Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mungaru Male: Sweet and Simple

Today's review is a re-posting of one from my old blog. I chose Mungaru Male for a couple of reasons. One, is that director Yograj Bhat has a new film out and I want to talk about it tomorrow. Two is that there has been a Bollywood remake rumored. Boney Kapoor has supposedly bought the rights. If this does come to pass, I can only hope that they keep all the quirks of the original. Mungaru Male wouldn't be the same without "Devdas."

Just a note - this was the first South Indian film I had seen and the review will reflect that. I am now, of course, very familiar with the dynamic camera and extravagant dishooming of southie films.

Here is my original review:

Before I begin, I really need to thank the good people of E-Preeti for bringing Kannada language films to my attention. I am sold. Veracious, I’m joining you in South India film fandom. My first experiment was chosen pretty much at random from the small selection of subtitled films available at the Kannada Store.

Mungaru Male is a sweet romantic story set in the massive rains of the monsoon season. We follow Pritam (Golden-Star Ganesh), the lay-about son of doting and indulgent parents as he tries to court the beautiful Nandini (Sanjana Gandhi).

Pritam falls ‘slightly in love’ with the beautiful Nandini when she is out shopping – a series of coincidences keeps bringing them together, although she is unimpressed with his antics...

...and finds him about as charming as I usually find Shahrukh Khan when he is doing his stalker/loverboy act. All of this means that nobody (except Pritam) is surprised to find that when he takes his mother to stay with her old friend Babbli, Babbli has a daughter… Nandini!

The rest of the film follows the development of their relationship in a very satisfying way.

One of the things that most engaged me with the film was the excellent cinematography! I was favorably reminded of the lovely off-kilter camera angles and point-of-view shots of Manoj Kumar – a Filmi Girl favorite. The dynamic camera really spiced things up – like the above shot of Pritam looking through a hole in a windshield of a car during a round of dishoom-dishoom.

Speaking of dishoom-dishoom, if anyone is wondering where that particular sound effect has gone since leaving Mumbai, look no further! The dishoom is in full force here. Non-realistic violence is the order of the day and bad guys fly like… flies in the face of Golden Star Ganesh’s fists of justice.

Meet Devdas the Rabbit, who is the source of lots of jokes about drinking… and god. Devdas was a sweet addition to the plot and is not only the representation of Pritam’s giant crush on Nandini, Devdas also helps change Nandini’s opinion about Pritam (you knew that was coming, right?) Seeing Pritam be so affectionate with the rabbit makes Nandini realize that Pritam is a man of deep passions and isn’t just toying with her.

There are lots of adorable scenes of Pritam and his Devdas.

(Golden-Star Ganesh dancing with the aunties!)

Mungaru Male sinks or flys on the talents of Golden-Star Ganesh. If you don’t like his particular brand of comedic hero, you are not going to enjoy this movie. Fortunately, I found him to be completely charming. Golden-Star Ganesh is equal parts vulnerable and boastful and most amusingly, the director seems to think that we, the audience, would enjoy seeing him in various states of undress. We are treated to numerous scenes of Golden-Star Ganesh in his undies but, sadly, only one of lovely Sanjana Gandhi in a traditional sari.

But wait! Who is this arriving to complicate things? It’s the most handsome man in Karnataka: DIGANTH!

(Oh, you know my name! We’re facebook friends!)

Diganth shows up on the scene towards the end of the film as the world’s perfect marriage candidate. Seriously. Not only is he Diganth-handsome with a dimple to die for, he’s saved the life of her father, is an ORPHAN, and is nice, polite, kind, and everything else. The beauty of Mungaru Male is that Nandini’s choice is not between the two men, which is how it would play in a Hollywood film or in a certain segment of the NRI Bollywood market, but between individualistic feelings and grown-up responsibilities.

The rains may bring passion but what happens when the rain stops? Are the feelings still there? Is romantic lust enough to base a life on? You'll just have to watch Mungaru Male to find out!

I would love to discuss this with other people, so get on the ball and watch Mungaru Male. You may hear some familiar voices on the soundtrack, which pleased me to no end and created a funny little comfort zone amidst the oddness of the Kannada language. Udit Narayan and Sunidhi Chauhan, Sonu Nigam and more Sonu Nigam.


Emily said...

Oh, this is making me want to commence weeping and gnashing of teeth -- I bought Mungaru Male a few weeks ago after reading your review only to find that it won't work in my DVD player! I got frustrated and shoved it to the back of the DVD cabinet, but I'll go try it on my sister's player later, and on my parents' if that doesn't work. So annoying! It says "All Region" on the box, so I don't know what the problem is.

Filmi Girl said...

@Emily OH NO!! This is such a sweet film! You simply must see it!

Maybe I'll even re-watch tonight - I've had the soundtrack on my iPod for like a year now. Just such a good film!

bollywoodfoodclub said...

Filmi Girl,
This looks very enticing. LOL on the camera techniques ala Manoj Kumar. Also, your meeting of Diganth and the other actresses from you link to your other blog is very interesting too. I'll have to try and track this one down and when I do, I'll report back. And Emily, sometimes the computer is more forgiving of the all region DVDs than a DVD player, so try playing it on a computer, that may work.
All the best!

Filmi Girl said...

@sita-ji The only place I ever saw it available was at kannadastore.com but it's possible they have it at bhavani, too. :)

It really is a sweet little film... :)

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl
.article .article-content { word-break: normal !important; }