Pallavi Anupallavi (Kannada) : Debut of a Whiz-kid

Gopala Ratnam Subramanium Iyer will be a very long introduction as a name to lots of people who are still unaware about the real person. The man who thought and envisioned cinema in the early 80’s to become one of the brightest talent to look forward. The man in whose movies, relationships and emotions were depicted with great subtlety and realism. The man who made films which were way ahead and still stands the test of time, standing out for its technical finesse like cinematography, editing and also the brilliant use of music. Yes and we are talking about the one and only Mani Ratnam who changed the way movies were made in India.

Making his debut with a Kannada film Pallavi Anupallavi in 1983, Mani Ratnam an MBA from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies dared to dream different from his first film depicting the relation between a man and woman and the emotions involved between them with regards to friendship, love and attraction.

The name of the movie itself has been derived from two elements of Carnatic music where Pallavi forms the intricate and complex pattern of a musician followed by Anupallavi which is optional and the second part of any composition.

The story keeping in mind with its thematic name revolves around Vijay(Anil Kapoor), who at the behest of his father moves to Madikeri(Marcera) a hill station in Karnataka. Being committed in a relationship with Madhu(Kiran Vairale), she provides a tremendous support to take this decision while staying away, so that Vijay can embark on a journey to prove his worth of being responsible and serious. There he meets up with Anu(Lakshmi) who has been separated from her husband(Vikram) while getting caught of cheating on her, in the initial reels itself. How Vijay forms a platonic relationship against societal pressures and his own dilemma of coming to terms with his growing fondness for Anu, forms the crux of this movie in the later reels.

Apart from the deft handling of such a complex theme, what make this film even more watchable are, the sub plots and the relations defined between the prime characters like Madhu and her understanding father, the beautiful bond of a mother-son relationship between Anu and her son along with its main protagonists and their camaraderie.

To essay an attachment between a younger guy and an older woman requires tremendous guts; maintaining and balancing a fine line of trust with the audience and Mani succeeds brilliantly in keeping the sentiments underplayed. Couple of scenes deserve a special mention such as when Anu cries on the shoulders of Vijay with the villagers passing by, making him feel awkward but then understanding the need of the hour to comfort or also the climax which is not sugar coated and leaves an opportunity for debate.

I am definitely sure of this aspect that Mani Ratnam is a diehard romantic and he knows how to translate that moment on screen with magical effect. Every moment that he has explored between a man and woman deserves the highest praise for the natural ease and communication without ever getting too mushy and melodramatic.

Coming to the technical aspects, there is no one who manages the cream of talent like Mani does which is evident when even a prolific director (Sadma) like Balu Mahendra gives cinematography to his debut film. It requires tremendous conviction and faith which am sure was noticed by Balu and the trademark angles and lighting were originated here.

Forming his musical relationship with Ilaiya Raja in many future movies to come, they created some blissful soundtracks. Just listening to this elaborate musical piece will leave you with a dreamy effect.

His films always had all three aces (cinematographer, editor & music director) giving their best and he used their knowledge and potential of the medium to full effect.

The editing is by an independent B Lenin who later formed a successful partnership in future with V.T Vijayan. The movie is well within 2 hours; having a running time of close to 110 minutes which must have been unheard of in that era as movies used to clock the 3 hr mark.

Coming to the performances, all three leads do a decent job with Anil Kapoor in the early stages of his career having some truly light romantic moments with Kiran Vairale. But it is Lakshmi who looks absolutely stunning and desirable as a matured woman whom every young guy could fall for. I am a firm believer that a companionship and love between a younger guy and an elder lady has better spark and is more to cherish rather than the other way round. Women have a great respect and definition in all his films and he presents them with unfailing beauty.

Recipient of the State Award for Best Screenplay, as expected in those times Pallavi Anupallavi, was a commercial failure and was more popular for the songs, but still a lost gem. In these days where even a below average fare like Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu is heralded as new age cinema by so called critics and termed as a coming of age story, Mani Ratnam had already tread that path a good 30 years back.

