Report by Sanjana Chakraborty. Photos by Sriram Narasimhan.
3 pm. Scheduled to start at 3 pm, the grand audio launch of Amma Kanakku started late. Visibly restless attendees tapped away on their smartphones to keep themselves occupied.
4 pm. Instead of celebrities, something else greeted everyone. Emanating from the back of the spacious auditorium was a smell so vile that it managed to divert everybody’s attention, even from their smartphones. “Looks like someone has opened a box of karravadu (dry fish),” whispered a man to his colleague. “No, it’s definitely someone’s socks. Who would open a box of fish now?” responded his colleague. After much discussion and speculation, someone finally used a room freshener.
4:45 pm. Finally, the celebrities sauntered in, dressed in their casual best. After quick introductions, the trailer of Amma Kanakku was screened. The storyline: An uneducated mother (Amala Paul) goes back to school to show her daughter (Yuva) that it is never too late to get an education. Amala Paul, looking very different on screen and in a role she had never attempted before, was impressive.
When it was time for speeches, director Ashwini Iyer Tiwari talked about how important it was to tell the story of a working mother going back to school. Ashwini thanked everyone involved with the film and said, “If you think of your parents when you watch the film, then I would have done my job.” The woman-centric film shows a working-class mother on a mission to prove to her daughter that a domestic help’s daughter needn’t become one too.
For cinematographer Gavemic U Ary, the film was a lesson on the importance of education. He had also worked with Ashwini for the Hindi version of the film, Nil Battey Sanatta.
Teenaged actress Yuva, who portrays the daughter who hates going to school in the film, is the opposite in reality. A national level yoga champion, Yuva scored 98% in her exams despite spending 45 days on the film’s shoot at the time.
The star of the film, Amala Paul, confessed that watching the trailer was an emotional experience for her. “I dedicate this film to my mother,” she said.
One name that cropped up frequently was S Vinod Kumar from Wunderbar Films. He was described as the backbone of the film. In turn, he too thanked his colleagues.
The last man to speak was Dhanush. Sounding upbeat, he clarified that he was at the event for purely personal reasons, “I haven’t come here to promote any of my movies. This film is close to me and I asked the people here if I could be a part of today’s event.” Speaking of his own struggles during school days, Dhanush said that after watching the trailer of Nil Battey Sanatta (starring Swara Bhaskar), he knew the film had to be remade in Tamil.
June 8: The film’s music director is Ilayaraja, and the audio releases today.
June 24: The scheduled date for Amma Kanakku’s release was June 17. It has been postponed as of now.
Q & A Highlights
Much to the audience’s amusement, a cheeky journalist asked Dhanush whether the ‘Amma’ in the film’s title was added in after the elections.
When questioned on the recent issue between Ilaiyaraja and airport authorities, Dhanush asked everyone to stick to questions relevant to the film.
Dhanush made it a point to say that the Amala Paul was both the hero and heroine of the film, hinting at the fact that a hero isn’t required for every story.