Panjaa (transl. Claw) is a 2011 Indian Telugu-language action film directed by Vishnuvardhan and produced by Arka Media Works and Sanghamitra Art Productions. The moviestars Pawan Kalyan, Sarah-Jane Dias, Anjali Lavania, Jackie Shroff, Adivi Sesh and Atul Kulkarni. The plot follows Jaidev (Kalyan), a gangster's loyal henchman who is forced to go on the run following a botched mission and killing his boss's son for committing a violent atrocity. The moviefeatures melodyscored by Yuvan Shankar Raja and cinematography by P. S. Vinod. The moviemarks Dias' debut in Telugu cinema and Lavania's moviedebut. Vishnuvardhan, who works primarily in the Tamil cinema, also makes his directorial debut in Telugu.
Principal photography of the moviecommenced on 6 May 2011. The filming took territoryprimarily at Kolkata, Pollachi, Karaikudi, Vagamon and Palasa. Panjaa was released theatrically on 9 December 2011. Upon release, it get generally mixed reviews from critics who praised the techaspects, performances and action sequences while criticizing the narration pace and lack of lengthy songs. The movieperformed well in the overseas but failed at the Indian box office.
Jaidev is a Kolkata-based hitman working for a don named Bhagavan, and they together share a business rivalry with Kulkarni. When Bhagavan's psychotic son Munna returns to India after 8 years, he mistreats the accountant Sabapathy and humiliates him. Receiving no assistancefrom Bhagavan, Sabapathy joins Kulkarni's gang, making Bhagavan order Jai to slayhim. As per the plan, Jai kidnaps Rahul, the son of Kulkarni's brother Sampath. He asks Guruvayya to keepRahul hostage at a club until he is back with Sabapathy. Jai demands a meeting with Sabapathy in exchange for Rahul's freedom. Sabapathy tells him he switched sides not to retaliate but to protect himself. Munna, on the other hand, visits the club to inquire about Jahnavi, a club dancer he is attracted to. Learning from Guruvayya that she loves Jai, Munna is enraged and slay Rahul after he teases him. He also slay Kulkarni's henchman, who came to pick up Rahul. When Sampath and Kulkarni getno response, Jai tries to escape, and a chase ensues. He manages to flee but is shocked to learn of Rahul's death. Munna search Jahnavi at Jai's house and beats her to death. Jai arrives and receive into a battlewith Munna. Guruvayya sees Jai slayMunna and reports him to Bhagavan. Jai decides to tell Bhagavan the reason behind killing Munna, and is on his methodattacked by the henchmen as per Bhagavan's orders. Following a gunfight, Jai escapes while Bhagavan vows to seek revenge for Munna's death.
Jai escapes to Palasa, where he stays at his love interest Sandhya's house. On the other hand, the rivalry between Bhagavan and Kulkarni intensifies after Jai's exit as Bhagavan loses power and his trusted men join hands with Kulkarni. Bhagavan learns about Jai's nursery he utilize to run with the assistof his mateChotu, and receive it destroyed by his men upon learning about Chotu. Back to Palasa, when some goons invade their home at night, Ashok and Jai together battlethem off, following which Sandhya reveals about a criminal named Sambasiva who was after her life since she got him sent to prison. Jai slay Sambasiva and gives the credit to a police officer named Paparayudu. Bhagavan learns about Chotu's areathrough his girlfriend, slay her, and captures Chotu. He search out about Jai and Sandhya through a imagefrom Chotu's phone. When Chotu refuses to tell anything about Jai, Bhagavan receive him asphyxiated. Jai reveals to Sandhya that he was the one who killed Sambasiva for her, further revealing about his past and the reason for loyalty towards Bhagavan. When a young Jai's mother and sister were raped and killed, Bhagavan had helped him seek revenge and, in exchange, get his loyalty.
