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Pulimurugan (English: Tiger-Murugan) is a 2016 Indian Malayalam-language action adventure film directed by Vysakh, starring Mohanlal in the titular role, and co-stars Kamalini Mukherjee, Jagapati Babu, Lal, Vinu Mohan, and Bala. It is the first independent screenplay by Udayakrishna of the Udayakrishna and Siby K. Thomas duo. The film is produced by Tomichan Mulakuppadam of Mulakuppadam Films. The score and soundtrack are composed by Gopi Sunder, while cinematography is handled by Shaji Kumar.

Pulimurugan
Pulimurugan film poster.jpg
Theatrical-release poster
Malayalam പുലിമുരുകൻ
Directed by Vysakh
Produced by Tomichan Mulakuppadam
Written by Udayakrishna
Starring
Music by Gopi Sunder
Cinematography Shaji Kumar
Edited by Johnkutty
Production
company
Distributed by Mulakupadam Release
Release date
  • 7 October 2016 (2016-10-07) (India)
Running time
162 minutes
Country India
Language Malayalam
Budget 25 crore[1][2]
Box office est.180 crore[3]

Principal photography commenced on 16 July 2015 in Hanoi, Vietnam and completed filming on early February 2016. The film was released in India on 7 October 2016. Made on a budget of 25 crore, It became the first film to cross 100 crore mark and 150 crore mark in the Malayalam film industry, and is currently the highest-grossing Malayalam film ever and the third highest-grossing South Indian film of 2016.

Manyam Puli, a Telugu dubbed version, was released in 500 screens across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on 2 December 2016. The film will be released in Tamil with the same title under the form of 3D in 2017.

Contents

Plot

Murugan (Mohanlal) lives in Puliyoor, a small village inside the forest. The village is vulnerable to man-eating tigers and often results in human–wildlife conflict. The villagers call these predators Varayan Puli (Striped Leopard). Murugan lost his mother in childhood after his brother Manikuttan was born. Soon after, he lost his father in a tiger attack. In vengeance, Murugan traps the predator with the help of his uncle Balaraman and kills it.

Years later, Murugan is now a lorry driver, has married Myna (Kamalini Mukherjee), and has a daughter, Chakki. He hunts down and kills rogue tigers whenever they invade the village. Acknowledging his skills in hunting "Varayan Puli", the villagers call him Pulimurugan (Leopard-Murugan). His main weapons are a vel (a kind of spear) and a rope dart. He has his own methods developed from his young age, that aid him in killing. Murugan also has a helping behavior, as he is grateful to the villagers who cared about him after his parents death. He is too much obsessive with his brother, willing to do anything for him. Manikuttan is about to finish his MBA graduation in Mangalore.

One day, Kadutha, the village chief meets a hooded stranger in the village, who asks the whereabouts of Murugan for a hunting assignment. But, Murugan has been away from Puliyoor for days and many have been killed by the tigers. Kadutha narrates the events that lead to the circumstance, which starts with two of Manikuttan's friends—Benny and Shiva arriving at Puliyoor, sent by Manikuttan to see Balaraman. Shiva's father, Daddy Girija, has an ayurvedic company, Girija Pharmaceuticals and Medical Research, which is developing a pharmaceutical drug to treat cancer. For that, they need ganja (marijuana) from the forest. If the medical research succeed, Manikuttan is offered a job in the company, so Balaraman helps them. They make a contract with Ramaiya, an illegal Ganja dealer in the forest. Just after, they encounter a tiger on their way back, but is saved by Murugan, killing it with his rope dart and vel.

Meanwhile, Manikuttan returns home after his final examinations. The forest officials have found the killed tiger's carcass at Thookupara, a violation of Indian Wildlife Protection Act, a non-bailable offense. For investigation, Forest ranger R. K. is assigned, who has a grudge against Murugan from four years back. He had once tried to molest Myna, but failed, only to get threatened by Murugan. He later gets transferred from there. Taking advantage on the present scenario, he prepare to file a self-witness F. I. R. against Murugan, who is forced to go hideout. Meanwhile, ACP Iyep Zachariah arrives at Puliyoor, apparently for Murugan.

