|Directed by||K. S. Ravikumar|
|Produced by||P. L. Thenappan|
|Cinematography||Arthur A. Wilson|
|Distributed by||Raj Lakshmi Films|
|28 June 2002|
Panchathantiram (English: Five Ruses) is a 2002 Indian Tamil-language comedy film directed by K. S. Ravikumar and co-written by Kamal Haasan and Crazy Mohan. The film features Haasan, Simran and Ramya Krishnan leading an ensemble cast that includes Jayaram, Ramesh Aravind, Sriman, Yugi Sethu, Urvashi, Aishwarya and Nagesh.
The film opened to positive reviews from critics, and was an average grosser at the box office.
Ramachandramurthy alias Ram. C. M. or Ram is a Canada-based pilot and a womaniser. In the course of an aircraft hijacking, he meets Mythili. Ram and Mythili stop the hijacking and save the passengers. Soon after, they fall in love and get married. Ram's four closest friends, Ayyapan Nair, Vendantham Iyer, Ganesh Hegde and Hanumant Reddy attend the wedding.
After marriage, Ram quits his playboy character and remains faithful to Mythili. One day, when Ram prevents Hegde's ex-girlfriend, Nirmala, from committing suicide, Mythili misinterprets the situation. She presumes that he is having an affair with her and leaves him to be with her parents. Further misunderstanding occurs when he sets out to meet Mythili, drunk, in the middle of the night and enters the wrong house.
To take his mind off Mythili for a while, Ram's four friends drive him down to Bangalore and rent a room to hire call girl Maragathavalli alias Maggie. Ram, who is still not able to forget Mythili and does not wish to betray her, gets into a fight with Maggie. To salvage the situation, Iyer hurries back to Maggie's room, only to find Maggie dead. Panicking, Nair, Iyer, Hegde and Reddy decide to discreetly dispose of the body in spite of Ram's pleas to call the police. They manage to roll the body in a blanket, dispose it in a dry river and drive back to Chennai to return to their normal lives.
Ram discovers a cache of diamonds inside Maggie's mobile phone. He does not report about it to the police, fearing he would be arrested for murdering Maggie, which he did not commit. A few days after, the friends get very nervous when they learn of a news article regarding the discovery of a dead body in the same area where they disposed Maggie's body. At that time, the wives of Ram's four friends plan to unite Ram and Mythili by holding a party on the traditional festival of Ugadi. The wives invite Mythili to the party to be reunited with Ram.
At the party, the supposedly-dead Maggie appears, demanding her diamonds back. Maggie then reveals the truth behind her death. The diamonds belong to a smuggler, and that she stole it from him for her own personal gain. She chose to merely fake her death as she realised that the diamonds would be temporarily safe in Ram's possession. She also blackmails Ram that she would reveal about their rendezvous in Bangalore to Mythili if he does not give the diamonds back. The smuggler then arrives and kidnaps Maggie, Ram and his friends. Mythili spots Ram and Maggie together. She again believes that Ram has not changed his ways. Mythili, along with an undercover police inspector, follows them.
While the smuggler demands his diamonds back, Mythili appears. Upon seeing Ram and Maggie together, she believes that Ram is having an affair with Maggie in front of his friends and the smuggler instead of believing that Ram, Maggie and his friends are kidnapped. She swallows some sleeping pills, which turns out to be where Ram hid the diamonds. Mythili decides to commit suicide and runs away. Ram and his friends save her and help the undercover police inspector arrest Maggie and the smuggler. Mythili, on being informed by Ram of all that happened, promises to reform her suspicious ways. The two then reunite.
- Kamal Haasan as Ramachandramurthy (Ram. C. M/Ram)
- Simran as Mythili
- Ramya Krishnan as Maragathavalli alias Maggie
- Jayaram as Iyappan Nair
- Ramesh Aravind as Ganesh Hegde
- Sriman as Hanumant Reddy
- Yugi Sethu as Vedhantham Iyer
- Urvashi as Mrs. Ammini Iyappan Nair
- Sanghavi as Mrs. Chamundi Ganesh Hegde
- Aishwarya as Mrs. Janaki Vedhantham Iyer
- Vidhya Venkatesh as Mrs. Hanumant Reddy
- Kaikala Satyanarayana as Reddy
- Manivannan as the diamond-smuggling boss
- Nagesh as Parthasarathy, Vedhantham Iyer's father-in-law
- Ramesh Khanna as Milkha Singh/Undercover Police Inspector
- Vijayakumar as Mythili's Father
- Alphonsa as Smuggling boss' Mistress
- K. S. Ravikumar as Co-Pilot
- Santhana Bharathi as a tenant in Mythili's guest house
- Kovai Sarala as the tenant's wife
- Vasu Vikram as a Traffic Police
- Devayani as Nirmala, Ganesh Hegde's ex-girlfriend
- R. Neelakantan as Ammini Iyappan Nair's Father
The film marked the debut production of director K. S. Ravikumar's manager P. L. Thenappan, and the team initially planned a film starring Kamal Haasan with music composed by A. R. Rahman. Though recordings had taken place, Thenappan became apprehensive of the budget and chose to make a smaller budget film, meaning Deva replaced Rahman. Hence Panchathanthiram, a comedy about five friends, materialised instead. Originally Krishnamachari Srikkanth was supposed to essay the role later played by Yuhi Sethu, but dropped out. Sethu signed on revealing that Kamal Haasan had approached him to be a part of his two previous films, Thenali (2000) and Pammal K. Sambandam (2002) too, which he did not take up. Simran was signed after appearing alongside Kamal Haasan in Pammal K. Sambandam, with which the latter was impressed.
The film started shoot in February 2002 and shot in Canada for seventeen days. In April 2002, Kamal Haasan was prevented from boarding a Los Angeles-bound flight in Toronto during the making of the film, with the security preventing him from passing due to his Islamic-sounding surname. In June 2002, the five friends in the film along with Deva took part in a promotional tour to publicise the soundtrack in Bangalore. The film faced trouble during censorship and parts of a song featuring Ramya Krishnan were subsequently cut.
The soundtrack of the film was composed by Deva.
|1.||"Ennoda Kadhal"||Harini, Mano||4:48|
|2.||"Vandhaen Vandhaen"||Kamal Haasan, Sujatha Mohan||5:04|
|3.||"Kadhal Piriyamal"||Kamal Haasan||5:58|
|4.||"Vai Raja Vai"||Srinivas, Shalini Singh||5:02|
|5.||"Manmatha Leelai"||Mathangi, Timmi, Deva||5:27|
The satellite rights of the film were secured by Sun TV.
The film opened to positive reviews from critics, with the critic from The Hindu citing that Crazy Mohan's dialogue was "the mainstay", describing the film as "completely entertaining". The reviewer also praised the film's performances claiming that "with suitable slapstick, apt body language and timing and modulation that tickle, the veteran (Kamal Haasan) makes a mark yet again." Furthermore, reviewers from Screen magazine dubbed the film as a "clean comic-entertainer", adding that "director KS Ravikumar deserves a pat for weaving out a good screenplay based on Kamal Haasan’s story idea and creating a laugh riot". Tulika of Rediff labelled the film as "a barrel of laughs".
The film had a decent response at the box office. Kamal Haasan distributed the film himself in the Karnataka region. A sequel to the film was planned and Ravikumar had hoped to film scenes on a cruise liner, but the project failed to take off. Elements from the proposed sequel were, however, used in Ravikumar's 2010 directorial film Manmadan Ambu, which also featured Haasan. This film met with mixed reviews and was an average grosser.
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