|Directed by||Mani Ratnam|
|Produced by||Mani Ratnam
|Screenplay by||Mani Ratnam|
|Story by||Mani Ratnam|
|Starring||P. S. Keerthana
J. D. Chakravarthy
|Music by||A. R. Rahman|
|Cinematography||Ravi K. Chandran|
|Edited by||A. Sreekar Prasad|
|Release date(s)||14 February 2002|
|Running time||137 mins|
Kannathil Muthamittal (English: A Peck on the Cheek) is a 2002 Tamil drama film directed and produced by Mani Ratnam. It features P. S. Keerthana, Madhavan and Simran in the leading roles with Nandita Das, J. D. Chakravarthy, Prakash Raj and Pasupathy portraying other pivotal characters. The film's score and soundtrack were composed by A. R. Rahman, while Ravi K. Chandran handled the cinematography. Mani Ratnam presents the story of a child of Sri Lankan Tamil parentage adopted by Indian parents, who desires to meet her biological mother in the midst of the Sri Lankan Civil War.
The film premiered at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival, and was selected as India's official entry to the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. It also received a strong reception when screened at the San Francisco International Film Festival in 2003. The film received high critical acclaim upon release and went on to win six National Film Awards, six Filmfare Awards South and Best Film awards at six international film festivals.
The film begins in a small village in Sri Lanka called Mankulam, where a Sri Lankan Tamil woman Shyama (Nandita Das) gets married to Dileepan (J. D. Chakravarthy), who along with few other Sri Lankan Tamils in the village (including Shyama's elder brother) is part of the Tamil Tigers rebel association, which fights for the Eelam Tamil Nation. While romancing each other at a mud river after marriage, the couple hear sounds of Sri Lankan army troops approaching. He asks Shyama to leave for her safety while he remains in the forest. What happened to Dileepan after that remains a mystery. Shyama realizes that she is pregnant and waits in vain for Dileepan to return. Her villagers begin fleeing to India to seek refuge as the war between LTTE and the Sri Lankan army goes full scale, affecting their village in the process. Shyama is initially stubborn to leave since one of the men says that he has seen Dileepan with bullet wounds in the forest near the mud lake, but her relatives convince her that she has to seek refuge for the sake of her to-be-born child. The villagers board a boat to the shores of Rameswaram, which is a famous refugee hub for Sri Lankan Tamils. While a local collector takes down the names of the refugees, Shyama's water breaks and she gives birth to a baby girl. However, as soon as the baby is born, her urge to find her husband and be with her people back home overwhelms her and she leaves behind the newborn girl in hopes that the girl will lead a better life.
The film later shifts focus to nine years later in Chennai where a young exuberant girl Amudha (P. S. Keerthana) narrates about her family life. She introduces her short-tempered but talented father, writer Thiruchelvan (R. Madhavan), who uses the pen name 'Indira' for his books. Indira (Simran Bagga) is Amudha's mother, while she has a younger brother named Vinay, with whom she always has childish frictions, and another younger brother called Akhil. Amudha's ninth birthday approaches and both her parents take her to the temple early in the morning. Indira later reminds Thiruchelvan that they have promised themselves to reveal 'the truth' to Amudha on her ninth birthday. After praying in the temple, Thiruchelvan brings Amudha to the beach, and she runs around in the beach, he reveals the truth that she was adopted and is not their biological daughter. She was adopted from a refugee camp in Rameswaram after her parents abandoned her. Amudha is heavily disturbed after hearing the news and begins comparing and distancing herself from the family, seeing herself as an outsider. Indira's father criticizes them for revealing the truth to her at such a young age, but Thiruchelvan and Indira are certain they have taken the right decision. Amudha asks her parents to tell her the story of how she comes to be adopted.
The film then flashes to nine years previously in Rameswaram, where Thiruchelvan, then a budding writer, constantly travels to the refugee camp and writes stories inspired by the people there. At one such instance, Thiruchelvan sees a newborn baby girl, and writes a short story about why her mother found the urge to abandon her child and return to a war-ridden land. Indira is his neighbour, and has always expressed interest in him. Thiruchelvan, after a while, finds the urge to adopt the small baby girl and raise her, but realizes that he will not be allowed to do so until he is married. He then proposes to Indira (in whom he is also interested) in order to be able to adopt the baby. Indira suggests the name 'Amudha' after seeing the baby once, and then adopt the baby after they marry each other. Vinay was born few years after their marriage, followed by the younger brother, and thus, the family happened.
