Lingaa is a 2014 Indian Tamil language action drama film written and directed by K.S. Ravikumar. The film was produced by Rockline Venkatesh under Rockline Entertainment. The film's script was written by Pon Kumaran. The film stars Rajinikanth, Anushka Shetty and Sonakshi Sinha in the lead roles while Santhanam, Jagapati Babu and Karunakaran essay supporting roles. The soundtrack was composed by A. R. Rahman.[5] The cinematography and editing was handled by R. Rathnavelu and Samjith Mohammed respectively. The film revolves around Lingaa, a thief who enters a village called Solaiyur to save the dam and temple built by his grandfather.

Lingaa
Lingaa.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Tamilலிங்கா
Directed byK.S. Ravikumar
Produced byRockline Venkatesh
Screenplay byK.S. Ravikumar
Story byPon Kumaran
Starring
Music byA. R. Rahman
CinematographyR. Rathnavelu
Edited bySamjith Mohammed
Production
company
Distributed byEros International
Release date
  • 12 December 2014 (2014-12-12)
[2]
Running time
178 minutes
CountryIndia
LanguageTamil
Budget₹130crore[3]
Box officeest. ₹138 crore[4]

Principal photography commenced during the last week of May 2014 in Mysore. The majority of the filming took place in Ramoji Film City. The climax portions were filmed in Linganamakki Dam and Jog Falls in Shimoga. The film was released on 12 December 2014, coinciding with Rajinikanth's birthday.[6] The film was dubbed and released in Telugu and Hindi with same name.[7] The film received mixed review upon its release,[8][9]although the film grossed more than one and a half billion at the box office.

PlotEdit

A dam in the village of Solaiyur, which is the lifeline of that village is under assessment for structural integrity by the Public Works Department. The dam inspector (Ponvannan) assesses that the dam is still strong 75 years after it was built, and will remain strong in the future. Later that evening, he is ordered to report that the dam has considerably weakened and is unfit to remain, by the corrupt local MP Nagabhushan (Jagapathi Babu), who wants the dam destroyed for his own benefit. When the inspector refuses, Nagabhushan and his cronies chase him down and stabs him to death. The dying dam inspector throws a pen drive (disguised as a 'rudraksha') containing the certificate the dam is still strong, into an abandoned Shiva temple near the dam and warns the village head Karunakaran (K Viswanath), who arrives upon hearing his cries, that the temple has to be opened as soon as possible, after which he dies from his wounds. Karunakara and the villagers are of the opinion that the temple can only be opened by the descendant of Raja Lingeswaran (Rajnikanth), who built the dam as well as the Shiva temple. Lakshmi (Anushka Shetty), the granddaughter of Karunakara and a television journalist, embarks on a search to find the descendant. She soon manages to find the descendant, whose name is Lingeswaran aka Lingaa (Rajnikanth). Lingaa is the grandson of Raja Lingeswaran, but is a petty thief whose family has now fallen on hard times. He holds a grudge against his grandfather, firmly believing that his grandfather had brought down his family into poverty by squandering all his wealth .Consequently, he refuses to go with Lakshmi to Solaiyur. Despite this,Lakshmi remains with Lingaa and unwittingly assists him in a heist(the robbery of a priceless necklace worth Rs.3 crores). However, Lakshmi had recorded the activities of Lingaa's gang during the heist and implicates him in the robbery. With the police pursuing him and his comrades, and with no other alternative, he is forced to travel to Solaiyur with Lakshmi.

At Solaiyur, Lingaa receives a warm welcome from the villagers. Later, Karunakaran privately tells Lingaa that the Lingam installed at the Shiva temple is made of Maragatham stone (Emerald), which is extremely valuable. At midnight, he infiltrates the Shiva temple with the intention to steal the Lingam. Unfortunately, he is noticed by one of the dam's security guards, who immediately alerts all the villagers including Lakshmi, Karunakara and Nagabhushan, to the temple courtyard. Aware of the villagers' presence, Lingaa pretends to perform a 'pooja' to the Lingam. This fools the villagers, who find it auspicious that the grandson of Raja Lingeswaran is performing a 'pooja' to the Shiva Lingam installed at the temple built by the Raja on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri. Karunakara then tells everyone present, including Lingaa, the story of Raja Lingeswaran.

