Keladi Kanmani

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Keladi Kanmani
Keladi Kanmani poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byVasanth
Produced byA. Sundaram
Written byVasanth
StarringS. P. Balasubrahmanyam
Ramesh Arvind
Poornam Viswanathan
Music byIlaiyaraaja
CinematographyR. Raghunatha Reddy
Edited byGanesh Kumar
Vivek Chithra Productions
Distributed byVivek Chithra Productions
Release date
27 July 1990
Running time
147 minutes

Keladi Kanmani (lit. Listen, sweetheart) is a 1990 Indian Tamil-language drama film directed by Vasanth in his directorial debut. The film stars S. P. Balasubrahmanyam and Raadhika. It was a commercial success, running for over 285 days at theatres. The film was dubbed into Telugu as O Papa Lali.


The film opens with a bus carrying a group of college students for a trip. Among the students are Anu (Anju) and her girlfriends. The bus is stopped by some masked bandits. They forcibly enter the bus and demand that Anu should kiss their leader Sashi (Ramesh Arvind); otherwise, they will kill everyone on board. This is subsequently revealed to be a ruse: Sashi is in fact a fellow college student trying to win Anu's affection.

For a few days after, Sashi and Anu play various pranks on each other. Anu eventually admits her affection for Sashi and they begin a courtship. All seems to proceed well, except that Anu is strangely melancholic from time to time; she repeats to Sashi that she senses an imminent danger to their relationship, although she is unable to pinpoint what the threat or describe why it may materialize so soon.

Some things are revealed when Anju begins to get sharp headaches from time to time. Her father, A. R. Rangaraj (SP Balasubrahmanyam), a quiet widower, tries to help her, but is not able to get to the bottom of the matter. A. R. Rangaraj (known to his friends as ARR) is a gentle old man who has devoted the greater part of his life to his daughter. Things come to a head when, on her 18th birthday, Anu visits her doctor who confirms she has bilateral renal artery stenosis and is almost certain to succumb within a year. She may require an operation within that time, but the likelihood of her coming through it alive is minimal. Anu requests the doctor to keep it between them (and, in particular, not inform her father to avoid deeply saddening him). However, unbeknownst to Anu, her father discovers it by accident when the local pharmacist sends some prescription drugs through him.

When Anu discusses the matter with Sashi, he expresses his support in spite of his grave sadness (in proportion to his love for her). Anu reveals a thread from her past that may explain her melancholic mood.

The film flashes back to several years before, when ARR had a happy family. Anu, then five or six, attended school; ARR handled his job and his loving wife (Geetha) managed the home. Tragedy struck when they lost his wife to an illness. Anu took this particularly hard. Yet, ARR tried to help cope with it somehow and move on. Some time thereafter, ARR met Sharada (Radhika) at a wedding. Sometime thereafter, ARR sought a tutor for young Anu, and Sharada happened to take the position. The friendship evolved into a courtship, to the point where ARR was about to propose marriage. (During the courtship, ARR sang the song Mannil indha kaadhal to Sharada. He cheekily prefaced the song with the admission that while he may not be a talented singer, he can certainly hold a tune; and to verify his claim, he proposed to sing the entire song in one breath. Sharada was truly impressed.) As time went on, Sharada realized her own bindings. Both her parents were deaf-mute, and she was the only way they could communicate with the rest of the world, this left her torn between her filial duty and her personal aspirations. Things were worsened when Anu experienced feelings of motherly yearning and was simply unable to accept Sharada (or anyone else for that matter) in the role of a mother. Sharada is bewildered and ultimately frustrated by all this. And in spite of ARR's assurances that they can work it out, she refused his proposal and moved to Bangalore to take a position as a schoolteacher. Since that time, Anu has been plagued by guilt for her part in the breakup.

The doctors pronounce a date and time for the unavoidable operation. Anu takes this with stoic grief, and asks Sashi for one last thing: to find Sharada and attempt to reunite her with ARR. They find an old picture of Sharada, and Sashi recognizes her as the woman he had met in Bangalore a few weeks ago. He sets off on a frantic hunt for Sharada. On the day of the operation, Sharada happens to be in Chennai en route to a training event in the USA. After a tricky set of near-misses, Sashi is able to locate her in the nick of time, and bring her to Anu and ARR moments before Anu gets anaesthetized.

