Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Born again Sivaji’s ‘Karnan’ nears century, keeps audience thrilled

Nearly half-a-century after it first hit the screens in 1964, Sivaji Ganesan's classic Karnan continues to be the talk of the town as the re-release of the film will reach the 100th day on June 23.

The team that re-released the film plans to invite chief minister J Jayalalithaa for the celebration as a mark of respect for her mother, Sandhya, who played Karnan's mother in the film. The team also plans to honour children of all artists of the film.

The mythological film in which Sivaji played the troubled elder brother of Pandavas as the lead character was re-released across the state on March 16 with digital enhancements and restored audio. The film has been running to packed halls at 72 centres across the state. In the city, it is being screened at nine theatres.

Old-timers say the movie remains fresh. "Each scene shot for the movie is evergreen in my mind. Ganesan sir always encouraged young talent even it was a child artist like me," said Sridhar, who played the role of an orphan who seeks justice in Karnan's court. Shanti Chokkalingam of Divya Films, which released the latest version of Karnan, said she, as a child, was deeply touched by the movie. "Years later, I can never get bored watching Karnan repeatedly," she said.

The effort took 40 lakh and three years for a team of Sivaji fans led by the 55-year-old Chokkalingam. With improved colours and sound effects, the original audio and video of the film was restored. Technicians, including sound engineers worked round the clock to ensure the original quality of the film. "We also got regular guidance from veteran composer M S Vishwananthan, who scored music for Karnan," said Chokkalingam.

The film is considered a milestone not only in the career of Sivaji Ganesan but also for Kollywood as it brought together two doyens of the Indian film industry — Sivaji and former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh and Telugu Desam Party founder N T Rama Rao (who played the role of Krishna). On the box office front, the movie has crossed nearly 2 crore within a few weeks in the city. Satyam Cinemas has earned around 60 lakh. The movie is also running successfully in Tirichy, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli and Nagercoil.

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