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25 November 2014

Michael, Madana, Kama, Rajan (1990)

Directed by: Singeetham Srinivasa Rao
Music: Ilaiyaraja
Starring: Kamal Hassan, Khushboo, Urvashi, Roopini, 
 Delhi Ganesh, Jayabharati, Manorama, Nagesh, 
Nasser, Praveen Kumar,  Santhana Bharati
I'm neck deep in wedding preparations and travel and work and am living on fumes, grabbing a scarce few hours sleep every night: there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to do all that needs to be done. (One good news amidst all this hectic activity and stress is that my dad has been cleared for travel, and will be attending my nephew's wedding!) My blog has been the first victim of the circumstances. I barely have enough time to breathe, let alone watch a film and write about it. The past few months have also been hectic, and I have resorted to using up my bank of drafts and even exhorted my husband to write a review for me. (Which he very supportively did.) But my bank of drafts is not inexhaustible and my husband is busy with work and home and looking after Son no: 2, and since I cannot, in good conscience, ask him to bail me out again, I had to find a review to revive my moribund blog. 

In order to make it easier for me, I decided to write up a film that I had watched some time in the recent past. There are some films that I visit and revisit, whether I have the time to watch the unopened DVDs that stare accusingly at me from my shelves or not. I can watch these films any time, many times, most especially when I'm feeling in the need of a pick-up. One  of these 'forever favourites' is Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi. The other is is this loony tale of not two, or three, but four brothers, identical quadruplets, who are separated at birth. Please suspend disbelief, because this is that kind of film. You have to accept the conceit if you want to enjoy this.
(Please ignore the subtitles!) The story begins with a song: an itinerant singer, who regales his audience with the tale of four brothers, born out of wedlock to a wealthy industrialist Venugopal (RN Krishnaprasad), and his beloved, Sushila (Jayabharati), a woman from a lower economic strata. When Venugopal's brother, Nandagopal (RN  Jayagopal), who is secretly eyeing his brother's wealth, learns that Sushila is pregnant, he conspires to kill not only her, but also the child she bears. However, fate has complicated matters - it is not one child, but four.
And unfortunately for Sushila, the assassin (Santhana Bharati) tracks her down and kidnaps all four babies. Fortunately for the babies, however, the kidnapper is loath to kill them. Enamoured by their innocence, he keeps one of them, and abandons the others - one in a temple (the baby is picked up by a cook), one at an orphanage, one in the car of the industrialist - the baby's father... who adopts his own son and brings him up as his foster son.

By the time the credits end, they have all grown up to be Kamal Hassan - Michael is a thug, the foster son of the assassin, now an alcoholic wreck; Madan is abroad, completing his studies, having been brought up in the lap of luxury as his real father's adopted son; Kameswaran is the beloved son of a famous cook, and Subramaniam Raju, the orphan, is now a fireman.
And now, Madan is on his way back after earning a business degree from London. Much to the consternation of Nandagopal and his son Ramgopal /Ramu (Nasser), Venugopal informs them that Madan is the heir to his entire property. Though brother and nephew try their best to make him change his mind, it is clear that Venugopal doesn't have much of an opinion of his wastrel nephew. Ramu is quick to see that it is incumbent upon them to kill his uncle before Madan arrives. And they proceed to set that plan in motion - luring Venugopal to his death. 
The next morning however, sees an end to their gloating. Even as Ramu sheds a few crocodile tears, and his father makes a tearful plea to the Board of Directors to accept Ramu as their new Managing Director, their nemesis walks in. Madan not only cuts them down to size, he also has his father's last Will that declares him to be the deceased's legal heir. Duly registered and cleared by the court. 
As the usurpers look on in disbelief, they are quickly shown the door, by Bhim (Praveen Kumar), Madan's bodyguard. Madan also meets Avinasi (Nagesh), his father's personal assistant - who, in the thirty years he had worked for Venugopal, has misappropriated vasts sums of money. He is also quick to play both ends against the middle, hopping from one side (Nandagopal and Ramu) to the other (Madan).
However, Madan is a far cry from his father, and Avinasi gets no respite (despite his claims of penury, or his sad tale of having eight daughters to marry off).
Next up is Michael - having grown up in an environment of crime, he is now a counterfeiter. Having printed Rs5 lakhs worth of counterfeit notes, he and his foster father are planning to escape to Singapore. Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men...

The police give chase, and Michael deliberately crashes into two enthusiastic but misled policemen (who fall safely into appropriately placed haystacks and cardboard boxes - leading me to think that 'No policemen were harmed during this chase' must have flashed before the director's eyes), but ends up as a casualty himself when their car crashes into the circuit board in the basement of a building.