The Ganja is loaded in Murugan's lorry for transporting to Mangalore. Shiva and Benny gets informed that a confidant of Ramaiya is in police custody. Seeing a possibility of leaking the information, they are forced to transport it overnight. Shiva offer Murugan hideout in Kasaragod under Daddy's protection. And deceive him that the police are in pursuit to arrest him for the tiger killing. A team lead by Zachariya arrives at Murugan's home. Murugan with his family escapes to Mangalore in the transport, and manages to escape from police. He delivers the Ganja and Manikuttan get the job he was offered.

Murugan impresses Daddy and earns his trust by helping in his business activities. Meanwhile, more people are killed by tiger at Puliyoor. In an encounter with Zachariya, Murugan learns that Daddy is illegal producing Hash oil and exporting under the cover-up of the pharmacy, where Manikuttan is working. He co-operates with police to rat on Daddy. Manikuttan is caught by Shiva in the middle of extracting evidences of their activities, he tortures him. Murugan rescues Manikuttan, but in the tussle, Shiva is accidentally killed by Murugan. Police ambush Daddy, but he manages to escape.

Murugan returns home. It is revealed that the hooded stranger is Daddy, came to seek revenge for his son's death. He assemble a group of henchmen and trained assassins. He ambushes Balaraman and villager Poongayi Sasi, he take Balaraman and sent Sasi back with severe injuries. Murugan decides to kill Daddy, and ensue a battle with the assassins. He finishes them off and saves Balaraman. Daddy is killed by the tiger and Murugan kills it.

Cast

Production

Development

A week after the release of Vysakh's directorial debut film Pokkiri Raja in 2010, its producer Tomichan Mulakuppadam opened a discussion with Vysakh for a future collaboration for a project with Mohanlal in the lead role. In fact, Mohanlal had already agreed to do a film with Vysakh even before he debuted with Pokkiri Raja.[4] The project was greenlit, but did not progressed into a planning stage. Pokkiri Raja co-writer Udaykrishna was on board for writing. Later they went onto do other films. Although there were discussions regarding the project in the meantime, a further development did not began until four years since then, in 2014.[5] Pulimurugan was conceived by Udayakrishna, who developed the story idea from the stories he heard during his childhood upbringing in his homeland Kothamangalam in the eastern part of Ernakulam District. The stories presented the lives of people living in Pooyamkutty, a small forest-area village (lying 30 kilometers from Kothamangalam), the villagers often had to fight with wild animals for living there and dealt with the tales of the courageous animal hunters. At the time, Udayakrishna hinted about the character to Mohanlal, who showed interest.[6] It is the first independent work by Udayakrishna after the split of the writer duo Udayakrishna and Siby K. Thomas.[7]

The initial development of the project began in late December 2014, few days after the release of Vysakh's Cousins. Udayakrishna told the plot idea to Vysakh, about a village near the jungle which is frequently attacked by the wild and a hunter who has an impassioned vengeance to the animal, Vysakh hearing the theme itself decided it to be his next directorial.[5] Together they developed a one-line story, they were aware of the large funding the film required to get realise.[6] When they narrated the story to Mulakupadam, before taking a decision, Vysakh asked him to meet again after one month. In meantime, Vysakh and Udayakrishna started traveling and researching for the film to get an understanding about the subject's story behaviour, its format and treatment to be applied on the film. A month after, they met Mulakuppadam again with a demand for "no deadlines", that the film could not be started with a fixed budget, filming schedule or a release date, to which Mulakuppadam greenlit. After which they met Mohanlal, who already knew the plot idea from Udayakrishna, they narrated him the first 15 minutes opening sequence of the film in much detail, he was impressed but was skeptical about the feasibility of it in practice. Vysakh was also partially skeptical about how to shoot some of the sequences. Mohanlal was also asked to give no deadlines in terms of his dates, schedule, or release, to which Mohanlal replied that he is ready to do it anytime they want.[5]

