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Pushpaka Vimana (1987 film)

Pushpaka Vimana is a 1987 Indian black comedy film written and directed by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao. The film, originally made in Kannada , was a silent movie which had no dialogues.[5] It was produced by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao and Shringar Nagaraj, starring Kamal Haasan, Amala in leading role. Upon release, the film garnered highly positive reviews, and remained a box office hit. The film had a 35-week theatrical run in Bangalore.

Pushpaka Vimana
Pushpaka Vimana 1987 Film Poster.jpg
Directed bySingeetam Srinivasa Rao
Produced by
Written bySingeetam Srinivasa Rao
Music byL. Vaidyanathan
CinematographyB. C. Gowrishankar
Mandakini Chitra (P) Ltd.
Release date
  • 27 November 1987 (1987-11-27)
Running time
124 minutes
Budget3.5 million (US$51,000)[4]

The film has received the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment and Filmfare Award South for Best Film. The film was premiered at the International Film Festival of India, 1988 Cannes Film Festival in the International Critics' Week, and retrospectively at the Shanghai Film Festival and Whistling Woods International Institute.


The film follows an unnamed, almost penniless and unemployed youth (Kamal Haasan) who aspires to lead a reasonably affluent livelihood free of the insecurities and humiliations he has to put up with because of his day-to-day poverty. Suddenly a lady (Amala) luck smiles upon him, when he impromtuly takes up the identity of a rich man, stoking the desire of becoming rich in him even more. His fortunes apparently change when he stumbles upon a millionaire drunk by the roadside. He abducts and takes the millionaire into his room alongside a roof terrace in a dilapidated old building. He assumes his identity to taste the opulence and starts staying at the plush five star hotel suite rented by the wealthy millionaire. A professional killer (Tinnu Anand) hired by the closet lover of the wife of the alcoholic millionaire to hit on him with an intention of usurping his belongings, has set his eyes on the young man, having mistaken the young man for the rich man, too. The wife herself (Ramya), who is having an affair outside wedlock is not in the loop about the murder plan.

Posing as the rich man, the youth meets the girl, who is the daughter and assistant of a magician (K. S. Ramesh), who is residing in the same hotel with his daughter and wife (Farida Jalal). The girl in the beginning is not interested in the young man and on one occasion even slaps him because of a misunderstanding where he appeared to her as being unmannered. But later, after the hotel owner (Loknath) suddenly dies of old age, the two meet while paying tribute at his funeral and mend ways. They gradually get into a romantic relationship.

The killer, in the meantime, comes up with an ingenious way of stabbing with a knife entirely made of water frozen into ice, to kill the young man, but falls in his own trap every time he makes an attempt. All this time, the young man remains unaware about the dangers in his life. One day, however, the young man figures out that the killer is in the hotel to kill someone, but is unable to find the identity of his target. Later the creepy killer intrudes into his suite and gets electrocuted while trying to stab the young man from behind. Finally he comes to know about the murder plan hatched by the lover of the rich man's wife when he follows the killer to their bungalow and eavesdrops the killer informing the lover about his failure. The two conspirators also realise that they were targeting the wrong man all the time. At this time, the rich mans wife learns of her lover's treachery, and has a change of heart. She decides to get out of the affair with him.

In a montage shown about the owner, the young man realises that the owner was a poor man, just like him. Seeing what the owner achieved by fair means, the young man begins to question his actions.

Some days later, the roadside beggar dies and municipality people come to take his dead body. However, seeing the beggar's stash, they nearly throw his body on the pavement and start stealing the money. The young man decides to make things right.

The young man sets the rich man free. He explains the situation to the rich man in a letter. The rich man and his wife reunite. After that, the young man decides to come clean to the magician's daughter as well. He learns that the magician's daughter's family is about to leave the hotel.

The young man confesses the truth to the magician's daughter, but to his surprise she forgives him. While leaving the hotel, she drops a rose wrapped in a paper from her car, meaning that she has given him her address. However, before the young man can get the paper a gust of wind takes it away and it rolls all the way down the gutter implying the lovers never unite. The young man is not able to get the magician's daughter, but some days later, he is shown in a line for a job vacancy, although this time he has a rose in his hands and hope in his eyes. While it is not clear that the young man got the job or not, it is certain that his perception towards life has changed.




