Arunachalam poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySundar C.
Written byCrazy Mohan
Screenplay bySundar C.
Based onBrewster's Millions
by George Barr McCutcheon
Produced by
  • K. S. Nagarajan Raja
  • K. Muraliprasad Rao
CinematographyU. K. Senthil Kumar
Edited byP. Sai Suresh
Music byDeva
Annamalai Cine Combines
Release date
  • 10 April 1997 (1997-04-10)
Running time
165 minutes

Arunachalam is a 1997 Indian Tamil-language action drama film directed by Sundar C. and written by Crazy Mohan. The film features Rajinikanth, Soundarya and Rambha, with Jaishankar and Ravichandran in other pivotal roles.[1] The soundtrack and background score for the film was composed by Deva, while U. K. Senthil Kumar handled the cinematography. The film is loosely based on the 1902 novel Brewster's Millions by George Barr McCutcheon.[2]

The film opened in April 1997 to highly positive reviews from film critics and went on to win three Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, including an award for Best Film.[3]


A village head Arunachalam (Rajinikanth) who has two brothers Saravanan (Raja), Shakthi, (Shakthi Kumar) and a sister Arundhati (Anju Aravind) and a happy family. Ammayappa (Ravichandran) and K. R. Vatsala are his parents. Vedavalli (Soundarya) is the daughter of Aathikesavan (Jaishankar) and (Vennira Aadai Nirmala). Nirmala is Ammayappa's sister and they all come to Ammayappa's home for Arunachalam's sister's wedding. That gives the opportunity for Vedavalli and Arunachalam to fight first, then fall in love with each other.

Arunachalam finds himself to be an orphan by interval. He goes out of the village. He goes to Madras where he meets Beeda Kathavarayan (Janakaraj), who gives him a job. By some magical situation Arunachalam discovers himself to be the son of India's richest (dead) billionaire Vedhachalam (Rajinikanth)- through Rangachari (Visu). Rangachari is the guardian of Arunachalam's father's trust. If Arunachalam wants his inheritance, he has to follow certain rules. He can get an inheritance of 3000 Crore Rupees if he can spend 30 crores in 30 days. The conditions are: no contributions to charities, not to own any assets at the end of 30 days and above all, no one else should know about this and receipts should be provide for all the expenses. If Arunachalam fails to spend the money according to the rules, all the money will go to his father's trust which is managed by Vishwanath (Raghuvaran), Prathap (Nizhalgal Ravi), Kurian (Kitty) and Kaliyaperumal (V. K. Ramasamy). These four form a team of "villains". They want to spoil Arunachalam's efforts and get all the money for the trust and kill Rangachari. Nandhini (Rambha) is Rangachari's daughter and she is appointed as the accountant for Arunachalam for 30 days.

Arunachalam tries hard to spend his money and many times, the money comes back. He spends on Horse races, lottery tickets, makes a movie with Arivazhagan (Senthil) as the hero and he even starts his own political party with Kathavarayan being the candidate. All these events are good opportunities for situation comedies. Does Arunachalam win this competition, does he get all the 3000 Crore rupees for himself and live happily ever after is the rest of the story.




The song "Athanda Ithanda" was shot at Keshava Temple of Hoysala Architecture at Somanathapura, Karnataka
The song "Athanda Ithanda" was shot at Keshava Temple of Hoysala Architecture at Somanathapura, Karnataka

After the success of Muthu in 1995, Rajinikanth took a year out dabbling in politics and taking a sabbatical before announcing that his next film would be Arunachalam written by Crazy Mohan. It was announced that the film would be produced to help eight of his struggling film industry colleagues and it was incorrectly earlier reported that the film would be produced under his newly floated Rajini Arts banner. It was indicated that some of the people who the film would go on to cause benefits for included Kalakendra Govindharajan who introduced Rajinikanth in his production Apoorva Raagangal (1975), Kalaignyanam who featured Rajinikanth in the lead role for the first time with his production Bairavi (1978) and brothers Ramji and Babji who produced some of the actor's early hits, Kaali (1980) and Garjanai (1980). Furthermore, collections would also be shared between the family of Sathya Studio Padmanabhan, actress Pandari Bai, actor V. K. Ramasamy and producer Madurai Nagaraja.[4][5] Initial reports had also titled the film as Kuberan and Meshtri, but Arunachalam was eventually retained.[6] The plot of the film was inspired by George Barr McCutcheon's 1902 novel Brewster's Millions.[2]

The Director Sundar C. has stated in an interview that he didn't like the story of Arunachalam and he did it because he didn't want to miss an opportunity to work with Rajinikanth. He also mentioned that Rajinikanth is the one who called and narrated him the story and asked him to direct.[7]

