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Indian is a 1996 Tamil film directed by S. Shankar. The film stars Kamal Haasan, Manisha Koirala, Urmila Matondkar, Goundamani, and Senthil. The film's score and soundtrack are composed by A. R. Rahman. Indian was nominated by India as its entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards in 1996. On 12 September 2008, 12 years after its original release, the film was digitally remastered and re-released at Amjikarai Theatre in Tamil Nadumarker, Indiamarker. The theme of corruption became a recurring theme in a number of later Indian films, including Mudhalvan (1999), Nayak: The Real Hero (2001), Anniyan (2005) and Sivaji (2007).

The film was later released (dubbed) in Hindi as Hindustani and in Telugu as Bharatheeyudu. When Indian was dubbed in Hindi as Hindustani, Shankar shot all of Manorama's scenes with Aruna Irani, to give it a Hindi touch and also changed all the Tamil banners in the backdrop to Hindi.


The story runs on two tracks. One is that of Chandra Bose alias Chandru (Kamal Haasan), a small-time broker outside the RTO (Road Transport Office) who gets people licences etc., by accepting bribes. He is supported in this work by Subbiah (Goundamani). Paneerselvam (Senthil) plays an officer in the RTO who has conflicts with Subbiah. Aishwarya (Manisha Koirala) and Chandru are in love with each other. Sapna (Urmila Matondkar) is the daughter of Gandhikrishna, an ofiicer in RTO. Her father promises to get Chandru a job of being a brake inspector in the RTO, if he runs errands for them. He agrees to work for them, and soon he becomes a brake inspector.

The other track is of Senapathy, alias Indian (Kamal Haasan), a 70-year-old man who kills top government officials (like Commissioners of Corporation etc.) in an extreme attempt to weed out corruption from Indian soil. Senapathy is also Chandru's father. Krishnaswamy (Nedumudi Venu) is an intelligence officer out to nab the Indian. He manages to somehow trace his way to Senapathy's house and finds Senapathy posing as an ex-freedom fighter. Archived newspaper reports say that Senapathy was a soldier in the Indian National Army who was an extremist. Senapathy's wife Amirthavalli (Sukanya) is asked what Senapathy did to deserve a freedom fighter tag, and at this point, we are taken to the 1940s. Rebellions against the Britishmarker, atrocities etc are shown, culminating in Senapathy marrying Sukanya but leaving for Singaporemarker to join Subash Chandra Bose as part of the INA. He returns after independence. Nedumudi Venu tries to arrest Senapathy, but his attempt is foiled, and Senapathy escapes with his expertise in the ancient martial art called Varmam.

Senapathy then goes on to commit a murder in front of television audiences by killing a corrupt doctor (Nizhalgal Ravi) who refused to attend immediately to Senapathy's daughter (Kasthuri), who was suffering from third degree burns because he insisted on a bribe, which Senapathy refused. Chandru parts ways with his father because of his excessive insistence on honesty etc. and considers these values to be dead and worthless. How Senapathy evades the police and escapes arrest forms a major portion of the remaining part of the story. Public support is very high for the Indian because he exposes so many corrupt people. Senapathy does not do his son any favors either. Chandru had earlier taken a bribe and given a safety certificate to a bus with faulty brakes. The bus meets with an accident, killing school children it was carrying and thus Chandru is held responsible. Senapathy is bent on giving Chandru the same punishment as he gives others, i.e.death. After a few chase sequences, in the climax sequence in an airport Senapathy kills Chandru and apparently dies in an explosion. Krishnaswamy discovers through a video that Senapathy escaped moments before the jeep he killed his son in, exploded.

The epilogue shows Senapathy calling Krishnaswamy from a foreign land (presumably U.K.marker or Australia), indicating that he will be back should the need for him arise.




The soundtrack features 5 songs composed by A. R. Rahman, with lyrics by Vairamuthu & Vaali. For Hindi soundtrack the lyrics is written by P.K. Mishra.



Box Office

  • The film grossed $6 million at the box office.


1997 National Film Awards (Indiamarker)

1997 Filmfare Awards South (Indiamarker)

1997 Academy Awards (United Statesmarker)


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