Kokila (1977 film)
Poster of the film
|Directed by||Balu Mahendra|
|Produced by||T. Mocham Fernando|
|Written by||Balu Mahendra|
|Music by||Salil Chaudhary|
|Edited by||Umesh Kulkarni|
|Distributed by||G.N. Films|
|7 October 1977|
Kokila is a 1977 Kannada-language romance film starring Kamal Haasan, Shoba playing the title character along with Roja Ramani and Mohan in other prominent roles. The film marked the directorial debut of Balu Mahendra, who was a cinematographer working predominantly in South Indian films then. The film was successful upon release in Karnataka and its neighbouring states, becoming the first Kannada film to be screened for 100 days in Madras (now Chennai). Kokila was remade into Malayalam as Oomakkuyil and in Hindi as Aur Ek Prem Kahani both by Mahendra himself in 1983 and 1996. Mahendra won the National Film Award for Best Cinematography and Karnataka State Film Award for Best Screenplay.
Kokila (Shoba), a medical college student lives with her father, an engineer and her mother in a home in Bangalore. A house maid (Roja Ramani) who is very close to the family also lives with them. As Kokila's father travels a lot and his wife suffering from health problems, they decide to keep a paying guest. Vijayakumar (Kamal Haasan), a bank executive comes and lives in the household as a paying guest. Kokila and Vijayakumar fall in love and plan to get married with the consent of her parents. In the meanwhile, suddenly one night Vijayakumar and the house maid are alone in the home. They both end up making love, and Kokila after her return remains unaware about this incident, though the maid is well aware of Kokila's affair with Vijay. Vijay, however, forgets the maid and continues to live with his normal love for Kokila. Suddenly, one day while Kokila is away on a college tour, Vijay gets to know that the maid is pregnant. Baskar suggests the maid that the child be aborted. The dejected maid leaves the house. When Kokila returns from the tour realise both Vijay and the maid missing. She is informed by her mother that Vijay has vacated the room, and makes several unsuccessful attempts to find the whereabouts of Vijay. After a three years, Kokila meets Vijay accidentally, in a village where she is posted as a doctor. At the point in time, she gets to know that Vijay and her maid got married and have a child named "Kokila".
Kokila was the directorial debut of Balu Mahendra, who was one of the leading cinematographers in South Indian cinema at the time. The film also marked the debut of Mohan, who would go on to establish himself as a successful actor in the Tamil film industry. People from five different industries worked in the film; Kamal Haasan and Balu Mahendra (Tamil), Roja Ramani (Telugu), Mohan (Kannada), Shoba (Malayalam) and Salil Choudhry (Bengali). None of them except Mohan knew the Kannada language. Despite not knowing Kannada at that time, Kamal dubbed in his own voice. Mohan was a student of "Benaka", a drama troupe run by Kannada director B. V. Karanth. Mohan was acting in a play named Sidhathe alongside G. V. Iyer and Girish Karnad and he was asked to send his photograph to Mahendra who was in search of new actors for his directorial venture. Subsequently, Mohan was offered a role in the film where he played Kamal's friend. According to Kamal, the film was made in Kannada, rather than Tamil, because during that time, "it was felt that the Tamil audience would not accept 'different' films".
The film was screened at the International Film Festival of India then known as "Filmotsav78" in Madras (now Chennai). Kokila was a box-office success not only in Karnataka, but also in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. In 1980, it became the first Kannada film to have a 100-day run in Chennai. The film was released in its original language without being dubbed to Tamil, three years after the release, and ran for more than 140 days in Chennai, a record for a Kannada film in Tamil Nadu. Mohan became popularly known as "Kokila Mohan" after the film's success. Mahendra later remade the film in Malayalam as Oomakkuyil (1983) and in Hindi as Aur Ek Prem Kahani (1996). In 2008, film critic and cartoonist Madhan said, "When I saw the movie, I was stunned. It was such a beautiful movie, up there in the league of Truffaut and his The 400 Blows."
- 1978 – National Film Award for Best Cinematography (Black-and-white motion picture) at the 25th National Film Awards
- 1978 – Best Screenplay from the Government of Karnataka for Balu Mahendra
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