Kannathil Muthamittal

   30 March 2009, early morning

A Peck on the Cheek

I watched Kannathil Muthamittal with Shima over the weekend. We’ve both seen it before, but I really wanted to watch it again. It is by far my favourite Mani Ratnam film. (And he’s done many good films.) He is probably one of India’s best directors.

The central figure of the story is a young girl whose parents tell her she is adopted on her 9th birthday. From there the film explores her reactions to the news, how she proceeds to treat her mother and father, and her quest to find her birth mother. The film does an amazing job looking at familial relationships and adoption.

The movie is also an interesting look at the costs of war. The movie begins with a wedding in Mankulam, which is a town in Sri Lanka. From there there are a few sweet scenes between the bride and groom. During the last scene the husband hears the army marching on the town and runs off to stop them. And then the title sequence begins, where we learn through short vignettes that the newly wed is pregnant, that her town is being shelled, that her husband is MIA, that she flees to India, and that she ultimately leaves her daughter behind to come back to Sri Lanka. The second half of the film takes place in Sri Lanka. Mani Ratnam touches on several aspects of the war in Sri Lanka: the army shelling and bombing towns, child soldiers, suicide bombing, etc. There aren’t too many films about the war in Sri Lanka, so saying this is one of the better ones I’ve seen is faint praise. Regardless, it is. The film works well as a comment on the war because it’s about the war indirectly.

The cinematography is brilliant. There are so many great sequences in the film. The film features music by A.R. Rahman. The song playing during the title sequence is one of my favourite Tamil songs. The cast is stellar. Pretty much every part is filled by a famous South Indian actor or actress. Kannathil Muthamittal is easily one of my favourite films. I’ve yet to watch it with a girl and not have her cry at the end.

 

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