Annakili is often regarded as one of Tamil cinema’s cult classics. The film also marked the debut of maestro Ilaiyaraaja.
It was produced by S.P. Thamizharasi under her banner SPT Films, and the story was written by R. Selvaraj. The screenplay, dialogue and lyrics were by Panju Arunachalam (Kannadasan’s nephew). Cinematograher A. Somasundaram shot most of the film on actual rural locations, which enhanced the visual appeal of the movie. The film was directed by Devaraj Mohan and edited by M. Kandasami.
Actor Sujatha, who played the protagonist, carried the movie on her shoulders. Her debut was in K. Balachander’s Aval Oru Thodar Kathai .
The film is a rural melodrama that revolves around Annakili, a rural girl who puts the needs of others over her own.
To that village comes Thyagarajan (Sivakumar, a teacher) with whom she falls in love. However, he marries another girl Sumathi (Jayalakshmi) who is Annakili’s friend. She looks after their child as her own.
The villain, a big shot in the village (Thengai Srinivasan), lusts after her. He cries for help in an attempt to lure her into his house with an aim to assault her sexually. Sumathi, on discovering this, calls on her husband to save Annakilli from the evil man.
The film ends with Annakili giving up her life lying in the lap of Thyagarajan with her friend and their child next to her.
Srikanth, ‘Thengai’ Srinivasan, S.V. Subbaiah and S.N. Lakshmi played supporting roles in the film.
The major highlight of the film was Ilaiyaraaja’s music, and one particular song, ‘Machaana Paarthingalaa’, became an evergreen melody.
The song is picturised on Sujatha, with the voice lent by S. Janaki; the song is about the heroine’s love for the hero, expressed in poetic terms with a touch of humour and lyrical beauty. According to some sources, Ilaiyaraaja is believed to have composed this tune for a wedding.
This film was a box-office success.
There are four other songs — ‘Annakili Unnai’ (Voice: S. Janaki), ‘Muththu Muththa (Adi Raakayee)’ (Voice: S. Janaki), ‘Annakili’ (T.M. Soundararajan) and ‘Sontham Illai’ (P. Susheela).
Remembered For: The music of Ilaiyaraaja, who went on to create history, and especially the song ‘Machaana…’, and also for the impressive performances of Sujatha, Sivakumar, ‘Thengai’ Srinivasan and Srikanth.