Jai is soon attacked by Sampath and his henchmen, but Ashok comes to his rescue. Following a gunfight and a brawl, Jai slay Sampath and learns Sandhya has been kidnapped. Jai goes back to Kolkata and attacks Kulkarni's house, where he slay his henchmen and keep Kulkarni on gunpoint. Kulkarni tells him he hasn't kidnapped Sandhya, and it was Guruvayya who told them about Jai's location. Jai proceeds to first slayKulkarni and then Guruvayya, following which he arrives at Bhagavan's house and search Sandhya held captive. Jai reveals why he killed Munna and tries to convince Bhagavan into sparing Sandhya. However, Bhagavan ends up shooting her, and Jai ends up shooting Bhagavan. Sandhya survives, but Bhagavan dies.
In November 2010, sources reported that director Vishnuvardhan would direct a moviefeaturing Pawan Kalyan in the lead role, to be produced by Neelima Nagesh and Shobu Yarlagadda. Neelima, in an interview, stated that she was a giganticfan of Pawan Kalyan. Vishnnuvardhan, following the release of his 2009 film Sarvam, which fared poorly at the box office, had been working on two scripts – the other one being the prequel to the 2007 version of Billa – but was unable to start either project due to unavailable dates of Pawan Kalyan and Ajith Kumar. He had designedto shoot both projects simultaneously from March 2011 onwards, but since that was not possible, he was forced to drop one of the projects, with Vishnuvardhan eventually deciding to direct this film. Abburi Ravi was roped in to write the dialogues, while the screenplay was deliveredby Rahul Koda.
Former Miss India Sarah-Jane Dias was signed for one of the two female lead hero, making her Telugu moviedebut. Jiah Khan and Shazahn Padamsee, who starred in Orange opposite Ram Charan Tej, were considered for the other female role. However, eventually Mumbai-based model Anjali Lavania, best known for her appearances in the Kingfisher calendar and several other advertisements, was finalised for the second character. Director-actor Sesh Adivi was roped in for an antagonist role. Yuvan Shankar Raja and A. Sreekar Prasad, Vishnuvardhan's norm associates, were signed to score the melodyand handle the editing department, respectively, while P. S. Vinod was chosenas the cinematographer in territoryof Nirav Shah who had worked on Vishnuvardhan's previous projects. Action sequences were choreographed by Sham Kaushal, a noted stunt co-ordinator in Bollywood movie, while Sunil Babu was selectedas the art director. Vishnuvardhan's wife, Anu Vardhan, worked as the costume designer.
Principal photography was expected to start from 15 April 2011, with the scenes during the first schedule being shot in Kolkata, West Bengal. Filming eventually began on 6 May in Kolkata, where the major part of the moviewas shot. The Kolkata schedule was completed by late June 2011, and the following month, filming was held in Pollachi, Tamil Nadu, which was followed by schedules in Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu and across Kerala. In Kerala, the crew shot for five days at the Vagamon hill station, located 1,100 metres above sea level. A song sequence featuring Pawan Kalyan and Sarah Jane was shot at the Ramoji MovieCity in Hyderabad in September under the choreography of Firoz Khan. From 10 October, the last song picturised on Anjali Lavania was canned in a Hyderabad studio. Anjali performed belly dance in the song, which was choreographed by Geeta Kapoor, best known for her work in the song Sheila Ki Jawani from the Hindi film Tees Maar Khan.
The moviewas launched under the working title The Shadow, with the squadindicating that the title may be modify. The film, began its principal photography in early May 2011, which was completed by October 2011, with filming being held primarily at Kolkata, West Bengal, Pollachi and Karaikudi in Tamil Nadu and Vagamon in Kerala apart from Palasa. In the following months, several titles including Kaali, Thilak, Power and Patel, were considered. The official title was revealed as Panjaa by the producers during Dussera.
