Murattu Kaalai (Eng: Raging Bull) is a 1980 Tamil-language Indian action film directed by S. P. Muthuraman, and written by Panchu Arunachalam. The film stars Rajinikanth, Rati Agnihotri, Sumalatha and Jaishankar. Murattu Kaalai was the first film for Rajinikanth with AVM Productions, and the company’s re-entry into Tamil cinema after a long sabbatical. It was released on 20 December 1980 and became a major commercial success. The film was also instrumental in establishing Rajinikanth as both an action hero and superstar. It was remade again in Tamil under the same title and released in 2012.
Kaalaiyan, a well-to-do and honorable landlord, lives modestly with his four brothers in a village. Sundaravelu is an equally rich but less honorable landlord in the neighbouring village. He lusts for Kaalaiyan’s property and sends his assistant Saamipillai to him with an offer to buy his property. Saamipillai’s family was burnt to death by Sundaravelu’s father; Saamipillai had joined Sundaravelu’s service as a mole, planning to destroy Sundaravelu at the appropriate time.
Kaalaiyan refuses to sell his property. Saamipillai, knowing well that Kaalaiyan is the best jallikattu player around, advises to Sundaravelu to organise a jallikattu game in the village festival and announce the reward as his sister Soundaryam’s hand in marriage. Kaalaiyan wins, but refuses to marry Soundaryam as he is aware of Sundaravelu’s devious plan, thus disappointing Soundaryam, who loved him, and also insulting Sundaravelu.
Sundaravelu falls in love with Kannamma, a girl of his village and proposes to her. When she refuses, he tries to molest her and she comes to Kaalaiyan seeking protection. Kaalaiyan allows her to stay at his house. She takes care of all the domestic work and impresses Kaalaiyan’s brothers. When the villagers talk ill of Kannamma, Kaalaiyan’s brothers decide to get Kannamma and Kaalaiyan married. To stop the wedding, Sundaravelu, at the instigation of Saamipillai, sends his henchman Sangili, who previously killed Kannamma’s father, to fight Kaalaiyan. Kaalaiyan subdues Sangili but spares him.
Sundaravelu kills Sangili and frames Kaalaiyan. The police arrive at Kaalaiyan’s marriage venue to arrest him. He escapes and hides in a forest. Soundaryam, coming to know about the misdeeds of her brother and his plans to destroy Kaalaiyan, argues with her brother and goes to the forest in search of Kaalaiyan. She finds him and reveals the truth. Sundaravelu, who had secretly followed Soundaryam to the forest, fights Kaalaiyan and takes his knife to kill him, but ends up killing Soundaryam, who came between the two.
Kaalaiyan is again framed for murder by Sundaravelu, the police intensify their search and a team of officers reach the forest. One of them is Sundaravelu’s man and he attacks an officer. The corrupt officer assumes he is dead and leaves the place, but Kaalaiyan finds and saves him. Sundaravelu learns that the attacked officer survived and sends a group of thugs to attack Kaalaiyan when he is travelling in a train. Kaalaiyan fights the thugs and subdues them all; he forces one of them to inform Sundaravelu that Kaalaiyan and the policeman are dead.
During Sundaravelu’s birthday party celebrations, Kaalaiyan and Kannamma come there disguised as dancers. When Sundaravelu gifts them money, Kaalaiyan reveals his true identity. A fight ensues, until a team of police officers arrives to arrest Sundaravelu for his crimes. When he demands witnesses and proof for his crimes, Saamipillai comes forward and agrees to give all the evidence, revealing his identity. Sundaravelu realises that he does not have any support and shoots himself dead to avoid arrest.
Directed by S. P. Muthuraman
Produced by M. Kumaran, M. Saravanan & M. Balasubramaniam
Written by Panchu Arunachalam
Starring Rajinikanth, Rati Agnihotri, Sumalatha, Jaishankar
Music by Ilaiyaraaja
Edited by R. Vittal
Production AVM Productions
Release date 20 December 1980
Running time 144 minutes