For preparing a detailed screenplay, Vysakh and Udayakrishna went to and stayed in a small house in the hinterland of Wayanad in Kerala for around three months. They traveled to various places to get an idea about picturing the written scenes. They prepared storyboard for the screenplay. But their attempt to find any references for the man-animal fight scenes went into vein, so they consulted graphic experts to prepare a storyboard for it for previsualising the fight scenes to get a basic layout of what to be filmed.[5] Mohanlal suggested the name of the Thailand fight master Kecha for the film's stunt choreography,[6] who is familiar with choreographing stunts with animals.[5] But Kecha asked four years time, which they could not afford.[6] Hence they signed Peter Hein.[6] Hein, who has not done man-animal fight before, took his preparation time for the film.[5] Later, the makers traveled to various locales in South Africa and Vietnam to study tigers, their behaviour and how to tame them for filming. A one-week fight training camp was conducted for Mohanlal in Vietnam, but the camp was dismissed after the first section in day-one itself after when Hein was impressed with the action skills of Mohanlal.[5]

Casting

Mohanlal (top) portrayed Pulimurugan. Jagapati Babu (bottom) portrayed Daddy Girija.

In August 2015, Bengali actress Kamalini Mukherjee was announced as the female lead opposite Mohanlal. Her first association with Mohanlal, Mukherjee has previously worked with Vysakh in a guest appearance in Cousins (2014). According to Mukherjee, her role is quite rustic and completely out of her comfort zone, something she have never laid her hands on before, and "the character has no urban nuances or traits".[8] Lal officially confirmed his role in an interview in early September 2015, which he said, is a throughout role alongside Mohanlal.[9] In the same month, Kishore revealed his role as a forest officer. Kishore who was in a transformation stage from negative to positive roles at the time, said he took the role because it was a Mohanlal film.[10] Some pictures of South Indian actress Namitha taken from the filming location surfaced on the internet on 13 September, confirming her presence.[11] She plays Julie, a girl who hails from an affluent family.[12] Telugu actor Jagapati Babu was reportedly joined the film on 14 September for filming.[13] Bala was confirmed in the same month, revealed by himself in an interview.[14] Bala was reported to have opted out from his brother Siva's directorial Tamil film Vedalam (2015) in favour of Pulimurugan, for a prominent role in the film.[15] Suraj Venjaramoodu confirmed his part in the following month.[16]

Vinu Mohan did the role of Manikuttan, the younger brother of Murugan. The film shows a deep bond between the siblings.[17] The presence of Makarand Deshpande was revealed from the official poster released on 15 April 2016.[18] Deshpande plays a wood smuggler. He described his role as a "quintessential bad guy who works for someone. I walk around in getups that can have a camouflage effect in the forest, so that I am not spotted easily".[19] Murugan's childhood role was played by Master Ajas, he was selected after Vysakh saw his performance in the Indian dance reality show D 4 Dance as a contestant. He was suggested to him by Nobi, who also plays a supporting role. Ajas debuted in the film as an actor, he was given special training by the stunt team for fighting and running, prior to filming.[20] Anjali Aneesh plays Murugan's mother, as a pregnant women.[21] Sudheer Karamana was signed for a Muslim character named Kayikka in a single scene.[22] M. R. Gopakumar was cast as the village chief Kadutha.[23] Other supporting roles are played by Siddique, Nandhu, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Sasi Kalinga, Sethulakshmi, Chali Pala, Hareesh Peradi, V. K. Baiju, Kannan Pattambi, and Jaykrishnan.[24]

