Muthina Haara ("Necklace of Pearls") is a 1990 Carnatic language war film starring veteran actor Vishnuvardhan as Achappa a Coorgi soldier and Suhasini Manirathnam as Annapourna aka Anu an army nurse. The movie is very loosely based on A Farewell to Arms and has a similar War Is Hell message.
Achappa is an enlisted soldier in Kipling's Finest during the start of World War 2. He is wounded in action and meets a nurse named Annapourna while recuperating. The two of them bond over similar origins in military families from the Coorg district in Karnataka and fall in love. Their parents agree to their wedding after which Achappa has to leave to fight. The couple reunite at their first wedding anniversary at which point, Anu wears a special sari shed bought for the occasion while Achappa gives her a necklace with just one pearl with the promise to add a pearl for every year they are together. They consummate their relationship and conceive a child - a boy they name Veerraju. The pregnancy develops complications, requiring Anus uterus to be removed. Achappa leaves once more, not returning till the war is won.
Unfortunately events transpire to keep Achappa separated from his family even after WW2 has been won. Finally, in 1947, desperate to see his wife and son after such a long absence, Achappa sends for Anu and Veerraju to come visit him at his border posting in Rajasthans desert. However, the 1947 Indo-Pak War breaks out and a Pakistani air attack disables the vehicles in the convoy that Anu and Veerraju are traveling in. The soldiers assigned to guard the convoy abandon it to repel enemy pillagers from a nearby village. Veerraju spots a herd of camels and walks towards them, fascinated by these creatures. Right at that moment the enemy aircraft return to bomb the convoy and Veerraju is killed. A despairing Anu carries his corpse aimlessly, wandering around the desert. Luckily, she reaches Achappas bivouac, and he gets to her before she dies from the heat and thirst. He is horrified to find out that his son is dead and that Anu buried his body somewhere.
The two of them resolve to face this tragedy together, but they also conspire to hide their sons death from their parents. Anu rejoins the Army as a nurse, to keep herself occupied.
Fifteen years later, both of them are posted to a border area. Both of them are now Majors and take on an enlisted man named Mohan as a surrogate son. The 1962 Indo-China war breaks out and Chinese troops invade Indian territory. They capture Achappa and Mohan and the rest of his troop. The Chinese torture Achappa and Mohan but the two of them resist, then break out and free the remaining troop. While making it back to Indian territory, Achappa and Mohan are shot. Mohan survives but Achappa succumbs.
Anu had worn the sari shed worn on her first wedding anniversary along with the necklace of pearls to welcome Achappa back. But when she sees his corpse, she becomes insane and breaks her necklace, causing the pearls to fall to the ground.
This work contains examples of the following tropes:
- Break the Cutie: Poor Anu suffers the loss of her childbearing ability, endures a long separation from her husband due to war, then watches as a bomb kills her son, and finally goes mad upon her husbands death.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Achappa and Mohan endure this at the hands of Chinese soldiers during the 1962 War.
- Death of a Child: Veerraju is killed in an air strike.
- Downer Ending: Achappa is dead, as is Veerraju and Anu is driven insane.
- Florence Nightingale Effect: Achappa falls for Anu, the nurse who treats his wounds.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: Anu snaps when it hits her that Achappa is lying dead before her.
- The Hero Dies: Achappa dies of his wounds towards the end of the movie.
- I Surrender, Suckers: Chinese troops pull off a textbook example of a fake surrender, even with white flags, to draw Achappa and Mohan out and then shoot them.
- Rule of Symbolism: The white clad horsemen tormenting Anu during her onset of insanity are supposed to represent the ghosts of all the war dead.
- War Is Hell: This movie depicts the particular breed of hell that military dependents endure.