Tamil Poster of the film
|Directed by||Kamal Haasan|
|Produced by||Kamal Haasan|
|Written by||Kamal Haasan
Manohar Shyam Joshi
Shah Rukh Khan
|Edited by||Renu Saluja|
|Distributed by||Raajkamal Films International|
|202 minutes (Tamil version)
199 minutes (Hindi version)
Hey Ram (translation: Oh Ram! or Oh God!) is a 2000 Indian period crime drama film simultaneously made in Tamil and Hindi language. The film was written, directed and produced by Kamal Haasan and he also starred as the protagonist in the film. The film's soundtrack and background score were composed by Ilaiyaraaja. The semi-fictional plot centres on India's Partition and the murder of Mahatma Gandhi by Hindu fundamentalist Nathuram Godse. The film was chosen as India's official entry to the Oscars to be considered for nomination in the Best Foreign Film category for the year 2000.
The film is about a protagonist's journey from religious hatred to love with the theme of the partition of Bengal in the background. Its relevance in the present Indian environment clouded by religious extremism was widely unrecognised. This is the story of Saket Ram, as narrated by his grandson. The film takes place as Ram, a retired archaeologist, lies on the deathbed, on 6 December 1999, the 7th anniversary of the destruction of Babri Mosque in Ayodhya.
The movie begins at present day with Saket Ram (Kamal Haasan), an 89-year-old Hindu man at his death bed. The scene reverts to the past as Saket remembers the 1940s, when he and his good friend, Amjad Ali Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) are archaeologists working together under their boss, Mortimer Wheeler, in Mohenjo-daro (Indus Valley Civilization) in the Sindh province in what was then North-West India. Relations are pleasant between the Indians and the English, and Saket and Amjad do not approve of Partition and the creation of Pakistan. Aparna Ram (Rani Mukerji), Saket's simple Bengali wife, is a school teacher. She lives in Calcutta in the midst of riots and chaos over the issue of the formation of Pakistan and the call by Mohammad Ali Jinnah for "Direct Action". Saket goes to Calcutta and is swept into the madness. In one instance, Saket saves an innocent Sikh girl from the hands of a barbaric Muslim gang. When he returns to his house, he finds a group of Muslims entering his house. They brutally rape and murder Aparna. Saket, unable to cope with his tragic loss, kills the Muslims who raped and killed his wife in a fit of rage.
Outside his house, he runs into Sriram Abhyankar (Atul Kulkarni), who is part of a Hindu group determined to fight the Muslims' malice with similar brute force, and assassinate Gandhi for what they perceive to be his treachery towards Hindu dominated India (Gandhi wanted Hindus and Muslims to co-exist peacefully with hope of winning over the hearts of the rioters through sheer self-pity). However, Abhyankar and his fellow extremists had lost patience at what they deemed Mahatma Gandhi's unreasonable stand to appease Pakistan, who had already invaded Kashmir by that time. Gandhi was pressuring the newly founded Indian state to pay Rs. 620 million to Pakistan and some territorial concessions as well.
Urged by family to remarry, Saket weds Mythili (Vasundhara Das). However, on a trip to Maharashtra, he reunites with Abhyankar and becomes a part of his militant organisation that plots to do away with Gandhi. Due to an horse-riding accident, Abhyankar is left a quadriplegic and has Ram swear that he will carry on his work, that of killing the Mahatma.
Saket comes to the belief that Mahatma Gandhi (Naseeruddin Shah) is solely responsible for the division of India and of the two religions and also of having supported whom they viewed as the enemy. Hindu fundamentalists, including Saket, are furious and plot to murder Gandhi. However, Saket, after several incidents surrounding and leading to Amjad's death (with whom he reunites briefly in a congested Delhi area), changes his mind about Gandhi. He decides against assassinating the leader, and attempts to beg for forgiveness. Soon afterwards, Gandhi is killed by another assassin, Nathuram Godse. Ironically, Gandhi dies without his famous last words: "Hey Ram!" as popularly believed, and as in Richard Attenborough's film Gandhi.
Then on, Saket Ram lives by Gandhian principles. As the 89-year-old Saket Ram is being taken to the hospital, he is told of bomb blasts in the city due to Hindu-Muslim communal riots. He asks "Innuma (even now)?". They are forced by the police to be taken into an underground shelter for their security, but Saket Ram dies there. In his funeral, Gandhiji's grandson comes and sees Saket's private room which is full of historical photos. Saket's grandson hands over Gandhi's footwear and spectacle which Saket had previously collected from the place of shootout and had treasured it all the while.
|"Isaiyil Thodanguthamma"||Ajoy Chakrabarty||Ilayaraja|
|"Nee Partha"||Asha Bhosle, Hariharan, Rani Mukerji||Jibanananda Das, Kamal Haasan|
|"Pollatha Madhana Paanam"||Anupama, Mahalakshmi Iyer||Vaali|
|"Ram Ram"||Kamal Haasan, Shruti Haasan||Kamal Haasan|
|"Ramaranalum"||Jolly Mukherjee, Kamal Haasan, Hariharan||Vaali|
|"Sanyaas Mantra"||Kamal Haasan|
|"Vaaranam Aayiram Vaishnava Janatho"||Vibha Sharma, Asha Bhosle||Aandal, Narsinh Mehta|
|"Har Koi Samjhe"||Ajoy Chakraborty||Sameer|
|"Janmon Ki Jwala"||Asha Bhosle, Hariharan, Rani Mukherjee||Sameer (Poem by Jibanananda Das)|
|"Asa Ga Madan Ban Ghusla Kasa"||Anupama, Preeti Uttam||Sameer / Jagdish Khebudkar|
|"Hey! Ram"||Kamal Haasan, Shruti Haasan||Sameer|
|"Chahe Pandit Ho"||Jolly Mukherjee, Kamal Haasan, Hariharan||Sameer|
|"Sanyaas Mantra"||Kamal Haasan|
|"Vaishnav Jana To"||Vibha Sharma|
The shooting was started in Parthasarathy Temple. Originally violinist L. Subramaniam was selected as composer for the film but for whatever reasons he opted out of the film instead Ilayaraaja was selected as a composer. Apparently, Shah Rukh Khan did not ask for any remuneration from Kamal Haasan as he considered it an honour and privilege to work with one of his mentors.
The film has won the following awards since its release: 2000 National Film Awards
- Won – Silver Lotus Award – Best Supporting Actor – Atul Kulkarni
- Won – Silver Lotus Award – Best Costume Design – Sarika
- Won – Silver Lotus Award – Best Special Effects – Manthra
There were protests and press releases by political parties in select centres against perceived negative depiction of Gandhi. In India the film was given an 'A' certificate by the Central Board of Film certification. In Malaysia, it was rated as Universal.
- List of artistic depictions of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
- List of Indian submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
- Karen Gabriel, 'Draupadi's Moment in Sita's Syntax: Violations of the Past and the Construction of Community in Kamal Haasan’s Hey! Ram', in Women and the Politics of Violence, Taisha Abraham (ed.) New Delhi: Shakti 2002.
- "INDOlink Tamil Cinema – Tamil-Thirai-Valai". Indolink.com. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
- "Rediff on the NeT, Movies: Walk Out!". Rediff.com. 18 November 1999. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
- "Rediff on the NeT, Movies: Our weekly box office update". Rediff.com. 1 March 2000. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
- "TMC threatens to block Kamal Haasan 's films – The Times of India". Cscsarchive.org:8081. 20 June 2004. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
- Hey Ram budget was 11 crore