Sippikkul Muthu (Eng: The White Pearl) is a 1986 Telugu / Tamil language drama film written, directed by K. Viswanath, and produced by Edida Nageshwara Rao. The film stars Kamal Haasan and Raadhika in the lead roles, with soundtrack and background score by Ilaiyaraaja. Sippikkul Muthu depicts the plight of a young widow who is rescued by an autistic man. The cult classic was selected by India as its entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards in 1986, but was not nominated.
Shivaiah (Kamal Haasan), an autistic orphan, lives along with his grandmother (Nirmalamma) in a village. In that village Lalitha (Raadhika), a young widow with a 5-year-old son, lives along with her brother Chalapati’s (Sarath Babu) family. She and her son often get abused by her sister-in-law (Y. Vijaya), but Lalitha, having nowhere to go, bears it all.
Shivaiah often encounters Lalitha and gets appalled by her condition. One day, during Sri Rama Navami festival, Shivaiah marries Lalitha, shocking all the villagers. His grandmother approves of his marriage as she also has much sympathy and regard for Lalitha, but his uncle and Orthodox villagers oppose that marriage as they consider remarriage of a widow was a sin. In that brawl, Shivaiah’s grandmother dies leaving innocent Shivaiah in the hands of Lalitha. Lalitha moves in with her husband with the blessings of her brother.
Some of the villagers help them to build a new life. Gradually, Lalitha makes Shivaiah understand the household duties and responsibilities of a man. Shivaiah finds work and starts to support his wife and stepson. Later they have a son and live happily for a long time. Years pass and Lalitha becomes ill and dies in her husband’s arms. In the climax, Shivaiah walks out of his house surrounded by his children and grandchildren. He carries a tulsi plant which was his memory of Lalitha’s love.
Directed by K. Viswanath
Produced by Edida Nageshwara Rao
Written by Sainath Thotapalli (dialogues) Akella (dialogues)
Screenplay by K. Viswanath
Story by K. Viswanath
Starring Kamal Haasan, Raadhika
Music by Ilaiyaraaja
Cinematography M. V. Raghu
Edited by G. G. Krishna Rao
Production Poornodaya Movie Creations
Distributed by Sri Venkata Krishna Films & Ramana Movies
Release date 27 March 1986 (India)
Running time 2 hrs 40 min