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Directed by Mani Ratnam
Produced by Mani Ratnam
G. Venkateswaran
Written by Mani Ratnam
Starring Raghuvaran
Prabhu Ganesan
Music by Ilaiyaraaja
Cinematography Madhu Ambat
Editing by B. Lenin
Distributed by Madras Talkies
Release date(s) 3 December 1990
Running time 130 mins
Language Tamil
Gross revenue $2 million

Anjali (Tamil: அஞ்சலி) is a 1990 Tamil-language Indian feature film directed by Mani Ratnam, starring Raghuvaran, Revathi, Prabhu, Tarun, Shruthi and Shamili. The film's score and soundtrack is composed by Ilaiyaraaja, being his 500th movie. Anjali is about a dying mentally disabled child, and the emotional trauma experienced by her family. The film was dubbed into Telugu and released with the same name



The movie revolves around a family of four.The family consists of an young civil engineer father Shekar (Raghuvaran), the stay-at-home mother Chitra (Revathi) and two siblings, the elder brother Arjun (Tarun) and younger sister Anu (Shruti) both around 11 years of age.

The movie opens with Chitra giving birth to her third child but unfortunately the girl is still-born. A few years later, Shekar and his family move to a new apartment complex filled with a lot of kids. The family seems to have moved on from the still-born child and live happily. After a few altercations with the kids in the colony, Arjun and Anu are accepted by all the kids as their own. The parents too are accepted by the colony adults as respectable and everybody gets along well. The kids are for pulling pranks and generally causing a clamor around the apartment colony. One such constant joke they play on a mentally retarded ex-watchman (Janakaraj) of the colony, much to the chagrin of his wife. Arjun and Anu join in too. The only tenant they are afraid of is an ex-convict (Prabhu) who lives alone in one of the apartments.

On new year’s eve, Arjun slips out late at night with the older children to celebrate the while Sekhar was out of town on a business trip. But he sees Shekar with another woman before he and the other children are hauled by the police back to their homes. Chitra is furious and when Shekar comes back, asks him to punish Arjun. Arjun, still angry thinking that his father is having an affair, blurts out that he saw Shekar on New Year’s Eve. But Shekar denies that he was in town and admonishes Arjun for lying. Shekar later makes up with Arjun and everything goes back to normal once again.

A few days later, Chitra to surprise Shekar, goes to meet him in his construction site. Shekar, however, is not there as he claimed to have some emergency at home. As Shekar has said that he was at work to Chitra, she grows suspicious. One day, while on the bus, she spots him talking with a woman. She gets out of the bus and confronts Shekar. But she is not satisfied with his reply that they are just friends talking. She comes home, packs her bags and threatens to walk out of the house. He pleads her to stay but she doesn’t stop. Finally, Shekar comes clean.

Their third child, Anjali (Shamili), was born mentally ill and with a terminal illness a few years ago. The doctors did not give the child more than a couple of months to live. To avoid the sadness for a couple of months from an already physically exhausted Chitra and to protect his children from the trauma, he colludes with the doctors to lie to his family that the child was stillborn. But much to the surprise of everyone, the child has made it past her second birthday and is seemingly physically healthy. The woman Shekar was talking to is Anjali’s doctor. Although Chitra is saddened by this betrayal, she decides to bring Anjali back home.

Anjali is not like a normal child and requires constant attention from both the parents. This causes the other two siblings to dislike Anjali. Moreover, the other kids in the colony and school tease them by making fun of Anjali’s condition. One day, the other kids in the colony, make fun of Anjali by tying a string of cans behind her. This causes Arjun to fight with the other kids. He gets bruised which saddens Anjali, but a special bond is born between the siblings. Arjun becomes protective of her and challenges the other kids in the colony to a fight if they can’t accept her. The kids accept Anjali and all the kids come to love her.

This causes the parents of the kids to worry as they don’t want their kids to be close with a mentally retarded kid. During an apartment association meeting, the parents of the kids demand that Shekar and Chitra either leave the apartment or institutionalize Anjali. The only person to argue for Anjali’s presence is the ex-convict. The parents are afraid of him and let it go. But soon, Anjali wins over everyone in the apartment complex and everyone comes to like her.

Meanwhile Shekar has some problem with the quality of cement sold to him and much to the chagrin of the seller, reports him to police. The police finds that the seller adds water to the cement and arrests him. The seller becomes enraged and visits Shekar’s house after getting out on bail. He physically assaults and plans on killing Shekar. But the ex-convict comes to the rescue and kills the seller in the altercation when he threatens Shekar’s family and is arrested. The ex-convict thanks Shekar before leaving as Anjali was the only person to show compassion to him.

The next morning, Anu wakes up and goes to wake up Anjali, but she doesn’t wake up. Anjali had died in her sleep. As more and more people come after hearing Anu’s screams, they all are saddened by the demise of the girl who taught them to accept and forgive.


Shamili, better known as Baby Shamili, is a South Indian actress. She came to prominence after acting in Malayalam films as a child, and then in Tamil following her performance in Mani Rathnam's 'Anjali', in which she portrayed a mentally challenged child. She last acted in malayalam as a teenager in the movie Harikrishnans as Mammooty's and Mohanlal's little sister. She is the sister of Richard and actress Shalini Ajithkumar.

She has been cast in Telugu, Anand Ranga's directorial debut, as the heroine to Siddarth. Anand Ranga worked as an associate in the Siddarth release 'Bommarillu'. Shooting is scheduled to begin in early October 2008.


The film has won the following awards since its release:

1991 National Film Awards (India)

  • Won - Silver Lotus Award - Best Child Artist - Shamili, Tarun, Shruti
  • Won - Silver Lotus Award - Best Audiography - Pandu Rangan
  • Won - Silver Lotus Award - Best Regional Film (Tamil) - Anjali - Mani Ratnam


The soundtrack features seven songs composed by Ilaiyaraaja, with lyrics by Vaali.

  1. Something Something, sung by Karthik Raja,Yuvan Shankar Raja,Bhavatharini,Venkat Prabhu,Premji Amaran,Parthi Bhaskar,Hari Bhaskar
  2. Raathiri Nerathil, sung by S. P. Balasubrahmaniam
  3. Iravu Nilavu, sung by S. Janaki
  4. Motta Maadi, sung by Karthik Raja,Yuvan Shankar Raja,Bhavatharini,Venkat Prabhu,Premji Amaran,Parthi Bhaskar,Hari Bhaskar
  5. Vaanam Namakku, sung by Karthik Raja,Yuvan Shankar Raja,Bhavatharini,Venkat Prabhu,Premji Amaran,Parthi Bhaskar,Hari Bhaskar
  6. Vegam Vegam, sung by Usha Uthup
  7. Anjali Anjali, sung by Karthik Raja,Yuvan Shankar Raja,Bhavatharini,Venkat Prabhu,Premji Amaran,Parthi Bhaskar,Hari Bhaskar

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