Cinema

Mudinja Ivana Pudi: Mixed doubles

Of late, I’ve started associating K.S. Ravikumar’s films with a game of Where’s Waldo. It seems like the only excitement now is the wait for Ravikumar’s cameo appearance. What held my interest in Lingaa too, once I got a sense of where the film was headed, was the ‘Spot the Director’ moment. So imagine my disappointment when you see the man himself, dressed exactly like the film’s hero Sudeep, dancing alongside him, just 10 minutes into the film. There ended my fascination for Mudinja Ivana Pudi.

The film has been shot as a bi-lingual, with the Kannada version named Kotigobba 2. But the question is, can any star vehicle (except, perhaps, a Rajinikanth film) really work well in two languages? Kichcha Sudeep’s star status isn’t the same in Tamil Nadu (though he’s very much a recognisable face, thanks to Naan Ee and Baahubali: The Beginning) as it is in Karnataka. So, there are only so many people he should be able to beat up with a single punch, only so many hundred bullets he can sidestep, and only so many slow-mo punch lines he can deliver. But even for a star in home territory, it’s still pretty tough to pull off a scene where he’s shown sniffing a Rs.500 note and delivering a line as cheesy as ‘money… the best perfume in the world’.

The film tries to subvert the classic evil-twin template. Here, it’s the lovable Satya (Sudeep) who creates his evil alter ego (Shiva), a vigilante, who steals unaccounted money from unsuspecting millionaires.

But the problem isn’t with the film’s idea to merge a hero like Robin Hood with a film like Anniyan. We get no real sense of what Shiva wants to do with all the money he’s stolen.

Of course, he drives an Audi, but how about using the money for something (we’re shown the stolen money is just locked up in a room) — say, to help out people he’s been accused of cheating? He steals from the rich… what about giving to the poor?

From tacky production values to a lengthy second-half flashback to recurring jokes about infidelity, the film’s got everything you’d expect in a K.S. Ravikumar film. And like his recent films, you feel Mudinja Ivana Pudi too has reached screens a decade or two too late.

To its credit, the film isn’t a lazy bi-lingual. Almost all the actors seem to have gotten the lip sync right (or to the point where we don’t feel cheated). Even the villains, playing North Indian characters, seem to be speaking in Tamil. There’s also a certain amount of effort that has been put in to make the film look like it’s set in Coimbatore. But aren’t such details something we should be taking for granted when we’ve been promised a bi-lingual? There’s something fundamentally wrong with a film when you can only appreciate the dubbing.



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Printable version | Feb 24, 2021 1:25:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/Mudinja-Ivana-Pudi-Mixed-doubles/article14568225.ece

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