Bangalore Days

A quirky look at Tamil films that had the Karnataka capital as their backdrop

Chennai, Sept 14: The violent incidents in Bengaluru over Cauvery waters give us an opportunity, keeping in line with the ethos of modern journalism, to look at how the capital city of Karnataka has been featured in some popular Tamil films.

Some of you may wonder how such a news feature is any relevant to such a burning issue. But relevance and reasonability are long-dead in journalism. We in the news industry are moving into a phase where in a news report on, say, Union Budget we manage to shove in a picture of Sunny Leone.

So here they go:

Kalaingan: Kamal Haasan, the pop singer-dancer Indrajith, is the heartthrob of Bangalore girls. But one by one his female fans are killed. Who kills them? And why? It is all revealed in the film’s riveting climax and the villain is, yes, Vattal Nagaraj who takes out all the women because they keep speaking in Tamil even though the entire film is set in Bangalore. The Bangalore City Police Commissioner, who personally handles these murder cases, also converses in Tamil. It is in retaliation to this slight, Karnataka has been declining Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. Just kidding. But you never know.

The film’s final scene is one of the memorable ones as Kamal proves his innocence in the murder case after killing most of the cops chasing him. But the arch villain, the impresario of Kamal’s concerts, eventually falls to his death unable to take the tedium of the movie any more.

Panchathanthiram: A laughathon, this has Kamal and his band of merry friends making a furtive fun trip to Bangalore and getting trapped in an assumed murder as in their eagerness to keep making jokes non-stop they mistake ketchup to be blood.  On their way back from Bangalore, Kamal and his friends dispose the dead body from a bridge down on a water-less riverbed. Was this a typical smart Kamal allusion to the Cauvery river imbroglio? Luckily, no one thought so.

A Tamil, Kannadiga, Telugu and Malayali play Kamal’s four friends and they manage a smattering of their mother tongue from time to time, but Kamal, by the virtue of being the film’s hero, speaks their languages better.

Dharmathin Thalaivan: Prabhu is a hot-headed college student. But his brother Rajini, a forgetful professor, is, however, traditional-minded and sets much store by the values of the land, like living — pre-marriage — with his fiancee Suhasini and her dad V K Ramaswamy in the same house.

Rajini is killed, and to escape the painful memories Prabhu and Suhasini shift to Bangalore, where they chance upon a rowdy, who is an exact replica of the dead Rajini. Suhasini and Prabhu eventually accept this rowdy as their lover and brother respectively. Apparently, forgetting is an infectious disease, and it runs in their family.

The highlight of the film is director S P Muthuraman realistically re-creating …Bangalore? No, the interiors of a house in Bangalore.

Paiyya Karthi, is a happy-go-lucky guy who despite graduating is not interested in taking up any 9 to 5 job as they are not remunerative, but bides his time and eventually takes up what is one of the most lucrative jobs in Bangalore — cab driver. Okay, that is a wrong way to put it across. Karthi falls in love with Tamannah and chauffeurs her to Mumbai in a Mitsubishi Lancer that, going by their time on road, gives 100 km per litreKarthi, in total, takes out with his bare hands a group of men that could, by rough estimates, constitute the infantry of, say, Egypt. After singing plenty of songs and fighting plenty of fights en route, the film ends with her giving ‘five star rating’ to the driver.

Udhayam NH4: This is one film that lets the characters speak either in Kannada or Tamil in the way that Kannadigas do, which is a lot better than some of the Tamil heroines actually do. The hero and heroine, trying to escape her father in Bangalore, are up against one of the most dreaded forces known to mankind — the Silk Board junction traffic. Well, not really, they are pursued by a top cop who is an encounter specialist.

After several typical rough and tough incidents, the cop is outsmarted by the simple expedient of heroine turning 18. Seriously, the cop who is ready to kill them, stops on his heels after she turns — all during the chase — 18. As she is a major, the policeman, who has no compunctions in being an encounter specialist, lets the duo free.