A heart warming and assured debut by someone who went on to become one of India’s greatest and prolific directors, Pallavi Anupallavi deserves a trip down the memory lane and have its glory restored by film enthusiasts. I did it, will you?

Read more reviews on MANI RATNAM BLOGATHON:

1. Pallavi Anupallavi (Kannada) 2. Unaroo (Malayalam) 3. Pagal Nilavu (Tamil) 4. Idhaya Kovil (Tamil) 5. Mouna Ragam (Tamil) 6.Nayagan (Tamil) 7. Agni Natchathiram (Tamil) 8. Geethanjali (Telugu) 9. Anjali (Tamil) 10. Thalapathi (Tamil) Take 2 Thalapathi (Tamil) 11. Roja (Tamil) 12. Thiruda Thiruda (Tamil) 13. Bombay (Tamil) 14. Iruvar (Tamil) Take 2 Iruvar (Tamil) 15. Dil Se…(Hindi) Take 2 Dil Se…(Hindi) 16. Alaipayuthey (Tamil) 17. Kannathil Muthamittal (Tamil) Take 2 Kannathil Muthamittal(Tamil) 18. Yuva (Hindi) 19. Aayutha Ezhuthu (Tamil) 20. Guru (Hindi) 21. Raavanan (Tamil) 22. Raavan (Hindi)


30 thoughts on “Pallavi Anupallavi (Kannada) : Debut of a Whiz-kid

  1. Didn’t know his real name was this. Very good start to the blogathon. Anil Kapoor in a Kannada film? Wow! Was it just that the script demanded the film to be in Kannada or other reasons like funding?

    • Rasik I am unsure about this aspect, but certainly the veterans who have been following South Indian cinema can enlighten us especially Sethu or Anand Rajaraman.

      Anil Kapoor was not even a known name in Hindi during its release and just to share a knowldege, whenever Mani Ratnam wanted any individual from Bollywood in his Regional films, his agents used to be Anil Kapoor & Boney Kapoor. Thats why you can find plenty of them in his cinema.

    • Chhatrapal to be very frank even I don’t know Kannada and I am sure must have missed some finer nuances for viewed it without subtitles.

      But yes its a very personal take on relationships and Mani proves a point as always which has been his strength.

      • OMFG dude now you have made me got all fired up to watch the film.

        And I cant believe that you watched the films without subs.Jab subs ke bina itna sundar likha hain to subs ke saath to balle-o-balle(balle-o-balle is homage to well….)

      • Sometimes when I am adamant that a particular movie needs to be seen, I carry on without the subtitles too…

        Have done it lot of times for regional cinema mainly.

      • Ajay, I don’t if Mani knew any kannada but the dialogues, actors he chose, songs were all top class. Sadly, 1) He never came back to make a Kannada movie again but we watch all of his Tamil movies although don’t really understand tamil much 🙂 Anil Kapoor man was awesome and well suited for the role. The heroine as well. 2) Although sandalwood had good directors, story writers not many good teams came up like Mani who could package stuff nicely and love their projects.

  2. A brilliant post to start off this blogathon, definitely, in terms of craft, Mani Ratnam has proven that he is THE Director of India! His films are always deep rooted, entertaining, energetic and extremely passionate. Unfortunately I can’t see this film without subtitles, but for sure, from a master film maker, there is always something extraordinary and this one would be no exception!

  3. The first time I heard of Pallavi Anupallavi was through a trivia/quiz… which was about Idea mobile’s theme music that was based on a song from this film, Naguva Nayana, which I sometimes listen to in infinite loop although I do not understand the language…

    I learnt another trivia today… about the title of this film as you mentioned…

    need to watch it now…

    • Yes the Idea mobile’s theme was taken from that song which is beautiful enough to keep in loop.

      You can try this one out and do let us know if you grab hold of any video or DVD with sub-titles.

