Chemman Chaalai

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Chemman Chaalai
Directed by Deepak Kumaran Menon
Produced by Tan Chui Mui
Written by Sooria Kumari
Starring Saratha Maran
Gandhi Nathan
THR Shangkara
Santhia Marathamuthu
Tharoni Mottian
Dhaarshini Sankran
Bala Sundram
Dinesh Ganesan
Music by Hardesh Singh
Cinematography Albert Hue
Release date
Running time
92 minutes
Country Malaysia
Language Tamil
Budget 152,000 ringgits ($40,000)

Chemman Chaalai (The Gravel Road) is a 2005 Malaysian family drama film directed by Indian-Malaysian director Deepak Kumaran Menon.[1][2][3] This film is notable as the first Malaysian feature film made almost entirely in Tamil.


Set in the late 1960s, the film is about Shantha, an impoverished Malaysian Tamil girl, and her family. They all live together on a family estate, in an area where higher education for women is almost impossible. Shantha, a girl of many aspirations, wants to leave the estate and further her studies, however the financial hardships that will result make her dreams nearly impossible to achieve.


The story is inspired by real events, related to the director's mother.[citation needed]

The film is director Deepak Kumaran Menon's first feature-length film.[1] It was funded entirely by his father, Shanker Menon, the film's executive producer, and shot in digital video.


The film "struck a deep chord with the ethnic Indian community" in Malaysia. To see the film, "they came by bus, they took the train, but they all wanted to tell their stories."[1]

The film has met with a strong reception since its release, and has been shown at a number of film festivals across the world including the 2005 International Film Festival Rotterdam, the 2005 San Francisco International Film Festival, the 2005 Pusan International Film Festival, Korea, the Barcelona Asian Film Festival, Spain, the Nantes Festival 3 Continents, France and the Fukuoka International Film Festival, Japan among others.[4] In February 2006, it was selected as an official entry to the Bangkok International Film Festival.


Best Alternative Film, Anugerah Skrin TV3[5]

Special Jury Award, Nantes Festival 3 Continents (2005), France[5]

Opening Film, Asian Film Symposium, Singapore[5]

In Competition, Bangkok Int. Film Festival[5]


  1. ^ a b c Min, Lim Li (2005-04-05). "A lens on the Malaysian margins". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-10. 
  2. ^ "Deepak Kumaran talks about the success of Chemman Chaalai - News | The Star Online". Retrieved 2018-03-10. 
  3. ^ Guillen, Michael (2006-03-10). "The Evening Class: MALAYSIAN CINEMAS— Chemman Chaalai (The Gravel Road)". The Evening Class. Retrieved 2018-03-10. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c d "Deepak Menon: Chemman Chaalai". Deepak Menon. Retrieved 2018-03-10. 

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