On one of the top floors of the building, an exhibition of paintings is being held. The short circuit that results from the crash starts a fire, and the distraught artist, Shalini (Khushboo), refuses to leave her paintings. In comes the knight in shining armour - Raju. (I've never seen a fire engine arrive so quickly on the scene!)
He not only saves her, but also puts his own life at risk to save her paintings. Shalini is grateful and Raju is in love. Shalini is not unaffected either; however, the day that began so splendiforously for Raju ends rather dismally - he had once borrowed a huge amount from a Pathan in order to stage a drama (he's obsessed with the stage), and hasn't been able to repay the interest, much less the principal. He tries to mollify the Pathan by offering him biscuits and dried fish, but the Pathan is having none of it - he flings the plate out of the window, just when Kameswaran is passing by.
Kameswaran is hurrying, with supplies, to a wedding where his father, Palakkad Mani Iyer (Delhi Ganesh), is catering the feast. He assumes that the Pathan had thrown down vegetables, and after exhorting him to be more careful, proceeds on his way.  It is only when he arrives at the wedding hall that he begins to smell fish - a dried fish had slipped into his shirt pocket.
An aghast Kameswaran flings it away from him in disgust, and accidentally, the fish falls into the sambar - much to their utter dismay. Unfortunately for them, while they are still searching for a ladle to fish it out, one of the servers comes by to fill the serving bucket, and proceeds to serve the guests. While Kameswaran continues to argue with his father, he bumps into Tripurasundari (Urvashi), who engages him in seemingly innocent conversation. But little things - glasses, paandaans, etc. - keep disappearing, and it appears that Tripurasundari is somehow responsible. Kameswaran, in fact, is sure that she is the thief; he calls her 'Thiruttusundari' (thiruttu = thief).
Tripurasundari pleads her innocence - she was only replacing the missing things. Her grandmother (SN Lakshmi) suffers from kleptomania. Nothing is too small or too insignificant for her to flick. Tripurasundari follows her around putting back the things that her grandmother steals. But Kameswaran is not convinced; until he sees the 'thiruttu paati' (thieving grandmother) in action. But when he drags Tripurasundari out into the hall and accosts the grandmother, the paati cleverly turns the tables on him. She accuses Kameswaran of outraging her granddaughter's modesty. Poor Kameswaran cannot get a word in.

In the meantime, Madan gets a phone call from a stranger telling him that his father did not die a natural death. She refuses to divulge any more information on the phone. If he wants to hear the truth about his father's demise, he should come to Santhome Church in Madras by 10 p.m on Sunday. (Madan is in Bangalore.) Unknown to either of them, Avinasi listens in on the extension.
He promptly takes the news to Nandagopal and Ramu, who send him off without much ado. Nandagopal is worried, but Ramu consoles him - if they had shown any interest in Avinasi's news, the latter would have known they were complicit. Now, they just have to make sure that Madan doesn't return to Bangalore. Madan's taken precautions to ensure that no one follows them (or so he thinks) but the thugs sent by Ramu miss him anyway. However, they run into Kameswaran, who is on his way to buy provisions for the next feast and mistake him for Madan. So they follow him instead, only to lose track of him as well.
Meanwhile, Kameswaran is in for a shock at the grocer's. It appears that the thiruttu paati has ordered a long list of groceries and credited them to Kameswaran's account. An incensed Kameswaran goes in search of Tripurasundari and her grandmother. Unfortunately for the poor man, things get rather out of hand, and he ends up - under duress - affianced to her. 