Sundar C. also said if he didn't like the story Rajinikanth would simply change the director. Sundar C heard from a producer who's close to Rajini, that "Once Rajini takes a decision he doesn't go back, and he'll only work with people who work according to that vision." So Sundar C. accepted the story even though he didn't like it as he didn't want to miss working with the legend, Rajinikanth. As he knew Rajini would not change the story for working with Sundar, but he would change the director.[7]


Initially the lead heroine of the film was expected to be Meena, who had featured in Rajinikanth's previous film, Muthu before Soundarya and Rambha were signed on as heroines.[4] The initial cast list released to the media also had Jayaram in the cast of the film as well as Vignesh, who was later replaced by Raja.[6] Manorama was also surprisingly added to the cast after causing controversy the previous year by lashing out at Rajinikanth's political motives.[5][8]


Soundtrack album to Arunachalam by
GenreFeature film soundtrack
LabelBig B
Vega Music
Think Music
Ayngaran Music
Deva chronology
Bharathi Kannamma

The music was composed by Deva. The song "Nagumo" had two versions, Hariharan's version was included in soundtrack only, while another version with the vocals of Krishnaraj was included in the film only. Audio was released under the music label "Big B" of Amitabh Bachchan. The tune of Alli Alli Anarkali was lifted from the songs "Ladki Ladki" from Shreemaan Aashique (1993), which was composed by Nadeem–Shravan and "Tutak Tutak Tutiyan" from Ghar Ka Chiraag (1989), which was composed by Bappi Lahiri

1."Athanda Ethanda"VairamuthuS. P. Balasubrahmanyam05:37
2."Alli Alli Anarkili"Palani BharathiMano, Swarnalatha05:03
3."Mathadu Mathadu"Palani BharathiS. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Sujatha Mohan, Meera, Manorama05:57
4."Nagumo"VairamuthuHariharan, K. S. Chithra04:32
5."Nagumo (film version)"VairamuthuKrishnaraj, K. S. Chithra04.32
6."Singam Ondru"VairamuthuMalaysia Vasudevan04:45
7."Thalai Maganae"KalidasanS. P. Balasubramanyam02:18
8."Theme Music" Instrumental01:23
Total length:29:35


The film was released theatrically on 10 April 1997.[3]


Critical response said that "the saving grace of the film is Rajini himself. He has the exceptional ability to convincingly portray the same utopian role of anger and love, innocence and impetuousness...and whats more...he does it with remarkable freshness time and again".[9] The Hindu wrote on 18 April 1997, "Arunachalam contains all the elements that provide escapist entertainment [...] humour, fairplay, love, feud occupy the frames".[10] New Straits Times wrote, "Go with an open mind and you will enjoy this movie".[11]

Box office

The film was declared a commercial success at the box office, although not as big as Rajinikanth's previous films Baashha and Muthu (both 1995).[12][13]


Arunachalam went on to win three Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, including an award for Best Film. Super Subbarayan and Gopi Kanth also respectively won awards for Best Stunt Coordinator and Best Art Director.

Tamil Nadu State Film Awards

Rudraksh bead sentiment

Rajinikanth lost his sentimental Rudraksh bead during the shooting of the film and was shocked and upset to note that his Rudraksh was missing. He ordered a search at the shooting spot at midnight and with the help of the giant lights used for shooting, he later found the divine bead after a while.[14]


  1. ^ Arunachalam (1999) - IMDb, 10 April 1997, retrieved 4 August 2021
  2. ^ a b Ramachandran, Naman (2012). Rajinikanth: The Definitive Biography. Penguin Books. pp. 170–171.
  3. ^ a b Arunachalam - IMDb, retrieved 4 August 2021
  4. ^ a b "Tamil Movie News-Pudhu Edition 2 – soc.culture.tamil | Google Groups". 22 October 1996. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  5. ^ a b "The Journey of living legend Rajinikanth Part 6 – The Journey Of Living Legend Rajinikanth Part 6- Amar Reddy- Rajinikamth – – -". Archived from the original on 26 September 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Tamil Movie News-Pudhu Edition 2 – soc.culture.tamil | Google Groups". 17 January 1997. Retrieved 2 July 2012.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ a b Vendhar TV (26 January 2015), Ninaithale Inikkum | (25 January 2015) | Sundar.C Interview | [Epi-12], retrieved 29 October 2016
  8. ^ Anupama Subramanian DC chennai (25 June 2011). "Rajinikanth is Kaliyug Vaali". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  9. ^ "INDOlink Film Review: Arunachalam". Archived from the original on 7 June 1997. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  10. ^ Ramachandran, Naman (2012). Rajinikanth 12.12.12: A Birthday Special. The Hindu. p. 75. GGKEY:A78L0XB1B0X.
  11. ^ Vijiyin, K. (21 April 1997). "Another reason to love Rajni". New Straits Times.
  12. ^ Vijiyin, K. (2 January 1998). "Dispute affects production". New Straits Times.
  13. ^ "Trouble brewing". 30 June 1997. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  14. ^ "Rajini and the Rudraksh - Tamil News". 28 January 2008.