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Anjali (1990)

 |  Family, Drama
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Chitra, her husband, Shekar, and two children, Arjun and Anu live in a rural area in India. When Chitra is expecting her third child, she is taken on a stormy night to a hospital where she ... See full summary »


(as Mani Rathnam)


(screenplay) (as Mani Rathnam) , (story) (as Mani Rathnam) , 1 more credit »
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Credited cast:
Revathy ...
Chitra (as Revathi)
Raghuvaran ...
Prabhu ...
Saranya Ponvannan ...
Child Psychiatrist (as Charaniya)
Shanti Priya ...
(as Nishanthi)
Shamili ...
Anjali (as Shamli)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
V.K. Ramasamy
Tarun ...
(as Master Tarun)


Chitra, her husband, Shekar, and two children, Arjun and Anu live in a rural area in India. When Chitra is expecting her third child, she is taken on a stormy night to a hospital where she is informed that her child, a girl, has been stillborn. Shortly thereafter the family re-locates to a flat in the city where Shekar works as an Architect at a construction site. Two years later, Chitra starts suspecting Shekar of having an extra-marital affair. When confronted, Shekar is at first elusive, then finally admits that Chitra did give birth to a brain-damaged child, who he left at the care of the hospital. Chitra brings the child home, much to the chagrin of Arjun and Anu, and other neighborhood kids. To make matters more complicated, Shekar witnesses the murder of a Police Inspector, and comes forward to testify, knowing fully well that the killer as well as the Police Department would like to close this file as a suicide. Watch what happens when things snow-ball out of control as Shekar... Written by rAjOo (

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Family | Drama





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Did You Know?


Tamil director Vishnuvardhan and his actor brother Kreshna play one of the children in the apartment. See more »


Vaanam Namakku
Written by: Vaali
Produced by: ilaiyaraaja
Performed by: Karthik Raja, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Bhavatharani R., Premgi Amaren, Venkat Prabhu, Hari Bhaskar and Parthi Bhaskar
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User Reviews

Illuminating and thought-provoking
8 August 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's common knowledge that Mani Ratnam is considered one of India's best directors, if not the best. That reputation has come thanks to films like Anjali. It is entertaining at times and at others, unabashedly poignant to the point of being melodramatic. But, what it never fails to do is make you think. Backed up by a fantastic crew comprising of legends like Ilaiyaraja and the precocious performances of the children, the film is a landmark effort in portraying the trials and tribulations of a family when faced with a totally unexpected development.

A middle-class family is fairly contented until the wife delivers a still-born child. However, with her husband's gentle administration and the antics of her other children, the wife puts her grief behind until one day, she is shocked to discover that her husband is "seeing" another woman, as alleged by her son who happens to spy on a secret conversation while welcoming the New Year with a raucous dance party at midnight. Following a furious argument, the husband is forced to admit that the still-born child is still alive, but in no position to lead a normal life. Struck by autism, the child's days are numbered and the husband (who happens to be a doctor) seeks the assistance of a specialist (who is incidentally the other woman) to revive the child and help it lead a happy life. The wife is undaunted by the traumatizing prognosis and takes the eponymous child home to care for her.

At the apartment, hell breaks loose with the neighboring kids taunting the unwitting child, whose siblings retaliate with force. Fortunately, the child is slowly accepted by the other children, but the adults aren't so accommodating. An ex-convict enters the frame somewhere and hisses venomous threats at the apartment association members. In due course, the child becomes the darling of the block and all seems well.

One fine day, Anjali's elder sister tries to awake her, with no response. The elder brother tries likewise and to his horror, discovers that she won't wake again. Husband and wife are equally devastated but the elder sister won't give up. The film ends up with the elder sister's haunting exhortations for Anjali to wake up from a never-ending sleep.

I was 10 when I watched this film for the first time and I remember bawling my eyes out when it ended. So good were the performances of the three child leads, that they were honored with the National Award for the best child artist. That said, the film raises some uncomfortable questions: would real-life parents sacrifice so much to care for such an ailing child? Would society be kind enough to see beneath the obvious illness and appreciate a child for what it is? Your guess is as good as mine.

An awesome effort.

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