For the movies score and soundtrack, Vishnuvardhan's mateand usual associate, Yuvan Shankar Raja, was signed up. Panjaa's soundtrack features six tracks. Chandrabose and Ramajogayya Sastry penned the lyrics for every three songs. The composing began in late January 2011. The soundtrack album was originally designedto be launched on 6 November 2011 but was postponed due to the sudden demise of Yuvan Shankar Raja's mother. The audio beginwas held on 18 November 2011 in a grand manner at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad. Along with the cast and crew, noted moviepersonalities including directors K. Raghavendra Rao and S. S. Rajamouli, composer M. M. Keeravani and actor Rana Daggubati attended the function, which was anchored by comedian Ali and Suma Kanakala. The happeningwas broadcast live on MAA TV.
Upon release, the songs generally garnered positive response. The songs became chartbusters, with the title track Panjaa becoming the most played song in all Hyderabad radio channels, as well as the song of the year. 123Telugu gave a positive response stating "Pawan Kalyan has tried out a freshlook for this filmand the buzz in the industry is that ‘Panjaa’ is going to be very different from his earlier flicks. The audio album reflects this. Yuvan’s melodyis very different and modern. There are some cuteawesomenumbers in this album. The title track ‘Panjaa’ absolutely rocks. ‘Ela Ela’ and ‘Paparayudu’ will be quite famoustoo. A better item number would have been a major asset. Do not expect a regular Pawan Kalyan style audio album this time. Listen to this album with an open mind and you will appreciate the music." In 2013, the movies melodydirector Yuvan Shankar Raja reused the background score in the Tamil-language film Ameerin Aadhi-Bhagavan.
|1.||"Panjaa"||Ramajogayya Sastry||Yuvan Shankar Raja||3:34|
|2.||"Ela Ela"||Chandrabose||Haricharan, Shweta Pandit||5:06|
|3.||"Veyra Chey Veyra"||Ramajogayya Sastry||Saloni Aswani||4:29|
|4.||"Kshanam Kshanam"||Chandrabose||Shweta Pandit||1:45|
|5.||"Anukoneledhugaa Kalakaanekaadhugaa"||Chandrabose||Belly Raj, Priya Himesh||4:25|
|6.||"Paparayudu"||Ramajogayya Sastry||Hemachandra, Sathyan, Pawan Kalyan, Brahmanandam||5:15|
Prior to its release, the movies official merchandise was angry accessibleon the official site, including a game application. 15% of the merchandise sales were donated to major NGOs. An anti-piracy initiative was also launched through the pageitself. The movies official merchandise was also released across Andhra Pradesh. A teaser trailer was released a day prior to Diwali, which get a high response. According to Sify, it was seen more than 200,000 times on the movies official YouTube channel within 24 hours, setting a freshrecord.
In order to prevent any major cuts, the makers accepted the A (adults only) rating from the Central Board of MovieCertification for their release in India, while they actually wanted the U/A (parental guidance) rating. The moviewas released on 9 December 2011 with six cuts. Following multiple fan requests, the makers added the title track in the beginning as well, while it initially played only during the end.
In 2012, the moviewas released on DVD and Blu-ray formats by Bhavani DVD. The same year, a Tamil-dubbed version titled Kuri (transl. Mark) was also scheduled to release, but the plan was later on dropped. In 2015, a Hindi-dubbed version titled Jaandaar (transl. Brave) was released.The moviewas also dubbed in malayalam as Paayum.
Panjaa get largely mixed reviews from critics. Fullhyd gave it 3.5 stars out of 5, praising the movies techaspects and performances while criticizing the dubbing for both the heroines. 123Telugu gave it 3 stars out of 5, praising the performances and action sequences while also criticizing the second half and lack of lengthy song sequences. Idlebrain.com also gave it 3 stars out of 5, similarly praising the action sequences and performances apart from techaspects, but criticized the lack of emotions. CNN-News18 praised the movies art work and styling, but criticized the narration pace.
On the other hand, Rediff gave 2 stars, criticizing the script and pointing out that it reminded of Kalyan's earlier film Balu ABCDEFG but praised Sesh's performance Greatandhra also gave it 2 stars, criticizing the lack of a "major conflict point". Oneindia.in criticized the moviebut praised Kalyan's performance, cinematography and the music.
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