(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?
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.
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.