Akashadoothu is a 1993 Malayalam-language drama film directed by Sibi Malayil with Madhavi and Murali in lead roles. One of the most influential melodramas of the nineties, the film tells the tale of a widow suffering from leukemia. It won the National Film Award for Best Film on Family Welfare. Madhavi won Kerala State Film Award for Second Best Actress and Filmfare Award for Best Actress awards for this film. This film remade into Telugu and Kannada as Matrudevobhava and Karulina Koogu respectively.
The Story revolves around Johnny (Murali) and Annie (Madhavi), a married couple who both grew up together in an orphanage and later fell in love and got married. The couple have four children; the eldest of being a teenage girl named Meenu, twin boys Rony and Tony, and the youngest Monu, a toddler. Rony and Tony are about 8 years old and are best friends. Rony is also is physically handicapped (crippled). However, both boys are very close to each other. Johnny is a jeep driver by profession and Annie a violin teacher. Though the struggle to live by and make ends meet, they lead a happy life together, except for the moments when Johnny, a recurrent alcoholic spends most of his daily earnings at the local toddy shop. During an altercation between Johnny and the local milk delivery man Keshavan (N F Varghese), Keshavan is humiliated in front of his family. Keshavan therefore decides to take revenge on Johnny when the opportunity arose. On such an occasion, he sees Johnny’s son Tony riding a bicycle on the road. Keshavan increases the speed of the van he was driving and knocks Tony off the road. Some bystanders and good Samaritans bring the injured Tony to the hospital. Despite being in a not so critical condition, Tony has lost a lot of blood and requires blood transfusion. While looking for suitable donors, it is discovered that Annie’s blood sample has some abnormal characteristics and she cannot therefore donate her blood. After further analysis, it is revealed that Annie is suffering from a late stage of leukaemia and that she only has a couple of months to a year to live. This news shocks both Johnny and Annie. Johnny reforms from his alcoholic ways and becomes more responsible husband and father. However, as fate is to have it, Johnny is murdered by Keshavan. After the loss of her husband, Annie is very worried about the future of her children. She does want her children to grow up in an orphanage like she and Johnny did, growing up with the label as orphans. She decides to give her children up for adoption. She lies to her kids that the money she gets out of her classes is not sufficient for all of them and therefore she is going to Germany very soon, so they have to go to new houses and there will be new parents to love and take care of them. By now Meenu has come to know about her mother’s condition and asks her about it. Annie is totally broken down. Both of them keeps this a secret between them. Annie, with the help of the priest of their church – Father Vattappara (Nedumudi Venu) – makes arrangements for the adoption of the kids. Monu is adopted by a leading Doctor. Annie wishes that both her boys Rony and Tony live together forever and hence expects a couple to adopt both of them. But they find it difficult to get people ready to accept the disabled boy. Finally Annie decides to give Tony to a wealthy businessman and his wife (Jose Pellissery and Bindu Paniker). Meenu decides not to go to a new house and be with her Mum, but Annie and Father Vattappara convince her for the same. She is taken by an rich old man and his wife (Thikkurissi and Aranmula Ponnamma) to their home. The only one left is Rony, the handicapped child. Annie and father Vattappara try hard to find someone to take care of him. Mean time Annie’s doctor give her a hint that days are counted for her. She wishes to celebrate Christmas at her home with her kids and makes arrangements for the it. She writes a letter to Meenu asking her to always keep in touch with her brothers so that the bond between the siblings remain for ever. On the day before Christmas, Annie dreams that all her children have come to see her. She wakes up and she happily runs to the door, to only realize that it was a dream. She starts bleeding from her nose and understand that there isn’t much time left for her, she prays to God begging for at least a day so that she can see her kids once again before she closes her eyes for ever. But her prayers are unanswered and death has come for her. Later that night Rony finds her dead. At her funeral, all her children and their newly adopted parents are there and after she is buried, the children and their families tearfully part ways, except for Rony who is about to be taken by Father Vattappara to the orphanage. The movie ends with Tony’s adopted parents coming back, and Tony jumps out of the car and runs to Rony and the two embracing each other, as Tony’s adopted father was moved during the farewell and agreed to take in Rony as well.