Cheluvi (1992)

 ●  Hindi ● 1 hr 42 mins

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Karnad retells a Karnataka folk-tale, dubbed in Hindi, usually told by women while feeding children or putting them to bed, a time when other women would also be present. A young woman, Cheluvi (Kulkarni), living in abject poverty with her mother and sister, can turn herself into a tree yielding an endless supply of blossoms as long as they are picked very carefully. The son, Kumar (Prashant Rao), of the village headman (Karnad), seduced by the scent of the flowers, marries Cheluvi and they enjoy her flowering in strict privacy. During Kumar’s absence, the headman’s young daughter Shyama (G. Yakkundi) forces Cheluvi to disclose her secret. Unable to comprehend 1992 507 the delicacy and beauty of the event, the children destroy the tree, leaving Cheluvi’s body as a mutilated tree-stump. In the end, Kumar disconsolately leaves carting off the Cheluvi-stump. The folklorist A.K. Ramanujan pointed out that in Sanskrit and in Kannada the same word is used for ‘flowering’ and ‘menstruation’. Art direction is provided by Jayoo and Nachiket Patwardhan.

Cast: Sonali Kulkarni

Crew: Girish Karnad (Director)

Release Dates: 01 Jan 1992 (India)

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as Cheluvi
Supporting Actress
as Village Headman
Supporting Actor


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