I watched Anjali, a Tamil movie directed by Mani Ratnam. Raghuvaran, acting as the father, is brilliant. The film also has actress Revathy's finest performance as a mother oif three children. A mother who struggles to explain to herself why she has a child who is not normal and yet she loves this child more than the other two. And yet she finds herself unable to express that love easily. It's a film that parents and children should watch together.
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[Image: Gratisography]The movie's story revolves around a happy married couple with three children. They live in a respectable society, have a good life and yes, part of the typical young middle class. The rude awakening to their stable life comes in the form of a child. That is just the beginning. Their youngest child is not 'normal' (starring Shyamlee aged barely 2 years at the time this movie was filmed).
All the kids in the building including the siblings of this child dislike and avoid her because they recognize that she is not one of them. A number of people in the building ask her parents to move out because they are all 'respectable' and they don't want their kids moving about with a 'mentally ill' child.
As a film maker, this is perhaps Mani Rathnam's most 'from-the-heart' movies. So real is the pain and helplessness of Anjali's parents, something we can relate to only if we are able to look beyond the comforts and taken-for-granted blessings in our life.
This movie strips away the so called disguise of social respectability that we like to wear because beneath the facade, we can be just a bunch of hypocrites, eager to laugh and scorn other people's pain and problems as long as they are not our own.
We talk big about causes and say that we care about handicapped children.
The question is: When do we put compassion into practice?
The answer lies within.