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Now, a restored film on Congressman Kamaraj

regional movies Updated: Mar 16, 2014 14:10 IST
Gautaman Bhaskaran
Gautaman Bhaskaran
Hindustan Times
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Close on the heels of the release of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's film Aayirathil Oruvan (One in a Thousand) comes another biopic, based on Congress leader Kamaraj.

After the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Jayalalithaa's film Aayirathil Oruvan (with M.G. Ramachandran, erstwhile Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, also from the same party) opened in theatres on Friday, director A. Balakrishnan is planning to release his biopic, Kamaraj.

Once a Congressman and Tamil Nadu chief minister, he was scrupulously honest and a perfect gentleman.

The movie, Kamaraj, was first released in 2004. It was in Tamil, and an English version came in 2007. On April 18, a digitally restored version will hit 200 screens across Tamil Nadu, and this will be just before polling in Tamil Nadu takes place on April 24. What a timing that will be!

Balakrishnan told the media the other day that Kamaraj had been forgotten. People and even Congressmen do not remember the important role he played in politics and society.

"Kamaraj was largely instrumental in making Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi prime ministers… I am getting the movie into the theatres in order to create awareness about a great leader," Balakrishnan averred.

Distributed by Ramana Communications, the film is set to music by the veteran and well-known Ilayaraja from lyrics penned by poet Bharathi and Vaali. Richard Madhuram, once the Chennai airport manager, essays Kamaraj, and he does it with considerable flair.

Kamaraj is a faithful biopic of the life and times of the Tamil leader. The movie gives a fairly detailed account of Kamaraj's early life in Virudhanagar in Tamil Nadu and his involvement in the freedom movement even when he was a boy. His nine-year incarceration during the freedom struggle and the way he shaped the Congress politics later when he moved from Virudhanagar to Chennai have been sketched with authenticity.

Kamaraj was the first to introduce lunch at school (a fact that led to higher school admissions and attendance) and the first to expand the school network in the rural areas. What is more, he pioneered Tamil Nadu's industrialisation.

The second half of the film sees Kamaraj as a king-maker in New Delhi, and his superb 'Kamaraj Plan', which encouraged senior leaders to step out of ministerial posts to work for the party at the grassroots level. Balakrishnan also lets us peep into the naked ambitions of Congress leaders after Shastri's sudden death in Tashkent (former Soviet Union).