Kannathil Muthamittal

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Kannathil Muthamittal
Kannathil Muthamittal.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMani Ratnam
Dialogues by
  • Sujatha
Screenplay byMani Ratnam
Story byMani Ratnam
Based on"Amuthavum Avanum"
by Sujatha
Produced byMani Ratnam
G. Srinivasan
StarringR. Madhavan
P. S. Keerthana
CinematographyRavi K. Chandran
Edited byA. Sreekar Prasad
Music byA. R. Rahman
Distributed byMadras Talkies
Release date
  • 14 February 2002 (2002-02-14)
Running time
137 minutes

Kannathil Muthamittal (also released internationally under the translated title A Peck on the Cheek) is a 2002 Indian Tamil-language musical war film produced and directed by Mani Ratnam. It was based on a short story, "Amuthavum Avanum" by Sujatha.[1] The film stars R. Madhavan, Simran and P. S. Keerthana with Nandita Das, J. D. Chakravarthy, Prakash Raj and Pasupathy portraying other pivotal characters. The film's score and soundtrack were composed by A. R. Rahman, while Ravi K. Chandran handled the cinematography. Mani Ratnam presents the story of a child of Sri Lankan Tamil parentage adopted by Indian parents, whose desire is to meet her biological mother in the midst of the Sri Lankan Civil War. It was released on 14 February 2002.

The film premiered at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival, It also received a strong reception when screened at the San Francisco International Film Festival in 2003.The film received high critical acclaim upon release and went on to win six National Film Awards, three Filmfare Awards South,[2] six Cinema Express Awards,[3] seven Tamil Nadu State Film Awards and Best Film awards at six international film festivals.


In Mankulam, a small Tamil village in Sri Lanka, M. D. Shyama marries Dileepan and becomes pregnant. Amidst the backdrop of the civil war, Dileepan fights against the government with other men in the village as part of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). While romancing in the forest, the couple hears Sri Lankan Army troops approaching. Dileepan makes Shyama flee while he remains in the forest. Afterwards, the villagers begin fleeing to India, but Shyama is reluctant to join as she still hopes her husband will come for her. Her relatives convince her to go for her unborn child's sake, and they board a rickety boat, journeying through rough waters. An older man says that he has seen Dileepan with bullet wounds in the forest. Shyama wants the boat to turn around but it is too late. After arriving in Rameswaram, Shyama gives birth to a baby girl during refugee processing. However, she leaves behind the baby in order to return to Sri Lanka, hoping that her husband is alive and wishing to continue in his footsteps.

Nine years later in Madras, a young girl, Amudha lives a happy life with her father, the writer Thiruchelvan (better known by his pen name Indira), her mother, a newscaster and the "real" Indira, and her two younger brothers, Vinay and Akhil. Amudha is close to her father while being more distant from her mother. On Amudha's ninth birthday, Thiruchelvan reveals to Amudha that she was adopted and her younger brothers are their biological children. Amudha is very disturbed after hearing the news and begins distancing herself from everyone else. Indira's father criticizes their decision, but Thiruchelvan and Indira are certain they have done the right move. Amudha asks her parents about her adoption. Nine years earlier in Rameswaram, Thiruchelvan, then a budding writer, often travels to a refugee camp and writes stories inspired by the people there. During one visit, Thiruchelvan sees a newborn baby girl and writes a short story about her. Indira is his neighbour, and has always been interested in him. Thiruchelvan wants to adopt the girl, but is not allowed to as a single man. He marries Indira and adopts the baby girl, naming her "Amudha" at Indira's suggestion. A few years later, Indira gives birth to Vinay and Akhil.

Still dissatisfied, Amudha requests to meet her biological mother despite Indira's insistence that she can't be found. Amudha secretly goes to Rameshwaram with her cousin and finds her records. Shocked at her stubbornness, her family rushes there. Thiruchelvan gives in and agrees to take Amudha to Sri Lanka to find her birth mother. Leaving the two boys under the care of Indira's father, the trio travel to Sri Lanka and meet Dr. Harold Wickramasinghe, a Sinhalese friend of Thiruchelvan who guides them. Amudha's increasingly rude and impatient behavior towards Indira strains their relationship. During their stay, they observe the difficulties and violence that the civil war has brought. While walking in the jungle, Thiruchelvan and Wickramasinghe are captured by a group of LTTE cadres. Thiruchelvan immediately recites Tamil poetry and is identified as Indira by Pasupathy, the group's leader. Thiruchelvan explains his motives of coming to the country, mentioning the only evidence that he has regarding Amudha's birth mother is that her name is Shyama. Pasupathy arranges a meeting and says he will bring Shyama to the designated spot. It turns out that Shyama is Pasupathy's sister and a fellow LTTE cadre living in hiding.

