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Arunachalam (film)

Arunachalam is a 1997 Indian Tamil-language action drama film directed by Sundar C. and written by Crazy Mohan. The film features Rajinikanth, Soundarya and Rambha in the lead roles, with Jaishankar and Ravichandran in other pivotal roles. The soundtrack and background score for the film was composed by Deva, while U. K. Senthil Kumar handled the cinematography.

Arunachalam poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySundar C.
Produced by
  • K. S. Nagarajan Raja
  • K. Muraliprasad Rao
Screenplay bySundar C.
Based onBrewster's Millions
by George Barr McCutcheon
Music byDeva
CinematographyU. K. Senthil Kumar
Edited byP. Sai Suresh
Annamalai Cine Combines
Release date
  • 10 April 1997 (1997-04-10)
Running time
165 minutes
Budget3 crore

The film opened in April 1997 to positive reviews from film critics and went on to win three Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, including an award for Best Film.The movie was also commercially successful. The film was dubbed in Telugu with the same title.[1]

The film is loosely based on the 1902 novel Brewster's Millions by George Barr McCutcheon.


Arunachalam is a simple man who is the son of Ammayappan, a reputed man from a respectable family in their village. He is well known for his simplicity, honesty and helping tendency. Vedhavalli, a city girl and also cousin of Arunachalam comes to her cousin's (Arunachalam's sister's) wedding. She gets attracted towards Arunachalam and slowly love blossoms between them. Their wedding proposal is happily accepted by the elders in their family except the senior-most person of the family, Arunchalam and Vedhavalli's grandmother, Senior Vedhavalli. She never likes Arunachalam and always shows hatred. She says something to Vedhavalli's father Aadhikesavan, which makes him reconsider the marriage of Vedhavalli with Arunachalam. The family leaves without informing Arunachalam, which shocks him.

Arunachalam finds that his younger brother is trying to ditch his lover and he comes to her rescue. His brother refuses to marry her, stating that she does not match his status and money. Arunachalam owes to bequeath his inheritance to her so that she will become equal to him, which angers senior Vedhavalli. She discloses the truth that he has no right over anything he possesses except the rudraksha, which he is wearing on his neck as he is an orphan who was found in Arunachaleshwarar Temple in Thiruvannamalai and taken from his mother during her last breath, who also named him Arunachalam. She also insults him and indirectly insists that he leave their house. Arunachalam is broken and hurt by the insult of Sr. Vedhavalli and leaves the house without informing anyone.

Arunachalam comes to Chennai and befriends Kathavarayan, a beeda seller who gives him a job. He meets Vedhavalli one day and goes to her home only to get insulted by Vedhavalli's father. Arunachalam meets a young girl Nandhini when a thief snatches her handbag. Nandhini thanks him and in return she promises a job in her dad's company. The next day, Arunachalam goes to the office to meet Nadhini's father and he misses his rudraksh there. He chases the rolling rudraksh creating trouble to everyone in the office and finally his rudraksh lands on the table of Rangachari, who was discussing about transferring of some property belonging to some Vedhachalam to a trust along with his colleagues. Arunachalam enters the meeting room and Rangachari is shocked to see Arunachalam. He inquires what his name is, to which Arunachalam replies. Rangachari tells him that he is actually the son of his boss Vedhachalam, the heir of his entire property. Arunachalam and Rangachari's colleagues Kaliaperumal, Prathap, Kurain and Vishwanath are shocked.

Rangachari explains that Arunachalam was lost when he was so young and he recognised him with the name mentioned by his father and resemblance of his father Vedhachalam. He tells that Vedhachalam instructed him to play a videotape of when Arunachalam was found where Mr. Vedhachalam speaks about how he married Arunachalam's mother Meenakshi against his father's wish, how he got lost in a cruise accident and was misunderstood to be dead and how his mother committed suicide broken by her husband's demise. He got a letter of her which stated that they have a son named Arunachalam. He says that Arunachalam has two choices of bequeathing his legacy; either by accepting a challenge of spending Rs.30 Crore in 30 days and take away 3000 crore, fulfilling the rules or take away just Rs.30 crore. The reason of this challenge is to make him get allergic to money and the comforts of it, so that he would spend wisely 3,000 crores for the poor and needy people. The rules for this challenge are no contributions to charities, not to own any assets at the end of the month, and, above all, no one else must know that he would get 3000 crores if he completes the challenge.

