Autograph (2004 film)
J. N. Harsha
Autograph is a 2004 Tamil film directed by Cheran. The film's soundtrack is composed by Bharathwaj. Cheran also plays the lead role in the film, and other cast members include Sneha, Gopika, Kanika and Mallika.
The film was released in India in February 2004, and was screened at the Lyon Asian Film Festival in France and at the Montreal World Film Festival in Canada. Upon release, the film met with critical acclaim and commercial success. Although a sequel to the film titled Autograph 2 was announced, it never materialized. The film's storyline nears that of Raj Kapoor's classic film Mera Naam Joker. It also takes inspiration from the 1995 Hollywood movie Beyond the Clouds.
The film was remade in Telugu as "Naa Autograph" starring Ravi Teja as the protagonist, with Bhumika Chawla, Gopika, Mallika and Prakash Raj playing other important roles. The film was also remade in Kannada film My Autograph which starred Sudeep and Meena in lead roles. Premam a Malayalam loose adaption of the film made by Alphonse Putharen with Nivin Pauly in 2015, also was a huge success.
The romantic story begins with Senthil (Cheran) setting off on a journey, to invite his friends and family for his forthcoming wedding. Along the way, he encounters various individuals from his past, who bring back memories of three women that have influenced his love life.
The movie begins with Senthil, who runs an advertising agency, boarding a train to visit his native village to invite all his friends for his wedding. During the journey he reminisces his teenage days. The happenings in the school, his tussle with his friends and his first love with his classmate, Kamala (Mallika), are all pictured with fun and drama. Senthil reaches the village and invites all including Kamala, who promises to come to the wedding, with her husband and three children.
Then, he goes to Kerala where he had his college education. His major crush at that time was Lathika (Gopika), a Malayalee girl, with whom he falls in love but later the affair proves to be short-lived as her parents marry her off to her cousin, Madhavan. On reaching Kerala to invite her, Cheran is slightly disturbed to see his ex-lover as a widow. He attempts to re-kindle his love for her, but she corrects him.
On his journey he comes across his trusted friend Divya (Sneha), who instills confidence and elucidates him to the life lesson - that one has to go ahead in life without looking back. While she and Senthil travel on a bus, she reveals her tragic experience, that her mother is a paralytic patient and that she is the bread-winner of the family. As time passes by, she reveals that she was in love with someone and believed that he was the man of her life, but was let down. A poetic narration on the need for a good companion like Senthil who gives attention to her is stressed, even if it isn't possible at his stage.
In the end, Senthil gets married to a girl of his parents choice, Thenmozhi (Kanika), and all the three girls, who was a part in his life, and his school-college friends attend his wedding. Also this sets a very jovial ending to the story.
- Cheran as Senthil Kumar
- Sivaprakasam as Senthil Kumar, young age
- Sneha as Divya
- Gopika as Lathika
- Mallika as Kamala
- Kanika as Thenmozhi
- Ilavarasu as Narayanan Teacher
- Karuppiah Bharathi as Narayanan Teacher, old age
- Krishna as Kamalakannan
- Benjamin as Oolamookkan Subramani
- Lingeswaran as Oolamookkan Subramani, young age
- Rajesh (actor) as Senthil's father
- Vijaya Singh as Senthil's mother
"It is quite natural for students to get autographs on the last day of their school and college life. But how many of them flip through the autograph book and rewind their memories in the later stages of their life. Autograph, a film, is one such attempt made by director Cheran to rewind the memories of his early childhood and youthful days with spotlight on his romantic escapades. Interestingly with no cinematic touches, Autograph is sure to delight one and all to recall their memories and enjoy the past."
In an interview in June 2001, Vikram revealed he had signed on to portray the lead role in the project; however, he later opted out as a result of scheduling problems. Cheran said that the film was partly autobiographical. Four different cinematographers worked on the film; Ravi Varman had shot the school episode in Senthil’s early life with a 35 mm lens, Vijay Milton shot the Kerala scenes, Dwaraknath shot the Chennai episode with a steady cam and Shanky Mahendran shot the "'live' part" of the film when the camera uses the point of view of Senthil's character.
The film has won the following awards since its release:
52nd National Film Awards (India)
- Won – Golden Lotus Award – Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment – Cheran
- Won – Silver Lotus Award – Best Female Playback Singer – K. S. Chithra
- Won – Silver Lotus Award – Best Lyrics – Pa. Vijay
- Won – Best Film – Tamil
- Won – Best Director – Tamil – Cheran
- Won – Best Supporting Actress – Tamil – Mallika
- Won – Best Music Director – Tamil – Bharathwaj
- Gnyabagam Varudae – Bharathwaj
- Kizhakke Paarthen – Yugendran, Foni
- Maname Nalama – Bharathwaj
- Manasukkulle Dhagam – Harish Ragavendra, Reshmi
- Meesa Vecha Perandi – Kovai Kamala, Karthik
- Ninaivugal Nenjinil – Unni Menon
- Ovvoru Pookalume – K. S. Chithra
The film's background was scored by the famous duo Sabesh-Murali.
- "Arts & Culture". Tamilguardian.com. 20 June 2001. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-05.