Madan, who's reached Madras, receives another call - this time, the lady gives him a different address. When he and Bhim arrive there, they are greeted by a middle-aged widow who claims that it is all a lie - her blind, handicapped, mentally ill daughter makes up tales about rich and famous dead people dying unnatural deaths.
A chastened Madan returns to the hotel, intending to return to Bangalore the same day. He even calls Avinasi asking him to reschedule all his cancelled appointments. Until...
It turns out that Sakkubai (Roopini) and Gangabai (Manorama) are stage artistes who had been paid to mislead him. That is when Madan realises that he has to keep that first appointment if he wanted to find out what happened to his father. He quickly makes the rendezvous, and leaving the con-women in Bhim's care, steps out to keep his assignation.
Sushila (for it is she who called him) begins to tell him that his father had been killed by some of his relatives; just then, the thugs following Madan arrive there. In the melee, Sushila runs away. And when Bheem is overpowered, Madan has no other alternative but to escape with the two women. Chased by the goons, Madan and the women take refuge in a public bathroom where, coincidentally (where would we be without coincidences?), the goons find Raju and mistake him for Madan; in the ensuing scuffle, Raju fights his way out, but drops his wallet.
Madan, who has noticed Raju's striking resemblance to himself, decides to make use of what he sees as a coincidence. After leaving the women in his guesthouse and warning them not to go anywhere, he picks up Bhim and visits Raju at his house. There, he makes a bargain with the flabbergasted Raju - if Raju will go to Bangalore pretending to be Madan, he, Madan, will repay all of Raju's debts. A grateful Raju agrees, with reservations.
Madan returns to the guest house while Raju goes back to Madan's hotel room prior to leaving for Bangalore. There, he runs into Shalini and her father, Sivaram (Venniradai Murthy), who are also going to Bangalore for Shalini's exhibition. Raju promptly offers to take them along by car. What he doesn't know is that Michael, hired by Nasser's goons to kill Madan, has cut the brake wires. Sushila, who has come to the hotel in search of Madan, sees Michael tampering with the car, but Raju drives off with Shalini, her father and Bhim before she can warn him. She follows them in a taxi.

Michael, who is taken aback by 'Madan's' resemblance to him is further shocked when the real Madan walks past him. Assuming that 'Madan' had decided not to go to Bangalore after all, he decides to follow Madan, with the sole aim of impersonating him.

Meanwhile, Sushila, who has caught up with Raju, is told to go to the guest house so she can meet Madan. She is confused, but does as she is instructed. Finally meeting Madan, she tells him the truth - Madan's father was the subject of a dastardly attack, but he is alive. She takes him to her house to meet him.

Raju, reaching Bangalore, remembers Madan's warnings about Avinasi, and taking whatever was left of the money that Avinasi had appropriated, gives it to Bhim to keep in the safe. Avinasi, who comes across Kameswaran, decides to use him to impersonate 'Madan' so he can get the money back. Forced to agree by Tripurasundari's avaricious paati, Kameswaran lands up in Bangalore.

Michael, still following Madan, kidnaps him from Sushila's house, and takes him to a hideout on the edge of a cliff - in Bangalore. But not before Sushila recognises the man who kidnapped her babies. So now, all four brothers are in Bangalore. And so are everyone else... Michael's foster father, Avinasi, Shalini, her father, Tripurasundari, her grandmother, Bhim, Sakkubai and Gangabai... add Nandagopal and Ramu, and a few thugs, and the scene is set for absolute mayhem culminating in a cliffhanger of a climax.
Watch. And enjoy. And no, you cannot leave your brains behind. Not even when there are coincidences galore. The script is taut, the direction crisp, the dialogues (by Crazy Mohan) witty. 

Movies with separated siblings are a dime a dozen. In fact, in a move to celebrate our masala sisterhood, Dustedoff, Bollyviewer and I wrote a set of reviews that bespoke this trope. However, it is very rare that a movie like this becomes a full-length comedy. Directed by Singeetham Srinivasa Rao (who makes a cameo appearance as the travelling salesman), Michael Madana Kamarajan is a laugh riot, with the screenplay (by Kamal Hassan himself) adroitly using sequences to build up to the climax and the reunion of the parents with their children. Besides, since Kamal always has a reputation of never doing things by halves, he doubled the hilarity by making the protagonists four identical brothers. That not only leads to confusion galore, but also quadruples the laughter. 

What works for the film, apart from the aforementioned screenplay and direction, is the dialogues by Crazy Mohan. He seems to reserve a special something for his outings with Kamal, and this film is no different. Witness the hilarity that ensues between Kameswaran's (the Palakkad Iyer) understanding of the word 'meen ('fish' in Malayalam), and his encounters with others who use the word 'mean' differently. Or the part where Raju, the unlettered fireman pretends to understand every word that Madan says in English, and later attempts to speak English himself. The wit is in the dialogue, and if I had one wish, it would be that that had continued - the last few scenes are purely slapstick, and though intelligently conducted, still went on a bit too long (in my opinion). 

