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 Aravind
Music byIlaiyaraaja
CinematographyR. Raghunatha Reddy
Edited byGanesh Kumar
Vivek Chithra Productions
Release date
  • 27 July 1990 (1990-07-27)
Running time
147 minutes

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


Anu is a college student; her fellow student Sashi desperately tries to win her affection. 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 (ARR), a quiet widower, tries to help her, but is not able to get to the bottom of the matter. 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 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 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.

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 recognises 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 US. 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. Anu later goes for one last ride with Sashi on his motorbike and right before they leave, she mentions that she has gained faith in surviving the surgery.




Vasanth, an erstwhile assistant of K. Balachander, made his directorial debut with this film.[1] When the film's producer Sundaram approached him to make a film for his banner, Vasanth initially did not accept he felt producer wanted a film with "KB's assistant" as he was doing Pudhea Paadhai with "Bhagyaraj's assistant at that time".[2] Vasanth's family scolded him for he "should be thankful that I’m getting a producer without me getting a story ready and approaching many producers to produce it". He wanted to make films like his mentor K. Balachander, Mahendran and Balu Mahendra so he decided to make a film "that was mature for my age. So, a romance between two mature people was the starting point".[2]


Vasanth approached S. P. Balasubrahmanyam to portray the lead character. The pair had earlier worked in Manathil Uruthi Vendum (1987) where Vasanth worked as an assistant director. Vasanth was impressed with his realistic acting style felt a "strong impression of him as a good actor, so we roped him in as an acting coup".[2] Balasubrahmanyam was initially hesitant of taking up this offer as he did not want Vasanth to take a risk of making a film with him as a lead actor.[2] Vasanth remained firm with his selection "because he wanted his ARR (AR Ranganathan) to be a character, which would not be possible with a popular face".[2] Suhasini was Vasanth's first choice for the female lead but due to busy schedules, Raadhika was chosen instead.[2] Ramesh Aravind was cast because Vasanth worked with him in the Kannada film Sundara Swapnagalu (1986).[2] For the role of Anu, Sukanya and Ramya Krishnan were initial choices before Anju was chosen,[2] while Baby Neena played the character as a child.[2]


Vasanth revealed that the first shot he directed was the scene where Radhika's character cries over her parents' death.[3][4]



Keladi Kanmani
Soundtrack album by
LabelEcho Records
Ilaiyaraaja chronology
Kavidhai Paadum Alaigal
Keladi Kanmani

The music was composed by Ilaiyaraaja in his only collaboration with director Vasanth. The song "Nee Pathi Naan Pathi" is based on the raga Chakravakam.[5][6] The entire soundtrack (except for the song "Mannil Indha Kaadhal") was completed within 45 minutes.[4][2] "Mannil Indha Kaadhal" has Balasubrahmanyam appearing to sing two stanzas without taking a single breath in between the lines.[7][8] The song is set in the Carnatic raga known as Keeravani.[9]

Tamil version
1."Enna Paduvathu"Gangai AmaranIlaiyaraaja, Arun Mozhi, Saibaba4:43
2."Karpoora Bommai"Mu. MethaP. Susheela4:45
3."Mannil Indha"Gangai AmaranS. P. Balasubrahmanyam4:13
4."Nee Pathi Naan Pathi"VaaliK. J. Yesudas, Uma Ramanan4:40
5."Thanniyile Nenanja"VaaliUma Ramanan4:41
6."Thenral Thaan"PiraisoodanK. J. Yesudas, K. S. Chithra4:41
7."Varanam Aayiram"AandalS. Janaki2:45
Total length:30:28

All lyrics are written by Rajashri.

Telugu version[10]
1."Yemi Paadedi"Mano4:52
2."Karpoora Bomma"P. Susheela4:55
3."Maate Raani"S. P. Balasubrahmanyam4:20
4."Neevega Na Pranam"K. J. Yesudas, K. S. Chithra4:54
5."Segali Sandela"K. J. Yesudas, K. S. Chithra4:41
6."Jeevana Mangala"K. S. Chithra2:50
Total length:26:44

Release and reception[edit]

Keladi Kanmani was released on 27 July 1990.[11] 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."[12] Ananda Vikatan, in a review dated 5 August 1990, rated Keladi Kanmani 55 out of 100.[13] The film was a commercial success, running for over 285 days in theatres,[4] thereby becoming a silver jubilee film.[14]


  1. ^ Gerald, Olympia Shilpa (21 September 2010). "A fine balance". The Hindu. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "30 Years of Keladi Kanmani: Raaja sir's music gave life to the climax: Vasanth". Times of India. 27 July 2020.
  3. ^ Vasanth (13 July 2011). "'I'm 100% religious'". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 9 August 2016. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Rao, Subha J (22 August 2015). "Keladi Kanmani turns 25". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 22 March 2020. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  5. ^ Sundararaman 2007, p. 147.
  6. ^ Mani, Charulatha (26 May 2012). "Charming Chakravaham". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 19 May 2017. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  7. ^ Saraswathi, S. (9 June 2014). "The Top 10 songs of S P Balasubrahmanyam". slide 4. Archived from the original on 16 October 2014. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  8. ^ Ramakrishnan, M. (28 January 2017). "Young guns". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 12 April 2018. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  9. ^ Sundararaman 2007, p. 143.
  10. ^ Ilaiyaraaja. "O Papa Lali (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) - EP". Apple Music. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  11. ^ "Keladi Kanmani". The Indian Express. Madras. 27 July 1990. p. 16.
  12. ^ Krishnaswamy, N. (10 August 1990). "Keladi Kanmani". The Indian Express. Madras. p. 7.
  13. ^ "சினிமா விமர்சனம் : கேளடி கண்மணி". Ananda Vikatan (in Tamil). 5 August 1990. Archived from the original on 22 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  14. ^ 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.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

External links[edit]