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Feb 132013
 




(For SI Blog Reader Shadowfax_Arbit and possibly many other Karthik Fans )

Since SI is in a Karthik mood lately, we sat down to watch Mouna Ragam (1986).

Mouna Ragam is hailed as one of the finest films put out by Mani Ratnam, an highly overrated director in our not-so-humble opinion. Not surprising, given that in Incredible India if you can walk four paces without tripping you’re considered to possess great talent.

Fortified by one and half tall glasses of Margarita,  after digesting Obama’s State of the Union address and feeling a wee bit tipsy, we plonked down on the chair, turned down the lights and started the movie.

Besides directing the film, Mani Ratnam (yeah, he of the Kadal disaster) also wrote the story, screenplay and dialogs.

Mouna Ragam features Karthik, Mohan and that sexy siren Revathi.

God, Revathi mouth agape is so bewitching.

OMG, a mouth just made for….Never mind! ;)

We’ve already watched  13.36-minutes of the film and already into the first song – Oho Megam Vandhadho.

It’s one of those silly Indian songs in the rain.

The song has little to recommend it. Comes out of the blue at a bus stop!

The song has a rock-and-roll echo, a fusion number obviously inspired by Elvis’ Jailhouse Rock.

Elvis is not dead!

So far, only Revathi’s character Divya (a college student) is the only prominent figure to appear.

To keep the suspense, we did not read the Wiki profile of the movie.

(More after we finish watching Mouna Ragam).

Mouna Ragam Review

Given Indian filmmakers idee fixe with love, it’s no surprise that Mouna Ragam too is a romantic film.

Indian filmmakers are incapable of making movies without a strong romantic angle.

And Indian filmgoers are incurably addicted to romance, seeing love as the be all and end all of life.

Within days after her reluctant marriage to an up and coming executive Chandrakumar (Mohan), young Divya (Revathi) is at the lawyer’s office for a divorce.

We were scratching our heads wondering what could be the reason for her dejection when the cause is revealed through a short flashback that features Manohar (Karthik)!

But once the twist and the real reason behind Divya’s anger is revealed, the movie goes downhill and into silly, predictable territory, never recovering even for a moment.

The comedy angle featuring the Sardarji learning Tamil is sophomoric.

Revathi and Karthik are good in their respective roles.

Alas, the concept of acting is completely alien to Mohan who goes about the film with a single, funereal expression.

I wonder how Mouna Ragam would have turned out if Karthik and Mohan had exchanged their roles. Food for thought, eh?

Extraordinary Music

Besides the fine performances of Revathi and Karthik, Mouna Ragam has the virtue of superb music (Ilayaraja).

Except for the first song (Oho Megam Vandhadho), the remaining four tracks have turned into classics delighting listeners today as much as they did 27 years back.

Mandram Vandha, Panivizhum Iravu and Chinna Chinna Vanna Kuyil are gems, no less.

Chinna Chinna Vanna Kuyil also has the advantage of decent picturization.

Junk

But a movie is much more than mere music or acting.

After 70 minutes, Mouna Ragam turned out to be completely unwatchable.

Mani Ratnam’s primary failure was with the story, his inability to continue the momentum after Divya’s disclosure of past events to her husband.

Toward the end, we were in a rage and couldn’t wait for the drivel to end.

If Mouna Ragam proves anything at all, it’s that Mani Ratnam was making terrible movies as early as 1986, a trend he’s continued well into 2013.

  23 Responses to “Mouna Ragam Review – Junk”

  1. Mouna ragam is nothing special… Also, while Karthik is one of the three major roles, along with Revathi and “Mike” Mohan, he appears only in the flashbacks for a few scenes (3-5 as far as I can remember).

    However, the film is worth watching for Revathi alone. One of those rare actresses, who has grace and acting skills. Furthermore, she runs an NGO too and chose to contribute to the society than torture us by spending her after-film career in the small screen acting in Mega-bores (Mega Serials).

    Just for the record, never knew Karthik had/still has fans, who comment in SI. I have always considered him to be an overrated actor, who utters dialogues as if he had just eaten something and can’t swallow it. (For instance, in this film, he teases Revathi at a restaurant by threatening to expose their love affair by calling Revathi’s dad, “Mr.Chandramouli… Mr.Chandramouli……….”) – This scene has been parodied so many times over the years :)

    But he is much better than those buffons – Vijay, Vijaykanth, and other nauseating actors, who rule the roost today.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Having watched 1-hour and 18-minutes of Mouna Ragam so far, I regret to inform you Karthik/Manohar is already dead, having been dispatched to an early grave by Mani Ratnam.

