Movie review of the Malayalam 1996 film Kaalapani starring Mohanlal – by Melanie on Pardesi Reviews.
Kaalapani (English: Black Water) is a 1996 Indian Malayalam language epic historical period drama film co-written and directed by Priyadarshan, set in 1915 it focus on the lives of Indian freedom fighters incarcerated in prison during the British Raj. The film stars Mohanlal, Prabhu Ganesan, Tabu, Amrish Puri, Nedumudi Venu, Sreenivasan, Tinnu Anand, Annu Kapoor, Alex Draper, and Vineeth. Kaalapani is regarded as one of the classics in Malayalam cinema. Originally produced in Malayalam, the film was dubbed and released in Hindi as Saza-E-Kala Pani, Tamil as Siraichalai, and in Telugu as Kaala Pani. Amitabh Bachchan bought the Hindi dubbing rights, besides narrating the prologue for the Hindi version.
The film is about the lives of prisoners in British India who are brought to Kālā Pānī, the Cellular Jail in Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The name Kalapani is derived from the mode of imprisonment in British India. Ilaiyaraaja composed the music, the cinematography was by Santosh Sivan, and the editing by N. Gopalakrishnan. The film introduced Dolby Stereo into Malayalam cinema. It was made on a budget of ₹2.5 crore, making it the costliest Malayalam film made until then.
Kaalapani was released on 12 April 1996 in 450 theaters worldwide, which was the largest release for any Indian film until then. The film won three National Film Awards. including the awards for Best Art Direction (Sabu Cyril), Best Special Effects (S. T. Venky), and Best Cinematography (Santosh Sivan). Along with that it won six Kerala State Film Awards.
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