Panjaa (transl. Claw) is a 2011 Indian Telugu-language action film directed by Vishnuvardhan, starring Pawan Kalyan in the lead role. The film, jointly produced by Arka Media Works and Sanghamitra Art Productions, also stars Sarah-Jane Dias, Anjali Lavania, Jackie Shroff, Adivi Sesh and Atul Kulkarni, while featuring music scored by Yuvan Shankar Raja and cinematography handled by P. S. Vinod. The film marks the Telugu debut of both the leading actresses; while this is Dias' first film in this language, it is Lavania's debut film as an actress. Director Vishnuvardhan, who works primiraily in the Tamil cinema, also made his directorial debut in Telugu cinema with this film.
|Written by||Abburi Ravi (Dialogues)|
|Screenplay by||Rahul Koda |
|Music by||Yuvan Shankar Raja|
|Cinematography||P. S. Vinod|
|Edited by||A. Sreekar Prasad|
|Distributed by||Sri Venkateswara Creations|
|Budget||₹33 crore (US$4.8 million)|
|Box office||₹26 crore (US$3.8 million)|
The narrative centers around Jai, an orphan and a Kolkata-based hitman who's loyal to his boss Bhagavan, a ruthless gangster at loggerheads with a rival named Kulkarni. When Bhagavan's son Munna commits an unforgivable atrocity, Jai beats him to death and is forced to flee away in order to save his own life. Unaware of the truth except that Jai killed Munna, Bhagavan decides to seek revenge.
The filming took place primarily at Kolkata, Pollachi, Karaikudi, Vagamon and Palasa. Prior to its release, the film's official merchandise was made available on the official site, including a game application. 15% of the merchandise sales were donated to major NGOs. An anti-piracy initiative was also launched through the site itself. In order to prevent any major cuts, the makers had to accept the A (adults only) rating from the Central Board of Film Certification, while they actually wanted the U/A (parental guidance) rating.
Panjaa was released theatrically on 9 December 2011. Upon release, it received generally mixed reviews from critics who praised the technical aspects, performances and action sequences while criticizing the narration pace and lack of lengthy songs. Following multiple fan requests, the makers added the title track in the beginning as well, while it initially played only during the end. The film performed well in the overseas but failed commercially at the Indian box office. In 2012, the film was released on DVD and Blu-ray formats by Bhavani DVD. The same year, a Tamil-dubbed version titled Kuri (transl. Mark) was also scheduled to release, but the plan was later on dropped. In 2013, the film's music director Yuvan Shankar Raja reused the background score in the Tamil-language film Ameerin Aadhi Bhagavan. In 2015, a Hindi-dubbed version titled Jaandaar (transl. Brave) was released. Despite of being a commercial failure, the film has over the years earned a cult status.
Jai (Pawan Kalyan) is an accomplished hitman and the most trusted aide of Bhagavan (Jackie Shroff), the supreme don of Kolkata. They share a business rivalry with Kulkarni (Atul Kulkarni), who aims to overthrow Bhagavan. Things are smooth until Bhagwan’s son Munna (Adivi Sesh) returns to India. He is a psychotic and highly impulsive youngster. He has his eyes on club dancer Jahnavi (Anjali Lavania), but she rejects him as she adores Jai. Meanwhile, Jai comes across Sandhya (Sarah-Jane Dias), a soft-spoken environmentalist and tree lover. A mutual admiration for each other leads to a romantic involvement between the two. Munna, however, continues to go crazy about Jahnavi, and a tragedy ensues.
Sabhapathi (Paruchuri Venkateswara Rao) works for Bhagavan. Munna mistreats Sabhapathi, but Bhagavan does not care. Sabhapathi joins Kulkarni's gang to protect himself. Jai kidnaps Sampath's (Sampath Raj) son. Munna kills Sampath's son due to laughter over Jahnavi loving Jai. Munna confronts Jahnavi at Jai's apartment and brutally murders her. Jai kills Munna by throwing him from his flat. This scene is seen by Guravayya (Tanikella Bharani), an associate of Bhagavan who is an informer to Kulkarni. He reports this to Bhagavan to get rid of Jai.