The laughter rises organically - the confusion that occurs when the brothers switch places (not knowing they are brothers, of course) and are mistaken for someone else defies description. At one point, Raju, Kameswaran and Michael are all wandering around Madan's mansion - and each of them, running into the other at some point, mistakes the other for Madan. Not only that, poor Kameswaran, persuaded against his will to impersonate Madan, not only has to avoid Shalini (who thinks Madan is avoiding her on purpose), but also keep Tripurasundari from getting jealous. Also, watch the scene where Madan shaves off Raju's mouche to prepare him for the impersonation. When the devoted Bhim walks in, Raju asks him (Madan insisting that if they could fool Bhim, they could fool anybody), Eppadi enga double action? (How do you like our double act?) and the gobsmacked Bhim replies, Enakku naalu theriyathu, Boss! (I seem to see four, Boss!).That is both a literal construct (since Bhim sees the two brothers and their reflections), as well as a sly nod to the viewers, who know that there are in fact, four identical men.
Or the one where Kameswaran and his father are desperately trying to fish the 'meen' out of the sambar, and the former asks - innocently: 'Meen pidikka therinjava yaarana koopadalama?' (Shall we call someone who knows to fish?) The fun lies in the timing, and the puns. (As also Kameswaran's quaint 'Bhimbai, Bhimbai'  sequence!)

Like all good separated-at-birth stories, this one too allows the brothers to cross paths. Michael crashes into a building setting off a fire that brings Raju to rescue Shalini. Raju picks up the fake sword that Madan throws away (after pulling it out of Sakkubai), and uses it to fight the gangsters who are after Madan. The gangsters who are chasing Madan lose sight of him, only to chase Kameswaran, and later Raju, under the mistaken impression that they are chasing their target.

Of the four siblings, it is Kameswaran and Madan who get the maximum screen time. Madan, because he is the one driving the plot forward in his bid to find out the truth behind his father's death; Kameswaran, well, just because! Kamal's enunciation of the typical Palakkad Iyer accent, complete with the intonation peculiar to that caste, is top notch. So is his chemistry with Urvashi as Tripurasundari (affectionately called 'thiruppu' by Kameswaran). Most of the laugh-out scenes involve one or both of these characters. While Michael plays the bad guy in a like-all-other-bad-guys manner, Raju also stands out with his love for Shalini, his admiration for Madan and his desire to be more like him, and his ingenuity.
In fact, the two people who I think really outshone the characters (other than Kamal) - Nagesh. One of Tamil cinema's enduring character actors, Nagesh is an institution by himself. A prolific actor, he was the reigning comedian in the 60s. In one sense, that was a crying shame. Because, one of his earliest films was Server Sundaram where, playing the eponymous role got him critical and commercial acclaim. He was also a great villain - one of the earliest films I remember seeing him in was Thillana Mohanambal - playing the bad man without resorting to the theatrics that usually accompanies such portrayals. In Michael Madana Kama Rajan, Nagesh is the slimy personal assistant who is not loath to line his own pockets at his boss' expense. He has no sense of loyalty, and is perfectly willing to play one side against the other if it furthers his own ends. As always, Crazy Mohan gives him some fantastic dialogues to work with, and Nagesh does not let the opportunity go to waste. 
The other is Urvashi. She is one of the few actresses whose comic timing is impeccable. Here, matched against Kamal (Kameswaran), she keeps step with him, without losing a beat. Her 'Thiruppu' is a perfect foil to the rather  na├»ve Kameswaran.
Khushboo provided the glamour and two great songs; she is one person whom I can always watch (and has grown into an actress of considerable stature). The weakest link was the other heroine, Roopini (a.k.a Komal Mahuakar) who had nothing much to do, and did it with as little 'acting' as possible. 
But veteran actress Manorama more than made up for her lacklustre performance, infusing her Gangabai with characteristic verve. Watch her, especially in the scene where she tutors her daughter on how to seduce Madan.
Finally, what do I say about Kamal Hassan the actor? I have always considered him one of India's best performers, and have watched with dismay when he began (in my opinion, again) to take his 'Ulaganayakan' status a bit too seriously. I seriously admire Kamal the artiste, and firmly believe that he has forgotten more than most people will ever learn about the art of acting and film making. This, then, is one of his best - and that may seem ridiculous to people who are prone to seeing 'good' performances only in drama-heavy narratives. I personally think that comedy is one of the hardest acts to pull off, and deadpan humour, even more difficult. 

In Michael Madana Kama Rajan, Kamal imbued each one of the characters with a distinctive personality - language, the style of walking, talking... Considering that this is one of the few roles in his later films where he has not made use of prosthetic makeup to differentiate his characters, it is incredible to see how he made each character unique. Especially during the climax, where all of them are present, looking exactly like each other, yet the viewer has no difficulty in identifying the four brothers.