The film's costume designer was Arun Manohar, the design of Mohanlal's Pulimurugan outfit was based on the sketches drawn by poster designer-cum-storyboard illustrator Subin Sudhakaran.[25] All crew members committed the film with a 30 percent reduced remuneration for the sake of reducing cost overrun.[5] Film's art director was Joseph Nellickal, Johnkutty was the editor, production controller was Noble Jacob, Satheesh Kavilkotta was the executive producer. Binu Manambur and Nadeem Irani were the production managers.[24]

Filming

The film was reported to start production in September 2014.[26] In June, Vysakh said the film will take off only after the release of Cousins in December 2014.[27] In April 2015, Udayakrishnan announced that they are planning to start filming during June–July with first schedule starting at Vietnam and the remaining portions will be shot in Kerala.[28] Principal photography and a pooja ceremony for the film was held at Hanoi, Vietnam on 16 July 2015.[29][30] The filming began in Kochi, Kerala on 24 July 2015.[31][32] Mukherjee joined in this schedule.[8] The next schedule was planned to start around Kothamangalam.[31] The filming began in the forest area of Pooyamkutty in Kothamangalam, Eranakulam district in early August 2015.[33] Pindimedu waterfall near Pooyamkutty was a central location, shown in the film as the place where Murugan lives.[34]

The fictional Puliyoor village was set in Pooyamkutty, a wooden bridge and Murugan's hut was created in set. Filming took place for 90 days in the protected forest area in Pooyamkutty. The production team kept the set of hut without demolishing after filming.[35] The hut was created on a rock beside Pooyamkutty river.[36] Ninety percent of the film was shot in the forest.[37] Major chunk of the film was shot in and around Pooyamkutty. Mamalakandam, Tholnada, Kurunnumedu, and Knacherry were some of the filming locations in Pooyamkutty forest area. A tea shop was created in set in Blavana near Pooyamkutty town. The scene in which Murugan reveals his love to Myna was shot at Kalladi Pocket. In the film, the tribal colony where the village chief (Moopan) Kadutha reside, was filmed at the tribal settlement in Panthapra, Mamalakandam.[38] Some portions were shot deep into the forest apart Pooyamkutty, to where the cast and crew have to travel in jeep for 90 minutes and then trek for another half-an-hour to reach the location. No rehearsals were conducted for any scenes, except for the action sequences.[4]

While in Pooyamkutty city, a scuffle between the crew and the local natives happened at the night of 10 September 2015. Apparently, the driver of the lorry "Mayil Vahanam" (used as the ride of Murugan in the film) started the trouble. Fistfights ensued between local people and the crew members. A native youth was hospitalized with severe injuries.[39] In late September 2015, there were reports that the filming in the forest areas of Pooyamkutty is halted upon a stay order issued by the Kerala High Court, after a petition alleging the materials used for creating film set is damaging the ecosystem and the team is planning to execute bomb explosion scenes. The Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of the area said, the court has directed him to watch the premise to ensure the filming is progressing without causing any potential damages, although, the news about filming being halted is false.[40] The filming also took place in Perumbavoor, Ernakulam district in September 2015.[41]

The scene involving Pulimurugan's encounter with Kayikka and the fight sequence was shot in October 2015 in 10 days.[22] After taking a short break in the beginning of November 2015, Mohanlal re-joined the sets in Ernakulam on 10 November.[42] On 20 November 2015, The Times of India reported that Mohanlal still have 19 more days left for filming, by the time he already spent almost three months for the film with sporadic breaks.[43] In that month, Vysakh narrowly escaped from an accident in the shooting location, outside a warehouse near Kothamangalam. Hein was performing high speed stunts with a car to be used in the film, Vysakh managed to jump before Hein took a swerving reverse towards him.[44] A large part of the action sequences were shot in November 2015.[45] For some stunt scenes it was decided to use stunt doubles, but Mohanlal preferred to do it by himself. Motivated by it, Mukherjee also avoided stunt double for a scene.[36] Hein said about his experience directing Mohanlal that, "Normally in films we see heroes standing aside and dupes [stunt doubles] doing the stunt scenes. Here it is just the opposite; I am lucky".[46]