Jai is forced to decide whether to retaliate or leave Kolkata completely. He chooses to leave out of loyalty to Bhagavan and heads to Palasa, Sandhya's village where her brother Ashok (Subbaraju) is a valiant, kindhearted cop. He comes across S. I. Paparayudu (Brahmanandam), and he solves the problems of the village by cleverly using Paparayudu. Jai cannot hide the truth from Sandhya anymore. He tells her about his life in Kolkata and that he made it look like that Paparayudu solved the village's problems. He also tells how he remained loyal to Bhagavan as he helped in seeking revenge with the people who raped his mother and sister when he came to Kolkata in his childhood after his father's death. Since Jai told the truth, Sandhya still loves him.
On the other hand, Bhagavan cannot rest until he seeks out Jai for revenge. Firstly, he kills Chotu (Ali), Jai's best friend and associate. Meanwhile, Sandhya gets kidnapped and taken to Kolkata. In a fit of rage at losing Chotu and Sandhya, Jai returns to Kolkata and starts hunting his rivals. He goes to Kulkarni's house with heavy ammunition and kills everyone except Kulkarni, as Jai promised him that he would not kill him. Kulkarni dies in his attempt to kill Jai. Later, Jai kills Guruvayya, as he gets information that the latter was responsible for this saga. At last, Jai reaches Bhagavan, who kidnapped Sandhya. Although Jai tells Bhagavan that Munna killed Jahnavi, Bhagavan still believes that Jai should not have murdered Munna. After an emotional sequence, Jai shoots Bhagavan in his chest as the latter shoots Sandhya. Sandhya survives, but Bhagavan dies. Jai unites with Sandhya, and they both start a new and happy life.
- Pawan Kalyan as Jai
- Sarah-Jane Dias as Sandhya
- Anjali Lavania as Jahnavi
- Jackie Shroff as Bhagavan
- Adivi Sesh as Munna
- Atul Kulkarni as Kulkarni
- Brahmanandam as Paparayudu
- Tanikella Bharani as Guruvayya
- Ali as Chotu
- Subbaraju as Ashok (Sandhya's brother)
- Amit Tiwari as Goon
- Paruchuri Venkateswara Rao as Sabhapathi
- Sampath Raj as Sampati
- Surekha Vani as Jaidev's mother
- Jhansi as Lakshmi
- Kishore Ballal as Sandhya's grandmother
In November 2010 sources reported that director Vishnuvardhan would direct a film featuring Pawan Kalyan in the lead role, to be produced by Neelima Nagesh and Shobu Yarlagadda. Neelima in an interview stated that she was a big fan of Pawan Kalyan. Vishnnuvardhan, following the release of his 2009 film Sarvam, which fared poorly at the box office, had been working on two scripts – the other one being the prequel to the 2007 version of Billa – but was unable to start either project due to unavailable dates of Pawan Kalyan and Ajith Kumar. He had planned to shoot both projects simultaneously from March 2011 onwards, but since that was not possible, he was forced to drop one of the projects, with Vishnuvardhan eventually deciding to direct this film. Abburi Ravi was roped in to write the dialogues, while the screenplay was provided by Rahul Koda.
Former Miss India Sarah-Jane Dias was signed for one of the two female lead characters, making her Telugu film debut. Jiah Khan and Shazahn Padamsee, who starred in Orange opposite Ram Charan Tej, were considered for the other female role. However, eventually Mumbai-based model Anjali Lavania, best known for her appearances in the Kingfisher calendar and several other advertisements, was finalised for the second character. Director-actor Sesh Adivi was roped in for an antagonist role. Yuvan Shankar Raja and A. Sreekar Prasad, Vishnuvardhan's norm associates, were signed to score the music and handle the editing department, respectively, while P. S. Vinod was selected as the cinematographer in place of Nirav Shah who had worked on Vishnuvardhan's previous projects. Action sequences were choreographed by Sham Kaushal, a noted stunt co-ordinator in Bollywood films, while Sunil Babu was chosen as the art director. Vishnuvardhan's wife, Anu Vardhan worked as the costume designer.