Raja Lingeswaran, the very rich ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Kodiyur, is the best civil engineer from Cambridge and a civil services officer. He becomes the collector of Madurai district, and arrives at the village of Solaiyur. The village folk complain to him that they have no water for nine months a year, and face heavy rain and flash floods for the other three months. They are unable to store water and the resulting famines cause hundreds of deaths every year. Moved and determined to help, he applies to construct a dam, for the benefit of the people in Solaiyur. However, his plan is rejected at the annual collectors' meeting and he is forced to approve a new railroad project from Tuticorin to Kochi through Madurai for transportation of goods. He refuses to do so and is blackmailed by his superior officer that he will be fired if he does not comply. In defiance, Lingeshwaran tenders his resignation and walks out of the meeting.

Later, at a palace, the high Indian nobility and British officers arrive as guests to celebrate the birthday of the Maharaja of Kodiyur. Among them is Collector Lawrence Hunter, the officer who opposed Raja Lingeshwaran's plan. He is shocked to discover that the Raja is none other than Lingeshwaran. Over dinner, Lingeshwaran reveals to the British Governor that he resigned from his post as a civil officer, when he was denied the right to serve his own people. Upon being asked, he expresses his wish to construct a dam at Solaiyur, with his own money and man power, claiming all he needs was only a signature in the form of permission from the British Government. The Governor approves it, after a discreet conversation with the Collector, reasoning that he needs the support of all Indians to assist the British during World War II (which happened to commencing at the time).He gives permission along with a signed order the next day. The Collector challenges Raja Lingeshwaran that he will never finish building the dam. Though Lingeshwaran faces multiple difficulties, the dam is constructed with the help of local man power from the Solaiyur village. It is shown that the Solaiyur village folk were very co-operative with Raja Lingeshwaran and they work with him cordially, except for small feuds and a near stoppage of work, due to a caste remark ignited by Sambandam (R. Sundarrajan), who is later understood to be working as a spy for the British Collector. Bharathi (Sonakshi Sinha), the daughter of a senior villager starts to fall for Raja Lingeshwaran. Finally, the dam is almost complete except for the shaft doors. The doors are found to be held in custody by the Collector as stolen goods. With the floods soon to occur, Raja Lingeshwaran negotiates with the Collector and tries to persuade him to give in. AS a dirty trick, the Collector proposes that if the shaft doors are to be handed over, Lingeshwaran must hand over all his property (100% of the entire yield) as bribe and that the credit for constructing the dam goes to the British Government. Lingeshwaran, with a whole heart, agrees to the terms. Apart from that, he sells his palaces, gold and silver and other lands he possesses to gain the shaft doors, as well as the villagers' land that had been stolen by the Collector. Sambandam discreetly brings the villagers to the Collector's residence at the same time when Lingeshwaran hands over his property documents, gold and silver, and makes them believe that, the Raja is a spy of the British and his handing over their property to the British.The dam is fully constructed and ready for use. The British lie to the villagers that the Raja was a British spy who would hand over the dam and all the villagers' lands to the British once the dam was completed. Infuriated, the menfolk of the village reprimands Lingeshwaran for his supposed actions, and they order him to leave Solaiyur forever. Lingeshwaran, fully knowing the double play behind this, wholeheartedly leaves. However, Bharathi, her father (Radha Ravi) and a handful of few people believe that Lingeshwaran is really innocent. Lingeshwaran boards a train with Sami Pillai, his right hand man and Bharathi, who joins him apart from his foreboding. The Collector"s wife, Jenny, disgusted at her husband's behaviour, angrily reveals to the villagers that they have been double-crossed. She reveals that the agreement signed by Lingeshwaran was almost burned by the Collector's assistant and she happened to retrieve it in time. She shows them the document, by revealing the true identity of the Collector. Later, the villagers realize Sambandam's double play and chase him. Unable to face the villagers and due to his own guilt, he jumps off the dam wall and drowns in the reservoir. Jenny decides to leave with her daughter to England, but is stopped by her husband, having realised his folly. Upon Jenny's insistence, he opens the dam at a ceremony and publicly declares that the dam was constructed by Raja Lingeshwaran. After a long search, the villagers find the Raja and Bharathi, now his wife, living in poverty. After unsuccessfully trying to convince the Raja to return to Solaiyur, the villagers decide to keep the Shiva temple which was built by him, closed until the Raja or his descendants returns to the village. Lingaa, on hearing the Raja's story, changes his opinion about his grandfather and decides to mend his ways.

