Avvai Shanmughi

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Avvai Shanmughi
Avvai-Shanmughi.jpg
Directed by K. S. Ravikumar
Produced by R. Ravindran
K. P. Hari
Written by Crazy Mohan
Screenplay by K. S. Ravikumar
Story by Crazy Mohan
Starring Kamal Haasan
Meena
Gemini Ganesan
Nagesh
Manivannan
Nassar
Heera
Music by Deva
Cinematography S. Murthy
Edited by K. Thanikachalam
Production
  company
Sree Mahalakshmi Combines
Distributed by Sree Mahalakshmi Combines
Release date(s) November 10, 1996
Running time 161 minutes
Country India
Language Tamil
Budget INR4.7 crores
Box office INR15 crores

Avvai Shanmugi is a 1996 Tamil comedy film, directed by K. S. Ravikumar and written by Crazy Mohan, which is an Indian adaptation of the American comedy film, Mrs. Doubtfire. The film features Kamal Haasan in the lead role with Meena, Gemini Ganesan, Nagesh, Heera, Manivannan and Nassar. The film's score and soundtrack were composed by Deva, while the film was produced by Ravindran and Hari. Avvai Shanmughi became a major success among 1996 Deepavali releases.[1]

Plot[edit]

The film starts in a courtroom where Janaki (Meena) is fighting for divorce from Pandian (Kamal Haasan). She offers various reasons for wanting a divorce. She has married Pandian against the wishes of her rich father Vishwanathan Iyer (Gemini Ganesan). But she isn't able to come to terms with living in Pandian's small house without amenities. Pandian is an assistant dance director with a modest income and is not able to spend much time with the family. All this accumulates and Janaki decides to apply for divorce, which is granted. The court orders that Pandian can meet his daughter Barathi, once a week and this is his only solace. His daughter, however, loves him a lot and doesn't like the arrangement.

Poster of Bhamane Satyabhamane, the Telugu dubbed version of Avvai Shanmughi, which too was a huge success

Basha (Nassar), a friend who works in a hotel as a chef, advises Pandian to steal his daughter from Janaki. Pandian goes about trying to do as his friend suggests. In doing so, he is discovered; and now he cannot meet her at all. Then Pandian finds out that Vishwanathan Iyer has advertised for a woman to look after his granddaughter. Joseph (Nagesh) is a makeup man in films. In conversation with him, Pandian gets the idea of playing an old woman, so that he can be with his child and ex-wife without them knowing. Joseph agrees to this plan and the transformation is done from Pandian to 'Avvai Shanmugi'-- a dignified, elderly woman who is hired to take care of the little girl.

Rathna (Heera Rajgopal) is a girl who is in love with Pandian but is constantly rebuffed. Basha takes up the role of a mute Iyer cook and is admitted into Vishwanathan Iyer house on the recommendation of Avvai Shanmugi. However, Basha is caught later while doing his namaz, thereby shattering both lies—that he is mute and an Iyer. Hilarious circumstances follow and slowly Avvai Shanmugi manages to convince the household of "her" sincerity. So much so that Janaki's widowed father begins to develop a liking for Avvai and in fact proposes to "her" too! Around the same time, Mudaliyar (Manivannan), the house-owner of the place where Pandian lives, happens to bump into Avvai Shanmugi. This happens many times and Mudaliyar, too, begins to develop a liking for "her".

Meanwhile Pandian slowly begins to realize that Janaki hasn't totally forgotten him. Avvai rebuffs Vishwanathan's proposals by saying that 'her' husband is alive. Adding to the chaos, "she" tells Vishwanathan that Joseph is 'her' husband; while Pandian tells Sethurama (Delhi Ganesh) -- Vishwanathan's secretary - that Mudaliyar is Avvai's husband. There is much confusion after this, but it is resolved at last. Avvai Shanmugi convinces Vishwanathan that Janaki's right place is by her husband. While Janaki's father goes off to talk to his estranged son-in-law, Avvai Shanmugi reveals 'her' true self as Pandian to Basha. This is seen by Janaki, who misunderstands the scene and believes Avvai to be an immoral woman. Janaki goes to Pandian's house to reclaim him, but upon seeing Rathna waiting there, and Avvai's clothes lying around, thinks that her husband, too, is promiscuous. Janaki leaves and attempts suicide, but Avvai Shanmugi stops her. Avvai reveals "her" identity as Pandian. Janaki and Pandian reconcile.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Kamal Haasan began production on the film after his project with director Balachandra Menon' s Kandaen Seethayae failed to get completed. The film was launched with Meena and Gemini Ganesan also a part of the cast and schedules were held in Kerala and Goa. Initially a debutant Sri Durga was roped in to play second heroine in the film and Sanghavi was also considered, but was ultimately replaced by Heera Rajgopal.[2]

The make-up artist Michael Westmore provided advice for the film alongside R. K. Sarathkumar. The padding and foundation used gave Kamal Hasan an allergic reaction beneath his eyes, hence for the Hindi remake they ensured that scenes of the male role was shot first. The make-up took five hours to put on and lasts for only five more hours.[3]

Release[edit]

The film won positive reviews and was a Superhit at the box office. The Hindu praised the film claiming "turns out to be entertainer, mouthful from start to finish". The source praises Kamal Haasan's portrayal of a woman by claiming that "few peers to Kamal Hassan who can do the female role with such perfection".[4][5] The film won two Tamil Nadu State Film Awards with K. M. Sarathkumar winning Best Make-up Artist and Ann Anra winning Best Child actor.[6]

The movie was dubbed into Telugu as Bhamane Satyabhamane. In 1998, Kamal Haasan made his directorial debut by remaking the film in Hindi as Chachi 420 with Tabu, Amrish Puri, Om Puri and himself in the leading roles. The movie was also a superhit.[7]

Soundtrack[edit]

The music composed by Deva and the lyrics were penned by Vaali.

Song Singer
"Rukku Rukku" Kamal Haasan, Sujatha
"Kadhala Kadhala" Hariharan, Sujatha
"Kalyanam Katcheri" S.P. Balasubrahmanyam
"Velai Velai" S.P. Balasubrahmanyam
"Kadhali Kadhali" Hariharan

References[edit]

External links[edit]