Principal photography was expected to start from 15 April 2011, with the scenes during the first schedule being shot in Kolkata, West Bengal. Filming eventually began on 6 May in Kolkata, where the major part of the film was shot. The Kolkata schedule was completed by late June 2011, and the following month, filming was held in Pollachi, Tamil Nadu, which was followed by schedules in Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu and across Kerala. In Kerala, the crew shot for five days at the Vagamon hill station, located 1,100 metres above sea level. A song sequence featuring Pawan Kalyan and Sarah Jane was shot at the Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad in September under the choreography of Firoz Khan. From 10 October, the last song picturised on Anjali Lavania was canned in a Hyderabad studio. Anjali performed belly dance in the song, which was choreographed by Geeta Kapoor, best known for her work in the song Sheila Ki Jawani from the Hindi film Tees Maar Khan.
The film was launched under the working title The Shadow, with the team indicating that the title may be changed. The film, began its principal photography in early May 2011, which was completed by October 2011, with filming being held primarily at Kolkata, West Bengal, Pollachi and Karaikudi in Tamil Nadu and Vagamon in Kerala apart from Palasa. In the following months, several titles including Kaali, Thilak, Power and Patel, were considered. The official title was revealed as Panjaa by the producers during Dussera.
A teaser trailer was released a day prior to Diwali, which received high response. According to Sify, it was seen more than 200,000 times on the film's official YouTube channel within 24 hours, setting a new record. The film's official merchandise was also released across Andhra Pradesh.
Panjaa received largely mixed reviews from critics. Fullhyd gave it 3.5 stars out of 5, praising the film's technical aspects and performances while criticizing the dubbing for both the heroines. 123Telugu gave it 3 stars out of 5, praising the performances and action sequences while also criticizing the second half and lack of lengthy song sequences. Idlebrain.com also gave it 3 stars out of 5, similarly praising the action sequences and performances apart from technical aspects, but criticized the lack of emotions. CNN-News18 praised the film's art work and styling, but criticized the narration pace.
On the other hand, Rediff gave 2 stars, criticizing the script and pointing out that it reminded of Kalyan's earlier film Balu ABCDEFG but praised Sesh's performance Greatandhra also gave it 2 stars, criticizing the lack of a "major conflict point". Oneindia.in criticized the film but praised Kalyan's performance, cinematography and the music.
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||19 November 2011|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|Producer||Yuvan Shankar Raja|
|Yuvan Shankar Raja chronology|
For the film's score and soundtrack, Vishnuvardhan's friend and usual associate, Yuvan Shankar Raja was signed up. The soundtrack album was originally planned to be launched on 13 November 2011 but was postponed and launched on 19 November 2011 due to the sudden demise of Yuvan Shankar Raja's mother. The audio launch was held in a grand manner at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad. Along with the cast and crew, noted film personalities including directors K. Raghavendra Rao and S. S. Rajamouli, composer M. M. Keeravani and actor Rana Daggubati attended the function, which was anchored by comedian Ali and Suma Kanakala. The event was broadcast live on MAA TV.
Panjaa's soundtrack features six tracks. Chandrabose and Ramajogayya Sastry penned the lyrics for each three songs. The composing began in late January 2011. Upon release, the songs generally garnered positive response. The songs became chartbusters, with the title track Panjaa becoming the most played song in all Hyderabad radio channels as well as the song of the year.
|1.||"Panjaa"||Ramajogayya Sastry||Yuvan Shankar Raja||3:34|
|2.||"Ela Ela"||Chandrabose (lyricist)||Haricharan & Shweta Pandit||5:06|
|3.||"Veyra Chey Veyra"||Ramajogayya Sastry||Saloni||4:29|
|4.||"Kshanam Kshanam"||Chandrabose (lyricist)||Shweta Pandit||1:45|
|5.||"Anukoneledhugaa Kalakaanekaadhugaa"||Chandrabose (lyricist)||Belly Raj & Priya Himesh||4:25|
|6.||"Paparayudu"||Ramajogayya Sastry||Hemachandra, Sathyan, Pawan Kalyan & Brahmanandam||5:15|
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