Theatrical poster
Directed byBlessy
Written byBlessy
Produced byThomas Thiruvalla
StarringSwetha Menon
Biju Menon
Suhasini Maniratnam
Prashant Nair[1]
CinematographySatheesh Kurup
Edited byRaja Mohammed
Music byM. Jayachandran
O. N. V. Kurup
Cherummuttadathu Films
Distributed byKochin Talkies
Release date
  • 22 August 2013 (2013-08-22)

Kalimannu is a Malayalam drama film written and directed by Blessy and starring Swetha Menon in the lead role and Biju Menon, Suhasini in Major Supporting roles. Inspired by the Puranic story of Abhimanyu and his mother Subhadra,[2] the film portrays the relationship of the protagonist with her baby, before and after it is born. Swetha Menon's real-life delivery was shot live on camera for the film.


Meera is a club dancer in the dark streets of Mumbai, who like all performers of Mumbai, aspires to be on the screen someday. She gets used by film producers who promise her roles in their films, but fail to do so later. Frustrated, she even thinks of ending her life. But the unexpected arrival of Shyam, a taxi driver, changes the course of her life. He marries her and makes for a lovely husband. Her career also starts looking up as she progresses to being a popular item dancer and then gets cast as the heroine in a film. But, on the day of the preview of her debut film, Shyam is involved in a fatal road accident and declared brain dead. Meera who is left all alone again, thinks of donating Shyam’s organs to people in need. She wants to have his child through artificial insemination. She fights for her parenting rights as the technique would have created much uproar in the media.



The story of Kalimannu came into Blessy's mind during a trip to Dubai after completing Pranayam (2011). During his travel, a radiant thought flew in his mind, that of a baby in the womb talking to its mother. And the frame initiated the spark for a film that unfolds the relationship between a mother and her baby in the womb.[3]

Non-definite scripting pattern was used for the film. Principal photography started even before the completion of scripting and casting. In order to cover various stages of pregnancy, the film was shot in different schedules, beginning in the first week of August.[3] The film was shot for many months, throughout Swetha's pregnancy.[4] Swetha's delivery was filmed in late September from a hospital in Mumbai where she was admitted.[5] The crew stayed in the hospital for nearly a week and a footage lasting for twenty minutes was shot from the delivery room. Swetha's husband, Blessy and two cinematographers for the film were present in the labour room after prior permission, with three cameras placed in the delivery room to capture the moment.[6] It was for the first time that an Indian film used the footages of a natural childbirth.[7]


The delivery filming caused a "culture shock" in Kerala. The debate began when Kerala Legislative Assembly Speaker G. Karthikeyan criticised Shwetha Menon for allowing her delivery to be captured live on camera.[8] The speaker added that some years ago, a movie titled The Birth was screened at theatres across Kerala. However, the film was tagged as a medical movie, and so did not face any problem. Since Blessy is promoting Kalimannu as a commercial movie, it might have to face the heat since it might have a negative impact on the family audience.[9] Karthikeyan also expressed his surprise why cultural and women’s rights organisations are not coming out against this. A few days after Karthikeyan made his comments, BJP Mahila Morcha activists announced that they would stall the screening of the movie in Kerala, alleging that Shwetha Menon and Blessy are "exploiting motherhood for commercial purposes" by incorporating the actress's delivery.[10] Shobha Surendran, Mahila Morcha leader said at a press meet: "We urge the Censor Board and the state government not to allow its screening here. Otherwise, the activists of the Mahila Morcha will stall the film’s release. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy should intervene in the matter at the earliest and should bring in a law to prohibit such films, which infringe on the morality of the common people. As per the reports, it is learnt that the depiction of Shweta Menon’s motherhood in the movie is so objectionable that it offends the morality of all the right-thinking women. The movie is not only polluting the family values and the rich cultural heritage of ancient Bharata but also legitimising a woman’s efforts to sell her moral values for making money and attaining cheap publicity. I will not be surprised if she plans to deliver her second baby at a public place like festival venues as part of making money. This is totally unacceptable for the right-thinking society and if the director and crew go ahead with the release, they will have to face stiff resistance from the Kerala society."[11] The film was also condemned by the Kerala Film Exhibitors' Federation who said that they will boycott the movie if Blessy includes the delivery scene. Liberty Basheer, president of the federation, said, "We are concerned about the movie's content. If the director includes the delivery scene, we will definitely boycott it," However, the Film Employees' Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) was all support for director Blessy. Speaking to the media, B. Unnikrishnan, general secretary, FEFKA said, "The controversy is baseless. This is not the first time that a delivery is being canned. Moreover, we don't know how he has visualised it. There is a censor board which looks into such matters. There are specific norms that have to be followed while portraying women in movies. If the board feels women are shown in a poor light, it will definitely censor it. Blessy is a director with a good track record. Let's just wait for the final output."[12]

