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Timeless Classic Punnagai Mannan: Movie Review
Sunday, 17 December 2006 - 12:24 AM SL Time

Reviwed by Gurusmaran:

Punnagai Mannan is undoubtedly one of the best love stories of Tamil cinema. Directed by K. Balachander, one of the best directors of Tamil cinema, this is one movie that will not fade over time.

The story goes thus:

Sethu and Ranjini are in love. Her parents are socially superior and oppose their marriage since Sethu is a cook`s son. Despite being rebellious, they are no match for her father who is a very influential person. They decide to commit suicide.

April 14. Tamil New Year. They spend the whole day together at a scenic waterfall and

it`s beautiful surroundings. They secretly wed at a temple there. After enjoying a few hours of married life, they walk to the waterfall with the hope of letting death bring them together. They jump off the waterfall. Ranjini hits the rocks and dies on the spot whereas Sethu gets entangled in a few tree branches and survives the fall.

Ranjini`s father tries to get Sethu a death penalty using his influence but fails. Sethu is sentenced to one year of imprisonment for attempted sucide.

He comes out of jail after a year, guilty of his past, rude and with no hope in life. Padmini brings him straight to Natyanjali , an east-west dance school run by her, where he was one of their best students. She hires him as a dance instructor to help him out and start life afresh. He also gets moral support from his uncle, Chaplin Chellappa, a bachelor who apes Charlie Chaplin and has dedicated his life to make people laugh.

One day, when he goes to place flowers at the waterfall where Ranjini died, he spots a girl standing at the edge, about to jump off. The girl is Malini, a girl of Sinhalese descent, who contemplates suicide because she hasn`t fared well in her exams. He dissuades her from committing suicide.

Malini tries following Sethu to show her gratitude but he`s rude to her each time. She joins Natyanjali as a student, obviously interested in him. Malini gets to know about Sethu`s past and starts liking him even more. He is rude to her in the beginning but in time, begins liking her. They both get together. Malini and Sethu often meet at the waterfall to offer flowers and to be with Ranjini . Both of them are comfortable with Sethu`s past.

Her father is an important man and when Sethu tells him that he loves Malini, he prevents them from meeting by placing guards outside their house. Sethu and Malini prove too smart for her father`s plans. Malini`s father even tries packing her off to Sri Lanka but she runs away from there, back to India and straight to Sethu. Her father is worried, her mom`s sick from all the crying. They think she`s dead. When Sethu finally brings Malini home, they consent to the marriage. Sethu and Malini are thrilled.

On the day of their engagement, after the ceremony is over, Malini and Sethu decide to visit the waterfall to seek Ranjini`s blessings . They drive to the spot, clearly on top of the world. They look forward to a very happy life together. Everything seems perfect.

But then?


The screenplay and direction are absolutely fantastic. The story has been handled with much maturity. A less seasoned director would have ruined it.

The performance by the entire cast is realistic. Kamal Haasan gives a mature performance as Sethu. Kamal Haasan as Chaplin Chellappa was ok. I thought Chaplin Chellappa`s antics were a little too loud. Kids, however, would be delighted, I guess. Revathy, who plays Malini, is chirpy and full of life. Sri Vidya handles the role of Padmini with finesse. ?Delhi? Ganesh as Sethu`s cook-cum-gambler-cum-drunkard-cum-polygamist father has done a commendable job.

The songs and background music in this movie are undoubtedly one of Ilayaraja`s best works. All the songs are melodious and linger around for a long time in your head. The theme music, in particular, is simply beautiful. It is best experienced than expressed.

The only minus point of this movie, in my opinion, would be the English dialogues. Malini`s dad talks only Sinhalese/English and so the verbal exchanges between Malini`s dad and Sethu/Malini are in English. I thought these dialogues sounded very immature and amateurish. They remind me of the shoddy plays we used to put up in school where everyone over-emoted and gesticulated wildly while delivering a comparatively lame piece of dialogue.

To sum it up, Punnagai Mannan is a classic that is not to be missed. It is an evergreen love story that has stood the test of time. It is? umm? why don`t you just go watch it?


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Senior Member

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16 Dec 2006 18:39:06 GMT  Report for Abuse   
This movie was made in 1986 during the heydays of LTTE in TN.

It tells a story of love that goes beyond race and ethnicity. It tells about love story between a tamil and singalese in a very interesting way.

It represents the the true spirit of tamilakam

Have a nice time!
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16 Dec 2006 19:20:36 GMT  Report for Abuse   
'I can perform the duties of a husband ON and OFF the Bed'

Kamalhassan telling Revathis dad when he refused to allow them to marry in the film!!

Great songs too.

singalathu sinna kuyil is one of it!
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16 Dec 2006 23:22:51 GMT  Report for Abuse   
Look lik Mahinder is selling Indian movies in the web.

Good job, any way.

I am thinking why that boy was rude?. It relates to me.
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16 Dec 2006 23:42:24 GMT  Report for Abuse   

I also watch classical movies that contain classical music and dance. Tamil movies and their actors are given undue importance as can be seen from the political offices they hold and false sense of illutionary dream of married life. Young people are tempted to fall in love and prompted to take unthoughtful acts without knowing the consequences. The world is changing at a rate but the Tamil cinema world has not changed much. Similar stories were filmed even many decades back. The mivies can entertain people but must also be thought provoking and a guidance for social reforms.
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17 Dec 2006 05:35:49 GMT  Report for Abuse   

I am not a big fan of Tamil movies. I agree with your observations about Tamil movies in general. But there are a lot of exceptions. This movie is one of them.

I am a big fan of K. Balachander, the director of this movie, who has got a gift of telling an immature story in a most matured way. I loved the opening sequence of this movie. It has done away the normal treatment of tamil movies portraying the protoginsts larger than life, that you talk about.


Hi! It is not wrong of you to make that accusation. But I don't have to sell Indian movies in SL. They are already oversold here.

I have come across some teenagers who are fluent in hindi and tamil by just watching these movies. That is very interesting!
Edited By - Maninder - 17 Dec 2006 05:42:39 GMT
Senior Member

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17 Dec 2006 14:48:07 GMT  Report for Abuse   
Hi! It is not wrong of you to make that accusation. But I don't have to sell Indian movies in SL. They are already oversold here.

I have come across some teenagers who are fluent in hindi and tamil by just watching these movies. That is very interesting!

Yeah... yeah.. very interesting!

You create conditions now so that after a decade or two, the Indians can say 'we are deeply concerned about HINDI SPEAKING Sri Lankans'... and start to flex some muscles.

Patriotic Sri Lankans... watch out for the divisions to be created among us...

This parasite does not need a microscope to be identified.
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17 Dec 2006 17:55:42 GMT  Report for Abuse   
This flim is FAR from classic. The ending was so rubbish, it was as if the director said 'lets just put a twist at the end for the sake of it'.
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17 Dec 2006 21:34:50 GMT  Report for Abuse   

If you want to identify parasite, go stand in front of a mirror. You will see a fully matured one!

Citizen of a country, which has an institutionalized donor association is talking about parasites!

Ridiculousness has no boundary with people like you. I am glad you belong to a very tiny minority in SL.
Edited By - Maninder - 18 Dec 2006 07:57:24 GMT
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