The Kamal-Singeetham Srinivasa Rao collaboration has given us quite a few entertainers - Pushpak, Apoorva Sahordargal, etc. Here too, the director's light but deft hand is visible as he maneouvers the plot towards the final stand-off. Music director Ilaiyaraja steps in to give us some foot-tapping numbers - Ram bam bam aarambam, Sundari neeyum sundaran njaanum, Per vechalum vekkama ponalum... 
I must confess that even though Kamal sang Sundari neeyum... with great elan, my favourite song in this film is the last mentioned Per vechalum vekkama ponalum. I absolutely love the picturisation which begins with Raju/Shalini and continues with Kameswaran/Shalini, with Shalini's father, Michael, his foster father, Thiruppu, her grandmother, Avinasi, et al, walking in and out of the frame. 

To me, Michael Madana Kama Rajan is one of the finest screwball comedies that has been made in India. And decades after its release, it is its very 'ordinariness' (for want of a better word) that keeps it fresh. The simple humour depends mostly on intelligent word play (and no, the sub-titles are horrendous, and even if they were good, cannot really catch the nuances) and puns. This is comedy without preaching, with no underlying moral, whose sole intention is to entertain. And that it does - in spades!


  1. Good to see you back, Anu! It is indeed a good thing that you decided to take care of your blog. I did call your home the other day and talked to S, who told me that you had gone to India, leaving him in charge of S2. How is your dad now? Glad to see that he has been cleared for the trip to attend the wedding. I am sure that seeing you was responsible for his recovery.
    I saw this movie a long, long time back, probably 20 or so years back, but your review makes me want to watch it all over again, which I hope to do during the forthcoming holidays. My sister's surgery comes up in two weeks, so the tension here is at an unimaginable level, and this movie should help with lessening some of it. Maybe I will watch it during my hospital vigil.
    Yes, I remember the meen incident and how everyone seems to be thinking of a different 'meen'! My Dad used to love the thiruppu name, as well as the dialogue where she asks him if he is a cook because he comes from a cookgramam, actually the word means 'little village', but she puns on the word. He also used to keep singing the song Sundari neeyum ... but I didn't realize it was from this movie until I read through your post. I didn't know he had sung it himself, either. Truly a man of great talent!
    Have fun in the wedding, Anu!

  2. I'm so glad your father's been cleared for travel, Anu! Good. And I hope your arm's absolutely fine now. :-) And you needn't worry about letting your blog go neglected for a while - I'm sure you have a lot of loyals who'll return as soon as you do, too, and (while we will miss you when you're not posting) will agree that you need to focus on other things for the time being.

    I've heard of this film so often, but have never got around to watching it (partly because of Kamal Hasan - while I agree he's an excellent actor, there's something about him I just don't like much. Perhaps it's because of the films I've watched him in...). I wonder, though, if MMK would be as impactful with English subs as in the original? I can imagine that the situational comedy would translate well, but the dialogues - what about them? I'm going on the basis of experience: so few of the regional-language films I've seen have even halfway decent subs. :-(

  3. Hi Lalitha, I was going beserk with the stress of the wedding prep, actually (and it's not even my son's wedding! To digress, I hope my son elopes or something!), and just writing about this film made me feel better. :) It's such a laugh riot!

    Sorry to hear about your sister's surgery - I know how stressed you must be. Keeping fingers crossed that it all goes off well. Please convey my best wishes to her.

    I love the bits of word play, especially the ones you mentioned - Kugramam vs. 'cookgramam' etc. As for Kamal singing, he's been singing for a long time - if I'm not mistaken, his first song was also under Ilaiyaraja's baton. Kamal is definitely a man of many talents.

    Thanks for the good wishes - I think my sister really needs it at this point. :)

  4. My arm is better, though not yet 100% - I will take it over the pain and inconvenience of the past months, though. :) Thanks for asking, Madhu.

    Kamal's earlier films, especially in the South - Tamil, Malayalam, et al, have some of his finest performances, Madhu. However, he is one actor who has also acted in some particularly dismal films solely to earn the money to make the sort of films he wants to make. And as I said, before he turned into this Ulaganayakan who had to be in every frame, there were some fabulous characters and roles.

    I don't know about this one, actually, because a lot of it is word play and you have to know the language, I'm thinking... The DVD I have, has atrocious sub-titles (what's new? you ask?) - it is worse than usual. But I still think the film is worth a watch, simply for the fantastic acting from the entire cast (bar one).

  5. And finally the wait is over!!! You're too quick Anu. :)

    One of the finest comedies made in the the 90s. In fact, this film was a forerunner for many of Kamal Haasan's full-length comedies that came out in the 90s and even now. Of the four characters, Raju is my favourite! Apart from Kamal and Nagesh, one character that deserves a special mention is Bhim Bai. As a kid when I watched the movie for the first time, that was the character that fascinated me the most.