Back to the present, a reformed Lingaa decides to leave Solaiyur. Karunakaran stops him and reveals that he invited him to Solaiyur to open the Shiva temple as he believes that danger is afoot. He then narrates the fate of the dam inspector. Lingaa and his friends raid the temple, in hopes of finding any clues. It is revealed the new inspector assigned to inspect the dam (Jayaprakash) would be doing it for namesake, having been bribed by Nagabhushan. In the pretense of inspecting the dam, Nagabhushan and his cronies would drill small holes into the dam, which would be filled with explosives. When triggered, it would destroy the dam, thereby proving that the dam is unfit and weak. At a hot air balloon show, Lakshmi secretly records Nagabhushan's foul play (with the help of a spy camera) and plays it, exposing Nagabhushan's true colours. Lingaa then reveals that he had already discovered the pen drive, and had the dam's approved certificate copied and spread through the Internet and social media, ultimately culminating in Nagabhushan being ousted from his political party. Enraged, he kidnaps Lakshmi and escapes in a hot air balloon, intending to escape to Sri Lanka. Having a bomb with him, he plans to detonate it over the dam, in order to spite Lingaa. Lingaa subdues Nagabhushan's cronies and pursues him on a bike. He drives the bike over a ledge at the exact time Nagabhushan's balloon appears on it, ultimately landing on top of it. He enters the carriage and fights Nagabhushan, although he nearly falls. After an ensuing fight, he kicks Nagabhushan out, who ultimately falls to his death in the water below. When the bomb tips out of the carriage, Lingaa kicks the bomb away from falling on the dam, exploding in the water. With his mission accomplished, Lingaa plans to leave. However, just before departing, he is cornered by the police, having found him through two of his ex-gangmates (Santhanam and Karunakaran). The police troops salutes Lingaa upon learning of his past, although they order him to come with them for an inquiry. Just before leaving, they are joined by Lakshmi, having fallen in love with Lingaa. The film ends with the camera zooming away from the dam.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

The script as well as screenplay for Lingaa were penned by Pon Kumaran, who had registered the story with the South Indian Film Writers' Association under the title King Khan in 2010.[11] The story is loosely based on John Penniquick who built Mullaperiyar Dam.[12] He had also penned the dialogues for the film. The pre-production works began in March 2014. The following month, Ravikumar stated on Facebook that filming would commence soon and that the film was titled Lingaa.[13] Eros International was confirmed to distribute the film worldwide.[14] Rockline Venkatesh was announced as producer.[15] A. R. Rahman was roped in as the music composer for the film and R. Rathnavelu as the cinematographer.[16] Sabu Cyril was confirmed to handle the art direction for the film.[17] Samjith Mhd, who had worked with Ravikumar earlier in Policegiri (2013), was confirmed as the film's editor.[18] Hollywood stuntman Lee Whittaker was recruited to frame the stunt sequences.[19] During the audio launch of the film's soundtrack album, Ravikumar said the title Lingaa was suggested to him by Rajinikanth. Director Ameer earlier had the rights to the title for his next project but handed over the rights to Ravikumar for Rajinikanth.[20]

