Bharatheeyudu (1996)

 ●  Telugu ● 3 hrs 1 min

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This thought-provoking and socially relevant drama depicts the rampant corruption and bribery that seems to be the norm in the functioning of the government machinery in India. It highlights the dreadful consequences that can happen as a consequence, through a tale told along parallel lines, that finally comes together in an explosive conclusion. One part of the tale follows Chandra Bose alias Chandru (Kamal Haasan), a small-time broker outside the RTO (Regional Transport Office) who gets people to high positions by accepting bribes. He is supported in this work by Subbiah (Goundamani). Paneerselvam (Senthil) plays an officer in the RTO who has conflicts with Subbiah. Aishwarya (Manisha Koirala) and Chandru are in love with each other. Sapna (Urmila Matondkar) is the daughter of Gandhikrishna, an officer in RTO. Her father promises to get Chandru a job of being a brake inspector in the RTO, if he runs errands for them. He agrees to work for them, and soon he becomes a brake inspector. The other track is of Senapathy alias Indian (Kamal Haasan), a 70-year-old man who kills top government officials (like Commissioners of Corporation etc.) in an extreme attempt to weed out corruption from Indian soil. Senapathy is also Chandru's father. Krishnaswamy (Nedumudi Venu) is an intelligence IPS officer out to nab the Indian. He manages to somehow trace his way to Senapathy's house and finds Senapathy, posing as an ex-freedom fighter. Archived newspaper reports say that Senapathy was a soldier in the Indian National Army who was an extremist. Senapathis wife Amirthavalli (Sukanya) is asked what Senapathy did to deserve a freedom fighter tag, and at this point, we are taken to the 1940s. Rebellions against the British, atrocities etc. are shown, culminating in Senapathy marrying Sukanya but leaving for Singapore to join Subhas Chandra Bose as part of the INA. He returns after independence. Krishnaswamy tries to arrest Senapathy, but his attempt is foiled, and Senapathy escapes with his expertise in the art of hitting varmam or pressure points. Senapathy then goes on to commit a murder in front of television audiences by killing a corrupt doctor(Nizhalgal Ravi) who refused to attend immediately to Senapathy's daughter (Kasthuri), who was suffering from third degree burns because he insisted on a bribe, which Senapathy refused. Chandru parts ways with his father because of his excessive insistence on honesty etc. and considers these values to be dead and worthless. How Senapathi evades the police and escapes arrest forms a major portion of the remaining part of the story. Public support is very high for the Indian because he exposes so many corrupt people. Senapathy does not do his son any favours either. Chandru had earlier taken a bribe and given a safety certificate to a bus with faulty brakes. The bus meets with an accident, killing school children it was carrying and thus Chandru is held responsible. Senapathy is bent on giving Chandru the same punishment as he gives others, i.e.death. After a few chase sequences, in the climax sequence in an airport Senapathy kills Chandru and apparently dies in an explosion. Krishnaswamy discovers through a video that Senapathi escaped moments before the jeep he killed his son in, exploded. The epilogue shows Senapathy calling Krishnaswamy from a foreign land (Hong Kong), indicating that he will be back should the need for him arise.

Cast: Kamal Haasan, Manisha Koirala, Sukanya Sridharan, Urmila Matondkar

Crew: Shankar Shanmugham (Director), Jeeva (Director of Photography), AR Rahman (Music Director)

Rating: U (India)

Genres: Action, Crime, Drama, Romance

Release Dates: 23 Aug 1996 (India)

Tagline: The Biggest Indian Film Ever Made...

Telugu Name: భారతీయుడు

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Did you know? Chosen as the official entry for the Oscars from India for the year, though it didn't get nominated. Read More
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Film Type:
Spoken Languages:
Hindi, Telugu
Colour Info:
Sound Mix:
Frame Rate:
24 fps
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Music Label: T-Series
Music Director: AR Rahman
Lyricist: AM Rathnam
Playback Singer: Harini, Hariharan
Music Director: AR Rahman
Lyricist: Bhuvana Chandra
Playback Singer: KJ Yesudas
Music Director: AR Rahman
Lyricist: Bhuvana Chandra
Music Director: AR Rahman
Lyricist: Bhuvana Chandra
Playback Singer: Swarnalatha Cherukutty
The Biggest Indian Film Ever Made...
Filming Locations:
The soundtrack album includes five tracks composed by AR Rahman and was released on 1996 by Pyramid.

The film was reported to be loosely based on the life of prominent Indian freedom fighter, Subhas Chandra Bose.

Shankar tried to rope in Aishwarya Rai to make her debut and portray the leading female role but her commitment to her advertisement agency until October 1995 meant that she was ineligible to sign the film. Subsequently Manisha Koirala, who appeared in the critically acclaimed 1995 Mani Ratnam film "Bombay" was selected as the lead heroine.

The producers signed on Raadhika to play the pair of the older Kamal Haasan in the film, but her television commitments meant that she was unable to fulfil her contract. Urvashi subsequently replaced her, only for Shankar to throw her out for missing a day's schedule to attend her sister's wedding. The role was finally handed to Sukanya, who had previously appeared alongside Kamal Haasan in "Mahanadhi".

Hindi actress Urmila Matondkar was signed on to play a role in the film after the producers were impressed with her performance and the success of her 1995 Hindi film, "Rangeela".

The producers roped in Hollywood make-up artistes Michael Westmore and Michael Jones to work on the designs for the senior Kamal Haasan's and Sukanya's look in the film.

For production work, Shankar visited Las Vegas to learn about new technology and purchased cameras for the production, and also visited Australia alongside cinematographer Jeeva and music director AR Rahman to location hunt and to compose tunes.

The film's unit were given strict order to maintain privacy, with Hindi actor Jackie Shroff being notably turned away from visiting the shooting spot.

A song for the film was shot at Prasad Studios featuring Kamal Haasan and Urmila Matondkar alongside 70 Bombay models. This led to a protest from the Cine Dancers Union who argued that Tamil dancers should have been utilised instead, with Shankar opting to pay them off to avoid further hassle.

A duet between Kamal Haasan and Manisha Koirala was shot near the Sydney Opera House in Sydney and Canberra for fifteen days.

A flashback song was canned with four hundred dancers and a thousand extras at Gingee with Kamal Haasan and Sukanya, while another song featured shooting in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

Graphic designer Venky noted that this movie was his most difficult project to date (in 1997) with a scene constructed to feature Kamal Haasan's character alongside freedom fighter, Subhas Chandra Bose. Venky had to remove blemishes on the film reel of Bose provided by the Film Division's archive before merging Kamal Haasan on to the shot to make it appear that the pair were marching in tandem.

The film went on to win three National Film Awards including that of Best Actor for Kamal Haasan's portrayal, while his performance also saw him win at the Filmfare Awards and the Tamil Nadu State Film Awards.

Chosen as the official entry for the Oscars from India for the year, though it didn't get nominated.

Kamal Hassan originally wanted the title "Indian" for the Hindi dubbed version of the movie. But the title's right was with Sunny Deol. Sunny refused to give away the title.
Movie Connection(s):
Dubbed from: Indian (Tamil)