    But I must say this fellow Karthik has some charm that I don’t see in jackasses like Ajith or Vijay.

    Surya and Karthi have some class, thanks I suppose to their father Sivakumar!

    2. You write: Just for the record, never knew Karthik had/still has fans, who comment in SI.

    By now, you should now that SI has fans and detractors spanning the entire spectrum of every subject! ;)

    3. You write: I have always considered him to be an overrated actor, who utters dialogues as if he had just eaten something and can’t swallow it

    If Karthik reads this, he’ll run to a hardware store for a long rope! ;)

    4. You write: Furthermore, [Revathi] runs an NGO too and chose to contribute to the society

    Really?

    Please send me details anon. I’d love to join her in “contributing to society.”

    • “Given Indian filmmakers idee fixe with love, it’s no surprise that Mouna Ragam too is a romantic film”

      Most of them can’t think of anything beyond love, even today. So it’s no surprise that Mouna Ragam was a romantic film.

      “Please send me details anon. I’d love to join her in “contributing to society.””

      I guess India has received enough “contributions” :P. Idhoda niruthikalaam(Vadivelu style)

      “But I must say this fellow Karthik has some charm that I don’t see in jackasses like Ajith or Vijay. ”

      Hmm, this is quite surprising. I’ve only seen a few of his films and he was quite horrible.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      Perhaps, I was fortunate in seeing two of Karthik’s better films (Gokulathil Seethai and Mouna Ragam)

  2. We’ve watched. We were scratching our heads. We were in a rage.

    The old SI is back?! ;)

    “Oh ma god, ‘we’re’ back again, Brothers, Sisters, Everybody sing” as in backstreet’s back!

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Last night was overdose of Sarakku! ;)

  3. Can you imagine or at least dare to imagine that Mike Mohan was the highest paid actor in his heydays demanding as much money as the reigning superstars of Tami cinema?

    As long as you have good words for Revathi and Karthik (in this movie only), I don’t have any complaints….that was an evergreen sequence (even if for 20-25mins)…eminently watchable even today :)

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Mohan is good at best for a crowd scene, like, for instance, the back of a full stadium or a train station at peak hour.

    What “evergreen sequence” are you referring to in Mouna Ragam?????

    • In my childhood, I remember people were crazy about the scenes featuring karthik and revathi – such as the “Mr.Chandramouli!” and stopping the bike in front of the bus, etc.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      I suppose such silly scenes will strike a ready chord with the hormones-raging 15-18 crowd!

      • Just to be 1000% clear, I have no qualms about you trashing Mike Mohan.

        The Evergreen sequences I am referring to are the ones between Karthik and Revathy that form about some 20-25 minutes of the movie. Before you go trashing those scenes as silly hormonal overdrive blah blah blah…I also noticed that you have endorsed the “fine” performances of Karthik and Revathy in your review and singled it out as a [one of the] “virtue” of the moviev(the other being the the Music of Maestro Illayaraja).

        OK Now that you guys have been trashing routine films…can u watch some offbeat ones like Nandhalala by Mysskin. Though “inspired” by Kikujiro (Japanese Movie), the Mysskin treatment is very unlike the regular run of the mill Tamil Movies…

        SearchIndia.com Responds:

        Nandhalala?

        Parakalam (we’ll see)!

        • In SI’s history, anything like “We’ll see” means “We don’t care” ;)

          • My main grouse is that if SI has aall (as in aall iss welll) the time in the world to watch mokka padams (or for that matter visit mokka restaurants), they can do better to compensate with more offbeat movies.

            I know its your time and patience but still the quantum of mokka padams to nalla padams reviewed is skewed.

            Given the faster than light speed at which bolly/tolly/kolly wood churns out mokka padams from possibly the time since adam evaal did the dirty thingy on screen, it gets a trifle boring to run through phrases like mind numbing, asinine, tripe, trash, garbage blah blah blah!!! No offence meant guys…I still read it occasionally but it does not leave a mark like the stick figure cartoons site I was pointing out earlier.

            Anyway I am including some links for the movie (Nothing on netflix/moviefone though :( )
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nandalala

            SearchIndia.com Responds:

            I will first watch Kikujiro and then see Nandhalala. Let’s see if Mysskin is also a ThirutuLaKaBa like so many other Tamil film-makers.