CastingEdit

In April 2014, Shriya Saran and Samantha Ruth Prabu were selected to play the role of Lakshmi and Bharathi. But later both of them went out due to date issues. Then Sonakshi Sinha confirmed her involvement in the project for the role of Bharati and Hansika Motwani was signed for the role of Lakshmi.[21][22][23] Then Hansika Motwani came out of the project due to her Telugu projects. In late April 2014, Telugu actor Jagapati Babu confirmed on his Yahoo messenger and his Yahoo mail that he was signed on for a role in the film.[24] Sudeep was reported to have refused an important role in the film, but he however denied being approached for the film in the first place.[25] Further, reports circulated again in August 2014 which strongly suggested Sudeep was a part of the cast as he was seen during the canning of the climax portions but he clarified that he wasn't offered a role in the film yet.[26] Comedian Santhanam joined the team in May 2014.[27] Actors Radha Ravi, Vijayakumar and R. Sundarrajan were called up to play important roles in the film.[28]

British actress Lauren J. Irwin was selected to appear in the pre-independence portions of the film.[29] American actor, director and writer William Orendorff was selected to play a key role in the film and furthermore, confirming his involvement in the project through Twitter.[30][31] Anushka Shetty was roped as another heroine and she joined the unit on 27 June 2014 (last schedule).[32] Sonakshi Sinha, in an interview with Mumbai Mirror, said that there are two different tracks of filming scenes, and that Anushka Shetty and her will not share much screen space and was given liberty to pick up the role she felt suitable for her.[21] In June 2014, actor Karunakaran was selected to play a supporting role.[33] Actor Dev Gill was selected to play a secondary antagonist role.[34] Director and comedian Manobala confirmed that he would appear in a small yet significant role as a train driver.[35] Comedian Brahmanandam was selected to portray the role of a police officer.[36] Actresses Trisha Krishnan and Nayanthara were rumored to perform an item number, but the latter's inclusion remained unconfirmed and the former denied the news saying that she was never approached.[37][38]

FilmingEdit

 
Ramoji Film City, where majority of the filming was done.[39]

Principal photography commenced on 1 May 2014 in Mysuru, Karnataka, India, with a customary Puja ceremony.[40] Rajinikanth and Sonakshi Sinha took part in the shoot.[41] The muhurat shot of the movie was filmed in May 2014 at the Chamundeshwari Temple in Mysuru.[42] Cinematographer R. Rathnavelu revealed that filming would be done using a Red Dragon 6K camera.[43] In addition to this, the Phantom Flex 4K camera was used for filming action sequences.[44] The film crew shot in various locations in Karnataka like Melukote, Manuvana, Pandavapura, Chamundi Hills and inside the residential portion of Mysore Palace.[45][46] On 10 May 2014, Sonakshi had completed her portions for the first schedule of the film's shooting.[47] On 18 May 2014, Rajinikanth and Sonakshi Sinha shot some scenes dating back to the British era in front of the illuminated residential portion of the palace. Horses were used for the shot. Over 50 policemen and 30 bouncers had been deployed to prevent people from getting near the shooting area in Mysore.[48]

 
Jog Falls, one of the two main locations where the climax was filmed.

