Subramaniapuram is a 2008 Indian Tamil-language period action film[1][2][3] written, produced, and directed by Sasikumar. Sasikumar cast then relatively new actors Jai, Swathi, Samuthirakani, Ganja Karuppu, and himself in pivotal roles. The film also marked Swathi Reddy’s Tamil film debut. The music was composed by James Vasanthan with cinematography by S. R. Kathir and editing by Raja Mohammad.

Theatric release poster
Directed bySasikumar
Written bySasikumar
Produced bySasikumar
CinematographyS. R. Kathir
Edited byRaja Mohammad
Music byJames Vasanthan
Company Productions
Release date
  • 4 July 2008 (2008-07-04)
Running time
145 minutes
Budget₹65 lakh
Box office₹30 crore

The film released on 4 July 2008. Although the film was low-budget, it received critical acclaim for its original script, expert direction, screenplay, editing, fresh music, accurate sets, and costumes to resurrect Madurai from the 1980s. Shot in 85 days, it became one of the biggest commercial successes of the year. The movie was dubbed into Malayalam under the same name, into Telugu as Ananthapuram 1980, remade in Kannada in 2012 as Prem Adda. Director Anurag Kashyap had revealed twice that this film was the inspiration for his Gangs of Wasseypur series - once in 2010 and once on the 10th anniversary of this film.

Plot edit

The story takes place in the Subramaniapuram area of Madurai city. A convict is released from prison in 2008 after serving 28 years, and an unknown person stabs him right outside the prison gates. The police are baffled at this as the convict had never spoken to anyone inside the prison and refused to meet anyone coming to visit him from the outside during his time in prison. They are shocked that someone who had a grudge against him for 28 years would stab him when he stepped outside the prison. A flashback to 1980 narrates the events that led to the stabbing.

Past: Azhagar, Paraman, Kasi, Dopa, and Dumka, a polio-stricken, physically challenged person, are part of a set of unemployed close friends. They pass their time drinking liquor and fooling around on the streets opposite the house of an ex-councillor Somu and his brother Kanugu. Apart from them, the family consists of Somu's wife and their three children, including Thulasi and Thulasi's other uncle.

The five friends, particularly Paraman and Azhagu, often end up in prison due to frequent fighting. Cops get a call from someone complaining about their friends each time they do something wrong. Every time police arrest them, Kanugu and Somu bail them out immediately. In the meantime, Azhagu and Thulasi develop mutual feelings for each other. Paraman is against his friend developing feelings for a girl, and Azhagu, not heeding his friends' thoughts, throws up quite a few funny scenes.

There are signs of things to come when a local temple's committee does not select Somu for a function. Things suddenly turn for the worst when Somu fails to get people to elect him for his party's (Tamil Nadu's ruling party at the time) district chief post, and his wife ridicules him for being jobless. Kanugu locks himself up in a lodge and drinks all day. He makes sure his friends hear about him and come to visit. He requests that they murder the person chosen for the district chief of party post ahead of his brother. Azhagu, Paraman, and Kasi hatch a plan and execute the person almost perfectly. They run away after the murder, leaving a cycle behind.

The second half begins with the cops discovering that Paraman and Azhagu have committed the murder with the help of the cycle they left behind. They surrender themselves to the court, hoping Kanagu will bail them out soon. But they come in for a rude shock when they learn through Kasi that Somu has been selected for the district chief of party post and is avoiding their contact. They confront reality and stay helpless in jail, where they befriend a fellow inmate. He learns about their situation and bails them out.

The same friend who aided these guys expects a favour from them — to kill his brother-in-law for murdering his sister. Accomplishing this task, these guys now look out for killing Kanugu, who cheated them. In the meantime, Thulasi and Azhagu continue to meet. Kanugu's men almost kill Azhagar. The friends strike back, killing those men later in the day. A few days later, they hurt Thulasi's uncle to kill Kanugu. To save his life from the clutches of these buddies, Kanugu sets a trap for Azhagar using Thulasi as bait and kills him using his henchmen. Paraman avenges his friend's death by decapitating Kanugu and laying his head at his friend's murder site. Paraman then calls to Kasi and reveals how he killed Kanugu, during which he sees Somu's henchmen rushing behind Kasi. Kasi betrays Paraman and leaves him at the mercy of the henchmen who kill him.

Present: In the hospital, Kasi was the victim of the stabbing outside the prison walls. He lies in the hospital in critical condition, with a policeman interrogating him. The doctor intervenes and asks him to leave, after which Dumka comes in and reveals that it was Dopa who stabbed him. He then proceeds to remove his air supply and kills him after reminding him of his betrayal.

