Films & Schedules

  • Kanchivaram

  • Priyadarshan

117 minutes

Production Company:
Percept Picture Company/Four Frames Pictures
Shailendra Singh
Production Designer:
Sabu Cyril
Arun Kumar
Deepan Chatterjee
M.G. Sreekumar
Principal Cast: Prakash Raj, Shreya Reddy

Friday September 1206:00PM VISA SCREENING ROOM (ELGIN) Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Saturday September 1304:30PM AMC 7 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Priyadarshan is one of India's most successful directors, regularly turning out hits like Garam Masala and Malamal Weekly. One of the few filmmakers from South India to make it big in Bollywood, he appears to shift between regions and languages with effortless ease. Kanchivaram marks Priyadarshan's return to the South, and to personal filmmaking. This is a story from his heart.

Prakash Raj stars as Vengadam, a humble, charming silk weaver living in Kanchivaram, a town in Tamil Nadu known for its fine silk saris. In the late forties, India faced the convulsive change of independence, but Vengadam lives within the same rigid social structure endured by his ancestors. He works weaving expensive saris from the rarest silks, but could never afford the gorgeous garments he produces. And so he dreams: by the time his baby daughter grows up, he will have woven a sari for her wedding day. To do this he will need patience. Every day he steals single threads of brightly coloured silk from his workplace, smuggling them home for the project that will define his life.

Raj, who often plays villains in popular Tamil movies, conveys the weaver's passion and humility with both force and nuance. As the years pass and Vengadam's daughter grows, Priyadarshan expands the story beyond one man's symbolic act to the broader forces shaping it. Vengadam befriends a political radical who teaches him of the Russian Revolution, stoking the weaver's long-simmering resentment at the working conditions under which he and his comrades suffer. With the tools to understand his predicament, he can no longer abide it.

Kanchivaram charts real historical changes in post-independence India, but this is anything but dry history. Priyadarshan brings both his craft and his popular instincts to telling this story. The pace gathers as the narrative progresses, and the film is an epic feast for the eyes, using screen space, colour and camera movement in sophisticated harmony. This passion project deserves all the success of his popcorn hits.

Cameron Bailey

Priyadarshan was born in Kerala, India. After serving as a screenwriter on several films, he began his prolific writing and directing career with the blockbuster feature Poochakkoru Mookkuthi (84). Some of his award-winning films include Kilukkam (91), Abhimanyu (92), Thenmavin Kombath (94), Virasat (97), Hera Pheri (00), Garam Masala (05), Malamaal Weekly (06) and Bhool Bhulaiyaa (07). Kanchivaram (08) is his latest feature.

Cadillac People's Choice Award