Recommended by (halfMonkHalfHitman and rakeshbaba)
We’ve watched very few Kannada movies in our life.
As most SI readers know by now, Hindi, Tamil, English and now foreign language films have been the mainstay of our filmi entertainment.
So, when SI readers repeatedly brought up the Kannada film Mungaru Male, we were intrigued as to what could be unique about this film.
We headed to Wiki and were surprised to learn that Mungaru Male featuring a relatively unknown fella by the name Ganesh was a blockbuster hit with boxoffice earning surpassing Rs 75 crore ($1=Rs 48).
That’s a lot of money for a regional language film, particularly Kannada, which has been overshadowed for decades by Hindi, Tamil and Telugu language films even in Karnataka, the South Indian state where Kannada is widely spoken.
During our travels south (no, not South India, we meant Virginia) recently, we purchased the Mungaru Male DVD.
But after a recent traumatic incident (we watched Wanted, Dil Bole Hadippa and Unnaipol Oruvan over the weekend), we were desperate for a change.
Also, we’re mighty curious as to how a Kannada film could gross Rs 75 crore, making it one of the biggest hits in Indian movies in recent years.
A Love Story, What Else
So we’ve been watching Mungaru Male for the last 20 minutes or so.
This one is a love story.
And director Yograj Bhat wastes no time in getting down to the romantic business because ‘love’ happens literally (no kidding) in the opening scene.
The kid Ganesh is a natural in front of the camera. We found him endearing so far.
But the heroine Sanjana Gandhi is pretty mediocre (btw, pretty is not an adjective for mediocre here…we mean pretty and mediocre).
Mungaru Male also features Anant Nag, Sudha Belwadi, Padmaja Rao and Diganth. Except for Anant Nag (who has made forays into Bollywood), the other names are foreign to us.
The dialogs have zing in them. Kinda tongue-in-cheek and hilarious, most of the time.
We’ve already gone past two songs. Onde Onde Sari and Mungaru Male. a short song.
OMG, Anant Nag (who plays the girl Nandhini’s father) just broke a bombshell. Doesn’t augur well for our Pritam (Ganesh).
We’ll update this post after watching the rest of Mungaru Male.
The Mungaru Male story is nothing to write home about.
A very mundane, boy sees girl, falls in love instantly, follows girl around, girl ignores him at first, boy is persistent, girl comes around, Mills & Boonish love story.
Some readers have commented on the picturesque setting as a key factor in the movie’s success.
The picturesque settings of Coorg are alright but not out of the world. We don’t believe it’s a major factor in the movie’s runaway success.
In our view, it’s the solid performance of Ganesh accompanied by above average portrayals by his co-stars, three lovely songs (Anisuthide, Mungaru Maleye Enu Ninna Hanigala Leele and Onde Onde Sari), smooth-flowing, natural and humorous dialogs and the OK screenplay that made this one of the biggest blockbusters in Indian movies.
And of course, the unusual ending.
Tis’ true that Indians, hundreds of millions of whom are miserable in the unyielding hell of their daily lives, long for and are hopelessly addicted to happy endings in movies.
Mungaru Male breaks free from the straitjacket of happy endings and dares to be different.
However addicted Indians are to the pleasing narcotic of happy endings in movies, we presume they too would like to smell the fresh air, at least once in a while.
Mungaru Male makes that possible.
We’d be remiss if we ignored Devdas’ part in the success.
That was a brilliant move on the part of director Yograj Bhat.
The character of the failed lover Devdas is indelibly etched in the minds and hearts of every Indian movie-goer, from the snowy Himalayan mountains in the north to the rushing seas of Cape Comorin in the South.
And linking Devdas to an abandoned, cuddly, adorable little rabbit and making it an alter ego of our hero was again a neat trick on the part of Yograj Bhat.
Finally, there’s this uniquely Indian thing called stars.
Guess what, they were in perfect alignment for Mungaru Male, Ganesh and Yograj Bhat.