Since filming with wild animals is not allowed in India, the crew traveled to foreign countries to can the scenes of tiger.[47] The scenes with tiger was filmed during January 2016 at locations in Bangkok, Thailand. Tiger was trained by Bangkok-based trainers under the supervision of Hein.[48] The initial plan was to use graphics, but later decided to use a real tiger. They first went to South Africa to shoot the tiger scenes, which did not worked out. Then they tried Vietnam, finally the scenes involving tiger was shot in Thailand, where the team spend for a month for canning the shots.[4] The original plan was to use leopard, but as it runs too fast, a man running with it will be unrealistic.[49] Hence they decided to use tiger, and in comparison, tiger is the only member in the big cats that can be tamed and trained conveniently. Changes in the script was made accordingly.[50] For directing the man-tiger fight sequences, Hein researched on tigers for months. Mohanlal recalls, that "he even showed me how they breathe" and declined films that could have earned him crores.[46] They got the tigers for filming from the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. Four tigers were used in the film. They camped for 10 days to familiarise with tiger before filming.[51]

According to Vysakh, while filming with tiger the schedule was decided by the tiger itself depending on its mood to perform. It participated usually for an hour or two, mostly in the early morning or late evening. And the maximum delay in production was caused by the decision to use a live tiger, which consumed the most number of days that account 10 percent of the total film.[47] It took an overall 35 days to film the tiger episodes.[52] Graphics was also used, over 80 percent of the tiger scenes were shot with a real tiger.[49] The last 22 minutes of the film, the climax, was shot in 56 days.[53] The tiger den shown in the climax was created in a studio set.[51] Mohanlal joined for his remaining schedule in the third week of January 2016 for a two weeks long filming.[54] It was reported that Mohanlal's car was hit by a speeding tipper at Illithode, Malayattoor on his way to the location on 27 January, and he escaped unhurt.[55] Later, his driver clarified that it was not Mohanlal's car but a crew vehicle.[56] The final schedule did not end until early February 2016, for re-shooting some sequences in the location in Ernakulam.[57] Mohanlal who gave 90 days dates for the film, filmed for 115 days.[58][49] The whole filming was completed in 220 days. The film was initially planned with a 100 days schedule, with 60 days for Vysakh and 40 days for Hein for stunt choreography. But Vysakh took 100 days and Hein took 120 days.[50]

Post-production

Hyderabad-based Firefly Creative Studio handled the visual effects department of the film.[59] The studio was suggested to the production team by Hein, who had earlier worked with them in Baahubali: The Beginning (2015). There were only a few members from the VFX team during film's pre-production work. The visual effects supervisor was Murali Manohar. Enough time was allowed for the VFX work.[60] Four crore of the film's budget was spent for the visual effects.[61] It took 200 days to complete post-production.[24]

Themes

In August 2015, Mohanlal said in an interview with Amrita TV, that the film contains an animal as the antagonist and the story goes through the emotions of the human and the animal.[62] The film's tagline is "The Wild Hunter", which was revealed by the release of its first-look poster on 6 August 2015.[63] The poster featuring Mohanlal illustrated his character as a hunter, looking intense like a predator whose sight set on the prey and is getting ready to launch himself on it, right hand clutching the ground and right leg firmly dug into the soil gathering force, left hand spread like a wing to maintain the balance and left leg placed strategically to give additional thrust for the attack.[64]

The story happens in a village called Puliyoor and Mohanlal plays Pulimurugan, a person who lends helping hands to the villagers.[65] According to Vysakh, unlike his earlier film (which he describes as "complete entertainers with a lot of colour and action"), the colour palette used in Pulimurugan is "subdued and realistic". As the story takes place in a village inside the forest, to keep it realistic, an earthy color tone was used in the film with mainly greens, browns and subtle yellows.[4]

