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Challenging sterotypes

On sets: Madhumita with Tanikella Bharani. Photo: special arrangement  

Madhumita is not simply one amongst many women directors holding their own in Tamil cinema; she is extremely articulate, intelligent, has travelled extensively and strives to make each of her films different . As her third bi-lingual Moodu Mukkallo Cheppalante hits the screen in early February, the auteur talks of her background and has no qualms being termed a feminist.

She says, “Tamil audiences are more receptive than they have been in the past but when they get to know this film has been directed by a woman, they exclaim, 'Oh! it is done by her! ' When I talk to the Press I request them not to mention that it is made by a woman director. My gender has nothing to do with it When Murugadoss makes one, you don't say male director..you don't specify the gender. Women directors are not expecting any special treatment, fighting that is a bit of challenge. My lead character sometime consumes alcohol or smokes and they ask me why am I showing this being a woman; does it make sense?”

Madhumita was born in Chennai and grew up in Indonesia, moved to Singapore for college and to the US to do Masters in Los Angeles. While in Singapore she made umpteen short films, one of which won the best of the world category in BBC and Singapore honoured her with the Singapore Student Award. In USA, she specialised in direction and even worked with the Pirates Of The Caribbean team for a brief period before she returned to Chennai to do Indian films.

The first in her family to take up film as a career, she recollects, “My dad was culturally sound, he did stage shows, was a writer, poet, never cinema per se. Even though we moved to Indonesia, we would watch Tamil and other language films. Any parent taking their child abroad makes sure she is connected to home and movies were one way we kept in touch with our culture and background.”

The director's first project was Vallamai Tharayo starring Parthiban and Chaya Singh and the next was Kola Kolaya Mundhirika. While the first fetched a State Award and did a lot of festival rounds, the second’s a comedy caper, a treasure hunt.

S. P. Charan is the producer of Moodu Mukkallo Cheppalante. Since SPB is also a Telugu-Tamil personality, she thought it would make sense economically to do a bi-lingual. She adds, “It is a challenge for me since I am exploring a new audience and a new territory. I also made a conscious effort to be in the commercial category as people tend to think that women make only art films.” Moodu Mukkallo… is a rom com, a simple fun film about two boys wanting to quit their job and start a business. It is a quirky business idea and how it affects them forms the rest of the story.

The film introduces Rakendu Mouli, writer Vennalakanti's son as a hero and comedian is Venky. Aditi Chengappa is the female lead.

While S.P Balasubramanyam and Lakshmi have significant roles, Tanikella Bharani, Ali and Brahmanandam are also in the cast. It will have a simultaneous release in the first week of February.

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Printable version | May 5, 2021 10:59:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/moodu-mukkallo-cheppalante-marks-the-debut-of-director-madhumita-and-hero-rakendu-mouli-in-telugu-films/article6753905.ece

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