Kannathil Muthamittal (A Peck on the Cheek) 
Mani Ratnam sure loves making movies on the backdrop of troubled times and places – Roja & Dil Se (religious extremism in Kashmir and the North-East, respectively), Bombay (Bombayriots), Yuva (a modern day Naxal-type student movement reminiscent of 1970’s Calcutta). Kannathil Muthamittal, interestingly my first Tamil movie viewing with subtitles instead of with Hindi-dubbing, has LTTE as its backdrop. Though this blog is strictly for cinema, I must state that it was quite obvious from the movie on which side the director’s sympathy lies, and I found that a tad disturbing not just because they turn children into gun-toting warriors and women into suicide bombers, but also because they were responsible for the assassination of an Indian prime minister. But political views aside, I couldn’t help but develop quite a liking for this otherwise gem of a movie. A small girl and her adopted parents’ quest to find the girl’s real mother takes them into the heart of the violent struggle between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE. The movie is very well enacted. Madhavan is spot on as the angry-young-man but loving father; the strikingly beautiful Simran, too, is quite good as an emotionally torn mother. But the real star of the movie, undoubtedly, is the little girl who is hell-bent to find her mother – her surprisingly mature performance belies her age and has played an integral role in making this intense movie a strong commentary on the futility of violence and bloodshed, and the need to harbour love.
Director: Mani Ratnam Genre: Drama/Family Drama/Political Drama Language: Tamil Country: India