Although Pushpaka Vimana has often been referred to as the first full-length silent film in India after the "silent era" of cinema,[6] director Singeetam Srinivasa Rao and lead actor Kamal Haasan have disagreed, instead calling it a film without dialogue.[7][8]

The film was produced by Kannada actor Shringar Nagaraj and remains his only film he had produced in his whole career.[9] He agreed to produce the film after he heard the script.[10] Singeetam revealed that the idea of the film came during the shoot of a film while assisting K. V. Reddy in which there was a scene where comedian had to emote fear without dialogues. Kamal agreed to work on the film after being impressed by the script.[11] Singeetham called Pushpak as a personal film because "that's the life I lead".[9]


Since the film had no dialogue, Singeetham was able to cast actors from many languages. P. L. Narayana was cast as a beggar and Sameer Khakhar who became popular with Television series Nukkad portrayed a rich drunkard. Amala was selected as lead actress after attempts to sign Neelam had failed.[12][13] Pratap Pothan known for dark characters portrayed a comic character in this film.[9]


Thotta Tharani constructed a street set for the film, beside the Hyland Hotel in Bengaluru. The little ramshackle room where Kamal lived, and the building itself, was constructed above the hotel. Most of the shooting was done in Windsor Manor Hotel in Bengaluru.[13]


The film had no songs but only background score. Singeetam wanted a composer who could work as per his demands and requirements for the scenes, for this L. Vaidyanathan was chosen to compose the score.[9] Sitar exponent Pt. Janardhan Mitta contributed to the re-recording using two other instruments apart from minimal orchestration.[14]

Awards and recognitionsEdit


The film was released in Kannada and Telugu. The film was also released in Tamil and Hindi as Pesum Padam and Pushpak respectively. Telugu version was distributed by Sravanthi Ravikishore and Hindi version was distributed by Rajendra Kumar.[13] The film was also dubbed in Malayalam as Pushpaka Vimanam.


Reviewing Pesum Padam, the Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan rated it 50 out of 100.[22]


Amala listed Pushpaka Vimanam among Vedham Pudhithu (1987), Agni Natchathiram (1988), Siva (1989) and Karpoora Mullai (1991) as her most memorable films.[23] The film is listed among CNN-IBN's "hundred greatest Indian films of all time".[24] The film was listed by Rediff in its list "Singeetham's gems before christ".[25] On Kamal's birthday, 7 November 2015, Latha Srinivasan of Daily News and Analysis considered Pushpaka Vimanam to be one of the "films you must watch to grasp the breadth of Kamal Haasan's repertoire".[26]


  1. ^ Date is linked to the article about the awards held that year, wherever possible.
  2. ^ For background Score only.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ K. R. Manigandan (13 April 2016). "ShotCuts: What's worrying Kamal?". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 28 December 2012.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Pushpaka Vimanam was India's first silent film". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 20 August 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  7. ^ ", Movies: 'Little John, lot of fun!'". Archived from the original on 20 August 2019. Retrieved 29 September 2017. Many people described Pushpak as a silent movie. It is not a silent movie; it is a film without dialogues
  8. ^ Public TV (10 February 2013). KAMALHASAN INTERVIEW IN PUBLiC TV PART 1. From 1:27 to 1:35. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d Gopalakrishnan, Aswathy (29 October 2016). "Singeetam Srinivasa Rao Interview: "The Golden Rule Of Cinema Is That There Is No Golden Rule"". Silverscreen. Archived from the original on 20 August 2019. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  10. ^ Chetan, R. (16 July 2008). "I am really touched". Mid-Day. Archived from the original on 20 August 2019. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  11. ^ Sri (28 September 2009). "Articles: Movie Retrospect: Retro: Pushpaka Vimana (1988) (pg. 1)". Telugu Cinema. Archived from the original on 30 December 2010.
  12. ^ Ramnath, Nandini (7 November 2017). "The film 'Pushpaka Vimana' is the one time Kamal Haasan said a lot without saying anything at all". Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  13. ^ a b c Sri (28 September 2009). "Articles: Movie Retrospect: Retro: Pushpaka Vimanam (1988) (pg. 2)". Telugu Cinema. Archived from the original on 31 December 2010.
  14. ^ Swaminathan, G. (29 March 2018). "Pt. Janardhan Mitta on music, life in Chennai and more". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 20 August 2019.
  15. ^ "Need for a universal story". The Hindu.
  16. ^ "'Pushpak' completes 25 years: Tinnu Anand, Amala go down memory lane". IBNLive.
  17. ^ "Sakhya Indian Cinema Club: Pushpaka Vimanam (The Love Chariot)". Graduate Union. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014.
  18. ^ "Celebrate Cinema" (PDF). Whistling Woods. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 October 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  19. ^ "35th National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
  20. ^ "35th Annual Filmfare South Awards Winners". 5 February 2017.
  21. ^ Dave, Kajol. "Filmfare trivia: Kamal Haasan". Filmfare. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  22. ^ "பேசும் படம்". Ananda Vikatan (in Tamil). 20 December 1987.
  23. ^ Kannan, Uma (17 May 2010). "'I'm strictly against authority'". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 21 April 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  24. ^ "100 Years of Indian Cinema: The 100 land mark Indian films of all time". CNN-IBN. 17 April 2013. Archived from the original on 20 August 2019. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  25. ^
  26. ^

External linksEdit