BENGALURU:THE rerelease of yesteryear classic Naagarahaavu starring Vishnuvardhan in the lead, marks a historic moment in Karnataka. The 1972 film, helmed by legendary director Puttana Kanagal, made its appearance in its ‘new and improved’ digitised version — cinemascope with 7.1 sound technology on July 20, and is running houseful shows. The film deals with the unique bond between a mercurial youngster Ramachari and his mentor and teacher Chamayya meshtru.
With Vishnuvardhan playing the iconic character Ramachari, the angry young man, the original movie got him the superstar status overnight then. The film also marked the debut of Rebel Star Ambareesh who played a villain and who was also pitchforked into stardom. Ashwath as Chamayya meshtru has immortalised the role. Today, 45 years later, the movie retains its magic. While there have been advance bookings, Naagarahaavu even had a special screening at 6am on Friday at a single theatre.
The film now opened in 180 theatres. But going by the tremendous response, multiplexes have increased the shows. “Initially multiplexes had given us only 2 shows. But the film’s response is so huge that they have doubled the screens. We have also got theatres like Chandrodaya and Vaibhav, which show only other language films, screening Naagarahaavu. Siimilary, Orion mall, GT mall, Gopalan Arch malls have increased shows,” said Karthik Gowda who has distributed the film.
Although neither the production house nor the distributor was able to reveal the exact collection figures as on Sunday, sources privy to the box office have estimated the film to have made `3.5 crore in three days. Balaji, son of producer N Veeraswami and younger brother of actor Ravichandran, decided to rerelease the film under the banner Eshwari Productions, and Karthik Gowda took up distribution under KRG studios.
Naagarahaavu works its magic again
“It has taken a marvellous opening and the share will be almost equal to the release of a star in its first week,” Karthik Gowda said.“While celebrities have been talking about Naagarahaavu and Vishnuvardhan’s role as Ramachari, Shivarajkumar was the first actor to watch the film at Nartaki theatre in Bengaluru on Sunday along with a huge crowd. Yash, Upendra and Ambareesh among other actors will be watching the film in the coming days,” Balaji said.
Overwhelmed by the phenomenal response across the state, he said, “I have been going to the theatres to gauge audience reaction. I see only celebrations and idol worship. The appreciation that the film has garnered when it released first has doubled upon its rerelease.”
The negatives of the film were fetched from Chennai’s Gemini Lab. The work has taken two years with 65 technicians getting involved in restoring the film and coming up with its new version. “People in fact asked me whether I was mad to work on a project for two years and spending so much money for its re-release. But I was very confident. I never thought it was a 45-year- old film, and took it up as a new project,” he said.
Usha Priyadarshini, age 51, home-maker, said, “Being a huge fan of Vishnuvardhan, I wanted to watch it again on the big screen. I was around five when I first watched it, and I haven’t forgotten even one bit of it. Now with technological upgradation, the new release is definitely better. It was a nostalgic ride!”
Naagarahavu featured Arathi and Shubha in the female leads, and Ashwath as Chamayya Meshtru. Ambareesh’s dialogue – ‘Hey bulbul mathadakilva’is a catchphrase among youngsters even to this day.