Even after hearing this, Amudha is rebellious and dissatisfied. She requests to meet her biological mother at all costs despite Indira's insistence that they can't possibly find the mother even if they wanted to. Thiruchelvan finally gives in and promises to take Amudha to Sri Lanka to find her biological mother. The three of them (excluding the two boys who are left under the care of their grandfather) travel to Sri Lanka and are greeted by Dr. Herold Vikramsinghe (Prakash Raj) who is a Sinhalese, their guide during the trip. Dr. Herold Vikramsinghe too helps to find her biological mother. At Lanka, Amudha and Indira's relationship strains as Amudha becomes increasingly rude at her mother while urging to find her real mother, while the family witnesses civil violence first hand as they travel to a village that is being bombed by the army to find Shyama only to realize that they have discovered the wrong Shyama. While taking a walk in the jungles and ideologically talking about violence, civil war and western manipulation, Thiruchelvan and Vikramsinghe are captured by a group of LTTE rebels. Thiruchelvan immediately recites Tamil poetry and is identified as a Tamil writer by the group's leader (Pasupathy). Thiruchelvan explains his motives of coming to the country, and even mentions the only evidence that he has regarding Amudha's mother - that her name is Shyama. The group leader arranges a meet and says he will bring Shyama there, and it is later revealed that Shyama is the group leader's sister, with her also being part of the LTTE rebels living in seclusion.
The next day, on the meet, Vikramsinghe, Amudha, Indira, and Thiruchelvan wait at the told spot, but a sudden series of bombings break out at the place as the Sri Lankan army tries to infiltrate the hiding of the rebels in a building nearby. Vikramsinghe urges that they leave the place but Amudha stays stubborn, causing Indira to be shot in her arm. The family finally leaves the place, and Amudha, shaken by what she saw and what happened to her mother apologizes and asks that all of them leave the country and return home. The next day, the family leaves for the airport but unexpectedly, Indira requests that they drive through the meeting spot one more time. As they wait in the car parked at the spot, an auto comes by and Shyama gets down from the vehicle. The meeting finally takes place and Amudha asks Shyama a series of questions as to why Shyama abandoned her. Shyama is unable to answer to all of those questions, but also insists that her life will remain fighting for her people in her country and that Amudha should live happily with her adopted parents. Shyama leaves after that.
The film ends with Thiruchelvan, Amudha, and Indira hugging each other as Shyama leaves, and a teary-eyed Amudha kisses her parents, re-affirming her love for them.
- Madhavan as Thiruchelvan
- Simran as Indira
- Prakash Raj as Herold Vikramsinghe
- Nandita Das as M. D. Shyama
- J. D. Chakravarthy as Dileepan
- P. S. Keerthana as Amudha
- Delhi Kumar as Ganesan
- Nandita Das as Shyama
- Bala Singh as Devanathan
- M. S. Bhaskar as Shankaralingam
- Pasupathy as Pasupathy
- Siddharth in an uncredited cameo
Like other Mani Ratnam projects, the film began production with very little official publicity in early 2001 with the media covering the project as either Manjal Kudai (Yellow Umbrella) or Kudaigal (Umbrellas). The film was reported of a trilogy of films based on love and peace in the backdrop of war - after Roja (1992) and Bombay (1995) - with Mani Ratnam choosing to base the film with the backdrop of the Sri Lankan Civil War. Madhavan was signed up to play a leading role in the film, with the venture becoming his third straight Mani Ratnam project after Alaipayuthey and the Mani Ratnam production, Dumm Dumm Dumm. For the role of Indira, Mani Ratnam considered casting either Rani Mukerji, Soundarya or relative newcomer Bhumika Chawla, before finalising Simran to portray the character. Madhavan and Simran thus shot for two films simultaneously together, as they had also been cast in K. Balachandar's Paarthale Paravasam as a married couple. Nandita Das was also roped in for the film, making her debut in Tamil films, and in a later interview mentioned that the team shot for nearly thirteen hours a day. P. S. Keerthana, the second daughter of actors Parthiban and Seetha, was cast the child artiste in the film, while Prakash Raj was also roped in to play a Sinhalese character. Mani Ratnam approached actor Vikram to make a special appearance as Keerthana's biological father in the film, but his refusal meant that J. D. Chakravarthy was later handed the role.
The title of the film was finally announced as Kannathil Muthammittal (A peck on the cheek) in July 2001, after a famous phrase from a poem written by Subramanya Bharathi. Parts of the film shown to be Colombo in the film were shot in Puducherry. Further schedules were carried out in the forests of Kerala to depict the base of the LTTE in northern Sri Lanka.