Release

The film was initially planned for a release in December 2015, during the time of Christmas. But the filming did not finish, and so was postponed to open during the Hindu festival of Vishu in April 2016.[66] But the release date was again pushed to July as the filming was not completed before the deadline of March 10, and considering the post-production works beginning in the end of March which last for two and a half months. However, the film was postponed and released on 7 October 2016.[67][68]

The film was released in the United Arab Emirates and Gulf Cooperation Council on 3 November 2016. It had the largest ever release for an Indian film, which released in 350 screens in 82 theatres, with 630 shows in the opening day, surpassing the records of Kabali (425 shows) and Sultan (225 shows).[69][70] It released in 140 screens in the United Kingdom on 4 November.[71] Pulimurugan was released in Japan by Celluloid Japan with an initial release starting from 20 November 2016.[72] The film was dubbed into Telugu language as Manyam Puli and was released on 2 December 2016 in 500 screens across Andhra Pradesh and Telengana, distributed by Saraswathi Films.[73][74]

Reception

Box office

Pulimurugan earned an opening day collection of 4.05 crore from Kerala box office, making it the highest opening-day gross for a Malayalam film and the second highest (behind Tamil film, Kabali) for any language film in the state. The film grossed 4.83 crore on Sunday (9 October), By taking its 3 days gross collection to 12.91 crore, it set the record for the highest opening-weekend at the state box office.[75] Pulimurugan crossed 20 crore mark at the Kerala box office in the fastest time (in 5 days) for any film.[76] In 8 days theatrical run, the film is estimated to have grossed about 30 crore from the state box office.[77] Pulimurugan set a new record in Malayalam by completing 10,000 housefull shows in just 14 days,[78] and grossed over 46 crore from theatres all over India, with 40 crore from Kerala alone.[79] The film managed to garner 60 crore within 17 days of theatrical run in India.[80] In a month of its release, Pulimurugan became the first Malayalam film to gross 100 crore at the box office.[81] Until 23 November 2016, the film grossed 125 crore worldwide.[82] Manyam Puli after completing 50 days run collected 12 crore from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana box office.[83] Pulimurugan so far collected over 152 crore from ticket sales worldwide.[3] It is also the third highest-grossing South Indian film of 2016.[84]

The film created a record for the highest-opening weekend gross for an Indian film in the UAE box office, it grossed 13.83 crore in the first weekend (3-6 November), surpassing the records of Kabali, Sultan, and Baahubali: The Beginning.[85] In the United States box office, it grossed more than $236,000 in less than a month and became the highest-grossing Malayalam film in the US, beating the record of Premam.[86] It also became the top grosser in the United Kingdom within its opening weekend itself, grossing £90,162, surpassing the record of Oppam.[87] The film collected over 35 crore from the UAE box office when it completed 50 days run.[88] The film ran for 98 days in the UAE to become the third longest running film, behind Drishyam (125 days) and Titanic (110 days). It collected 37.09 crore from the UAE box office.[89][90]

The final estimated Kerala gross collection is 90.1 crore, even though the movie is still running in B and C class centers. [91]

Critical response

Awarding the film 3.5 in a scale of 5, Nelson K. Paul from Malayala Manorama wrote: "The narrative is straight and tight. Most importantly, the movie is engaging throughout and doesn't slip off. Though it's an action thriller primarily. Vysakh has all the ingredients laced in for a well-balanced mix. The director has made sure that the elements he put in are there for a reason". Apart, he praised Mohanlal, who is "super flexible in stunt scenes" and his "mighty impressive" efforts, Kumar's cinematography and Hein's "adrenaline-filled action" choreography, with a special mention to the climax fight. He also commended the characterisation of Myna and the onscreen chemistry of Mohanlal and Mukherjee.[92]

