Geethanjali (1989 film)

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Geethanjali 1989 poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byMani Ratnam
Written byMani Ratnam
Dialogue by
Produced byChittamuru Praveen Kumar Reddy
CinematographyP. C. Sreeram
Edited byB. Lenin
V. T. Vijayan
Music byIlaiyaraaja
Bhagyalakshmi Enterprises
Distributed byBhagyalakshmi Enterprises
Release date
  • 19 May 1989 (1989-05-19)
Running time
135 minutes[1]

Geethanjali is a 1989 Indian Telugu-language romantic drama film written and directed by Mani Ratnam. It stars Nagarjuna and Girija who appears as the titular character in her film debut. The music is composed by Ilaiyaraaja. Upon release, the film was a commercial success, running for over 100 days in theatres. The film won National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment and also won six Nandi Awards. The film was later remade in Hindi as Yaad Rakhegi Duniya (1992).


Prakash, a carefree, mischievous student graduates from College. During his celebration with his friends, he gets into a road accident. Although the accident is only minor, during medical tests, he is diagnosed with terminal cancer and has a few months to live. Unable to hear his mother's constant wailing, he packs his bags and leaves for his family's vacation home in Ooty.

There, he meets Geetanjali, who enjoys playing pranks on people around her. In one incident, Geetanjali asks a guy to meet her near a church after sundown to elope with her. When he comes to meet her, she along with her sisters and friends plays an elaborate prank by dressing up as ghosts to scare him away. When she tries to pull the same prank on Prakash, who is already aware of this, it backfires as he pulls a bigger prank on her by dressing himself as a vampire and along with aerial wire stunts, scares her.

After being unsuccessful in scaring Prakash away, Geethanjali forms another plan in which she complains to her grandmother that Prakash had asked her (Geethanjali) to elope with him. Furious at this knowledge, Geethanjali's grandmother confronts Prakash about it. Though Prakash tries his best to explain the truth, Geethanjali's grandmother chides him and humiliates him in public. Prakash becomes angry and retaliates by driving Geethanjali to a hillside area and leaving her there. Later that night, Geethanjali's youngest sister comes to Prakash and tells him that Geethanjali has still not returned home and they are getting worried about her. Prakash goes out to look for her and upon finding her shivering in the cold, brings her back to her family. Geethanjali's grandmother scolds Prakash for pulling such a stunt on Geethanjali as such things could have worsened her health condition. Curious at this, Prakash inquires about her health. To his dismay, he finds out that she has a terminal illness. This intrigues him as she is always happy and energetic. Geethanjali tells him that she's not worried about her impending death as everyone who lives in this world will be gone someday. She also tells him that she's not bothered about what happens in the future and she only lives for today. This teaches Prakash to take his impending death in stride and live life to the fullest.

Prakash begins to fall in love with Geethanjali and pursues her. Thinking that this is also a part of his mischief, Geethanjali keeps putting him off. But one thing leads to another and soon, she too reciprocates his love. One day, Prakash's mother comes to visit him and finds out about her son's love. Not knowing that Prakash has been keeping his illness a secret from Geethanjali, his mother blurts out the truth to Geethanjali. She becomes heartbroken knowing that Prakash's condition is worse than her own. She confronts Prakash and tells him to leave her. Prakash reminds Geethanjali that everyone dies one day and so will he. He tells her that his death is no exception. But a devastated Geethanjali admits that his own life is more important to her than her own and she would not be able to see his death. She begs him to leave her and tells him that she doesn't want to see him again. That night, Geethanjali's health worsens and she is admitted to the hospital. After getting the news, Prakash rushes to the hospital to meet her, but Geethanjali's father, who happens to be a doctor, requests him to leave since Geethanjali wishes the same. Prakash becomes sad and decides to leave the town. At the same time, Geethanjali undergoes an operation on her heart. Hours after her operation, Geethanjali slowly opens her eyes. Her whole family rejoices at her recovery. Geethanjali looks at her father and tells him that she wants to meet Prakash. The family finds out that he is planning to leave the town and rush to the railway station. Prakash sees Geethanjali and turns back to run to her and hold her hand which she outstretches. The movie ends as Geethanjali and Prakash reunite and kiss.