  6. Bhim bai is fantastic! I liked the way they named him - what a nod to Bhima, the character that Pravin Kumar played in the TV serial Mahabharata. Did you know the man is an international athlete?

    Raju and Kameswaran actually took the cake. They were both superb. I still love the film, and the plot ensures that the film remains fresh, even after so many years!

  7. Yup, actually got to know the fact sometime back while going through his Wikipedia page. I like this particular scene in the film where Madan interrogates Avinasi and orders Bhim to throw him out of the window. Nagesh says "Bheem kanna naan romba ganama irukkena" :)

  8. I was looking here to see if anyone has mentioned that Amitabh Bachhan's Don is the same story as China Town. I absolutely enjoyed this movie and the first thing that struck me was that Don is a copy of this one.
    Yet no one ever mentions it. Maybe it's my imagination ?

  9. There are so many one-liners in this film, no? And such intelligent ones, too. This film is a perfect pick-me up.

  10. The basic premise is the same, Neeru, but then China Town and Don weren't the only films that used a doppelganger to infiltrate the enemy. But Don was definitely not a copy of this film, in my opinion. a

  11. You reviewed a Tamil movie! And that too with Crazy Mohan dialogues. They'll accept you as a Tamizh ponnu here in Chennai with this one. MMKR, an all time favourite, from the days Kamal Hassan hadn't got afflicted with full blown hyper egotism. His 4 roles in this, led to 10 in Dashavatharam and so on. But MMKR remains a brilliant piece of work.

    While Kameshwaran is the one with the most laughs to his credit, the next time you watch; look for the play of words between Rajan and Khusboo at the exhibition, and his tete-a-tete with the pattani (money lender). Madras Tamizh in all its 'glory'. Kamal - Crazy Mohan brilliance again. (You see shades of this again in Vasool Raja M.B.B.S.) His referring to the grain of rice with the painting on it as 'kalai arasi', a double entendre on Khusboo 'kalai' are hidden gems in there.

    Amazing watch - and a good choice for the review. Happy you did.

  12. It did unfortunately, as Seedan in tamil - with Dhanush and Ananya and Suhasini reprising the Revathi role. I believe it was decent, although not as good as Nandanam.

  13. Anu, I apologize, I am acting as if I found water in the middle of the desert. But I will understand and wait for you to be completely fine with your hand before responding. This blog is way too good, and I am finding a group of people who like similar tastes in music (be it hindi, tamil, malayalam and what not and similar tastes in actors and actresses). Now if only you or someone could do a review of Aboorva Sahodarargal..........More than Kamal, I love Crazy Mohan and his dialogues. I could go on forever.

    I am new to this blog, a marunadan malayali also, but having lived all over India 30 years ago and for the past 30 years in the US, anything to do with Kishore, Kamal, Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh is heady stuff to me. Sorry I did not land up here earlier. Once again, great job Anu. Hope you get better soon.

  14. Thank you, Ranji. But I'm afraid I will fall in your estimation. :) I hate Dileep with a vim and a verve - though I do admit that he can be quite a competent actor if he gets a good script and a good director.

  15. Heh. I quite enjoyed my tryst in the erstwhile Madras - where I was often mistaken for a thamizh ponnu. :) And with a father like mine (we often joke he is a Tamilian in the disguise of a Mallu). I agree with you about Kamal deteriorating into a megalomaniac. I do like Raju's character too. I loved his interaction with Khushboo. The chemistry was great.

  16. I haven't watched the Tamil version - I do have a good opinion of Dhanush as an actor, though. I'm not very fond of Suhasini though again, she is a good actress.

  17. Ranji, you have been more than kind about this blog. I'm glad you find yourself amongst likeminded people. What makes this blog so readworthy is the comments I get from my readers - they keep me going, and give me the impetus to watch and review more films and share more songs with my readers.

    So, welcome to this blog, and please, stay awhile. We have some good discussions in the comments sections, and many knowledgeable people add to my store of knowledge.

  18. Anu, did you not want to add "All line clear" from Chori Chori here?


  19. That is what the comments section is for, Ranji. :) If I added all the songs that were picturised on, then where is the fun for my readers? Besides, what I list are my favourites (as of that moment); All line clear wasn't.

