BollySitter Recommended Age: 10+ (For mature emotional drama & theme of terminal illness)
BollySitter Family GO Factor: 4.0/5.0
Directed by: Mani Ratnam
Starring: Raghuvaran, Revathi, Shamili, Prabhu, Saranya Ponvannan, Tarun Vishnuvardhan
Written By: Mani Ratnam
Language: Tamil (dubbed in Hindi)
Music by: Ilaiyaraaja
Produced by: G. Venkateswaran, Nitin Manmohan
Lyrics by: Vaali
Running time: 150 mins
Genre(s): Family Drama
Dubbed in Hindi from Tamil, Anjali is a family drama about a married couple and their two children who live together in South India. Their third child, Anjali, is however born with a terminal disease.
The ailment is brought to the attention of the husband at the local hospital, and together, the hospital authorities and the husband collude to keep the child’s disease a secret from the mother. Their neighbors advocate the expulsion of the mentally-affected child from the colony as it is affecting other children. The film explores why the husband did what he did, how the family, including the two other children come to accept the child into their lives, how she is cared for, and whether they finally are ready to let her go. The film ultimately deals with the emotional trauma experienced by the family.
Anjali is an emotional family drama which is packaged well with good writing, good acting and some entertaining songs as well.
The film promotes embracing the diversity around you. Through Anjali, a lot of neglected and misunderstood residents of the colony forge a bond with each other. The theme of compassion is prevalent throughout the film. Initially the normal kids are shown to dislike the mentally-challenged Anjali.
The mother and child are key characters in the film and it revolves around their relationship offering us rare female protagonists within an Indian film context.
A WORD OF CAUTION
The film is clean in terms of sexuality, language and smoking/drinking. However, there are some violent scenes and more importantly there are many intense scenes that are emotional and at times quite frightening. There are a few street fights shown in which the local goons create nuisance. The neighborhood kids also get into fights and altercations with each other. There is a murder shown after a long physical fight and another scene shows the protagonist is a witness to a murder scene.
One of the song sequences is scary with a mention of ghosts. There are intense scenes in the hospital where the kid is admitted during the final stages of terminal illness. In the beginning of the film, a stillbirth is depicted. The mentally challenged child is show hitting her mother Neighbors are shown speaking in very angry tones with each other and with Anjali’s family. Often the background music in emotional and a fight scene is very loud and intense. There is a scene where the mother packs her bags & threatens to walk out the house.
Kids watching the film may ask questions about terminal illness and about dealing with the death of a young child. The lead couple in the film also deals with infidelity and a potential divorce which could be very curious topics for younger kids.
The father is shown to lie in order to protect his family from any emotional trauma. The neighbors do not wish to interact with the family of a mentally-challenged child.
THE FINAL VERDICT
Anjali is a gut-wrenching emotional drama as one expects from a Mani Ratnam film. The film is appropriate for viewing with kids in the 10+ age group due to the mature emotional drama and theme of terminal illness. BollySitter gives Anjali a “GO” rating of 4.0/5.0.