The next day, Wickramasinghe, Amudha, Indira, and Thiruchelvan wait in a park to meet Shyama, but a battle breaks out there as the Sri Lankan army tries to destroy a nearby LTTE base. During their escape, Indira gets shot in her arm. After escaping and getting medical treatment, Amudha apologizes to Indira for her behavior and requests they return to India. The next day, the family leaves for the airport but Indira unexpectedly asks them to revisit the park. Shyama arrives just in time; after an emotional reunion, Amudha gives Shyama a photo album and asks her a series of questions which she only partially answers. As the meeting comes to an end, Amudha begs Shyama to come to Madras with her but Shyama tearfully refuses, saying that she has work to do in Sri Lanka and they can only meet again when the country is at peace. Thiruchelvan, Amudha, and Indira hug each other as Shyama leaves, and a teary-eyed Amudha kisses her parents.


  • R. Madhavan as Thiruchelvan, also known by the pen-name Indira (his wife's name)
  • Simran as Indira Thiruchelvan, Thiruchelvan's wife (voice-over by Deepa Venkat)
  • P. S. Keerthana as T. Amudha, the adopted daughter of Thiruchelvan and Indira
  • Nandita Das as M. D. Shyama, Amudha's biological mother.(voice-over by Sukanya)
  • Prakash Raj as Dr. Harold Wickramasinghe
  • Chakravarthy as Dileepan, Amudha's biological father.
  • Delhi Kumar as D. Ganesan, Indira's father
  • Pasupathy as Pasupathy, Shyama's brother
  • Bala Singh as Devanathan
  • M. S. Bhaskar as Shankaralingam
  • Sashikumar as Sashi, a suicide bomber
  • Master Suraj as Vinayan, son of Thiruchelvan and Indira
  • Master Kethan as Akhilan, son of Thiruchelvan and Indira
  • Eswari Rao as another Shyama
  • Kukku Parameshwaram as Sundari
  • Pondy Ravi as Dhanraj
  • Mu Ramaswamy as Sundaralingam
  • Kamala Krishnaswamy as Kamala, Thiruchelvan's elder sister
  • Siddharth as bus passenger (uncredited role)
  • Shefali Chowdhury as a refugee (uncredited role)


Like other Mani Ratnam projects, the film began production with very little official publicity in early 2001 with the media covering the project as either Manjal Kudai (Yellow Umbrella) or Kudaigal (Umbrellas).[4] The film was reported of a trilogy of films based on love and peace in the backdrop of war after Roja (1992), Bombay (1995) and Dil Se (1998). The film was originally conceived as a taut racy thriller that centres on a script based on a female leader of a guerilla group – with Mani Ratnam later choosing to base the film on human relationships with the backdrop of the Sri Lankan Civil War.[5] R. Madhavan was signed up to play a leading role in the film, with the venture becoming his third straight Mani Ratnam project after Alaipayuthey and the Mani Ratnam production, Dumm Dumm Dumm. For the role of Indira, Mani Ratnam considered casting Jyothika, Soundarya or relative newcomer Bhumika Chawla, before finalising Simran to portray the character.[6][7] Madhavan and Simran thus shot for two films simultaneously together, as they had also been cast in K. Balachandar's Paarthale Paravasam as a married couple.[8] Nandita Das was also hired for the film, making her debut in Tamil films, and in a later interview mentioned that the team shot for nearly thirteen hours a day.[9] P. S. Keerthana, the second daughter of actors Parthiban and Seetha, was cast the child artiste in the film, while Prakash Raj was also hired to play a Sinhalese character. Mani Ratnam approached actor Vikram to make a special appearance as Keerthana's biological father in the film, but his refusal meant that J. D. Chakravarthy was later handed the role.[10]

The title of the film was finally announced as Kannathil Muthammittal (If the cheek is kissed) in July 2001, after a famous phrase from a poem written by Subramanya Bharathi. The shoot began in Chennai with a ten-day schedule in the Besant Nagar area.[11] Parts of the film shown to be Colombo in the film were shot in Puducherry.[12] Further schedules were carried out in the forests of Kerala to depict the base of the LTTE in northern Sri Lanka.[13] As most of the cast were non-native Tamil speakers, dubbing artistes were used with actresses Sukanya and Deepa Venkat lending their voices for Nandita Das and Simran respectively. Furthermore, Mounika lent her voice for Easwari Rao's character, while Thalaivasal Vijay spoke lines for Chakravarthy.