Arunachalam initially refuses to take up the challenge and says the videotape is enough for him and decides to return to his village to proudly say about his father. However he overhears Vishwanath, Kurain, Prathap and Kaliaperumal talking about killing Rangachari to take away all the assets. Arunachalam understands their true intention and accepts the challenge to spend Rs.30 crore in 30 days, following the rules, much to the quartet's shock. Arunachalam challenges them that he would win the challenge and expose them to the world. Nandhini is appointed as his assistant to take care of expenses.

From Day 1, Arunachalam starts to implement different tactics and spends lavishly, but the quartet group create all obstacles so that he does not win the challenge. Arunachalam invests the money in a horse race, which is a way to lose money easily in minutes. He deliberately bets on the weakest horse, but due to quartet's plan, the weak horse wins earning him a lot of money. Next he buys bumper prize lotteries, which also gets him to win ample amounts of money, He then produces a film with his friend Arivazhagan, hoping it will fail commercially. However, his plan backfires, due to the quartet who make him to earn more money from the selling rights. Finally he jumps into politics starting a party, nominating his friend Kathavarayan for the upcoming election. He vigorously campaigns for him and lavishly spends all the money so fast. During a meeting, Kathavarayan's speech makes people angry at him and Arunachalam declares that he is apologising to them for nominating a wrong person and asks them not to vote for him. However, the quartet group make the other nominees of election withdraw and Kathavarayan is elected as MP. Arunachalam is shocked now, as MP post and the party are both assets as per the challenge. But he makes Kathavarayan to resign the post and he dissolves his party destroying both assets.

Finally he is about to win and he spends the final leftovers in a farewell party. Meanwhile, Vedhavalli gets angry at Arunachalam for not helping her and her family during their financial crisis and she suspects that he has an affair with Nandhini. She consents to wedding with her father's choice. But Arunachalam does not reveal the truth to Vedhavalli as he wants to keep up his father's words. On the last day of handover, during the final minutes, Arunachalam's friend comes to him with Rs.20,000 as per plan of quartet, so that he cannot spend it at last minute. Nandhini arrives in the nick of time to inform the quartet plan and Arunachalam spends the money in last 30 seconds by paying the money to her as salary thus winning the challenge. Nandhini and Arunchalam explain to Rangachari about the evil doings of the quartet. Rangachari threatens to complaint against them to the police, but they threaten to kill them. After series of struggles and fights, Arunachalam hands them over to police. Rangachari hands over the 30 billion property to him, but he refuses to take it and asks him to spend it on poor and needy as per his father's wish.

Meanwhile, the media gets to know about the happenings and it is telecast across the state. Vedhavalli realises her mistake. Ammayappan comes to Chennai to take Arunachalam back with him to the village and is surprised to see the wedding arrangements with Vedhavalli waiting for him. Senior Vedhavalli also realises her mistake and consents for their wedding. Arunachalam and Vedhavalli unite finally.



Soundtrack album to Arunachalam by
GenreFeature film soundtrack
LengthStar Music
LabelBig B
Vega Music
Deva chronology
Bharathi Kannamma

The music was composed by Deva. The song "Nagumo" had two versions, Hariharan's version was included in soundtrack only, while another version with the vocals of Krishnaraj was included in the film only. Audio was released under the music label "ABCL Music" of Amitabh Bachchan.The tune of Alli Alli Anarkali was lifted from the songs "Ladki Ladki" from "Shreeman Aashique"(1993),which was composed by Nadeem-Shravan and "Tutak Tutak Tutiyan" from "Dil ka ghar chirag"(1989),which was composed by Bappi Lahiri

Song Title Singers Lyricist
"Alli Alli Anarkili" Mano, Swarnalatha Palani Bharathi
"Athanda Ethanda" S. P. Balasubrahmanyam Vairamuthu
"Mathadu Mathadu" S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Sujatha Mohan, Meera, Manorama Palani Bharathi
"Nagumo" Hariharan, K. S. Chithra Vairamuthu
"Singam Ondru" Malaysia Vasudevan Vairamuthu
"Thalai Maganae" S. P. Balasubrahmanyam Kalidasan
Theme Music Instrumental


The song "Athanda Ithanda" was shot at Keshava Temple of Hoysala Architecture at Somanathapura, Karnataka

