Hey Ram

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Hey Ram
Tamil Poster of the film
Directed by Kamal Haasan
Produced by Kamal Haasan
Bharat Shah
Written by Kamal Haasan
Manohar Shyam Joshi
(Hindi dialogue)
Starring Kamal Haasan
Shah Rukh Khan
Rani Mukerji
Hema Malini
Atul Kulkarni
Girish Karnad
Naseeruddin Shah
Aravind Akash
Showkar Janaki
Music by Ilaiyaraaja
Cinematography Tirru
Edited by Renu Saluja
Distributed by Raajkamal Films International
Release dates
  • 18 February 2000 (2000-02-18)
Running time
210 minutes (Tamil version)
207 minutes (Hindi version)
Country India
Language Tamil
Budget 9 crore (equivalent to 26 crore or US$3.9 million in 2016)[1]
Box office 11.30 crore (equivalent to 33 crore or US$4.9 million in 2016)[2]

Hey Ram (translation: Oh Ram! or Oh God!) is a 2000 Indian period crime drama film simultaneously made in Tamil and Hindi language. The film was written, directed and produced by Kamal Haasan and he also starred as the protagonist in the film. The film's soundtrack and background score were composed by Ilaiyaraaja. The semi-fictional plot centres on India's Partition and the murder of Mahatma Gandhi by Nathuram Godse. The film was selected by India as the its submission to the Oscars in the year 2000, but was not nominated.


The film is about a protagonist's journey from religious hatred to love with the theme of the partition of Bengal in the background. Its relevance in the present Indian environment clouded by religious extremism was widely unrecognised. This is the story of Saket Ram, as narrated by his grandson. The film takes place as Ram, a retired archaeologist, lies on the deathbed, on 6 December 1999, the 7th anniversary of the destruction of Babri Mosque in Ayodhya.


The movie begins at present day with Saket Ram (Kamal Haasan), an 89-year-old Hindu man at his death bed. The scene reverts to the past as Saket remembers the 1940s, when he and his good friend, Amjad Ali Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) are archaeologists working together under their boss, Mortimer Wheeler, in Mohenjo-daro (Indus Valley Civilization) in the Sindh province in what was then North-West India. Relations are pleasant between the Indians and the English, and Saket and Amjad do not approve of Partition and the creation of Pakistan. Aparna Ram (Rani Mukerji), Saket's simple Bengali wife, is a school teacher. She lives in Calcutta in the midst of riots and chaos over the issue of the formation of Pakistan and the call by Mohammad Ali Jinnah for "Direct Action". Saket goes to Calcutta and is swept into the madness. In one instance, Saket saves an innocent Sikh girl from the hands of a Muslim gang. When he returns to his house, he finds a group of Muslims entering his house. They brutally rape and murder Aparna. Saket, unable to cope with his tragic loss, kills the Muslims who raped and killed his wife in a fit of rage.

Outside his house, he runs into Sriram Abhyankar (Atul Kulkarni), who is part of a Hindu group determined to fight the Muslims' malice with similar brute force, and assassinate Gandhi for what they perceive to be his treachery towards Hindu dominated India (Gandhi wanted Hindus and Muslims to co-exist peacefully with hope of winning over the hearts of the rioters through sheer self-pity). However, Abhyankar and his fellow extremists had lost patience at what they deemed Mahatma Gandhi's unreasonable stand to appease Pakistan, who had already invaded Kashmir by that time. Gandhi was pressuring the newly founded Indian state to pay Rs. 620 million to Pakistan and some territorial concessions as well.

Urged by family to remarry, Saket weds Mythili (Vasundhara Das). However, on a trip to Maharashtra, he reunites with Abhyankar and becomes a part of his militant organisation that plots to do away with Gandhi. Due to an horse-riding accident, Abhyankar is left a quadriplegic and has Ram swear that he will carry on his work, that of killing the Mahatma.

Saket comes to the belief that Mahatma Gandhi (Naseeruddin Shah) is solely responsible for the division of India and of the two religions and also of having supported whom they viewed as the enemy. Hindu fundamentalists, including Saket, are furious and plot to murder Gandhi. However, Saket, after several incidents surrounding and leading to Amjad's death (with whom he reunites briefly in a congested Delhi area), changes his mind about Gandhi. He decides against assassinating the leader, and attempts to beg for forgiveness. Soon afterwards, Gandhi is killed by another assassin, Nathuram Godse. Ironically, Gandhi dies without his famous last words: "Hey Ram!" as popularly believed, and as in Richard Attenborough's film Gandhi.

Then on, Saket Ram lives by Gandhian principles. As the 89-year-old Saket Ram is being taken to the hospital, he is told of bomb blasts in the city due to Hindu-Muslim communal riots. He asks "Innuma (even now)?". They are forced by the police to be taken into an underground shelter for their security, but Saket Ram dies there. In his funeral, Gandhiji's grandson comes and sees Saket's private room which is full of historical photos. Saket's grandson hands over Gandhi's footwear and spectacle which Saket had previously collected from the place of shootout and had treasured it all the while.



