Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mussanje Maathu: Calling DJ Pradeep!

I would like to note that the only DVD with subtitles I could find of this film was in PAL format, which means my usual screencapping software hated it and refused to take pictures AND I couldn't find any really good publicity stills. So, sorry about the lack of images. Really, the film has some nice cinematography - DJ Pradeep's little DJ booth is amazing, all glass with this panoramic view of the city.

I know I was not alone in feeling amazed at how fresh
Band Baaja Baaraat felt. Here was a small film about small people that was grounded in day to day life and yet the narrative played out in a familiarly filmi style. What we have all been missing is that Sandalwood has been making these kinds of films for ages. Case in point: Mussanje Maathu (2008), which I had the great pleasure of watching this past weekend.

The dashing Kiccha Sudeep (who apparently has been in a couple Ram Gopal Varma films) plays Pradeep, a radio DJ who hosts a call-in show called
Mussanje Maathu - which as far as I can tell means something like “Twilight Hour Show.” Troubled souls from all over Bangalore call in and DJ Pradeep eases their worries with a sympathetic ear and some understanding patter. He never takes his work home with him until he meets Tanu.

Tanu, played by the rosy-cheeked Ramya, has just lost her mother and, with nowhere else to go, moves in with an old school chum in Bangalore. She's just barely holding it together. Meanwhile, DJ Pradeep is aimlessly drifting through life. He’s not careless - just directionless. An aging youth still clinging to freedom, DJ Pradeep is the kind of character that could easily be ruined by a less sympathetic actor. Fortunately, Kiccha Sudeep is more than up to the challenge and shows Pradeep to be merely unobservant about himself instead of willfully ignorant and petulant.

Kiccha Sudeep and Ramya pair well together - he is all angles and subtle looks, while she is softer and more expressive. Their chance meeting is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen - DJ Pradeep boards a train and finds a near empty compartment. Tanu is dozing with her face covered by a pink dupatta. The wind blows it off and DJ Pradeep falls in love at first sight. He is so overcome, he sings a song in the voice of Sonu Nigam (!) while dancing on top of the train. Tanu hears him and goes searching for the song but cannot find it. The line between
filmi and realism melts away in a really satisfying way.

["Engali munde sagu nee" - isn't it pretty?]

DJ Pradeep and Tanu flit around each other for a while, separate, and are united. The details of the narrative aren’t really important - we all know what is going to happen. What makes
Mussanje Maathu worth watching is the emotional quotient. Ramya is masterful as always as Tanu and watching her grief play out is just heartbreaking. Little vignettes weave in and out in between the main narrative - DJ Pradeep gives some rowdies a good thrashing and then gets them to admit that their behavior towards women is lacking; a young woman calls into the show and is ashamed of her job as a gas station attendant; a small comedy subplot plays out...

Mussanje Maathu is as deep and heartfelt as the eponymous radio show hosted by DJ Pradeep. I highly recommend it for those who are looking for a break from high-gloss low-emotion films.


S said...

I loved this movie too filmigirl! The music is very good as well. I enjoyed seeing a movie which reflected the real Bangalore with real emotions. In answer to your question, Ramya is/was considered one of the top heroines in Sandalwood and she is very, very well respected in the sandalwood belt. I think she did a couple of other southern films as well. A lot of the top south actresses decide against going to Bollywood because the south is supposed to be much more professional.

aham said...

I saw this movie too and liked it,Songs are excellent especially the lyrics for 'Engali munde sagu nee' which roughy translates to 'Move ahead no matter what happens' and also Mussanje Maathu rougly means 'Evening Talk' and btw Ramya did a Tamil movie with Surya called 'Vaaranam Aayiram' there she is called Divya Spandana. About why Ramya is not better known in Bollywood, I have no idea I guess Bollywood wants models as you said not actresses,even Deepika debuted in a Kannada movie before she did OSO.

Bombay Talkies said...

It's tedious but you can always just pop the movie into your computer and do a pause + print screen to get screen caps. That's how I do all of mine. The quality's usually pretty good.

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
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