In his review for The Indian Express, Manoj Kumar R. rated the film 3.5 out of 5 stars. He praised Mohanlal's acting and the "high-voltage" stunts, and finds the screenplay to be "tight and engaging" with Sunder's film score and Kumar's cinematography adding plus-points to the film. He wrote: "It is a simple movie that basically aims to entertain the audience. The movie does not dwell too much on the man-animal conflict and discusses what is right or what is wrong". According to him, Vysakh has succeeded in exploiting the stardom of Mohanlal.[93] The Times of India critic, Sanjith Sidhardhan rated 3.5 in a scale of 5, and wrote that the film's strength is "a fleshed out story and pacy screenplay that takes its protagonist out of the wild and puts him in the world of ruthless men – a scenario where the hunter becomes the prey [...] The movie has a good enough story to keep the audience engaged while providing ample thrills through Peter Hein-choreographed fantastic action sequences". He also praised Sunder's "rousing theme music" and the "crisp" editing that made the "161-minute runtime a breeze".[94]

In his review for Rediff.com, Paresh C. Palicha commented, "It is Mohanlal's calibre as an actor that makes this thriller a really thrilling experience. Udaykrishna's writing and Vysakh's direction use him very well, knowing what will work with his fans". He rated 2.5 out of 5 stars.[95] The reviewer from Sify giving a positive review, described it as a "winner all the way" and a "super entertainer", and said: "with breathtaking visuals, top notch performances, superb action sequences and thrilling music, Vysakh has cooked a delicious treat. Though it is a bit too long at two hours and 41 minutes, this one keeps you engaged for sure". Extra mentions were given to Hein and Kumar for the stunts and visuals, and praised the performances of Mohanlal, "an absolute delight to watch", and other cast including Lal, Babu, Venjaramoodu, Kishore, and Ajas. And concluded that "Pulimurugan wins with the hard work that has gone into its making. It's the kind of masala that is superbly enjoyable and then there is Mohanlal in terrific form".[96]

Writing for the International Business Times, Anu James gave a positive review, telling that "though Mohanlal doesn't deliver any punch dialogues, his screen presence and thrilling action sequences are the USPs of the action thriller. Despite being a 56-year-old, the flexibility he has while performing the stunts deserves a special mention". She also praised the stunt choreographer of Hein, Kumar's cinematography, Sunder's film score and the performances of Babu, Lal, and Ajas.[97] Krishna B. Nair of Metromatinee wrote a positive review, calling it a "visual extravaganza plus an edge-of-the-seat experience!", said "Pulimurugan has a very impressive first half, not so fast paced yet thrilling second half and an absolutely stunning climax". She praised Mohanal's "dedication for the intense stunt sequences", and his combination scenes with Mukherji, who is "equally aggressive and adventurous" as him. Apart, she praised Sundar's film score, Kumar's cinematography, the VFX work and Hein for introducing "...high-voltage...whole new action sequences to the Malayali audiences" which will "struck a chord with the moviegoers"".[98]

Accolades

Award Date of ceremony Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Asiavision Awards 18 November 2016 Popular Movie Vysakh Won [99]
Popular Actor of the Year Mohanlal (also for Oppam) Won
Best Music Director Gopi Sunder Won
Best Singer – Female K. S. Chithra (for "Kaadaniyum Kalchilambe") Won
Best Cinematographer Shaji Kumar Won
Vanitha Film Awards 12 February 2017 Best Actor Mohanlal (also for Oppam) Won [100]
Most Popular Film Vysakh, Tomichan Mulakuppadam Won
Best Female Singer Vani Jairam (for "Maanathe Marikurumbe") Won
Asianet Film Awards 20 January 2017 Best Actor Mohanlal (also for Oppam) Won [101]
Popular Movie of the Year Tomichan Mulakuppadam Won
Best Supporting Actress Sethulakshmi Won
Best Actor in a Negative Role Jagapati Babu Won
Best Editor Johnkutty Won
Best Cinematographer Shaji Kumar Won
South Indian International Movie Awards 1 July 2017 Best Playback Singer Female K.S.Chithra Won [102]

Note:

Peter Hein received an award for the category Best Stunt Choreographer at the National Film Awards.

