Watching the last half an hour or so of Kannathil Muthamittal on K TV today morning, I remembered the post of mine that has been lying unfinished in the drafts for a long time now.
Sometime in June last year (this post has been in draft from that time!!), there was this thematic concert of T.M.Krishna that I went to. The theme of the concert was ‘Relationships’. As I heard a moving rendition of Mahakvi Bharatiyar’s ‘chinnanchiru kiLiye’(which he had chosen for the relationship between a father and his daughter) by TMK – how does he manage to bring so much bhava in everything that he sings! TMK rocks! 🙂 –, I couldn’t help remembering the movie ‘Kannathil Muthamittal’ the moment he sang those lines in the song. 🙂 As my thoughts drifted towards the movie, the first thing that came to my mind was what an apt title Mani Ratnam had chosen for the movie!
Kannathil Muthamittal is one movie which explores so many relationships so beautifully. Relationship between a father and his daughter/children, a mother and her daughter/children, between siblings – both between kids (Amudha and her brothers) as well as between grown up adults (Madhavan & his sister), between a husband and wife, between a grandfather and his grandchildren, even between citizens of a country and their love for their country, etc. Considering the fact that this is one movie which has a strong characterization for all the characters, irrespective of the screen time they occupy, even a single scene is enough to show the relationship that the characters on screen in each scene, share. But the one relationship that is at the helm of this movie is the relationship between a father and his daughter.
From the beginning till the end, the love and affection that Thiruchelvan has for his daughter, Amudha, is what the entire movie is built upon. Thiruchelvan, the man who tells his daughter, ‘unakku vilai yaedhu da kaNNu’ (I love Madhavan’s dialogue delivery of this line.) when she asks him if he had bought her by paying money, tells her ‘nee dhaan enna modha modhala ezhudha veccha, nee dhaan enakku Indrava koNDu vandhu kuDuttha, nee dhaan enakku ellaame’.
Quoting from my previous post on this movie,
When Simran asks Madhavan whether he is adopting Amudha for the sake of marrying her or is it the other way round, he answers, “Enakku indha kaNNum pidikkum andha kaNNum pidikkum, indha kannamum vaeNum andha kannamum vaeNum.”
Nice way to escape without answering her question! This does make you wonder whether Madhavan would have proposed first to Simran if he had been allowed to adopt Amudha earlier. Wouldn’t he have waited for her to propose first? After all, he does say earlier in the movie after her marriage gets fixed, ‘Andha poNNu manasula dhairiyam irundha ava avana vaendaannu solluvaa’)
It is the he who makes it a point to let his daughter know that she is their adopted daughter. It is he who doesn’t let any strain develop in their relationship even after he tells his daughter the truth. It is he who agrees to help her meet her real mother and does succeed in it too. And above all, it is he who doesn’t treat Amudha as just a child. He stops Indra when she tries to go near Amudha to comfort her when Amudha starts crying when everybody is having their food. He doesn’t say anything against Amudha even when Indra complains about her and instead talks about how stubborn both mother and daughter are. He doesn’t scold Amudha when she runs away from home the first time or even when she goes to Rameswaram. So maybe because of the way he treats her, it is with him that his daughter feels more close to than her adopted mother. Does she ever say she wants to meet her real father? 😉
We get to read/watch so much about the love between a man and a woman. But how many times do we get to watch such a beautiful story between a father and his daughter? 🙂
As I was talking with my friends about how this father-daughter relationship is what this movie revolves around, none of them agreed and they said it’s the mother-daughter relationship, the girl who wants to meet her real mother, is the most important one in this movie. Agreed but it is only because of Thiru that Amudha got to meet her real mother and that’s why I say the movie revolves around it.
As I was writing this post, I was browsing through the interviews of Mani Ratnam that I have with me. It’s has been years since I read these interviews and I can’t tell you happy I am reading those now since I don’t even remember having read something like this earlier! I came across an interview in which he speaks about Thiruchelvan. Here is an excerpt from the interview: (This interview had appeared in mybindi.com when Kannathil Muthamittal was screen in the Toronto International Film Festival. I am not able to find the link to this interview now)
AO: Yes, I noticed that you humanize the issue of terrorism and illustrate the effect it has on the family unit – I found this particularly fascinating, because it brings so many emotions to the surface. Do you have any special techniques that you use to bring out such raw emotion in your characters? Especially the relationship between Thiru, Indra and Amudha – it’s the first time in an Indian film that I’ve seen that kind of parent-child relationship where despite the fact that Sri Lanka was a war-torn society, Thiru puts everything aside because the fact that his child was in anguish was enough reason to take her there. It displayed parental love to the extreme. How did accomplish this with your characters?
MR: Actually, that was an aspect which was really difficult; to convince somebody that he would actually take his child across to a place where she was born even though the place is full of problems. We had to make it very clear across the film that the kind of person he is – the kind of writer he is who is sensitive to issues, who is sensitive to relationships and who is somehow an idealist at heart who is not scared, who will go ahead and do what he thinks is right. And because of that kind of personality that the character portrays, it just becomes an extension of his philosophy to life, his philosophy to writing, that he would do something which he thinks is right, and not hesitate. That is sometimes the way – the character dictates the way things should go – they have a life of their own, they just take you along on the path that would be right for the film. That’s sometimes what leads you on.
AO: So, you’re able to build these characters and then they have their own psychology and their own way of doing things?
MR: Once you’ve built the character, it has its own rules. You know this character will not do a few things but will do a few things so that directs you and if you’re honest with that, the emotion comes across generally – if you’re consistent with the character and if he plays it with that consistency then it comes across.
It feels great reading about the man himself speak about the character he created! 🙂 Am now off to search for more treasures like these saved in my system! You all have a happy weekend!