The formal audio and trailer launch of the epic 1963 movie Karnan, which has been digitally re-mastered, took place yesterday at Satyam theatres. The movie, considered to be one of Sivaji Ganesan’s most iconic performances in a glorious career, also has Telugu legend N.T.Ramarao. Sivaji plays the character of Karnan while N.T.R portrays Lord Krishna in the movie, written, directed and produced by B.Ramakrishnaiah Panthulu, based on an episode from the Mahabharatha. The event was attended by some leading directors, producers and veterans of the film industry.
Speaking at the event, a visibly emotional Cheran said that there will never be another Sivaji. He recalled his childhood days when he had to travel many kilomters to see a film. Many times he would be denied permission to go that far to watch movies. There was one such time when he could catch a Sivaji movie only on its 99th day in the theatre; he recounts that the theatre was still full on that day. It is the inspiration he drew from seeing wonderful performances of Sivaji Ganesan that ultimately brought him to cinema. He said that the film industry is now passing through a trend when a lot of movies are being remade like Billa etc. He challenged these film makers to try and remake a Sivaji Ganesan classic and said that it was not possible to recreate even one Sivaji Ganesan scene at present. He also added that Karnan was a perfect example that people of yore made cinema just for the love of the medium; unlike today’s makers who want to make cinema only for money. He also recalled Sivaji Ganesan’s electoral debacle in Thanjavur and said that he had lost because he was an honest and straightforward person who did not know the devious ways of politics. The enthusiastic response of the audience to this fiery and emotional speech showed that the popularity of Sivaji is as bright as ever.
L.Suresh, of Anandha Pictures said that more such classics need to be digitally remastered for future generations and that he was ready to give full support for all such ventures. He also promised that he would take such movies to international platforms. He also recalled the grand scale on which Karnan was filmed, involving a huge number of horses and elephants for the battle scenes.
V N Chidambaram, said that Sivaji Ganesan’s mastery in acting was unparalleled. Citing a scene from the movie he said that it looked like even the great NTR seemed to be pleading to Sivaji to impart some acting wisdom to him. This comment seemed to rub a few NTR fans in the audience the wrong way, but it was soon forgotten. He also said that Sivaji Ganesan’s films were re-released from time to time in his theatre and sometimes young actors used to come to watch them. When asked why they were coming to watch the old films, all of them have replied that they have come to take some acting lessons from Sivaji Ganesan himself.
Ravishankar, son of B.Ramakrishnaiah Panthulu, recalled his experiences during the shooting of the film. He also said that a few shots, involving Sivaji and NTR, took 4 days to can because of the huge number of extras involved in it. The scene showed a battlefield strewn with the bodies of fallen soldiers and many of them were personnel from Indian Army who took part in the shooting. He also added that the film had many props like chariots which were transported all the way from Madras to Jaipur. V.S. Raghavan and Shanmugasundaram, both part of Karnan’s cast were present and spoke about their experiences.
Karnan, with digitally corrected visuals and sound is expected to be ready for release in a few weeks.
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