Special appearances (listed alphabetically)


Fascinated by the script and box office performance of Mani Ratnam's Mouna Ragam (1986), Nagarjuna was keen on featuring in a film directed by him. Nagarjuna revealed that he used to wait outside Ratnam's house every morning when the director would go on his daily walk to exchange conversation. After a month of regularly attempting to run into the director, Nagarjuna requested him to direct a Telugu film with him in the lead, which the director agreed to after initial reluctance.[3] The film was Geethanjali, which remains the only Telugu film directed by Ratnam.[4] Girija was cast as the lead actress after the director Maniratnam saw her at the wedding of the siter of Krishnamachary Srikanth, former Indian Cricket Team and Suhasini.[5] Girija's voice was dubbed by Rohini during post-production.[6] Principal photography began on 12 October 1988 and was completed in sixty days. Most of the scenes were shot in Ooty and a few shots were filmed in Madras.[5]


The music was composed by Ilaiyaraaja, with lyrics by Veturi.[7][8] The first song finalised was "Oh Paapaa Laali!".[9]

1."Oh Priya Priya!"K. S. Chithra, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam5:44
2."Jagada Jagada"S. P. Balasubrahmanyam4:24
3."Aamani Paadave"S. P. Balasubrahmanyam4:24
4."Nandikonda Vaagullona"K. S. Chithra, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam5:02
5."Om Namaha"S. Janaki, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam4:06
6."Oh Paapaa Laali!"S. P. Balasubrahmanyam4:27
7."Jallanta Kavvinta"K. S. Chithra4:08
Total length:32:40

All lyrics are written by Vaali; all music is composed by Ilaiyaraaja.

1."Oh Priya Priya!"Mano, K. S. Chithra 
2."Vidiya Vidiya Nadanam"Mano 
3."Kaviyam Padava Thendrale"Mano 
4."Kattukulle Paatu Sollum"Mano, K. S. Chithra 
5."Om Namaha"Mano, S. Janaki 
6."Oh Papa Laali"Mano 
7."Aththadi Ammadi"K. S. Chithra 


Geethanjali was released on 19 May 1989. Praveen Kumar Reddy had to distribute the film himself in select places like Visakhapatnam as distributors were sceptical; despite this, it was a commercial success, running for over 100 days in theatres. The Tamil-dubbed version Idhayathai Thirudathe (transl. Do not steal the heart) was released on 5 July 1989 and was also successful.[5]


Event Award Awardee Ref.
37th National Film Awards Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment Geethanjali [10]
37th Filmfare Awards South Best Director – Telugu Mani Ratnam [11]
Nandi Awards Best Feature Film – Gold P. R. Prasad & C. Praveen Kumar Reddy [12]
Best Story Writer Mani Ratnam
Best Male Comedian Suthivelu
Best Choreography Sundaram Master
Best Cinematographer P. C. Sreeram
Best Art Direction Thota Tharani


Nagarjuna became the heart-throb of Telugu filmgoers with Geethanjali. An immense following of girls and ladies began for Nagarjuna. Geethanjali was released five months prior to another trend-setter, Siva starring Nagarjuna. These two films helped Nagarjuna gain both class and mass audience and were the stepping stones for many more blockbusters later in his career. Ratnam also gained a huge following in Andhra Pradesh with this film.[13] The film was unofficially remade in Hindi as Yaad Rakhegi Duniya (1992).[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Rangan 2012, p. 290.
  2. ^ a b Keramalu, Karthik (22 June 2021). "Finding The Roots Of Mani Ratnam's Geethanjali". Film Companion. Archived from the original on 9 July 2021. Retrieved 8 July 2021.
  3. ^ "Interview with Nagarjuna about Soggade Chinni Nayana". 14 January 2016. Archived from the original on 17 January 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  4. ^ Jha, Subhash K (10 April 2014). "Nagarjuna, Mahesh Babu to star in Mani Ratnam's next". Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d Sri (6 August 2008). "Movie Retrospect : Geetanjali (1989)". Archived from the original on 18 April 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  6. ^ Kumar, P. K. Ajith (11 August 2011). "Back in action". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 2 February 2021. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  7. ^ "Geetanjali (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by Ilaiyaraaja". Apple Music. Archived from the original on 16 February 2021. Retrieved 9 September 2021.
  8. ^ "Geethanjali (1989) Telugu Super Hit Movie LP Vinyl Record by Ilaiyaraja". Disco Music Center. Archived from the original on 9 September 2021. Retrieved 9 September 2021.
  9. ^ Rangan 2012, p. 82.
  10. ^ "37th National Film Festival" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. p. 19. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 October 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  11. ^ "Double honour for Kamal". The Indian Express. 14 June 1990. p. 3. Retrieved 9 September 2021.
  12. ^ "నంది అవార్డు విజేతల పరంపర (1964–2008)" [A series of Nandi Award Winners (1964–2008)] (PDF) (in Telugu). Information & Public Relations of Andhra Pradesh. Archived (PDF) from the original on 23 February 2015. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  13. ^ "Villain press meet". Sify. Archived from the original on 9 November 2016. Retrieved 9 November 2016.


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