Thamizhan (English: Tamilian) is a 2002 Tamil action political film directed by debutant Majith and produced by G. Venkateswaran. The film stars Vijay in the lead role with Priyanka Chopra, making her debut as a lead actress. Revathi, Nassar, Ashish Vidyarthi and Vivek also play pivotal roles in the film, while the film's score and soundtrack were composed by D. Imman. The film was released in April 2002 and it was declared as hit at the box office. The movie was later dubbed in Telugu as Dammunte Kasko and Hindi as Gundaraaj 2.
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Surya (Vijay) is a lawyer with right values, who tries to redress things the legal way. He falls in love with Priya (Priyanka Chopra). His brother-in-law Shakthivel (Nassar), also an upright lawyer, is killed in the process of upholding justice. Surya's sister Jaya (Revathi) also meets a pitiful end at the hands of criminals, but Surya refuses to give up. His mission is to make the layman understand his legal rights .
Vijay as Surya
Priyanka Chopra as Priya
Nassar as Shakthivel, Surya's brother-in-law
Revathi as Jaya, Surya's sister
Vivek as Nandakumar
Ashish Vidyarthi as G.K
Delhi Ganesh as Lawyer Laxminarayanan
Vinu Chakravarthy as M.L.A
M. S. Bhaskar as Ganesan
"Minnal" Deepa as Priya's Friend
In 2001, producer G. Venkateswaran signed on Thirupathisamy to direct Vijay in an action film titled Velan. The film, a remake of the director's Telugu film Azad, saw Priyanka Chopra, winner of the beauty pageant Miss World 2000, being brought in by Venkateswaren to make her debut and play the lead female role. However, before production began, Thirupathisamy died in an accident and Venkateswaren duly decided to give debutant Majith a chance to direct a film with the same cast.
Gouthami Tadimalla was initially selected to play Vijay's sister in the film, but was later replaced by Revathi. Vivek was signed on to film comedy scenes for a sum of 15 lakh rupees. A new technical team of music director 17-year-old Imman, who had scored for serials earlier, and cinematographer Ekambaram, who had apprenticed with Jeeva, were also selected. Furthermore, the sets were designed by Sabu Cyril, dance choreography was by Raju Sundaram, and stunts were arranged by Super Subbarayan.
A scene for the film featured the producer and lyricist Vairamuthu making guest appearances as themselves during a book launch event. The patriotic nature of the film led to a postal stamp being released with Vijay's face on it. The similarities of title and the same release date between Thamizhan and the Prashanth-starrer Thamizh created confusion, with the producers of both films unable to accommodate any changes.
Made on a high budget of ₹5 crore, Thamizhan was sold for ₹11.5 crore to distributors. But the film opened to mixed reviews from film critics on April 14, 2002. Malathi Rangarajan of The Hindu praised Vijay's image change and claimed he acts out a "creditable portrayal", while adding that "dialogue is a strong point of the film". Though she also mentioned that "debutante Priyanka Chopra has precious little to do" and that Revathi's role was of a cliched elder sister. The critic from Rediff.com also gave the film a positive review stating that the director had succeeded in making a good debut, while adding that Vijay is "his usual lively self". In regard to the other roles, the critic claims that Chopra, "shows no promise" while Revathi and Nassar "fulfill what their roles demand" and that Ashish Vidyarthi "as the villain is promising". Another critic labelled the film as "meaningful cinema" though stated that some scenes were overdone. In comparison, a reviewer from Bizhat.com stated that "the message conveyed leaves you exhausted and stressed", giving the film an average review.
The soundtrack of the film was composed by D. Imman, who with the soundtrack made his debut at 17 years old. Actress Priyanka Chopra sang a song in the film, with Vijay recommending her after he had heard her humming to a tune.