Minsara Kanavu

Minsara Kanavu (transl. Electric dream) is a 1997 Indian Tamil-language musical romance film co written and directed by Rajiv Menon. The film stars Arvind Swamy, Prabhu Deva, and Kajol in her Tamil debut, with Girish Karnad, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, V. K. Ramasamy and Nassar in other pivotal roles. The soundtrack and background score for the film was composed by A. R. Rahman, while the cinematography was handled by Venu and Ravi K. Chandran. The film was shot in Lawrence School, Lovedale Ooty, St. Andrews Church and Apollo Hospitals in Chennai. The film is critically acclaimed for its songs composed by A. R. Rahman and won four National Film Awards, three Tamil Nadu State Film Awards and a Filmfare Award South (Tamil) mostly for its music and soundtrack.

Minsara Kanavu
Minsara Kanavu poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRajiv Menon
Produced by
Written by
Screenplay byRajiv Menon
V. C. Guhanathan
Story byRajiv Menon
Music byA. R. Rahman
Ravi K. Chandran
Edited bySuresh Urs
Release date
‹See TfM›
  • 14 January 1997 (1997-01-14)
Running time
154 minutes


Priya Amalraj is a young student at a convent who is known for her friendly, bubbly and precocious nature. Her father, Amalraj, is a widower and a clothing industrialist who expects Priya to look after his business, however Priya's main ambition is to become a nun, much to his horror. He tries to stop this by unsuccessfully trying to fix a wedding alliance for her.

Thomas Thangadurai is a polite and well mannered NRI who returns to India after his studies to look after his father's James Thangadurai's business. James is a former associate of Amalraj and had set up his clothing business opposite Amalraj's factory. Amalraj dislikes James due to his boorish and clumsy attitude even though Thomas and Priya are childhood friends.

Thomas bumps into Priya after several years at the convent when he goes to see his aunt Mother Superior, who is the chief nun at the convent. He takes Priya's help in surprising Mother Superior with a gift on her birthday. In the process, he falls in love with Priya, but is unable to confess his love for her. He is shocked when he finds out about Priya's ambition to become a nun. He approaches a barber named Deva, who is known for his ability to change women's minds, and asks him to change Priya's mind about becoming a nun. Deva, though initially hesitant, accepts.

Deva and his friend, a blind but aspiring musician Guru, befriend Priya, and convince her to join their music troupe. Priya's singing talent helps the troupe gain recognition and soon they are approached to audition for a film. Deva, Guru and the rest of the troupe play various tricks to make Priya fall in love with Thomas. But in the process, Deva realises that he is falling for Priya instead.

Complications arise when Priya too reciprocates Deva's love, and Thomas, with the help of Deva, finally manages to propose his love to Priya. Priya finds out about Deva's real reason for his association with her at this juncture, and hurt and betrayed, decides to return to the convent to undergo nun training and fulfil her ambition of becoming a nun. She also quits Deva's and Guru's troupe. Deva tries to convince Priya to change her mind, but in the process, he meets with a serious accident and falls into a coma. Priya, though undergoing the nun training, is unable to forget Deva. Meanwhile, Deva comes out of coma and is visited by Thomas, who though upset and angry, realises that Deva and Priya are meant for each other and sacrifices his love. Thomas rushes to the convent on the day Priya is to become a nun, and with the help of Mother Superior, finally manages to talk her out of becoming a nun and convince her to marry Deva.

The story then shifts forward by a few years. Thomas, who is now a priest, baptises the young daughter of Deva and Priya, who are happily married, with Deva looking after his father-in-law's business. It is also shown that Guru has become a renowned music director, but is facing charges of plagiarism, while James redistributes his wealth to everyone.


Guest appearances


AVM Productions wanted to make a film to commemorate its 50th anniversary in 1997 and signed on Prabhu Deva to play a lead role and A. R. Rahman to score the music for this unplanned project, but Rahman was initially reluctant as he had scored music for three of Prabhu Deva's films in the recent past. The producers revealed that they were looking for a new director and Rahman suggested the name of cinematographer, Rajiv Menon to make his directorial debut, after the pair had previously collaborated in jingles for many ad films.[3] Menon thought about the offer for two months and was ultimately convinced by Rahman and Mani Ratnam, who he had been working with in Bombay (1995), to sign the project.[4] Arvind Swamy was then signed up for a role as was Hindi actress Kajol, to make her debut in Tamil films. Her role was initially offered to actress Aishwarya Rai, who later opted to work on Iruvar (1997) instead.[5] Kajol revealed that she found dancing alongside Prabhu Deva difficult and took up to 20 retakes and 30 rehearsals for a particular song.[6] Nassar, often seen in intense roles, was signed to play a bubbly character in the film and described the shoot as a "delightful experience".[7] Veteran actors Girish Karnad and V. K. Ramasamy were also added to the cast as was singer S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, who had previously appeared in father roles in Kaadhalan and Kadhal Desam. Actress Arundhati Nag and Prakash Raj also formed part of the cast, while then-assistant director Gautham Menon appears in a cameo role.