Kannathil Muthamittal
Soundtrack album by
Released12 January 2002
StudioPanchathan Record Inn and AM Studios, Chennai
GenreFeature film soundtrack
LabelTips Music
Bayshore Records
ProducerA. R. Rahman
A. R. Rahman chronology
Alli Arjuna
Kannathil Muthamittal
The Legend of Bhagat Singh

The soundtrack featuring six songs was released on 12 January 2002 by the label Tips Music. This film marked the debut of playback singer Chinmayi into the film industry at the age of 15. The score and soundtrack fetched A. R. Rahman his fourth National Film Award for Best Music Direction. Lyricist Vairamuthu too won the National Film Award for Best Lyrics, for the song "Kannathil Muthamittal".[14]

All lyrics are written by Vairamuthu. The track "Signore Signore" features Sinhalese lyrics penned by B. H. Abdul Hameed.

1."Vellai Pookal"A. R. Rahman5:18
2."Sundari"Hariharan, Tippu, Sujatha Mohan, Karthik, Srimathumitha4:52
3."Kannathil Muthamittal" (Male)P.Jayachandran, Chinmayi6:37
4."Signore Signore"Swarnalatha, Anupama, Karthik, Rafique, Noel James3:31
5."Vidai Kodu Engal Naadae"M. S. Viswanathan, Balram, Febi Mani, A. R. Reihana, Manikka Vinayagam6:12
6."Kannathil Muthamittal" (Female)Chinmayi, P. Jayachandran6:35
7."Sattena Nenaindhadhu Nenjam"Minmini2:07
Total length:35:12


The film opened to positive reviews from critics. Gauthaman Baskaran of The Hindu Frontline wrote the film is "certainly a must for those who still believe in meaningful cinema", while praising Mani Ratnam's "grip on the medium".[15]


List of accolades received by Kannathil Muthamittal
Total number of awards and nominations[a]
Totals 40 42

This is a list of awards and nominations received by the 2002 Indian Tamil-language film Kannathil Muthamittal. The film was highly appreciated upon its release and went on to win several awards and nominations at different award ceremonies the following year. It also had a highly acclaimed soundtrack which got A. R. Rahman his fourth National Film Award for Best Music Direction for the second consecutive time after Lagaan for both his songs and background score.[16] The film holds a record of six National Film Awards wins which is the highest by any Tamil Film tied with Aadukalam and also being the highest for the year 2002. The film has won a total of 40 awards since its release.[17]

Indian awards[edit]

Award Date of ceremony[b] Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
National Film Awards 29 December 2003 Best Feature Film in Tamil Mani Ratnam (Madras Talkies) Won [18]
Best Child Artist P. S. Keerthana Won
Best Music Direction A. R. Rahman Won
Best Lyrics Vairamuthu Won
Best Audiography H. Sridhar
A. S. Laxmi Narayanan
Best Editing A. Sreekar Prasad Won
Filmfare Awards South 24 May 2003 Best Director – Tamil Mani Ratnam Won [19]
Best Actress – Tamil Simran Won
Best Cinematographer – South Ravi K. Chandran Won
Tamil Nadu State Film Awards 23 February 2006 Second Best Film Mani Ratnam (Madras Talkies) Won [20]
Best Director Mani Ratnam Won
Best Art Director Sabu Cyril Won
Best Actor R. Madhavan Won
Best Child Artist P. S. Keerthana Won
Special Prize Award Nandita Das Won
Best Female Playback Singer Chinmayi Won
Cinema Express Awards 21 December 2002 Best Film – Tamil Mani Ratnam (Madras Talkies) Won [22]
Special Jury Award for Best Director Mani Ratnam Won
Best Actress – Tamil Simran Won
Best Child Artist P. S. Keerthana Won
Best Stunt Director Vikram Dharma Won
Best Choreographer Brindha Won
International Tamil Film Awards 31 October 2003 Best Movie Mani Ratnam (Madras Talkies) Won [23]
Best Director Mani Ratnam Won
Best Actress Simran Won
Best Supporting Actor Prakash Raj Won
Best Cinematographer Ravi K. Chandran Won
Best Upcoming Singer Chinmayi Won
Ajanta Fine Arts Awards 2003 Best Female Playback Singer Won [citation needed]
Best Media Associates Awards Won [citation needed]
South Indian Cinematographers Association Awards 25 November 2003 Best Cinematographer Award Ravi K. Chandran Won [24]
Best Child Artist P. S. Keerthana Won

