Autograph (2004 film)
|Music by||Original songs:|
|Edited by||S. Sathesh|
J. N. Harsha
Autograph is a 2004 Tamil romance film written, produced and directed by Cheran. The film's soundtrack is composed by Bharathwaj. Cheran also plays the lead role in the film for first time, and other cast members include Gopika, Sneha, and Mallika, while Kanika made a special appearance.
The film was released in India in February 2004, and was screened at the Lyon Asian Film Festival in France and at the Montreal World Film Festival in Canada. Upon release, the film met with critical acclaim and commercial success. Although a sequel to the film titled Autograph 2 was announced, it never materialised. The film, loosely based on the 1995 movie Beyond the Clouds , was remade in Telugu as Naa Autograph, in Kannada as My Autograph, Bengali as Amar Aponjon 
The romantic story begins with Senthil Kumar (Cheran) setting off on a journey to invite his friends and family for his forthcoming wedding. Along the way, he encounters various individuals from his past, who bring back memories of three women that have influenced his love life.
The movie begins with Senthil, who runs an advertising agency, boarding a train to visit his native village to invite all his friends for his wedding. During the journey, he reminisces his teenage days. The happenings in the school, his tussle with his friends and his first love with his classmate Kamala (Mallika) are all pictured with fun and drama. However, her father married her off early before her 11th grade. He meets Kamala 14 years later, and she is now a pregnant mother of three born children, and a wife of a alcoholic. Senthil reaches the village and invites all including Kamala, who promises to come to the wedding.
Then, he goes to Kerala, where he had his college education. His major crush at that time was Lathika (Gopika), a Malayali girl from Chalakudy, with whom he falls in love, but later, the affair proves to be short-lived as her parents marry her off to her cousin Madhavan. On reaching Chalakudy to invite her, Senthil is slightly disturbed to see her as a widow living with her grandmother for the past 10 years and sobbing while trying to play her broken veena. He attempts to rekindle his love for her, but she corrects him.
On his journey, he comes across his trusted friend Divya (Sneha), who instills confidence and elucidates him to the life lesson – that one has to go ahead in life without looking back. While she and Senthil travel on a bus, she reveals her tragic experience, that her mother is a paralytic patient and that she is the breadwinner of the family. As time passes by, she reveals that she was in love with someone and believed that he was the man of her life, but she was unfortunately let down. A poetic narration on the need for a good companion like Senthil who gives attention to her is stressed, even if it is not possible at his stage. After her unwilling engagement with a businessman from America, she goes away from Senthil. Senthil meets her five years later, and she is now a divorcee.
In the end, Senthil gets married to a girl of his parents choice, Thenmozhi (Kanika). All the three girls who were a part in his life, along with his school and college friends attend his wedding. Also, this sets a very jovial ending to the story.
- Cheran as Senthil Kumar
- Sivaprakasam as Senthil Kumar, young age
- Gopika as Lathika
- Sneha as Divya
- Mallika as Kamala
- Kanika as Thenmozhi
- Rajesh as Senthil's father
- Vijaya Singh as Senthil's mother
- Ilavarasu as Narayanan Teacher
- Karuppiah Bharathi as Narayanan Teacher, old age
- Krishna as Kamalakannan
- Benjamin as Oolamookkan Subramani
- Lingeswaran as Oolamookkan Subramani, young age
- Pandian Raj as Mr. Rev. Albert Subramaniam, CEO of a US automobile company
In an interview in June 2001, Vikram revealed he had signed on to portray the lead role in the project; however, he later opted out as a result of scheduling problems. In 2018, Arvind Swamy revealed that he was offered the main role, but he declined the role because he retired from cinema that time period. Aravind Swamy was happy that he did not accept the role because he was pleased that Cheran got the opportunity to become an actor and delivered a great performance. Cheran said that the film was partly autobiographical. Four different cinematographers worked on the film; Ravi Varman had shot the school episode in Senthil's early life with a 35 mm lens, Vijay Milton shot the Kerala scenes, Dwaraknath shot the Chennai episode with a steady cam, and Shanky Mahendran shot the "'live' part" of the film when the camera uses the point of view of Senthil's character.
The film has won the following awards since its release:
52nd National Film Awards (India)
- Won – Golden Lotus Award – Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment – Cheran
- Won – Silver Lotus Award – Best Female Playback Singer – K. S. Chithra
- Won – Silver Lotus Award – Best Lyrics – Pa. Vijay
- Won – Best Film – Tamil
- Won – Best Director – Tamil – Cheran
- Won – Best Supporting Actress – Tamil – Mallika
- Won – Best Music Director – Tamil – Bharathwaj
|Soundtrack album by|
|2.||"Ninaivugal"||Cheran||Bharadwaj, Unni Menon||4:38|
|3.||"Kizhakke Paarthen"||Snehan||Yugendran, Foni||4:32|
|4.||"Jegatho Tharana"||Purandara Dasar Keerthanai||Reshmi, Sreevidya, Bharadwaj||2:47|
|5.||"Ovvoru Pookalume"||Pa. Vijay||K. S. Chithra, Bharadwaj||5:25|
|6.||"Manasukkulle Dhagam"||Snehan||Harish Raghavendra , Reshma||5:22|
|8.||"Meesa Vecha Perandi"||Pa. Vijay||Karthik, Kovai Kamala, Bharadwaj||4:28|
Sify wrote, "A major plus point of Autograph is that Cheran has chosen three cameramen to do the three episodes in his life which makes the film lively and nostalgic." Dennis Harvey of Variety wrote, "Well-mounted production has too much familiar melodrama, and few real highlights (notably one delightful homage to ’70s Tamil musicals), but remains an easy watch."
Autograph was a sensation and emerged an underdog success story. From 67 prints at the time of release, the number went up to 90 after 25 days. The film theatrical rights were sold for ₹2.5 crore and yielded a distributor share of ₹100 million in its lifetime.
- "Arts & Culture". Tamilguardian.com. 20 June 2001. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- Autograph yields 10 crore share for distributors