The film was shot in 1996 with two songs and the climax being shot at Lawrence School Chapel, Lovedale.[8] During post-production, Vikram, then a struggling actor, dubbed for Prabhu Deva's character for few scenes, and Revathi dubbed for the non-Tamil speaking Kajol.[9]


The film was released on 14 January 1997 coinciding with the Tamil festival of Thai Pongal alongside Mani Ratnam's political drama film Iruvar. Although the two films initially opened to lukewarm responses, Minsara Kanavu eventually emerged triumphant at the Tamil Nadu box office, and a dubbed Telugu version, Merupu Kalalu had a good opening in Andhra Pradesh.[4] After audiences were initially unhappy with the sad climax of the film, distributors reverted and used an alternate ending which had also been shot for the film.[4] A critic from Indolink.com gave the film a positive review, stating that "Minsara Kanavu is again a triangular love story with a little difference. It has good entertainment value, awesome cinematography and excellent songs and choreographed dances."[10]

Minsara Kanavu went on to win four National Film Awards, three Tamil Nadu State Film Awards and a Filmfare Award mostly for the film's soundtrack. The soundtrack earned A. R. Rahman the National Film Award for Best Music Direction for the second time, while he also secured his fourth Tamil Nadu State Award and his sixth consecutive Filmfare Award for his work.[11][12] K. S. Chitra and S. P. Balasubrahmanyam won the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer and Best Male Playback Singer for the tracks "Ooh La La La" and "Thanga Thamarai" respectively. Sujatha and Unni Menon won the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Female Playback and Best Male Playback for two different tracks, "Poo Pookkum Oosai" and "Ooh La La La" respectively.[13] Meanwhile, Prabhu Deva won the National Film Award for Best Choreography for his work in the song, "Vennilavae" and "Strawberry Kannae".[14]

The film was partially re-shot and released by Gramco Films in October 1997 in Hindi as Sapnay to capitalise on Kajol's popularity in Northern India, earning above average reviews from critics.[15]

Awards and accoladesEdit

1996 National Film Awards (India)

1996 Tamil Nadu State Film Awards

1996 Filmfare Awards South


Minsara Kanavu
Soundtrack album by
Released13 December 1996
RecordedPanchathan Record Inn
LabelAVM Audio
Sa Re Ga Ma
ProducerA. R. Rahman
A. R. Rahman chronology
Minsara Kanavu

The soundtrack features 6 songs composed by A. R. Rahman, with lyrics by Vairamuthu. The Hindi version of the soundtrack was titled Sapnay and had lyrics penned by Javed Akhtar, with a new song titled "Teri Meri Baat" was added to this version. The song "Ooh La La La" was re-edited by A. R. Rahman and featured on the hit international musical production Bombay Dreams, which ran in Europe and North America from 2002 to 2005. The track "Vennilavae (Part 2)" was a sad version of the song "Vennilave" and was sung by Shankar Mahadevan and Kavita Paudwal and this track was featured in the movie only. For the choir music in the film, Rahman used Sankarabharanam raga.[16] The song "Anbendra Mazhayile" is based on Ananthabhairavi raga.[17]

S. P. Balasubrahmanyam recalls the recording session of "Thanga Thamarai", mentioning that "it required a tone that reflected the feelings of someone totally smitten and intoxicated by love. The character singing the song in the film is on a high after finding his girl. I only tried my best to imitate Rahman, who sang it for me. The imitation fetched me a national award."[18] Playback singer Kay Kay once again sung for Rahman after he was introduced by Rahman through the song "Hello Doctor". There is also a Telugu dubbed soundtrack, Merupu Kalulu.When A. R. Rahman chose Chitra for the track "Ohh La la", he advised her not to sing as usually as she does, but asked her to open her voice completely and sing the track. Chitra completely followed A. R. Rahman's advice and sang the track, which made her win National Film Award for National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer.[19]

Tamil version (Original)Edit

All lyrics are written by Vairamuthu; all music is composed by A. R. Rahman.

