Posted: May 21, 2012 in Ciniplus
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An awesome mythological epic movie which was released on 1964, digitalized and re- released on 2012 is Karnan. This movie is based on a character Karna which comes in Indian epic Mahabharata.

The story goes like this. An unmarried Kunti playfully tests her boons and gives birth to a male baby, who is born with kavasam and kundalam. To get rid of her embarrassment, she sets the child afloat in a river. A charioteer rescues the child and names him as Karnan. Karnan grows up and masters in archery. At one stage Karnan challenges Arjunan (who is the younger son of Kundhi), in an archery contest. But Karnan is insulted by means of his birth. At that time Duryodhan comes to rescue Karnan’s pride, and crowns him as king of anga.

Lord Indra had fear on Karnan that he will win Arjunan with his great war-skills. So he disguises as an old man, and asks for Kavasam and kundalam as donation. Indra asks for this gift, because he can reduce the Karnan’s strength through this. Karnan is a generous person who never says ‘no’ to anyone. Though Karnan is aware of the real intentions of Indra, he takes away his kavasam and kundalam from his body and donates to Indra.  By seeing Karnan’s generosity Indra blessed him with normal body.

At one point Karnan gets an opportunity to learn Brahmastra-mantra from Saint Parasurama. Parasurama is the guru who teaches only to Brahmins. So Karnan disguised as Brahmin and joins as a follower, and he started learning different skills from Parasurama. In one situation Parasurama came to know that Karnan is not a Brahmin, thus Parasurama curses Karnan that he will forget to use Brahmastra-mantra when he needs it badly.In the mean time Karnan rescues Subhangi from an uncontrolled chariot. From that instance, they both fall in love with each other and they get married. Subhangi gives birth to male baby, Vrishasena.

Mean while Lord Krishna tells to Kundhi that Karnan was the child whom she afloat in the river and he is going to fight against his younger brothers (Pandavas).To save the life of her sons Lord Krishna gives an idea to kundhi, To ask for two wishes from Karnan. They are, Get the promise from Karnan that he won’t kill any of her sons except Arjuna and He will not use Nagastram more than once on Arjuna. Even though she know any one of his son (Karnan or Arjuna) will be killed in the war, Somehow she convinces and goes to Karnan to ask about these wishes. As we know Karnan’s large heart, he gave those two wishes to his Mother in return of two promises from her. The promises are, she must not reveal about their relation until Karnan dies and after the death of Karnan, she should cry by saying he is the first son of her.

Before the start of the war, Duryodhanan’s ministry assembles to decide about different leaders for their army.  Since Bishmer is decided as head, he starts nominating leaders for different groups. Even there Karnan is insulted and given the post of leading people who has least priority in the war.

The war begins, and in the initial stage of the war Bishmer gets killed and Karnan comes to the place of Bishmer. In the next day Karnan goes to war along with his son, Vrishasena. People from Karnan’s team starts praising about Vrishasena’s performance in the war. When Karnan goes to see his son, Arjunan’s arrow flows on the chest of Vrishasena, and he gets killed. On the next day of the war Karnan starts fighting against Arjuna with fullest vengeance. While Karnan moves forward in the war, wheels of his chariot get stuck on the land and he steps down to fix that. At that time, Krishna, who is the charioteer for Arjuna instructs Arjuna to shoot an arrow on Karnan. He does the same and Karnan bleeds with immense pain, but he doesn’t die. There Krishna says Karnan’s virtue of donations is saving his life (In Tamil dharmam thalai kakkum). To bring his life to an end, Krishna plans and disguises as Brahmin and asks the virtues as donation. As per the way of not saying no to anyone, Karnan gives his virtues to that brain, meantime Arjunan’s arrows shoots Karnan again and again, and Karnan got killed.

As like Karnan’s wish from her mom, she comes to war field and reveals that his first son was Karnan. At the same time one another lady who is mother of dharma, cries and says that my only son because of whom the dharma was lived in the earth was died.

Arjuna feels guilty for killing his elder brother with his arrow. But Lord Krishna reminds Arjuna that the cruses that Karnan got (from Lord Indra and Parasurama) are the reasons for death and No need to blame himself for his brother’s death. The story ends like Karnan goes to heaven and joins with Lord Sun.

The characterization of the movie and other aspects

Sivaji Ganesan as Karnan. He is one of the outstanding actors in Tamil. Since he is the main role in this movie, he has given stunning performance in every scene. He roars like a lion, when he shows his anger on his father in law. He is calm and cool, where he expresses his love Subangi. He is so polite and respectful, when he speaks with his Mother.

N.T Rama Rao as Krishna. He is a Telugu actor who is absolutely suited for the character of Krishna.

Ashokan as Duryodhanan. He is the main reason for many happenings in this movie. He is the one who crowns karnan, who becomes a very close friend of Karnan, Who takes main part in Karnan’s marriage. Finally to save the life of Ashokan, Karnan go against Arjuna and ends his life.

Devika as Subang.: Even though she appears for very little time on the screen, she did fullest justice for her role.

M. V. Rajamma as Kunti. Movie starts and ends with her. We can see a more cared and affectionate mother throughout the movie.

This movie was produced and directed by B.R.Panthulu who has given lot of hit movies in Tamil like Veerpandiya Kattapomman, Aayirathil Oruan, Pale Pandiya, etc., Though he took the story from Mahabharata, he shaped each and every character to live in mythological life style.

The Music was composed two well-known musicians in Tamil M.S.Vishwanathan and T.K.Ramamoorthy. In addition with music, lyrics written by extraordinary lyricist Kannadhasan were big strength for this movie.

This Movie was restored digitally and released on March 2012.All these effort of re-releasing was undertaken by distributor Shanthi Chokkalin­gam. This movie collected good response as well as revenue.

In this movie we can see our ancestor’s heritage, friendship, mother’s love (as a mother,   wife, sister, brother, husband, friend), disappointment, donating quality (Dharma), respect on elders and lot more. Finally, this is not a movie for three hours of entertainment; this is the movie where we can live with our ancestors.


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