Anjali : Finding Love And Overcoming Challenges

The film dealt with disability in a very sensitive way making it a compelling watch.

The movie Anjali, released in the year 1990 was way ahead of its times but it does have a strong message for parents and children. It is time we revisit the movie again.

Directed by the maestro Mani Ratnam himself, the film starred the ultimate talents with Raghuvaran as Shekhar, Revathi as Chitra, Master Tarun as Arjun, Baby Shruti Vijaykumar as Anu, Prabhu as the ex-convict and Baby Shamili as the lead role Anjali. The movie won three National Film Awards and it was also chosen as India’s official entry to the Oscars in 1991.

The movie is about a child Anjali who is abandoned by her father Shekhar immediately after her birth as he figures out that she is mentally challenged. She is estranged from her parents Shekhar and Chitra and siblings Arjun and Anu for a long time. Circumstances reunite them and her father is forced to come out and reveal the truth to his wife and children who were kept in the dark. The film then deals with how Anjali wins everyone’s love and how she gets the respect she deserves from her family and the community.

Anjali is one of the most underrated films due to its strong content and a message that deserves to be heard. Our country has made films a powerful medium and a popular art form, and the movie Anjali serves as a voice for the disabled.

It is imperative from the parents’ part to develop a firm yet the passionate relationship with their children. One needs to understand that a strong family foundation is built on mutual respect and love. The chemistry between the parents, i.e. Chitra and Shekhar worked well and as the audience, we were right there with them. Each and every character had depth and their relationship stood out as a result of that.

The film had projected the children to be very brave. The children in the movie with Arjun, in particular, stood up against crimes and were also very intrepid. Arjun was a loving and caring brother who took good care of his sister Anu. Later both he and Anu take good care of their mentally challenged sister Anjali.

The film also teaches about the importance of harmony among kids. Many times we adults feel it is a crime to allow children to mingle with other kids of locality/society. The film busts the notion and highlights the perks of socializing more. Children can teach you more life lessons which privileged adults sometimes cannot even comprehend. Every parent needs to understand from that perspective.

Here’s another important takeaway point. Shekhar thought his wife will not be in a position to handle the stress of raising a disabled child but that resulted in an unnecessary dispute. Shekhar’s disingenuousness could have avoided the mess. So here’s an alarm bell! Be honest with your family come whatever may.

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God challenges the strongest and the willpower to handle the challenge is also given to the individual. This is what we could learn from seeing Anjali and her relationship with everyone around her. In the end, she gets support from that one person, the ex-convict who is least expected to stand up for her, let alone speak up. But he does and there is where the film creates a bang! The society members were initially against Anjali’s stay. They cited reasons that Anjali’s disability can have a negative influence on their children. Unable to bear these comments the ex-convict makes a statement that while the society has no problem in accommodating a criminal how dare they say such things about a disabled child. This leaves society with no option but to accept the disabled child wholeheartedly.

 The film teaches about the healthy relationship between parents and the impact it can have on children. Shekhar and Chitra proved to be a loving couple living in harmony. They did have a scuffle but they settled that issue amicably.

The film also dealt with disability in a very sensitive way making it a compelling watch.

Unlike the stereotype movies, it did not have a happy ending. The audiences had to witness Anjali’s death in the closure. Anu wakes up early morning and goes to wake up Anjali. Unable to fathom the death of her sister she screams. The entire society comes to their place on hearing Anu’s wails. They grieve on the demise of Anjali who had once taught them the importance of love, integration and absolution.

It’s time we revisit this movie ALONG WITH OUR CHILDREN.

First published at

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About the Author

Rimli Bhattacharya

Rimli Bhattacharya is a First class gold medalist in Mechanical Engineering from National Institute of Technology, an MBA in supply chain management and is engaged with a corporate sector. Her essay in the anthology “Book read more...

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