The film ends with Anu going for one last ride with Sashi on his motorbike and right before they leave, Anu mentions that she has gained faith in surviving the surgery, and according to previous circumstances, what she feels is the outcome and so the results are let to the audience.



Vasanth, an erstwhile assistant of K. Balachander, made his directorial debut with this film.[1] He revealed that the first shot he directed was the scene where Radhika's character cries over her parents' death.[2][3]



The music was composed by Ilaiyaraaja. The song "Nee Pathi Naan Pathi" is based on the raga Chakravakam.[4][5] The entire soundtrack (except for the song "Mannil Indha Kaadhal") was completed in 45 minutes.[3] "Mannil Indha Kaadhal" has Balasubrahmanyam appearing to sing two stanzas without taking a single breath in between the lines.[6][7] The song is set in the carnatic raga known as Keeravani.[8] The song "Karpoora Bommai" is inspired from"Poovagi kaayagi" form the film Annai composed by R. Sudarsanam.

Tamil version
1."Enna Paduvathu"Gangai AmaranIlaiyaraaja, Arun Mozhi, Saibaba04:43
2."Karpoora Bommai"Mu. MethaP. Susheela04:45
3."Mannil Indha"Pavalar VaradarajanS. P. Balasubrahmanyam04:13
4."Nee Pathi Naan Pathi"VaaliK. J. Yesudas, Uma Ramanan04:40
5."Thanniyile Nenanja"VaaliUma Ramanan04:41
6."Thenral Thaan"PiraisoodanK. J. Yesudas, K. S. Chithra4:41
7."Varanam Aayiram"AandalS. Janaki2:45

All lyrics written by Rajashri.

Telugu version[9]
1."Yemi Paadedi"Mano04:43
2."Karpoora Bomma"P. Susheela04:45
3."Maatarani"S. P. Balasubrahmanyam4:13
4."Neevega Na Pranam"K. J. Yesudas, K. S. Chithra4:40
5."Segali Sandela"K. J. Yesudas, K. S. Chithra4:41
6."Jeevana Mangala"K. S. Chithra2:45

Release and reception[edit]

Keladi Kanmani was released on 27 July 1990.[10] N. Krishnaswamy of The Indian Express wrote, "Class photography by Raghunatha Reddy, brilliant decors created by debutant art director Maghi along with choice of new-look locales, rich music music by [Ilaiyaraaja] and excellent staging of action by director Vasanth — even in his first film, this protege of K. Balachander shows a great deal of competence — put Vivek Chitra's Keladi Kanmani in the top bracket."[11] Ananda Vikatan, in a review dated 5 August 1990, rated Keladi Kanmani 55 out of 100.[12] The film was a commercial success, running for over 285 days in theatres,[3] thereby becoming a silver jubilee film.[13]


  1. ^ Gerald, Olympia Shilpa (21 September 2010). "A fine balance". The Hindu. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  2. ^ Vasanth (13 July 2011). "'I'm 100% religious'". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Rao, Subha J (22 August 2015). "Keladi Kanmani turns 25". The Hindu. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  4. ^ Sundararaman 2007, p. 147.
  5. ^ Mani, Charulatha (26 May 2012). "Charming Chakravaham". The Hindu. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  6. ^ Saraswathi, S. (9 June 2014). "The Top 10 songs of S P Balasubrahmanyam". Rediff. slide 4. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  7. ^ Ramakrishnan, M. (28 January 2017). "Young guns". The Hindu. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  8. ^ Sundararaman 2007, p. 143.
  9. ^ Ilaiyaraaja. "O Papa Lali (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) - EP". iTunes Store.
  10. ^ "Keladi Kanmani". The Indian Express. Madras. 27 July 1990. p. 16.
  11. ^ Krishnaswamy, N. (10 August 1990). "Keladi Kanmani". The Indian Express. Madras. p. 7.
  12. ^ "சினிமா விமர்சனம் : கேளடி கண்மணி". Ananda Vikatan (in Tamil). 5 August 1990.
  13. ^ Selvaraj, N. (20 March 2017). "வெள்ளி விழா கண்ட தமிழ் திரைப்படங்கள்". Thinnai. Archived from the original on 29 March 2017. Retrieved 14 July 2018.


  • Sundararaman (2007) [2005]. Raga Chintamani: A Guide to Carnatic Ragas Through Tamil Film Music (2nd ed.). Chennai: Pichhamal Chintamani. OCLC 295034757.

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