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A PECK ON THE CHEEK

India, 2002 (MIFF 2003, Beyond Bollywood)

Director: Mani Ratnam

Madhaven and Dileep have just gone through an arranged marnage, and life for the two Sri Lankan youths is wonderful, as they begin to fall in love. Their post-marital bliss is shattered, however; by a military invasion, which leaves Madhaven alone and pregnant in an Indian refugee camp. There, she gives birth to a daughter, Amudha. Nine years later; on the occasion of Amudha's birthday, we discover that she has been adopted by a middle-class Indian family, and is unaware of her birth parents. Having hidden the truth for so long, Amudha's father decides to tell his adopted daughter about her lineage. Initially shocked, the determined nine-year-old soon convinces the family to travel to strife-torn Sri Lanka to search for her biological mother.The journey ahead is adventurous, dangerous and illuminating, forcing young Amudha to reassess everything she has come to believe in.

Veteran director Mam Ratnam has crafted a film of epic proportions, set in the often harsh environs of India and Sri Lanka, and played out against a backdrop of political turmoil. Young PS. Keerthana is a revelation as Amudha, delivering a powerful and nuanced performance.

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