Revisiting Moondram Pirai – A Tale of Yearning and Unconditional Love

Celebrating 42 Years of Moondram Pirai!

Moondram Pirai is a classic Tamil film directed by time-honored filmmaker, Balu Mahendra. The film has Kamal Hassan and Sridevi in lead roles and Maestro Ilaiyaraja has composed the music for the film. The story follows the life of a young woman who suffers a head injury in a car accident, which causes her to regress to childhood. She becomes lost and ends up trapped in a brothel, but is saved by a lonely school teacher who falls for her. Today marks the 42nd anniversary of this epic film, even after 4 decades the film is fondly remembered and cherished by cinephiles of all ages and milieu for its unique and heart-touching storyline. The movie is an emotional rollercoaster that takes viewers on a journey of love, trauma, and redemption. Here are a few reasons to re-visit Moondram Pirai:

Heart-wrenching storyline 

“And if love be madness, may I never find sanity again”  stands certainly true for our protagonist, Srinivas, although Lakshmi was the one, who is diagnosed as mentally unstable, Srinivas becomes equally insane by the end of the movie, things one does for love. While the movies of the 80s were certainly patriarchial, where women were expected to do the chores and take care of the man and the household, Srinivas stands apart from your everyday protagonist, he devotionally takes care of his lady love, doesn’t shy away from doing the household chores, goes above and beyond to make sure she is alright and most importantly he is helplessly in love with her. Srinivas is the symbol of unconditional love, she is mentally unwell? I still love her, She can’t understand or reciprocate what I am doing for her? I still love her, she might not love me once she remembers everything? doesn’t matter I still love her. “Viji, Cheenu, Viji” Srinivas runs behind Lakshmi begging her to remember him as her train leaves the station, unlike your typical Tamil cinema climax Lakshmi won’t step out of the train and run to Srinivas, the train leaves, leaving him behind broken, wounded and longing. Moondram Pirai is a tale of yearning and unconditional love of an unfortunate orphan, whose last hope abandoned him.

Direction and Cinematography

The movie was directed by the legendary filmmaker Balu Mahendra. Balu Mahendra is known for the way he handles realist subjects with an artistic approach. Balu Mahendra effortlessly marries tragedy with romance in this film, resulting in wonderful box office success and a theatrical run for over a year.  His Cinematography brilliantly complemented and overall enhanced the whole visual storytelling. The director had wonderfully captured the landscape of Ooty, the emotions of the character, and experimented with lights creating a timeless classic as a result the legendary Balu Mahendra said in his own words “Moondram pirai will be the same Moondram pirai even after 50 years”.

Versatile Acting

Moondram Pirai was undeniably both Sri Devi’s and Kamal’s one of the most acclaimed works. The movie bagged Kamal Hassan his first national award. Actress Sridevi perfectly portrayed a mentally unwell character bringing the balance of child-like innocence and child likeantics. Both the actors impeccably cracked what was required of their roles with their subtle nuances and attention to detail. Although it was their eyes that did all the talking, the audience were the ones who couldn’t take their eyes off them.

Mesmerizing Music

The film’s music was composed by Isaignani Ilaiyaraja. Like all his other works, Moondram Pirai’s music leaves you in a dream trance-like state. The film’s music  is responsible for evoking intense emotions, brilliantly augmenting the whole movie-watching experience. The film’s soundtrack “Kanne Kalaimanne” is still loved and listened to to by the Tamil cinema audience.

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