Poster of the film
|Directed by||Balu Mahendra|
|Produced by||T. Mocham Fernando|
|Written by||Balu Mahendra|
|Music by||Salil Chaudhary|
|Edited by||Umesh Kulkarni|
|Distributed by||G.N. Films|
|7 October 1977|
Kokila is a 1977 Kannada-language film starring Kamal Haasan, Shoba playing the titular character along with Roja Ramani and Mohan in other prominent roles. The film marked the directional debut of Balu Mahendra, who was a cinematographer working predominantly in South Indian films then. The film was successful upon release in Karnataka and its neighbouring states, becoming the first Kannada film to be screened for 100 days in Madras (now Chennai). Kokila was remade into Malayalam as Oomakkuyil and in Hindi as Aur Ek Prem Kahani both by Mahendra himself in 1983 and 1996. Balu Mahendra won the National Film Award for Best Cinematography and Karnataka State Film Award for Best Screenplay.
Kokila (Shoba), a medical college student lives with her father, an engineer and her mother in a home in Madras. A house maid (Roja Ramani) who is very close to the family also lives with them. As Kokila's father travels a lot and his wife suffering from health problems, they decide to keep a paying guest. Vijayakumar (Kamal Haasan), a bank executive comes and lives in the household as a paying guest. Kokila and Vijayakumar fall in love and plan to get married with the consent of her parents. In the meanwhile, suddenly one night Vijayakumar and the house maid are alone in the home. They both end up making love, and Kokila after her return remains unaware about this incident, though the maid is well aware of Kokila's affair with Vijay. Vijay, however, forgets the maid and continues to live with his normal love for Kokila. Suddenly, one day while Kokila is away on a college tour, Vijay gets to know that the maid is pregnant. Sathya suggests the maid that the child be aborted. The dejected maid leaves the house. When Kokila returns from the tour realise both Vijay and the maid missing. She is informed by her mother that Vijay has vacated the room, and makes several uhnsuccessful attempts to find the whereabouts of Vijay. After a few days, Kokila meets Vijay accidentally, in a village where she is posted as a doctor. At the point in time, she gets to know that Vijay and her maid got married and have a child named "Kokila".
The film was the directional debut of Balu Mahendra, who was one of the leading cinematographers in South Indian cinema at the time. The film also marked the debut of Mohan, who would go on to establish himself as a successful actor in the Tamil film industry. People from five different industries worked in the film; Kamal Haasan and Balu Mahendra (Tamil), Roja Ramani (Telugu), Mohan (Kannada), Shoba (Malayalam) and Salil Choudhry (Bengali). However, none of these except Mohan knew Kannada language. Kamal Haasan, the lead actor did not know Kannada at that time but dubbed in his own voice. Debutant Mohan was a student of "Benaka", a drama troupe run by Kannada director B. V. Karanth. Mohan was acting in a play named Sidhathe alongside G. V. Iyer and Girish Karnad and he was asked to send his photograph to Balu Mahendra who was in search of new actors for his directional venture. Subsequently, Mohan was offered a role in the film where he played Kamal Hassan's friend.
The film was screened at the International Film Festival of India then known as "Filmotsav78" in Madras (now Chennai). Kokila was not only a box-office success in Karnataka but also in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. In 1980, it became the first Kannada film to have a 100-day run in Chennai. The film was released in its original language without being dubbed to Tamil, three years after the release, and ran for more than 140 days in Chennai, a record for a Kannada film in Tamil Nadu.
- 1978 – National Film Award for Best Cinematography (Black-and-white motion picture) at the 25th National Film Awards
- 1978 – Best screenplay from the Government of Karnataka for Balu Mahendra
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