  20. Beshana entertainment film. Ongalodu review -va padichapparam padattha
    parklamnu thonitthu. Sani kazhamai padattha parthen. Romba nalukku pinne oru
    thamizh padam kanaren. Naan chollaike
    ongalkku thernjirukkum , Kamalodu Naalu role –la Kamarajan than ennakku
    piduchha character. Mattha character,
    dialogue ellame swarsyma erundathu. Sundari neeyum pattu – A class. Mattha vishayangal
    ellam onga review- la neenga cholliyachu. Chollarathukku ver onnum illai. Nadu naduvula
    ithumathiri padatha patthi
    ezhuthina nalla irukkum. Aathula Bengali/English- la than pesarom. Namma Bashai la peshi konja kaalam aacchu. Thappa iduthukandam ittela. Thanks.

  21. Sorry. Kameswaranukku bathila Kamarajannu thappa ezhuthitten.

  22. Romba nandri, sir. :) Ennude review padichittu neenga poyi padathe pathene - Intha mathiri appreciation irunthaal thaan intha mathiri oru blog ezhutha mudiyum. Thappa onnum edukkale. Naanum thamizh peshiyittu romba naal aayichu. Ithu thaane oru chance.Athukkum thanks. :) :)

  23. Hey how did I miss this one?? This is one of the finest comedies made in any Indian language - simply hilarious and crazy - especially the Bhimbai sequence...Kamalahassan in his earlier Tamil movies was such a consummate actor - a sheer delight to watch. Of course, his later movies are quite the let-down. Well, thanks for refreshing my memories again. Need to rewatch this one. Lovely post, Anu! Hope the wedding went off well..:-)

  24. What a unrealist list of songs.. mukesh sang atleast 3 songs which were lipped by devanad 2 songs from Vidya and 1 song from movie Shayar.. 1 was in the background in the movie.. Bombayi ka babu.. get your facts right first then write anything for the public..

  25. You can correct mistakes without being rude, you know. I'd forgotten about Laayi khushi ki duniya being a duet picturised on Dev and Suraiya. But other than that, what is 'unrealist' about my list of songs? They are just the songs that I happen to like.

    p.s. If I wanted to be equally rude, I would point out that the word is 'unrealistic' not 'unrealist' and that neither is an adjective that fits whatever it is you wanted to say. So, should you be getting your grammar right before you correct others in public?

  26. Hi, Harini, glad to see you here. Yes, the wedding went off well, and my nephew is well and truly married off.

    I agree with you that some of Kamal's recent films are a let down, but I did like Anbe Sivam, Virumandi,, and Thenali. Of course, all of them were released about a decade ago. I do wish he would forget that he is Ulaga Nayagan and give us that master performer back.

  27. I like raj kumar's restrained acting over dileep kumar in it though he was a newcomer. The scene in which raj kumar slaps deelip kumar is epic, a must view!

  28. Yes, Raj Kumar was less annoying than he became in later years. And Paigham is definitely worth a watch. Thank you for reading.

  29. I had completely forgotten that I have watched this movie a long time ago, remembered it because of the Bhimbai bit and the "malayalam tamil" song, (Sundaran njaanum, sundari neeyum...). And enjoyed it too. Kamal Hassan put me off in his later movies but I did like the older ones, Siggapoo Rojakkal (hope I've got the name right, I'm no good at tamil) was good, so was Swathimuthyam (Telugu) and many others. I am now inspired to try and watch it again.
    I thought that you were coming to Kerala, that the wedding was to take place here. Lots of Edakkunni weddings this month, my MIL was listing them. Anyway I hope you had a good time. Waiting for more from you now...

  30. "Parva-illai" Lol, sounds like Udit Narayan "Kaadhal Pisase" song. :)

  31. Sorry for the delay in replying, Nalini. India is always hectic, and this time has been even more so. The wedding took place in Bombay; there's going to be a reception in Kerala at the end of the month.

    Most of Kamal's earlier films are worth watching - his filmography boasts some excellent roles. His new films are sort of 'meh' even though they do have a kernel of interesting story lines or characterisations.

  32. I know, but it is so difficult to write Tamil in English, no? I can assure you my accent is not that atrocious when I speak.

  33. So difficult? Any Indian language for that matter I guess. In fact, I'd like to test your spoken Tamil. :)

  34. As we used to say in Bombay in the good old days, Tu kis khet ki mooli hai re? :) Why would I have to prove my prowess in spoken Tamil to you? *grin*

  35. A very enjoyable film and review. Thanks!
    Kamal may have 'lost' it now but I consider him just the 2nd best "star actor" in India after Mohanlal, just ahead of Mamooty and well... Mithun (he has won 3 well deserved national awards!) Have you reviewed any of Mohanlal's films? if not, that seems rather strange.