            And if your “offbeat movie” recommendation is outright theft of Kikujiro as some say, I will delete your registration for wasting my time.

            By the way, here’s a review of a Mysskin film – http://www.searchindia.com/search/tamil-movies/chithiram-pesuthadi-movie-review.html

            Just added Kikujiro to my Netflix queue and moved it to the top. I should have the Japanese film by Saturday.

          • To be on the safe side I have seen Kiikujiro too :) ….The wiki page says that the story is by Takeshi Kitano (The same guy who made Kikujiro) and Mysskin has officially acknowledged that it is adapted from Kikujiro in the title credits itself :) .But the adaptation itself is done very beautifully and worth a watch…

            SearchIndia.com Responds:

            1. You write: Mysskin has officially acknowledged that it is adapted from Kikujiro in the title credits itself

            New Indian Express on Nandhalala:

            It is understandable if a filmmaker has been inspired by the work of another, and has used it as a reference for his film. But replicating not just the concept, but almost the entire graph of the plot and narration without giving due credit to the original is blatant plagiarism.

            2. Mysskin’s Interview with Behindwoods:

            Is Nandalala inspired from a Japanese film?

            Now, I cannot answer this question and convince anyone. When my film is released, you can take the DVD of the Japanese film and then compare and say. Of course, I am an ardent fan of Takeshi Kitano. In fact, you can call him my guru. In a way his Kikujiro stimulated me to take Nandalala but Nandalala is not Kikujiro. You can tell me this after you see the film.

            Source: http://www.behindwoods.com/features/Interviews/interview-5/director/mysskin-01.html

            3. Mailed one of my NFLX DVDs this evening…so I should get Kiikujiro on Saturday.
            Source: http://newindianexpress.com/entertainment/reviews/article285087.ece?service=print

  4. SI said: “Please send me details anon. I’d love to join her in “contributing to society.”

    Unfortunately, I don’t have the details of her NGO. But I do remember her running an NGO in 2005 helping destitutes, transsexuals, and old people. I just can’t recollect her name.

    However, I found this information in Wikipedia in her profile:
    Apart from films, she has been involved in a variety of social organisations, the most notable being the Banyan, the Ability Foundation, the Tanker Foundation, and Vidyasagar, and has also served as a member of several film festivals including the Chennai International Film Festival and the International Film Festival of India.

    I can verify this because I have seen her doing charity work myself during my days in the rotaract club. She also contested in an election, somewhere around 2004, if I am right and got around 15-20% of the votes.

    This woman is a class act, even if not, she is much better than those yester-year heroines, who torture us to death by acting in mega serials.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    There’s talk of Revathi directing a ‘big” Bollywood film this year.

    http://in.news.yahoo.com/revathi-returns-bollywood-183000362.html

    Kadal Mani Ratnam can join as her assistant.

  5. Great review, never understood why this movie has such a following.

    I never liked it but got attacked by a couple of my friends for not liking it.

    I was told that my taste in Movies sucks.

    One question could this movie be called a chick flick?

    Is it supposed to appeal to women and not men?

    Some people said it is a class movie and not a mass movie and so can only be appreciated by people with a good taste.

    Searchindia.com Responds:

    1. I suppose you could call it chick flick since the movie focuses on love and is heavy on relationship.

    But I’d prefer to classify Mouna Ragam under the Shit Flick genre.

    Half the time that college student behaves like a 6th standard girl.

    2. You write: Some people said it is a class movie and not a mass movie and so can only be appreciated by people with a good taste.

    I suppose that dooms you and me. ;)

    • @rmadasu s I never liked it but got attacked by a couple of my friends for not liking it.

      You should be careful in picking your friends.

      Always go for ones you can look up to.

      Not morons who lose their marbles over silly movies.

  6. For love stories, I think you need to watch
    1. 16 vayathinile
    2. Maro charithra (Telugu)
    3. Geetanjali (This is the best musical love )
    4. Paruthiveeran

    Maniratnam’s best movies are Iruvar and Kanathil Muthamittal. But the movies which brought reconition to him are Moundaraagam(first profitable movie from him), Nayagan ( National recognition), Geetanjali (Telugus still consider it to be amazing movie for it’s musical presentation), Anjali (for making 2 year old act)

    Also, did you watch any Kamal movies recently?
    especially Mahanadi or pushpak?