Critical reception

Kalimannu opened to mixed and positive responses upon release. Deccan Chronicle's reviewer commented: "All said and done ‘Kalimannu’ is a well-made film, though not in the league of Blessy's other classics. Though it doesn't live up to its hype, the movie can be prescribed for an engaging watch."[13] Sharikha C. of The Hindu said, "With a subject that was stretched beyond its one- hour worth of content, it is the audience who writhe in pain over Blessy’s ‘labour’ of love. Kalimannu is that point of realisation for the Malayali audience that the director of some of the most poetic films in recent times (Kazcha, Thanmathra, Brahmaram, and Pranayam) has, but, feet of clay."[14] Veeyen of Nowrunning.com rated the film 2/5 and said, "I need to admit that despite the most stringent of efforts, I couldn't find any unsettling sub texts in 'Kalimannu'. It remains all wet and sopping, waiting for its creator to infuse a bit more form and plenty more life into it."[15] Reporter TV's first review says that "Kalimannu is a good movie and the movie contains lot many social messages".[16]


Soundtrack album by
GenreFeature film soundtrack
ProducerThomas Thiruvalla
M. Jayachandran chronology
Up & Down - Mukalil Oralundu
Pattam Pole

All lyrics are written by O. N. V. Kurup; all music is composed by M. Jayachandran.

1."Lalee Lalee"Mridula Warrier, Sudeep Kumar 
2."Aardramee"Shreya Ghoshal 
3."Choo Loon"Vijay Yesudas, Suchitra 
4."Dil Lena"Sonu Kakkar 
6."Garbharaksha"Janaki Iyer 
7."Meine To"Sonu Kakkar, Sukhwinder Singh 
8."Shalabhamaay"Shreya Ghoshal 


Kerala State Film Awards


  1. ^ Ramachandran, Keerthy (20 August 2012). "Biju: The reluctant hero". Deccan Chronicle. Kochi, India. Archived from the original on 22 August 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
  2. ^ Ramachandran, Mythily (4 October 2012). "Southern Spice: Blessy lets his films do the talking". Gulf News. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
  3. ^ a b "'Kalimannu' is about a sacred relationship: Director". The New Indian Express. IBN Live. 3 August 2012. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
  4. ^ "Kalimannu: non definite scripting pattern is used for the movie". IBN Live. 29 September 2012. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
  5. ^ "Swetha Menon's delivery caught on camera". Rediff. 1 October 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
  6. ^ Subramanian, Anupama (29 September 2012). "Taking a leaf out of real life". Deccan Chronicle. Chennai, India. Archived from the original on 4 October 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
  7. ^ "Shweta Menon's delivery shot live on camera for 'Kalimannu'". IBN Live. 1 October 2012. Archived from the original on 1 December 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
  8. ^ V. R. Jayaraj (23 November 2012). ""Star delivery filming causes culture shock in Kerala"".. The Pioneer. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  9. ^ ""Shweta Menon's Kalimannu in trouble!"". 26 November 2012.. Oneindia.in. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  10. ^ ""BJP women's wing up in arms against Swetha Menon, Blessy "". Archived from the original on 11 May 2013.. IBN Live. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  11. ^ ""'Kalimannu' gives birth to more controversies"".. The New Indian Express. 27 November 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  12. ^ Ammu Zachariah (26 November 2012). ""Film exhibitors threaten to boycott 'Kalimannu'"". Archived from the original on 29 November 2012.. The Times of India. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  13. ^ "Reference at www.deccanchronicle.com".
  14. ^ C, Sharika (25 August 2013). "Kalimannu - Lost labour of womanhood - The Hindu". The Hindu.
  15. ^ "Kalimannu (2013) | Kalimannu Malayalam Movie | Movie Reviews, Showtimes | nowrunning".
  16. ^ "Reference at www.reporteronlive.com".