The team then moved to Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad for a two-month schedule, where sequences featuring the entire cast were shot for 50 days.[39][49][50] A song sequence featuring Rajinikanth and Anushka was shot at Annapurna Studios, wherein the production team had designed a huge set for the song.[51][52] On 13 July 2014, actress Sonakshi Sinha completed her filming schedule in Hyderabad.[53] The Hyderabad schedule ended on 30 July 2014.[54] During the Hyderabad schedule of the film, news circulated that Rajinikanth fainted on the sets while filming a heavy action sequence but Ravikumar denied this, citing that the actor was healthy.[55][56]

In early August 2014, the team shot some scenes near the Radisson Hotel in Chennai, with Anushka Shetty in the frame. In mid-August 2014, the production unit confirmed that 80% of the filming was completed.[57] Filming then moved to Thirthahalli and the Jog Falls, where some important scenes were canned for twenty-five days.[58] For the film's climax, a big statue of Lord Shiva and dam both as set were constructed next to the Jog water-falls.[59][60] Shooting also took place at the Linganamakki Dam.[61] The film's climax requirements accounted for 10 million (US$140,000).[62] In September 2014, the climax portion's filming was allotted ten days, confirming the shoot in Karnataka.[63] On 22 September 2014, Whittaker confirmed that the climax portions of the film were completed with a stunt sequence choreographed by him. The film's shooting was wrapped up by 23 September 2014 except filming of two song sequences that were reported to be canned in Chennai and Scotland.[64][65] Ravikumar stated that the climax scene, which involved a hot air balloon, was inspired by a sequence Armour of God (1986).[66]

During the Hyderabad schedule of the film, some villagers of Anajpur village in Rangareddy district in Telangana had tried to halt the shooting of Lingaa, stating that some chemicals were mixed in the nearby lake during shoots, polluting local water. But the crew members stated that they had sought the permission of the irrigation department and the village Panchayat for shooting.[67] The crew members also dismissed allegations of chemicals in the lake.[68] During the shooting of the climax portions near the Linganamakki Dam, environmental organisations opposed the permission granted to the production unit for shooting, suggesting a threat to the location as public entry to the dam was prohibited.[69] The organisations also had sent a petition to both the Deputy Collector's office and the Deputy Commissioner's office, who in turn, sent the petition to the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah, for scrutinity.[70][71] Regarding the same issue, officials of the Karnataka State Police Board also sent a letter to the Chief Minister asking him to end the shooting of the portions of the film there, citing that the bio-diversity and life in and around the dam would be affected.[72] The elephants featured in the film were constructed through CGI, and a disclaimer was issued for this at the beginning of the film.[73][74]

MusicEdit

The soundtrack album consisting of five songs, were composed by A. R. Rahman. The album of the original version was released on 5 November 2014, at a promotional event held at Chennai, with Rajinikanth, K. S. Ravikumar and the cast and crew attending the event, except Rahman where he spoke in a video about the making of the film.[75] The Telugu version was released on 8 November 2014, at a curtain raiser, event held at Hyderabad, where Chiranjeevi and Kasinadhuni Vishwanath attended as the chief guest.[76][77] The Hindi version was released on 26 November 2014.

ReleaseEdit

Eros International had bought the film from Rockline Venkatesh for approximately 135 crore (US$19 million), which includes theatrical, overseas distribution and music rights for all languages.[1] The film received a U certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification on 24 November 2014.[78][79] Lingaa was released worldwide on 12 December 2014, which coincided with Rajinikanth's birthday,[80] and it is the first time in Rajinikanth's career, to have his film released on his birthday.[81] The reservations for the film kickstarted on 10 December 2014.[82] The film was released on an estimated 5500 screens.[83]

MarketingEdit

The motion poster of the film was released on Ganesh Chaturthi, on 29 August 2014.[84][85] The first poster featured Rajinikanth walking with a temple being shown in the poster's backdrop.[86] The official teaser was released on 22 October 2014, coinciding with Diwali.[87] The trailer was released on 5 November 2014 at the audio launch of the film.[88] A 40-second song teaser of "Mona Gasolina" featuring Rajinikanth and Anushka Shetty was released on 7 November 2014.[89] Another 40-second song teaser1 was released on 8 November 2014 of the song "En Mannavva" featuring Rajinikanth and Sonakshi Sinha.[90]