Cast edit

Production edit

It was during the initial phases of Ameer's Paruthiveeran (2007) that Sasikumar began his groundwork for Subramaniapuram and left the production to focus on his film. Sasikumar started collecting old photos, banners and boards of shops to imitate the style of writing from that period and also searched the Internet extensively for photographs of the 80s. He especially researched photographs of wedding processions along the streets for a clear picture of how the roads looked and the kind of vehicles in use. The team relied on this visual information to construct the sets for the film.[4]

Shanthanu Bhagyaraj was approached to play the leading role in the film and Sasikumar began discussions with his father K. Bhagyaraj over Shanthanu's availability. Bhagyaraj had been keen to ensure that Sakkarakatti (2008) was his son's first release, as the team had brought in a prominent producer S. Thanu and musician A. R. Rahman. Sasikumar stated that he was unable to wait for Sakkarakatti's release as he had loans to pay and moved ahead without the actor.[5]

Jai, who earlier appeared in Chennai 600028 (2007) was then selected to play a leading role after Sasikumar had seen him at Deva's residence and Jai signed up for the film without hearing the script under the basis that it was to be produced by director Ameer.[6]

Music edit

Subramaniapuram has five songs composed by newcomer James Vasanthan. This is the first time a Tamil movie featured a promotional song. (The song does not feature in the movie but has been released to media). Sasikumar spoke of his apprehension to approach an established music director as he was a debut director himself. 'I was not sure whether they would listen to me and give me what I wanted' he said in an interview.[4] Vasanthan had been Sasikumar's music teacher at St. Peter's boarding school in Kodaikkanal. Sasikumar approached James with the project and the music became a remarkable success. The film brought Vasanthan into prominence with the film's songs and background score gaining fame and being praised[7][8] and the song "Kangal Irandal" topping the charts and being cited as the "anthem of the year among the youth".[9]

Soundtrack album by
GenreFeature film soundtrack
LabelSony Music
Think Music
ProducerJames Vasanthan
James Vasanthan chronology
No. Song Singers Lyrics
1 "Kangal Irandal" Bellie Raj, Deepa Miriam Thamarai
2 "Kadhal Siluvayil Araindhaal Ennai" Shankar Mahadevan Yugabharathi
3 "Madura Kulunga Kulunga" Velmurugan, Surmukhi Raman Yugabharathi / James Vasanthan
4 "Theneeril Snegitham" Benny Dayal Yugabharathi
5 "Subramaniapuram Theme" Bellie Raj

Release and reception edit

Subramaniapuram was released "two weeks after Kamal Hassan's Dasavatharam. The film was released only in Mini Udhayam but after the film's overwhelming response it later got released in theatres like Shanti and Sathyam Cinemas who were initially wary of releasing this film.[10] The film ran successfully for 100 days.[10] The film's satellite rights was initially sold to Zee Tamil who later resold it to Sun TV. The film had its television premiere on both the channels on the same day.[10][11] The satellite rights to the Malayalam dubbed version was given to Amrita TV. The film received highly positive response from critics. Sify wrote "Sasikumar should be appreciated for making a bold and daring film, whose success will augur well for the industry. Subramaniapuram may be a bit brooding and dark, but still it's worth taking a look".[12] Rediff wrote "Subramaniyapuram ends as it begins -- naturally, at its own pace. This one is for lovers of realistic cinema."[13]

Legacy edit

On its 10th anniversary, filmmaker Anurag Kashyap tweeted that this film inspired him to make Gangs of Wasseypur.[14][15] The film's screenplay was released as a book in 2014.[16]

References edit

  1. ^ "Subramaniapuram: The period action movie that revolutionised a stagnant Indian film industry turns 15". The Indian Express. 4 July 2023. Archived from the original on 4 July 2023. Retrieved 4 July 2023. At that particular time, a previously unknown person named M Sasikumar emerged on the scene with a period action film that revolutionised the Indian film industry in a positive way, exactly 15 years ago.
  2. ^ "Tamil cinema, p. 6". Archived from the original on 19 March 2023. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  3. ^ "Subramaniapuram". British Board of Film Classification. Archived from the original on 16 March 2023. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  4. ^ a b Director Sasi Kumar Interview Archived 22 August 2023 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ ""This is Why My Son Missed These Films" - Veteran Filmmaker Opened - Chennai Memes". 28 November 2020. Archived from the original on 1 September 2023. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  6. ^ "Stardom smiles on Jai". The Hindu. 28 July 2008. Archived from the original on 22 August 2023. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  7. ^ "Subramaniapuram Music Review songs lyrics". IndiaGlitz. 28 May 2008. Archived from the original on 19 February 2008. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  8. ^ "Subramaniapuram Music Review — Behindwoods". Behindwoods. 5 December 2007. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  9. ^ "James Vasanthan's next". IndiaGlitz. 24 December 2008. Archived from the original on 25 December 2008. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  10. ^ a b c Kaushik, L. M. (28 June 2018). "10 years of Subramaniapuram: Director Sasikumar Goes Down Memory Lane". Film Companion. Archived from the original on 2 July 2020. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  11. ^ "Satellite rights, T Rajendar, Ramoji Rao". Behindwoods. Archived from the original on 20 September 2020. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  12. ^ "Subramaniapuram". Sify. Archived from the original on 6 April 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  13. ^ "Review: Subramaniyapuram". Archived from the original on 14 August 2020. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  14. ^ "Anurag's next inspired by Subramaniapuram". The Times of India. 21 November 2010. Archived from the original on 28 January 2021. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  15. ^ "Anurag Kashyap reveals Gang of Wasseypur was inspired by Tamil movie Subramaniapuram". Hindustan Times. 5 July 2018. Archived from the original on 8 July 2018. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  16. ^ Sasikumar, M. Subramaniyapuram: The Tamil Film in English ytukrjfrjryfvmghu5d9ig ji6dkctckfhogulxsr,4 .ifcTranslation. ASIN 938326084X.

External links edit