Annai Velankanni (Eng: Mother Velankanni) is 1971 Indian drama film in Tamil. The film stars Gemini Ganesan, Jayalalithaa, Padmini and K. R. Vijaya. Kamal Haasan briefly appears in an uncredited role as Jesus Christ. The film was directed by noted choreographer K. Thangappan. It comprises three stories pertaining to Christian beliefs. Velankanni, where the film is set, is a real village in India, and has a large church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Jesus.
The story pivots around the centuries – an old Basilica of our lady of health at Velankanni village near Nagapattinam in Thanjavur district in Tamil Nadu. While the presiding deity of the Basilica, Mother Mary performing in lives of the devotee is narrated as a flashback, the story involving Nurse Mary (Jayalalithaa) and Susainathan (Gemini Ganesan) is in the present.
Mary (Jayalalithaa) is a nurse in a hospital at Nagapattinam and is a devotee of Mother Mary of Velankanni. She narrates the story of Kamakshi (K. R. Vijaya), a milkmaid and her son Sundaram in Velankanni village to a child patient Baby Sumathi. Mother Mary appears before Sundaram, who is on his way to the landlord’s (R. Muthuraman) house at Nagapattinam to deliver milk. The landlord, a bureaucrat, is an atheist. Sundaram gives milk to mother Mary to feed the Infant Jesus. The landlord is annoyed about milk and does not believe the story of “A Lady with a Child” that caused the shortage. A miracle occurs – the milk pot overflows spontaneously. The Mother Mary appears before the landlord and he becomes a believer, a devotee of Mother Mary; he generously helps his tenant Karuppayyan (S. V. Ramadoss) in the conducting of his daughter’s marriage Chellayi (Srividya) to her rich lover (Sivakumar).
The story of Swarnam (Padmini and her lame son Raja (Master Sekhar) in Velankanni Village is narrated by Doctor Sundararajan (Major Sundararajan) to his assistant. Villagers often poked fun at Swarnam and Raja because of his lameness. On his way to the market to sell curds and milk, Mother Mary appears before Raja and cures him. Mother Mary assigns Raja the task of building a Church for her on the spot where she appeared before him under supervision of Priest Francis (S. V. Subbaiah).
Meanwhile, Mary rejects marriage proposals from young doctors in the hospital. She is waiting for mother Mary’s Oracle to decide her marriage and the miracle occurs. Both Susainathan (Gemini Ganesan), the son of rich landlord in Nagapattinam and Mary have the same dream. Both of them are singing praises of the Mother Mary. The meet each other in the Church and eventually get married. While Mary is away from the hospital meeting Susainathan, the Kind mother attends to Mary’s duties disguised as a nurse.
Directed by K. Thangappan
Produced by K. Thangappan
Written by Sham De Thomson
Screenplay by K. Thangappan
Starring Srividya, Sivakumar, Jayalalithaa, Gemini Ganesan, Padmini
Music by G. Devarajan
Cinematography G. K. Ramu
Edited by N. M. Sankar
Production Giri Movies
Distributed by Giri Movies
Release date 15 August 1971
Running time 148 mins