UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

A Peck on the Cheek

Marriage, identity and escape are at the heart of this classic Bollywood melodrama

By Jocelyn Bell

A Peck on the Cheek
Directed by Mani Ratnam, starring P.S. Keerthana, Madhavan and Simran
(Madras Talkies)


A Sri Lankan couple giggles through an arranged marriage. Their young love grows against the backdrop of guerrilla warfare. The husband runs off to join the militia and his wife, abandoned and now pregnant, escapes the violence on a boat headed for India. During a stormy ocean crossing, a stranger tells her that her husband was shot but is still alive. She gives birth to a baby girl at the refugee camp in India, then returns to Sri Lanka alone.

And that’s just what happens before the end of the opening credits.

A Peck on the Cheek (2002) is a Bollywood melodrama, complete with musical numbers, implausible twists of fate and rain clouds that burst just as the characters experience their most gut-wrenching moments. It’s also highly engaging.

Following the credits, the story leaps forward about nine years. The baby is now a sassy schoolgirl. Unaware of her own history, Amudha (P.S. Keerthana) has a happy family life in the coastal Indian city of Chennai. Then, on her ninth birthday, her father reveals the fact of her adoption.

What follows is a little girl’s struggle to weave this information into the fabric of her identity and to accept that her “real” parents are not the pair who share her DNA but the couple who love her “more than our own lives.”

To North American audiences, aspects of A Peck on the Cheek will seem jarring. The characters take ridiculous risks to find Amudha’s birth mother; close calls with suicide bombers and air raids don’t deter them. The slow- and fast-motion camera tricks, the puppy-love musical montages and the overwrought rain-soaked finale all remind the viewer that we’re not in Hollywood anymore.

But young P.S. Keerthana has a magnetic screen presence, and you can’t help but go along for the ride. Just pack some Kleenex and a good umbrella.

Can't find this DVD at your local video store? Try ordering it online at www.chapters.indigo.ca or at www.hmv.ca.
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!
Promotional Image

Editorials

David Wilson%

Observations

by David Wilson

A perfect send-off

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: My Year of Living Spiritually

by Observer Staff

Anne Bokma left the Dutch Reformed Church as a young adult and eventually became a member of the United Church and then the Unitarian Universalists. Having long explored the "spiritual but not religious" demographic as a writer, she decided to immerse herself in practices — like hiring a soul coach, secular choir-singing and forest bathing — for 12 months to find both enlightenment and entertainment.

Promotional Image

Society

November 2017

Trump country

by David Macfarlane

A northern Alabama county voted almost unanimously for Donald Trump in 2016. One year later, the writer, together with photographer Nigel Dickson, travels there to try to understand why.

Faith

November 2017

Involuntary pilgrim

by David Giuliano

The return of a tumour sets David Giuliano on a path he calls his ‘Camino de Cancer’

Faith

October 2017

A tale of two cancers

by Catherine Gordon

One year after the writer discovered she had breast cancer, her sister in California received the same diagnosis. They both recovered, but their experiences were worlds apart.

Society

November 2017

Trump country

by David Macfarlane

A northern Alabama county voted almost unanimously for Donald Trump in 2016. One year later, the writer, together with photographer Nigel Dickson, travels there to try to understand why.

Faith

November 2017

Involuntary pilgrim

by David Giuliano

The return of a tumour sets David Giuliano on a path he calls his ‘Camino de Cancer’

Faith

November 2017

Grey matter

by Trisha Elliott

Is consciousness just a function of the brain — or something more?

Promotional Image