Patriotic Tamil movies on freedom fighters

Chennai: Nation gears up to celebrate 71st Independence Day tomorrow. Many leaders spearheaded the struggle to free the nation from the clutches of Britishers. Tamil cinema played a major role in arousing patriotic fervour among people.

It never failed to chronicle the lives of freedom fighters, who played a major part in rewriting the history of the nation. On the I-Day eve, News Today takes a look at top five films that spoke about their struggle and sacrifice for the country.


Naam Iruvar is a 1947 film directed and produced by A V Meiyappan. The movie released in January, a few months before India’s independence, was a thundering success.

The story begins with a Subramania Bharathi anniversary and ends with Gandhi’s 77th birthday celebrations. A notable feature of the movie were its songs, which were written by Subramaniya Bharathi and sung by D K Pattammal.


Veerapandiya Kattabomman was a freedom fighter, an 18th-century Palayakarrar and chieftain from Panchalankurichi. He refused to accept the sovereignty of the British East India Company and waged a war against them.

Directed by B R Panthulu, the film featured Sivaji Ganesan, Gemini Ganesan, Padmini, S Varalakshmi and Ragini in the lead roles with V K Ramasamy and Javar Seetharaman in supporting parts. Music was by G Ramanathan. Sivaji Ganesan’s performance as Kattabomman received wide praise.

The film was the first in Tamil cinema to receive international awards for Best Film, Best Actor, and Best Music Director at the 1960 Afro-Asian Film Festival in Cairo. It also won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil.


A historical drama directed by K Shankar, it was produced by lyricist Kannadasan. The cast included S S Rajendran, S Varalakshmi, Kamala Lakshmanan and M N Rajam in lead roles.

After the execution of Kattabomman on 17 October, 1799, at Kayattar, Chinna Marudhu gave asylum to Kattabomman’s brother Oomadurai. But, the British took this as a reason to invade and attacked Sivaganga in 1801 with a powerful army. The Maruthu Pandiyars and their allies were quite successful and captured three districts from the British.

British considered it as a serious threat to their future in India that they rushed additional troops from Britain to put down the Maruthu Pandiyars’ rebellion. The movie had music by Viswanathan and Ramamoorthy.


Kappalottiya Tamizhan, directed by B R Panthulu, featured Sivaji Ganesan and Gemini Ganesan in the lead roles, S V Subbaiah, T K Shanmugham, S V Ranga Rao, Savitri and S A Ashokan were featured in supporting roles. The film is based on the life of V O Chidambaram Pillai written by Ma Po Si.

VOC started the National Shipping Company with Indian Capital to free Indian trade from dependence on foreign liners. He was later imprisoned and went through lots of travails.


It is a biographical film based on the life of Tamil poet Subramania Bharati. The movie featured Sayaji Shinde, Devayani and Nizhalgal Ravi. The film was directed by Gnana Rajasekaran and won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil for the year 2000. This film was critically acclaimed and managed to do well at the box office. Music by Ilaiyaraaja was applauded by all.


Kamaraj, directed by Balakrishnan, was about the life of K Kamaraj, widely acknowledged as the ‘Kingmaker’ in Indian politics during the 1960s. He was the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu during 1954-1963 and a Member of Parliament during 1952-1954 and 1969-1975.

Music was composed by Ilaiyaraaja, directed by Balakrishnan and the film was produced by Ramana Communications. The film had a theatrical release across India in February 2004.

The narration is divided into three phases. The pre-Independence period depicting Kamaraj’s childhood, the second phase depicts his taking over as the Congress Chief Minister of the State, the reforms he tries to bring in, especially in education and the third phase where he puts forth the Kamaraj Plan, and resigns from the post of Chief Minister.