Kallazhagar is a 1999 Tamil film directed by Bharathi featuring Vijaykanth and Laila in the lead roles. Nassar, Sonu Sood and Manivannan play other supporting roles, while Deva composed the score and soundtrack for the film. The film released on 6 February 1999 to average reviews. It was later dubbed in Telegu as Mathrudesham.
Madurai kallazhagar chithirai festival 2017 full ceremony
Laila, who had appeared in other regional Indian films, opted to make her debut in Tamil films with Kallazhagar after she had famously rejected a string of other Tamil offers including VIP. The actress also turned down a role in Ajith Kumar's Unnaithedi, insistent that Kallazhagar should be her first release.
An elephant called Appu was brought in from Thrissur in Kerala, where the elephant formed one of a stable maintained by the famed Paaramekaavu temple, which forms the venue of the yearly Thrissur Pooram festival.
The film was initially scheduled to release on 14 January 1999 coinciding with the festival of Thai Pongal though became delayed due to problems at the censor. The film was rejected by Indian censors, because of its potential to spark religious conflicts - with particularly a scene in which some Muslim extremists masquerade themselves as religious Hindus and join in the celebration of a major festival in a temple - being highlighted as a concern. The team subsequently had to adapt the concept partially.
The success of the film prompted the producer Henry to sign Vijayakanth for his next film. The film also created demand for Laila as a lead heroine and she shortly after signed on to appear in a role in Mudhalvan (2000).