Actor-director Thiagarajan had a super-hit film titled ‘Malaiyur Mambattiyan’ in the mid-eighties. The film, directed by the late Raghavan Thambi, chronicled the life of Mambattiyan (who lived prior to the era of ‘Sandalwod’ Veerappan) who lived in the forests of Salem and Erode Districts. The film’s Hindi version ‘Gangvaa’ starred superstar Rajinikanth in the lead role and turned out to be a hit venture.
‘Malaiyur…’ had amazing musical score by Maestro Ilaiyaraaja. The film is now being remade by Thiagarajan as ‘Mambattiyan’ and stars his actor-son Prashanth in the title role. National award-winning actress Meera Jasmine plays his heroine, a role essayed by the inimitable Sarita in the original version. Music director Thaman has scored music for ‘Mambattiyan’.
Thiyagarajan roped in Thaman after Ilaiyaraaja reportedly refused to score music for ‘Mambattiyan’ as he had scored music for the original version too. The hit song ‘Kaattu vahi pora…’ in the film, sung by Ilaiyaraaja in the original, has now been sung by actor Simbu after Isaignani refused to sing the song for the Prashanth-starrer. After the song was recorded, Thiagarajan played out the song to Ilaiyaraaja and asked if the song had come out well.
The Maestro made some corrections and asked Thaman to do away with the guitar bit played in the beginning. “How can you use guitar in a song sung inside the jungle?” were the words reportedly uttered by the Maestro. Thaman has also re-mixed the ‘Chinna ponnu selai…’ song from the original version in the voices of Harish Raghavendra and Shreya Ghoshal.