  36. Oh yes, I didn't forget Amitabh, but I find those actors better than him. Of his acclaimed films, I remember liking Rani Mukherjee and especially Vidya Balan from Black and Paa respectively, not him! He should have rather won the national award for Deewaar instead!

  37. I'm glad you enjoyed the review. :)

    I'm afraid my rankings, such as they are, are different. They are pretty fluid. I like certain actors in certain roles. All the people you mention have had some crappy films in which they hammed their way to the box office. And you wonder why they even did such roles. Like my liking for different singers at different times, I prefer to stay out of 'ranking' actors. I do not think, for instance, that you can actually choose a 'best' actor. I really liked Kamal's response to one of his National Awards - (I'm paraphrasing from memory) 'All that means is that among the films that were sent for the National Awards, and from among the roles that were chosen as the final nominations, my performance was liked by the jury more than the performances of other actors under consideration. That does not make me the Best Actor in the country. Next year, someone else will take my place. And then someone else."

    Why is it strange that I haven't reviewed Mohanlal's films? I haven't reviewed that many Malayalam films,actually, and amongst them, there is only one Mammootty film. There is no conspiracy to keep out Mohanlal. :)

  38. I didn't like Black as a film, and i thought Amitabh hammed his way through the whole thing. I thought Rani was brilliant, though. I did like Paa. I think he is a great actor whose talent hasn't been utilised as much as it should. Blame, if any, should be dispersed between him and his directors.

  39. A very enjoyable review of a very fine film. Was this the first Kamal movie for which Crazy wrote the script ?
    The combo of Kameswaran, Thiruppu, Mani Iyer and the Patti really jamaichuta ! The 'Sundari Neeyum' song
    was my favourite. Will try and see it again soon ( 5th time, I think )

  40. I'm not sure that this was the first Kamal film for which Crazy Mohan wrote the script. In fact, I'm quite certain that they'd worked together before, and that is why he was chosen to collaborate on this one.

  41. A Sivaji movie , without his usual overacting and histrionics. was a welcome change. Was this one of his last movies before his heart-attack ? He was a pale shadow of himself after his operation.
    It was probably my first exposure to Bharathi Raja's rural settings and Ilayaraja's melodious music

  42. I'm not sure - there were others, weren't there? Thevar Magan came years after this, no? I also liked him a lot in a Malayalam film called Oru Yatra Mozhi, where he plays Mohanlal's dad.

  43. Ashok Sridharan26 April 2015 at 04:24

    One of my all time favourite comedies. Incidentally, being a Palakkad iyer myself, I can confirm that Kamal did a pretty good job of getting the accent right although his limited knowledge of Palakkad Tamil is glaringly evident in places (his attempt at speaking Palakkad Tamil in Vishwaroopam was almost as pathetic as Rahul Gandhi).

  44. I haven't watched Vishwaroopam, so no comments. But his Palakkad Talayalam sounded just about right to me (I'm from Trichur). :)

  45. a mean take for very wonderful songs.Ironic.

  46. Is that remark meant for me or Sai?

  47. The question itself makes my remark irrelevant.So let it pass, Ms Warrior !

  48. A geat collection of Dev Anand songs. His pairing with Nutan was really great. House no 44 had 3 songs picturised on him , while CID had one. Did these two movies make it to your shortlist ? Hemant Kumar, Rafi and Kishore - all 3 gave him some great songs. The song 'Rim jhim ke tarane' from Kala Bazar is one of my favourites.
    Youtube has deleted some of the songs posted in the links marked in pink. Can you redirect the links or post the first line of the songs ? Thanks

  49. The Hum Dono song could also be the smoker's anthem :) Is it the first time that a Hindi film hero has appeared bare-chested on screen ? This song is a superb package - Dev Anand's dashing looks, Sahir's beautiful lyrics and Jaidev's melodious music

  50. You wrote, 'A mean take for very wonderful songs.' And I'm wondering where I've been 'mean' about anything. These are songs that I love and that I write about with such fondness. So what is mean or ironic about my post?

  51. I don't know, actually, about the bare-chested scene. :) I haven't really researched that. It is a wonderful song, and is one of my perennial favourites.

  52. I'll remove the video links and replace them with links to YouTube as I do now. Bear with me; it might take a few days.

  53. I think 'wingedream' is talking about Sai Sharma's take. The songs are wonderful and there is nothing ironic about them.

  54. I thought so too, at first, and then the second comment totally baffled me. I'm the first to admit that my brain cells have gone abegging these days, so that has to be taken into account as well. :)


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