FRIDAY REVIEW

A happy spell

UNPRECEDENTED Mungaaru Maley has managed what few other Kannada films have been able to manage. The multiplexes as well as theatres have had packed audiences even on weekdays  

ANAND SANKAR

The 100-day run of Mungaaru Maley has certainly marked a new beginning for the Kannada film industry. The hope is that the success is not one-off

It still feels like Mungaaru Maley (MM) released just yesterday. A 100 days on, the movie has already broken records in recent Kannada box office history and will definitely set targets for others to achieve. To gauge its popularity, just try squeezing into a theatre showing the film this weekend. Coming after a tumultuous 2006, MM is already being hailed as an experiment that has given a new impetus to an industry that was said to be struggling for originality. There is sure to be a series of movies that will follow its blueprint, but voices in the industry say the impact is more far reaching than that. "Any film when successful gives an impetus to the industry. The last four years have been dominated by remakes such as `Aapthamitra' and `Autograph'. The turning point was `Nenapirali', which had a run of 25 weeks. MM was a continuation of that trend experiment along with `Jothe Jotheyali', which also ran for 25 weeks. I expect MM to do 200 days," says director B. Suresh. In addition to being happy for the industry, Suresh says the success is even sweeter for him at a personal level. "All the people from MM have worked with me. I have known Bhatt for the last 12 years. So, I can't be very critical of the movie, it is very difficult," he says. Ramesh Aravind, actor, who has had a taste of almost all the film industries in South India, cannot stop lavishing praise on the movie and terms it "a director's triumph"."I enjoyed it thoroughly. Any film is like a balance sheet, all the entries should be right. In MM, the casting is perfect, music awesome, and the part I liked the most was the dialogue delivery by Ganesh, which was so realistic. We should take a leaf from their book."Suresh says that the impact of MM is more than just a fresh new approach to filmmaking. He says it has shown a few fundamental changes have to happen in the way the industry works. "MM is a good sign because the big stars were ruling the industry. But now it's the turn of directors and writers. A new generation of filmmakers can now emerge. Instead of paying a crore to a star, a lakh can be spent on a writer."But Aravind defends the acting fraternity and questions the whole idea of how one views a star, and also points out that remakes are dominating other South Indian film productions also. "The whole idea of a star is wrong. According to me, anybody who can draw you to a theatre and tempt you to buy a ticket is a star. Now look at Ganesh and the rest of the cast, they have become stars. Remakes are not only there in Kannada but are a common feature in all industries. Look at how `Pokkiri', the Telgu hit, was remade in Tamil with Vijay."MM has managed something that few other Kannada movies have managed before. It has done 100 days at a multiplex that caters to an upper-middle class audience and a theatre such as Eshwari, which caters to the lower middle class. Also, it has had profitable runs in cities across the country. Award-winning director Girish Kasaravalli outlines the reasons for this: "It is a conventional love story told differently without the usual melodrama and sentiment. It is typified with scenes of Ganesh just laughing off his agony. I would say the film is sugar-coated like `Hum Aap Ke Hain Kaun'."Though there will be big celebrations today, director Kavitha Lankesh urges caution advising that the success must be sustained. "There has been a lot of buzz and people have become overnight stars. It is great to break records. But everyone has ups and downs, so it is important to sustain the good work. It should not become a one-off."