As most of the cast were non-native Tamil speakers, dubbing artistes were used with actresses Suganya and Deepa Venkat lending their voices for Nandita Das and Simran respectively. Furthermore Mounika lent her voice for Easwari Rao's character, while Thalaivasal Vijay spoke lines for Chakravarthy.
|Soundtrack album by A. R. Rahman|
|Released||4 February 2002|
|Recorded||Panchathan Record Inn|
|Producer||A. R. Rahman|
|A. R. Rahman chronology|
The film soundtrack features score and 6 songs composed by A. R. Rahman, with lyrics by Vairamuthu. Sinhalese lyrics for the song Signore Signore were by B. H. Abdul Hameed. It was released in India on 4 February 2002 by the label TIPS to acclaim, and quickly became popular. The score and soundtrack of the film fetched A. R. Rahman his fourth National Film Award for Best Music Direction and another National Film Award for Best Lyrics for lyricist Vairamuthu.
|1||"Vellai Pookal"||A. R. Rahman||5:05|
|2||"Sundari"||Hariharan, Tippu, Sujatha, Karthik, Madhumitha||4:39|
|3||"Kannathil Muthamittal"||Chinmayi, P. Jayachandran||6:24|
|4||"Signore Signore"||Rafique, Noel, Anupama, Swarnalatha, Devan Ekambaram||3:22|
|5||"Vidai Kodu Engal Naadae"||M. S. Viswanathan, Balram, Febi, A. R. Reihana, Manikka Vinayagam||6:16|
|6||"Kannathil Muthamittal"||P. Jayachandran, Chinmayi||6:28|
|7||"Sattena Nenaindhadhu Nenjam"||Minmini||1:55||Additional soundtrack from OST|
|1||"Maru Mallelo"||A. R. Rahman||5:05|
|2||"Sundari"||Sujatha, Srinivas Murthy, Tippu, Karthik, Madhumitha||4:39|
|3||"Ye Devi Varamu"||Chinmayi, Hariharan||6:24|
|4||"Signore Signore"||Rafique, Noel, Anupama, Swarnalatha||3:22|
|5||"Kadasaridhi Veedkolu"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Balram, Febi, A. R. Reihana||6:16|
|6||"Ye Devi Varamu"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Chinmayi||6:28|
The film has won the following awards since its release:
- Best Director (Tamil) - Mani Ratnam
- Best Actress (Tamil) - Simran
- Best Cinematography (Tamil) - Ravi K. Chandran
- Best Feature Film in Tamil - Kannathil Muthamittal - Mani Ratnam
- Best Audiography - A. S. Laxmi Narayanan
- Best Child Artist - P. S. Keerthana
- Best Editing - A. Sreekar Prasad
- Best Music Direction - A. R. Rahman
- Best Lyrics - Vairamuthu
2003 International Tamil Film Awards (ITFA)
- Won - Best Movie - Mani Ratnam
- Won - Best Director - Mani Ratnam
- Won - Best Actress - Simran
- Won - Best Supporting Actor - Prakash Raj
- Won - Best Cinematographer - Ravi K. Chandran
- Won - Audience Award - Best Feature Film - Kannathil Muthamittal - Mani Ratnam
- Won - In Spirit for Freedom Award - Best Feature - Kannathil Muthamittal - Mani Ratnam
- Won - Best Picture - Kannathil Muthamittal - Mani Ratnam
- Won - Special Award - Achievement Award - Kannathil Muthamittal - Mani Ratnam
- Won - Jury Award - Features (International) - First Place Winner - Kannathil Muthamittal - Mani Ratnam
- Won - Audience Award - Feature (International) - Kannathil Muthamittal - Mani Ratnam
- Won - Best International Film - Kannathil Muthamittal - Mani Ratnam
- Won - Audience Award - Best Feature - Kannathil Muthamittal - Mani Ratnam
- "S U B A S". Cinematoday3.itgo.com. Retrieved 2012-08-05.
- "Wistful after V-Day". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 16 February 2002.
- "rediff.com, Movies: Simran: Absolutely hot!". Rediff.com. 2001-06-14. Retrieved 2012-08-05.
- "A success story unfolds". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 9 November 2001.
- "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Arts Tribune". Tribuneindia.com. 2001-07-27. Retrieved 2012-08-05.
- "Director Mani Rathnam and P S Keerthana Chat Transcript". Geocities.ws. Retrieved 2012-08-05.
- "It's All There". The Times Of India. July 2001. Retrieved 21 Jan 2013.
- "Kannathil Muthamittal Awards". Awards for Kannathil Muthamittal (A Peck on the Cheek). Retrieved 19 November 2007.