
The music composed by Ilaiyaraaja and lyrics for all songs were written by Gangai Amaran. All the songs especially "Maanguyile Poonguyile" became famous and still remain as chartbusters till date. The song "Ooru Vittu" is based on Shanmukhapriya Raga while "Mariyamma" is based on Mayamalavagowla Raga.
Ilayaraja later adapted "Maanguyile" as "Endhirayyo" for the Telugu film Shiva Shankar (2004). The song "Nandhavanathil Oru" was adapted by Yuvan Shankar Raja as "Muttathu Pakkathile" in Kunguma Poovum Konjum Puravum (2009). The song "Ooru Vittu Ooru Vandhu" was remixed by Natarajan Shankaran in Kappal (2014). S. Shankar, the producer of that film, did not acquire permission to remix the song, leading to Ilaiyaraaja taking legal action against him.
|1||"Indha Maan"||Ilaiyaraaja, K. S. Chithra||Gangai Amaran||04:35|
|2||"Kudagu Malai"||Mano, K. S. Chithra||04:31|
|3||"Maanguyilae" (Men)||SP Balasubrahmanyam||04:37|
|4||"Maanguyilae" (Duet)||SP Balasubrahmanyam, S. Janaki||04:25|
|5||"Mariyamma Mariyamma"||Malaysia Vasudevan, K. S. Chithra||04:31|
|6||"Mundhi Mundhi"||Mano, K. S. Chithra||03:20|
|8||"Ooruvittu Ooruvanthu"||Malaysia Vasudevan, Gangai Amaran||04:34|
Release and reception
Karakattakkaran was released on 16 June 1989. Distributors initially refused to buy the film as they felt that "the rural setting and full length comedy would not be acceptable". The film ran for over a year in Nadana Theatre at Madurai.
Behindwoods wrote: "Gangai Amaran's classy direction, a simple and neat story, good performance of Ramarajan and Kanaga, believable stunt scenes, Ilayaraja’s excellent songs and finally Goundamani, Senthil’s comedy made this movie a block buster".
Karakattakkaran became a cult film for bringing the art of Karagam into prominence. The film became one of the successful films in the career of Ramarajan. The comedy sequences from the film, especially the joke revolving around Banana, still remains as cult classic. The car Chevrolet Impala, 1960's model used in the film became popular after the film's release. In an interview to The Hindu in 2002, Somasundaram, a real-life Karakattam dancer was critical of the film stating that it was an "insult to the dance form".
In an interview to a television channel, Venkat Prabhu was asked if he would ever remake Karakattakkaran, he said "it would be extremely difficult to do justice to the original". Regarding the casting, in place of Goundamani and Senthil, he said he would prefer Santhanam and Premgi Amaren respectively if he was told to remake the film.
The film Jil Jung Juk (2016) reveals who had kept Soppanasundari, the previous owner of the pink 1960 Chevrolet Impala according to the Karagattakaran plot.
In popular culture
In a comedy scene from Thangamana Raasa (1990), Goundamani who is jailed for petty crime, dreams of singing under the music of Ilaiyaraja, he sings "Maanguyile" to Vinu Chakravarthy. In Saroja (2008), when the friends witness the car which they are going to travel, the theme music of Karagattakaran is used as background music for the scene. Ooru Vittu Ooru Vanthu (1990) also directed by Gangai Amaran was named after a song from the film. The scene where Shanmugasundaram pleads ignorance about himself to his sister (Gandhimathi) has been parodied by various mimicry artists in various shows. A song titled Soppanasundari is used in Venkat Prabhu's Chennai 600028 II.
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- Thangamana Raasa (DVD)
- Saroja (DVD)