International awards[edit]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Film Fest New Haven 2004 Special Award – Achievement Award Mani Ratnam Won [25]
Audience Award – Best Feature Film (International) Kannathil Muthamittal (Mani Ratnam) Won
Jury Award – Best Feature Film (International) Won
Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles 22 April 2003 Audience Award for Best Picture Won [26]
Jerusalem Film Festival 10–19 July 2003 In Spirit for Freedom Award Won [28]
Zimbabwe International Film Festival 2003 Best Picture Won [29]
RiverRun International Film Festival 2004 Audience Award – Best Feature Film Won [30]
Westchester Film Festival Best International Film Won [31]


  1. ^ Awards in certain categories do not have prior nominations and only winners are announced by the jury. For simplification and to avoid errors, each award in this list has been presumed to have had a prior nomination.
  2. ^ Date is linked to the article about the awards held that year, wherever possible.


  1. ^ "Song of the Day: Vidai Kodu Engal Naadae from 'Kannathil Muthamittal'". 3 May 2019.
  2. ^ "The Winner: 50th Manikchand Filmfare Awards 2002 - Filmfare - Indiatimes". Archived from the original on 28 August 2004. Retrieved 28 August 2004.
  3. ^ "'Kannathil Muthamittal' bags 6 Cinema Express awards". The Hindu. 22 December 2002. Archived from the original on 10 November 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  4. ^ "S U B A S". Cinematoday3.itgo.com. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  5. ^ "Wistful after V-Day". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 16 February 2002. Archived from the original on 30 November 2004.
  6. ^ "Madhavan, Simran to bill and coo in Mani Ratnam?s flick : Down South News : ApunKaChoice.Com". apunkachoice.com. Archived from the original on 18 September 2001. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  7. ^ "rediff.com, Movies: Simran: Absolutely hot!". Rediff.com. 14 June 2001. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  8. ^ "A success story unfolds". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 9 November 2001. Archived from the original on 23 June 2012.
  9. ^ "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India – Arts Tribune". Tribuneindia.com. 27 July 2001. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  10. ^ "Man of Steel | The Caravan – A Journal of Politics and Culture". caravanmagazine.in. Archived from the original on 13 December 2013.
  11. ^ "Screen the business of entertainment-Regional-Telgu-News". screenindia.com. Archived from the original on 23 July 2001. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  12. ^ "Director Mani Rathnam and P S Keerthana Chat Transcript". Geocities.ws. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  13. ^ "It's All There". The Times of India. July 2001. Archived from the original on 9 October 2008. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  14. ^ "50th National Film Awards". International Film Festival of India. Archived from the original on 19 March 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  15. ^ ""Kannathil Muththamittal" - Frontline". Archived from the original on 26 February 2009.
  16. ^ "50th National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  17. ^ "Kannathil Muthamittal Awards". Awards for Kannathil Muthamittal (A Peck on the Cheek). Archived from the original on 29 April 2008. Retrieved 19 November 2007.
  18. ^ "Prize Winning Unit". The Hindu. 1 August 2003. Archived from the original on 23 December 2003. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  19. ^ "Ajith Simran bag Filmfare awards". The Times of India. 17 May 2003. Archived from the original on 11 December 2017. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  20. ^ "Tamil Nadu State Film Awards announces awards for three years". IndiaGlitz. 1 October 2004. Archived from the original on 19 March 2017. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  21. ^ "Tamil Nadu state awards announced". Rediff.com. 13 February 2006. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  22. ^ "Kannathil Muthamittal gets six Cinema Express Awards". The Hindu. 22 December 2002. Archived from the original on 24 October 2017. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  23. ^ "The Hindu : <bold1>ITFA ceremony in Malaysia </bold1>". The Hindu. 31 October 2003. Archived from the original on 7 June 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  24. ^ "Kannathil Muthamittal wins 2 at the SICA". The Hindu. 25 November 2003. Archived from the original on 17 February 2018. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  25. ^ "Accolades". Madras Talkies. Archived from the original on 14 May 2006. Retrieved 12 February 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  26. ^ "A Peck on the Cheek (Kannathil Muthamittal)" (PDF). Film Movement. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  27. ^ "Accolades". Madras Talkies. Archived from the original on 14 May 2006. Retrieved 12 February 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  28. ^ "The 20th JFF". jff.org. Archived from the original on 19 August 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  29. ^ "Accolades". Madras Talkies. Archived from the original on 14 May 2006. Retrieved 12 February 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  30. ^ "2004 Award winners". riverrunfilm.com. Archived from the original on 15 April 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  31. ^ "Accolades". Madras Talkies. Archived from the original on 14 May 2006. Retrieved 12 February 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)

External links[edit]