After the success of Muthu in 1995, Rajinikanth took a year out dabbling in politics and taking a sabbatical before announcing that his next film would be Arunachalam written by Crazy Mohan. It was announced that the film would be produced to help eight of his struggling film industry colleagues and it was incorrectly earlier reported that the film would be produced under his newly floated Rajini Arts banner. It was indicated that some of the people who the film would go on to cause benefits for included Kalakendra Govindharajan who introduced Rajinikanth in his production Apoorva Raagangal (1975), Kalaignyanam who featured Rajinikanth in the lead role for the first time with his production Bairavi (1978) and brothers Ramji and Babji who produced some of the actor's early hits, Kaali (1980) and Garjanai (1980). Furthermore, collections would also be shared between the family of Sathya Studio Padmanabhan, actress Pandari Bai, actor V. K. Ramasamy and producer Madurai Nagaraja.[2][3] Initial reports had also titled the film as Kuberan and Meshtri, but Arunachalam was eventually retained.[4] The plot of the film was inspired by George Barr McCutcheon's 1902 novel Brewster's Millions.[5]

The Director Sundar C. has stated in an interview that he didn't like the story of Arunachalam and he did it because he didn't want to miss an opportunity to work with Rajinikanth. He also mentioned Rajinikanth is the one who called Sundar C. and narrated him the story and asked him to direct.[6]

Sundar C. also said if he didn't like the story Rajinikanth would simply change the director. Sundar C. according to what he heard of Rajinikanth from a producer who's close to Rajni, the producer said thus to Sundar C. "Once Rajini takes a decision he doesn't go back, and he'll only work with people who work according to that vision."

So Sundar C. accepted the story even though he didn't like it as he didn't want to miss working with the legend, Rajinikanth. As he knew Rajini would not change the story for working with Sundar, but he would change the director.[6]

Initially the lead heroine of the film was expected to be Meena, who had featured in Rajinikanth's previous film, Muthu before Soundarya and Rambha were signed on as heroines.[2] The initial cast list released to the media also had Jayaram in the cast of the film as well as Vignesh, who was later replaced by Raja.[4] Manorama was also surprisingly added to the cast after causing controversy the previous year by lashing out at Rajinikanth's political motives.[3][7]

Rajinikanth lost his sentimental Rudraksh bead during the shooting of the film and was shocked and upset to note that his Rudraksh was missing. He ordered a search at the shooting spot at midnight and with the help of the giant lights used for shooting, he later found the divine bead after a while.[8]

ReleaseEdit said that "the saving grace of the film is Rajini himself. He has the exceptional ability to convincingly portray the same utopian role of anger and love, innocence and impetuousness...and whats more...he does it with remarkable freshness time and again".[9] The Hindu wrote on 18 April 1997, "Arunachalam contains all the elements that provide escapist entertainment [...] humour, fairplay, love, feud occupy the frames".[10]

The film was declared a commercial success at the box office, although not as big as Rajinikanth's previous blockbusters Baasha and Muthu (both 1995).[3][11] Arunachalam went on to win three Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, including an award for Best Film. Super Subbarayan and Gopi Kanth also respectively won awards for Best Stunt Coordinator and Best Art Director. The film was later dubbed and released in Telugu under the same name.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "Tamil Movie News-Pudhu Edition 2 – soc.culture.tamil | Google Groups". 22 October 1996. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  3. ^ a b c "The Journey of living legend Rajinikanth Part 6 – The Journey Of Living Legend Rajinikanth Part 6- Amar Reddy- Rajinikamth – – -". Archived from the original on 26 September 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Tamil Movie News-Pudhu Edition 2 – soc.culture.tamil | Google Groups". 17 January 1997. Retrieved 2 July 2012.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Ramachandran, Naman (2012). Rajinikanth: The Definitive Biography. Penguin Books. pp. 170–171.
  6. ^ a b Vendhar TV (26 January 2015), Ninaithale Inikkum | (25 January 2015) | Sundar.C Interview | [Epi-12], retrieved 29 October 2016
  7. ^ 25 June 2011 By Anupama Subramanian DC chennai (26 June 2011). "Rajinikanth is Kaliyug Vaali". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  8. ^ "Rajini and the Rudraksh – Tamil Movie News". IndiaGlitz. 28 January 2008. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  9. ^ "INDOlink Film Review: Arunachalam". Archived from the original on 7 June 1997. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  10. ^ Rajinikanth 12.12.12: A Birthday Special. The Hindu. 2012. p. 75. GGKEY:A78L0XB1B0X.
  11. ^ "Rediff On The Net, Movies:". 30 June 1997. Retrieved 2 July 2012.

External linksEdit