  4. Great start to the blogathon buddy. Infact very less is known of Mani’s first four films before Mouna Raagam. Thanks for justifying the significance of the title. I had always wondered why was the film named so.
    I am pretty sure had this film been successful in Kannada, Anil would have tried and get the film remade with the help of Boney.Which would have been good. Mani Ratnam has always been way ahead than many of his contemporaries. Nevertheless thanks for reminding me of the film. Will try and watch it at the earliest.

    • Aditya it was a great movie 🙂 Difficult for something like this to be a commercially successful film. This was Anil Kapoor’s first movie and not sure how big Boney was then to remake etc. If Ajay watches it sometime in 2012 and still likes it (of course if it the ‘Mani’ feel) you can imagine the quality of the movie. Maybe if someone like Sandesh Nagaraj produced it (pushpaka vimana producer), he would have remade/dubbed into other languages as well.

    • You sounded so harsh saying your mother toungue is konkani not Kannada…many of konkani speaking people who had taken shelters in Karnataka …Kannada got 8 Janapeet awards and konkani still none…moeover konkani in karanatka has to rely on Kannada script…do not feel down when someone says Kannada is your MT….konkani is just your mother toungue, however, Kannada is beyond that….

      • Really? What makes you think that my tone was harsh? I would be keen to know. Even I am aware of many Konkanis staying in Karnataka since many Konkani speaking people hail from Karnataka. I hope you must be aware of that. So you talking about talking shelter sounds quite rude, stupid and as if Karnataka has done them a huge favour by letting them stay in that state, which is not the case.Since Konkani language has no written script that is why there is not much literature in this language which is available. But you surely seem stupid enough to not notice that. I hope you must be aware that Shankar Nag, Anant Nag, Girish Karnad and many other such artistes who are considered as icons in Kannada cinema are originally Konkanis.

        Have you ever seen the kind of shit films Kannada cinema has been churning out since quite some time? Most of them are remakes and have a mediocre quality. Barring a few films , most of the Kannada films in mainstream cinema are bad. I am sure as a Kannadiga your heart must be swelling as a pride after seeing such mediocre films. Watch films made by other industries in India and then you will realise how terrible the quality of Kannada films is by and large. And that will also help you to get a reality check.

        Lastly it is people like you who have a false sense of pride and myopic sense of things who are responsible for occurrence of incidents like North eastern people getting thrashed in Bangalore for not knowing Kannada.It is viewpoints like these that are responsible for pushing our country back into the dark ages.

  5. Thanks for the article….Truly, one of the finest movies in Kannada…loved the background score by Ilayaraja and the song “Naguva nayana madhura mouna” is my all time favorite…Ilayaraja at his best…

  6. Really admire your spirit Ajay in volunteering to be the 1st person to kick start the blogathon and to watch a film in a language which you don’t understand ( and do not have subs to help you ) and yet make a superb try to cover the movie well. Cheers mate!!!

    • Thanks mate…This subtitle thing is more after the advent of DVD and other medium….Long time back during the time of DD, there was no such luxury but if a movie gripped me then I would give it a shot….I will be lazy to watch a particular film but subtitle will never be a hindrance for not watching regional films unlike World Cinema….

      • People enjoy Hollywood films without following the dialogues. There is no reason why we can’t enjoy a regional film without subtitles as we can connect much easily to it than a Hollywood film.

    • Dude Sethu, how shameless you are! Do you watch Hollywood movies with subtitle in your mother tongue? Or do you understand pin to pin words in English or foreign movies? You need to have a common sense to understand the movie which is all our emotions and expression which truly Indian especially South just pretending like a Brit Born!

      • Mr.Vishwas could you explain why you call me shameless?Did I ever say anything wrong about the film in question or Kannada cinema here?Do you even know that I watch films in multiple languages without subs in theatres till date including Kannada?No I don’t pretend to be a Brit born,but you cannot ignore the reality that people like me (and you probably) are exceptions. Most people these days would hardly watch a film in a language alien to them unless there are subtitles. Yes common sense is essential but more that above all its passion for cinema which should drive you one to watch a film in any language, any genre irrespective of subs being available.On a curious note, apart from Kannada could you please let me know the languages in which you watch films without subtitles? Thanx anyways 🙂

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