Tamil version[edit]

Song Singer(s) Lyrics
"Isaiyil Thodanguthamma" Ajoy Chakrabarty Ilayaraja
"Nee Partha" Asha Bhosle, Hariharan, Rani Mukerji Jibanananda Das, Kamal Haasan
"Pollatha Madhana Paanam" Anupama, Mahalakshmi Iyer Vaali
"Ram Ram" Kamal Haasan, Shruti Haasan Kamal Haasan
"Ramaranalum" Jolly Mukherjee, Kamal Haasan, Hariharan Vaali
"Sanyaas Mantra" Kamal Haasan
"Vaaranam Aayiram Vaishnava Janatho" Vibha Sharma, Asha Bhosle Aandal, Narsinh Mehta

Hindi version[edit]

Song Singer(s) Lyrics
"Har Koi Samjhe" Ajoy Chakraborty Sameer
"Janmon Ki Jwala" Asha Bhosle, Hariharan, Rani Mukherjee Sameer (Poem by Jibanananda Das)
"Asa Ga Madan Ban Ghusla Kasa" Anupama, Preeti Uttam Sameer / Jagdish Khebudkar
"Hey! Ram" Kamal Haasan, Shruti Haasan Sameer
"Chahe Pandit Ho" Jolly Mukherjee, Kamal Haasan, Hariharan Sameer
"Sanyaas Mantra" Kamal Haasan
"Vaishnav Jana To" Vibha Sharma


The shooting was started in Madhava Perumal Temple, Mylapore. Originally, violinist L. Subramaniam was selected as composer for the film but he opted out of the film;[3] instead Ilayaraaja was selected as a composer. His background score was recorded by a Symphony Orchestra for the second time for an Indian film, the first time being by Ilaiyaraaja himself three years before for the Malayalam epic fantasy Guru.[4] Actor Shah Rukh Khan did not ask for any remuneration from Kamal Haasan as he considered it an honour and privilege to work with one of his mentors.[5] Haasan initially intended to title the film as Satya Sodanai, which loosely translates to My Experiments With Truth, the title of Gandhi's autobiography.[6]


The film has won the following awards since its release: 2000 National Film Awards

  • Won – Silver Lotus Award – Best Supporting Actor – Atul Kulkarni
  • Won – Silver Lotus Award – Best Costume Design – Sarika
  • Won – Silver Lotus Award – Best Special Effects – Manthra

There were protests and press releases by political parties in select centres against perceived negative depiction of Gandhi.[7][8][9] In India the film was given an 'A' certificate by the Central Board of Film certification. In Malaysia, it was rated as Universal.[10]

Box office[edit]

Hey Ram grossed 8.91 crore (US$1.3 million) in India and $550,000 (2.39 crore) in other countries, for a worldwide total of 11.30 crore (US$1.7 million), against its 9 crore (US$1.3 million) budget. It had a worldwide opening weekend of 3.27 crore (US$490,000), and grossed 5.51 crore (US$820,000) in its first week.[2] It is the 32nd-highest-grossing film of 2000 worldwide.[11]


It opened on Friday, February 18, 2000, across 115 screens, and earned 44 lakh (US$65,000) nett on its opening day. It grossed 1.31 crore (US$190,000) nett in its opening weekend, and had a first week of 2.39 crore (US$360,000) nett. The film earned a total of 5.32 crore (US$790,000) nett, and was declared "Flop" by Box Office India.[2] It is the 35th-highest-grossing film of 2000 in India.[12]


It had an opening weekend of $250,000 (1.08 crore) and went on to gross $350,000 (1.52 crore) in its first week. The film earned a total of $550,000 (2.39 crore) at the end of its theatrical run.[2] Overseas, It is the 17th-highest-grossing film of 2000.[13]

'Hey Ram' worldwide collections breakdown
Territory Territory wise Collections break-up
India Nett Gross:
5.32 crore (US$790,000)
Distributor share:
2.63 crore (US$390,000)
Total Gross:
8.91 crore (US$1.3 million)
(Outside India)
$550,000 (2.39 crore)
Worldwide 11.30 crore (US$1.7 million)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hey Ram Budget". Box Office India. 22 July 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Hey Ram Box office". Box Office India. 22 July 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  3. ^ http://www.screenindia.com/old/jan28/music1.htm
  4. ^ http://www.indolink.com/tamil/cinema/Specials/98/August/Raja3.htm
  5. ^ Dhananjayan, G. (2014). Pride of Tamil Cinema: 1931 to 2013. Blue Ocean Publishers. pp. 384–385. 
  6. ^ http://www.rediff.com/movies/1999/nov/18kamal.htm
  7. ^ http://www.screenindia.com/old/mar03/film8.htm
  8. ^ "Rediff on the NeT, Movies: Our weekly box office update". Rediff.com. 1 March 2000. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "TMC threatens to block Kamal Haasan 's films – The Times of India". Cscsarchive.org:8081. 20 June 2004. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  10. ^ Hey Ram budget was 11 crore
  11. ^ "Top Worldwide Grossers 2000". Box Office India. 22 July 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  12. ^ "Top India Total Nett Gross 2000". Box Office India. 22 July 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  13. ^ "Top Overseas Gross 2000". Box Office India. 22 July 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 

External links[edit]