While the original duration of the film lasts about 175 minutes, the makers trimmed the original version from 166 minutes,[91] and the Hindi version was reduced to 148 minutes, due to mixed reviews.[92] The makers unveiled few deleted scenes from the film post-release.[93][94]

Home mediaEdit

The satellite rights of the film were purchased by Jaya TV for 32 crore (US$4.5 million).[95]

ReceptionEdit

Critical responseEdit

M Suganth of The Times of India gave 2.5 out of 5 and wrote, "The scale of the production, some of Santhanam's one-liners and the charisma of Rajinikanth somewhat make it bearable but they aren't enough."[96] Behindwoods rated the film 2.5 out of 5 and stated, "Rajinikanth's mesmerizing energy let down by writing. But give it your time for Superstar's non-diminishing charisma."[97] Rediff rated 3 out of 5 and felt that "Lingaa is buffoonery at its most old-school".[98] Sify called Lingaa "a mixed bag. The star charisma of Rajinikanth is intact but the film is long with a weak storyline that flounders with a long drawn out climax."[99] The Hindustan Times said "Lingaa offers nothing new despite being one of Rajinikanth's better works in the recent past."[100] Oneindia.in rated it 3 out of 5, calling it a "Typical Rajinikanth movie" and stating "KS Ravikumar's story telling skills induces a fresh dimension to the movie.[101] CNN-IBN also rated it 3 out of 5, commenting "Because two Rajinikanths are always better than one".[102]

Box officeEdit

Lingaa had the largest opening day for a South Indian film as it earned 22 crore (US$3.1 million) nett in India and grossed 33 crore (US$4.6 million) worldwide.[103][104] The film also set records on its opening weekend; it earned 51.5 crore (US$7.2 million) nett in India and grossed 89 crore (US$12 million) worldwide.[105] After its second weekend, the film's domestic total reached 105 crore (US$15 million) nett. The film totally collected ₹188 crore.

ControversiesEdit

Script infringement issueEdit

On 2 November 2014, the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court bench's Justice M. Venugopal ordered a notice to producer 'Rockline' Venkatesh, script writer Pon Kumaran and director K.S. Ravikumar on account of accusations by the film maker K.R. Ravi Rathinam of the Tamil Nadu Housing Board colony who claimed that script of Lingaa was actually the one he had written for directing a film titled Mullai Vanam 999 based on the construction of the Mullaperiyar dam by John Pennycuick. Further, actor Rajinikanth who wasn't involved in the film script larceny was issued notice as he had distribution rights for the film. However, Justice M. Venugopal refused to pass any interim orders to hold audio release that is scheduled on 5 November 2014.[106] On 3 December 2014, the court dismissed a writ petition filed by Ravi Rathinam. Justice Venugopal claimed the dispute to be private and it could have been solved only by initiating civil or criminal proceedings and not by invoking the writ jurisdiction of the High Court.[11]

Distributors' lossesEdit

The film's worldwide distribution rights were sold for 135 crore (US$19 million).[1] The distributors of Tamil Nadu suffered large losses and asked for their money back.[107] A distributor under the banner Marina stated that it suffered losses in Trichy and Thanjavur areas and submitted a petition to go on a hunger strike. Vijayabhargavi Entertainers stated that they suffered losses in Chengalpet region.[107] Capricorn Pictures incurred losses in North Arcot and South Arcot (Cuddalore-Villupuram) circles. Sukra Films and Chandrakala Movies lost money in Coimbatore and Tirunelveli-Tuticorin respectively. The distributors claimed that after 25 days of its release, Lingaa recovered only 30 percent of the down payment.[107] Some theatre owners received settlements for their losses.[108] Rajinikanth later refunded one-third of the 33 crore (US$4.6 million) loss reportedly incurred by distributors and exhibitors. He decided to pay them 10 crore (US$1.4 million) 'on a humanitarian basis', who demanded a full refund and had threatened a 'begging protest' in front of the actor's residence.[109]

ReferencesEdit

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