Posted by: Satheesh Kumar Muthu | November 29, 2008

MAHANADI(1993)-A Review

Mahanadi is a Tamil film featuring Kamal Hassan, Sukanya, and Cochin Haneefa. It portrays the grief of a humble village man, who sees his family, property being ruined. It also depicts the growing problem of “Child Sex workers”, where young girls are targeted and turned into flesh-trade. The movie won rave reviews for the poignant narration and Kamal Hassan‘s histrionics.

STORY : Krishnaswamy (Kamal Hassan) is a widower living happily along with his daughter and a young son in a village . Dhanush(V.M.C.Haneefa); a con from the city has an eye on Krishnaswamy’s property and asks him to join his chitfund business. At first;Krishnaswamy was reluctant; however when a rich friend from a foreign country visits house;he too wants to be as rich like them.Hence he agrees to Dhanush’s proposal and arrives at the city.However;he is unaware of Danush’s tricks and when Dhanush swindles away the chitfunds money;the blame is put on Krishnaswamy. Krishnaswamy now lands up in jail.In jail;he finds that even his future father-in-law is also in jail for same reason.He advises Krishnaswamy not to be angry if the jailor is cruel;as he might be released sooner if he behaves normally in the jail.After suffering unnecessary hardships in the jail;Krishnaswamy comes out only to find that his mother-in-law died;his son has run away.

Krishna finds his son, with street-artists and gets his son back. His patience will be tested to its peak Dhanush assaults him and teases him, saying his daughter is in Kolkata, at a place called sonagachi.

Krishna goes to Kolkata with his Father-in-Law and after much struggle learns about sonagachi, which is actually red-light area in Kolkata. Amidst heart-wrenching scenes of young girls turned to flesh-trade, Krishna tracks his daughter Kaveri. Unable to bear the grief, he grabs Kaveri and tries to escape, while the bouncers there beat him blue. The elder sex-workers make truce and insist that Krishna take Kaveri, while they would work extra-hours to pay the bouncers for the loss of Kaveri.

Kaveri, though liberated and brought back to Chennai, she is still haunted in her dreams and Krishna is torn in grief, when she screams “Bastards, I am not a machine, leave me”.

Unable to bear it, Krishnaswamy decides to curb the root of his griefs, Dhanush. He goes to seek revenge.Only then will he know that Dhanush is just a pawn in the big game of cheating.He not only kills Dhanush but also the main person who was behind this game;but at the cost of losing his arm.

Krishna is sentenced to 14 years life-imprisonment and comes out a happyman, to see his daughter has married and has a child,son being a grown up man. The movie ends with his son swimming in the river, reminding Krishna his own antics.


The film received National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil.

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