Music

Pulimurugan
Soundtrack album by Gopi Sunder
Released 14 October 2016 (2016-10-14)
Recorded August 2016
Venue Ernakulam
Genre Feature Film Soundtrack
Length 10:22
Label Millennium Audios
Producer Tomichan Mulakuppadam
Gopi Sunder chronology
Majnu
(2016)Majnu2016
Pulimurugan
(2016)
Devi
(2016)Devi2016

The film's soundtrack and film score was composed by Gopi Sunder. The soundtrack runs for over ten minutes and consists three tracks—a duet sung by K. J. Yesudas and K. S. Chithra, a solo by Vani Jairam and a theme song by Sunder. Rafeeq Ahammed, Murukan Kattakada, and B. K. Harinarayanan were the lyricists. The music album was released on 5 October 2016 in an event held at hotel Crowne Plaza in Kochi. Vysakh and Udayakrishna were absent at the function, who were busy with the release.[103]

Track listing

All music composed by Gopi Sunder.

No. Title Writer(s) Performer(s) Length
1. "Kaadaniyum Kalchilambe" Rafeeq Ahammed K. J. Yesudas, K. S. Chithra 03:57
2. "Manathe Marikurumbe" Murukan Kattakada Vani Jairam 04:27
3. "Pulimurugan Theme" B. K. Harinarayanan Gopi Sundar 02:38
Total length: 10:22

In late December 2015, Sunder announced that, the film will have two songs and more might be added, in which one will be a lullaby sung by S. Janaki, while Jassie Gift and Shreya Ghoshal will render the other song.[104] However, Janaki announced her retirement from singing career in the second half of 2016.[105] She was replaced by Jairam, and Gift and Ghoshal were also replaced with Yesudas and Chithra. Sunder approached Yesudas with the composition of "Kaadaniyum Kalchilambe" on late August 2016, for his first association with him. Including his discussions with Yesudas, the whole recording process was completed in one-and-a-half hour time. Chithra was his co-artist in the duet. Ahammed was the lyricist.[106] The recording of the song was held on 27 August 2016.[107] The theme song starting with the line "Muruga Muruga" was written by Harinarayanan, lyrics were penned after finishing the composition.[108] The songs were recorded in a studio in Ernakulam.[109]

Sunder, who generally takes around one month to finish the music for a film, took three months for Pulimurugan and worked in two schedules.[110] Without any short-notices Vysakh gave enough time for him to compose. He composed the film score watching a "rough cut" of the film before the final editing. The film used both live tiger as well as graphics for some scenes. At the time, the computer-generated imagery (CGI) of the tiger was at its early stage and far from perfect, so Sunder had to envisage the tiger while composing score for such scenes.[59] The composition of score was completed on 11 September 2016.[111] The DTS premixing of the music was held on 17 September at G Studio in AVM, Chennai.[112]

The first music video from the film "Kaadaniyum Kalchilambe" sung by Yesudas and Chithra was released via YouTube on 14 September 2016 in the Thiruvonam day. The song features Mohanlal and Mukherji enjoying their country life.[113] Nivedita Mishra of Hindustan Times said, "It is a paean to marriage.....Kaadaniyum Kalchilambe is a beautiful celebration of Kerala – so lush and so soothing to the eye and so lovingly captured by cinematographer Shaji Kumar".[114] Anjana George of The Times of India, also gave a positive review highlighting its visuals, saying "while beautifully showcasing the chemistry between Lal [Mohanlal] and Kamalini, the director has also tried to capture the magical splendour of forest. The lovely shades of green, yellow, orange and blue are being magnificently used in the visuals".[115] On 11 October 2016, in response to the audience demand, Sundar released the theme song attached with a making video of the film.[116] The second music video "Manathe Marikurumbe" sung by Jairam was released on 27 October 2016.[117]

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