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36 years ago, a movie with newbies under the strict supervision of legendary director, Puttana Kanagal was released across the state of Karnataka. Little did people back them had expectations on the movie except for the fact that the flick titled Nagarahaavu, was directed by the biggest director of Kannada cinema and bankrolled by one of the prestigious banner, Sri Eshwari Productions, by N. Veeraswamy.
Nagarahaavu is all set to come back into theatres and here are some interesting facts and anecdotes connected with the epic movie.
Background of Nagarahaavu
Puttana decided to combine three novels of TR Subba Rao to make a single celluloid experience. Nagarahaavu, Ondu Gandu Eradu Hennu & Sarpa Mathsara. Though the movie had some great names in the casting which included the likes of KS Ashwath, Lokanath, MN Lakshmi Devi, MP Shankar, Dheerendra Gopal and Vajramuni, the lead casting was fairly unknown to the audience as the hero, heroines and the antagonist were debutants.
Stars from the Day 1
Kannada cinema was ruled by just one legendary actor for close to 2 decades without any other actor posing a healthy competition to him. He was Dr. Rajkumar who was revered as the biggest on-screen performer and was a demi-god to his fans. Then entered a young, handsome and a dynamic lad in his early 20s in the form of Nagarahaavu’s Ramachari character.
Sahasa Simha (As he was mononymously later called as) Vishnuvardhan got connected to the audience instantly with his very first movie. Thanks to the writing of Puttana and Vishnu’s striking screen presence and performance.
Vishnu earned an instant fan base with Nagarahaavu which later assisted him in cementing a permanent place in the hearts of Karnataka audience and cinema industry.
An equally popular, talented and a bigger star was born with the said product. Rebel Star Ambarish, who went on to become one of the top three actors in the industry was introduced as a protagonist with the character name, Jaleela. The evergreen dialogue “Ey Bull Bull, Maatadakilva” still invokes roars and whistles in theatres which maintains cult status.
Aarthi, the heroine of the movie went on to become on the top leading actress who performed in many blockbusters and with several stars of the industry.
Post Nagarahaavu, Both Vishnuvardhan and Ambarish became formidable forces of Kannada cinema and stood as the number 2 and 3 actors in the industry after the great, Dr. Rajkumar.
Writer TR Subba Rao drew criticism on director Puttana Kanagal for downplaying the characterization of Ramachari. He had responded that Ramachari was not Nagarahaavu (Cobra) but instead a Kerehaavu (Rat Snake) as the movie fell flat in comparison with his book. However, the denigration fell flat as audience embraced the movie with both hands whole heartedly.
Awards and Recognition
Vishnuvardhan won Filmfare special award for excellent performance and also the state award for best actor.
Aarthi was awarded the best actress, KS Ashwath was crowned the best supporting actor and Shubha, best supporting actress.
TR Subba Rao was acknowledged the best story writer, Chi Udayashankar was patted on the back for his dialogues with an award under best screenplay category while director Puttana Kanagal was accredited with best screenplay award.
Remake and Title History
Nagarahaavu created a national level craze in cinema and was remade in three languages.
It was remade as Zehreela Insaan with Rishi Kapoor and Ambarish in the lead while Puttana Kanagal himself steering the flick.
Sreekanth donned the lead role in the Tamil remake which was named as Raaja Naagam.
Shoban Babu from the T-Town appeared in the form of Kode Nagu.
The popularity was so much so that many references of the movie, song and its title were drawn in Kannada cinema over the years.
Upendra and Jyotika’s 2002 thriller movie came with the same title and Haavina Dwesha song was reused.
Rocking Star Yash is seen as a Ramachari fan in his 2014 Blockbuster movie, Mr & Mrs Ramachari.
Kodi Ramakrishna’s graphical flick, Nagarahaavu, was again invoked certain anticipation amongst audience for its title and for a small motion capture cameo of Dr. Vishnuvarshan.
With so many things around Nagarahaavu, and with the movie re-releasing this Friday after undergoing a refactored digital process, one could expect a good traction of audience into theatres.