    Searchindia.com Responds:

    1. You write: Also, did you watch any Kamal movies recently?

    The last Kamal Haasan film I watched was that ridiculous infiltration exercise Kuruthipunal.

    2. I shall watch 16 Vayathinile soon. Senthoora Poovae Senthoora Poovae is one of my old favorites!

    • I’ve watched all Maniratnam’s movies, except Raavan.

      He’s crap for the most part, but TamBrams and high society peepul of chennai love him.

      He can still be forgiven for his atrocities, because he made it all up with Iruvar. If only he divorced his wife, and somehow find a better dialogue writer for his films, he has another good movie inside him.

      Anyway, no other Tamil director makes films of any worth consistently. The only one better than Maniratnam, is C.Rudraiyah, who made ‘Aval Appadithan’. But that was the only film he made.

      All Tamil people who pour scorn on Mani, please tell who’s better than Mani in Tamil. At least Mani wears a jeans pant that he hasn’t washed for decades and the stink shows, other directors are in their kovanams. Balachander, Bala, Ameer. I can’t think of any good tamil director who made consistently outstanding movies. And all Telugu people who mock Mani should shut up and go watch vv vinayak, rajamouli atrocities.

  7. Look at the then jayalalitha
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOks2BzWm2k

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Sexy, semma figuru! ;)

    2. I wonder if you know that your link from Yaar Nee (1966) is a copy/remake of the famous Hindi song – Lag Jaa Gale – from the 1964 hit film Woh Kaun Thi starring SI’s favorite Sadhana and Manoj Kumar. I’ve listened to the Hindi version a million times. Fine number! Timeless in its appeal!

    The point is if something was good in Tamil films even in the 1960s you can be sure it was not original.

    Tamil Version of song – 5,336 views

    Hindi Version of song – 3.64 Million views

    My favorite Sadhana song (Film: Ek Phool Do Maali) – http://www.searchindia.com/2011/10/01/yeh-parda-hata-do-a-grand-old-melody/

  8. Mouna Ragam won the National Award for the best Regional Film (Tamil) category for 1986.

    Some tidbits about Mohan:

    Native of Bangalore. Introduced by Balu Mahendra in the Kannada film ‘Kokila’. First film in Tamil was ‘Moodu Pani’ where he played a small role. Became hero with Mahendran’s ‘Nenjathai Killathe’.

    His Payanangal Mudivathillai (1982) ran for 526 days (75 weeks)!!!

    He created a record when 19 films were released in a single year with him as Hero (1984)!!!

    3 of his films were released on the same day in 3 theatres of the same complex and all ran for over 100 days!!!

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. You write: Mouna Ragam won the National Award for the best Regional Film (Tamil) category for 1986.

    Sweetie, awards mean nothing in that God forsaken land India!

    As I’ve said on countless occasions, nobody watches Indian movies except Indians or the diaspora!

    2. You write: [Mohan] created a record when 19 films were released in a single year with him as Hero (1984)!!!

    Did he have 19 sisters to be married off with hefty dowries? ;)

    Be serious, whoever acts in 19 movies in a year!

    Brad Pitt and George Clooney would have a heart attack if they read this!

    3. You write: 3 of his films were released on the same day in 3 theatres of the same complex and all ran for over 100 days!!!

    Please mention the movies and I’ll review them if I can find legal sources in the U.S.

  9. Narasayya wrote: The only one better than Maniratnam, is C.Rudraiyah, who made ‘Aval Appadithan’. But that was the only film he made.

    Reply: For your info, Rudraiah also directed ‘Gramathu Athiyayam’ (1980) which sank without a trace. If the film is still remembered today, it is for the 4 wonderful songs of Ilayaraja.

    Aval Appadithan (1978) was a movie far ahead of its times. Shot in Black & White, it had all the lead artistes (Kamal, Rajini, Sripriya etc.) appearing without make-up. Again Ilayaraja’s songs stood out in this film as well.

    I suggest SI review that movie. It is available online, I guess.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    I’ll try to review Aval Appadithan next week.

  10. Off Topic:

    Please hear these songs and give your say?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpqGGs8-4Go

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnGOeak-bOQ

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0hcqU_p6MA

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toatfXXJmZk

    And can you pls see and review the movie Aaranya Kandam (2011)? :-)

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    The first two videos don’t play in the U.S. because of geographical restrictions.

    The song is all right in the third video but the picturization is hideous!

    The fourth one is not for humans.