Track listing
1."Vennilavae"Hariharan, Sadhana Sargam5:58
2."Vennilavae (Part 2)"Shankar Mahadevan, Kavita Paudwal1:45
3."Thanga Thamarai"S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Malgudi Subha4:58
4."Poo Pookum Oosai"Sujatha Mohan, Malaysia Vasudevan6:47
5."Manna Madurai (Ooh La La La)"Unni Menon, K. S. Chitra, Srinivas5:52
6."Strawberry Kannae"KK, Febi Mani4:25
7."Anbendra ( Raagam : Anandabhairavi )"Anuradha Sriram3:33

Hindi version (Sapnay; Dubbed)Edit

All music is composed by A. R. Rahman.

Track listing
1."Chanda Re"Hariharan, Sadhana Sargam5:58
2."Chanda Re (Part 2)"Hariharan, Sadhana Sargam1:45
3."Door Na Ja Mujhse"S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Malgudi Subha4:58
4."Aawara Bhanwre"Hema Sardesai, Malaysia Vasudevan6:47
5."Ek Bagiya"Shankar Mahadevan, K. S. Chitra, Srinivas5:52
6."Strawberry Ankhein"KK, Kavita Paudwal4:25
7."Roshan Hui Raat"Anuradha Sriram3:33
8."Teri Meri Baat"Abhijeet Bhattacharya, Hema Sardesai5:19

Telugu version (Dubbed)Edit

All music is composed by A. R. Rahman.

Track listing
1."Vennelave Vennelave"Hariharan, Sadhana Sargam5:58
2."Oh Vaana Padite"Sujatha Mohan, Malaysia Vasudevan6:47
3."Machilipatnam Mavidi (Ooh La La La)"Unni Menon, K. S. Chitra, Srinivas5:52
4."Tallo Taamara"S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Malgudi Subha4:58
5."Strawberry Kannae"Mano, Swarnalatha4:25
6."Aparanji Madanudi"Anuradha Sriram3:33
7."Vennelave (sad)"Hariharan, Sadhana Sargam1:45


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Minsara Kanavu. (DVD). opening credits from 1.16 to 2.34
  2. ^ a b c d e Minsara Kanavu. (DVD). closing credits from 151.24 to 153.16
  3. ^ "A. R. Rahman: Summary Biography". A. R. Rahman: A Biography. 1997. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  4. ^ a b c "Rediff On The Net, Movies:An interview with Rajiv Menon". Rediff.com. 4 April 1997. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  5. ^ https://silverscreen.in/movies/features/twenty-years-of-kandukondein-kandukondein-rajiv-menon-on-putting-together-the-ensemble-project-and-why-it-has-endured/
  6. ^ "Rediff On The Net, Movies:An interview with Kajol, actress on the ascendant". Rediff.com. 4 April 1997. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  7. ^ "Rediff On The Net, Movies: An interview with Tamil actor-director Nasser". Rediff.com. 1 September 1997. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  8. ^ "Minsara Kanavu". Where Was It Shot. Archived from the original on 15 May 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  9. ^ AVM Productions [@ProductionsAvm] (10 August 2018). "Did you know that actors Vikram & Revathi lent their voices for PrabhuDheva and Kajol respectively in the film #MinsaraKanavu?" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  10. ^ "MInsaara Kanavu". Indolink.com. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  11. ^ "America, America' bags national film award – The Times Of India". Cscsarchive.org:8081. 20 June 2004. Retrieved 10 May 2012.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Suhasini, Ramesh walk away with Screen awards – The Indian Express". Cscsarchive.org:8081. 20 June 2004. Retrieved 10 May 2012.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "This award is special for me". The Hindu. 5 March 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
  14. ^ "Kamal, Tabu bag top film awards – The Hindu". Cscsarchive.org:8081. 20 June 2004. Retrieved 10 May 2012.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "Sapnay – The Indian Express". Cscsarchive.org:8081. 26 October 1997. Retrieved 10 May 2012.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/when-the-three-jammed/article6291615.ece
  17. ^ http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/a-ragas-journey-the-allure-of-anandabhairavi/article2576822.ece
  18. ^ Meera Srinivasan (14–27 March 2009). "Music of the soul". Frontline. Retrieved 9 April 2011.[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "Swarabhishekam – Chithra, Kalpana, Sri Ramchandra Performance – OOh La la la Song – 27th July 2014". Cite has empty unknown parameter: |1= (help); Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

External linksEdit