Script fails ‘Mathe Mungaru’ despite honest effort (Kannada Film Review)

August 7th, 2010 - 9:26 am ICT by IANS  

Film: “Mathe Mungaru”; Producer: E. Krishnappa; Director: Dwarki Raghava; Music: X. Paul Raj; Camera: Sundaranath Suvarna; Art Director: Mohan G. Kere; Cast: Sreenagara Kitty, Rachana Malhotra, Ravishankar, Sushma Bharadwaj, Neenasam Aswath, Muni. Rating: ***
Producer E. Krishnappa, who has already made a big name in the Kannada film industry by churning out much appreciated and successful films like “Mungaru Male” and “Moggina Manasu”, has won his third battle.

The politician-industrialist-turned-filmmaker seems to have struck it right with his new venture “Mathe Mungaru”, which has an old theme but presents it in a new way.

Though the story revolves round a bunch of fishermen who accidentally cross over to the Pakistan border because of a cyclone, director Dwarki adds a lot of punch to the script by playing up the patriotism element.

Earlier, another Kannada film, “Sarvabhouma”, which had Shivaraj Kumar in the lead, had a story that revolved round a prisoner of war who returns from Pakisthan and revolts against a corrupt and unsympathetic system. But Dwarki’s treatment in “Mathe Mungaru” is totally different and the film has some extremely tense moments.

Dwarki has used the best technical support to provide colour to the film. And most artists have delivered very neat and convincing performances in their respective roles.

The story is based on the experiences of Narayana from Shimoga district who spent nearly 21 years in a Pakistan jail. How the fortunes of undertrial prisoners from India who are put in a Karachi jail depend on historical events have been effectively narrated on screen.

In the film, protagonist Nani migrates to Mumbai from his native village in Theerthahalli Taluk of Shimoga district in search of a job. He joins a group of fishermen who go fishing in the sea. Nani is in love with a girl named Tara and even wants to marry her.

One day, when the boat of the fishing group collapses, they get into another vessel only to find that they have moved into Pakistani territory.

All the 11 on board are taken to a Karachi jail where they are lodged for 21 long years. The peace process gets a boost in 2004 and Nani gets released along with other inmates. But he is shocked to learn that his lover met with an accident in his absence and his most trusted friend became a sex worker. He finds himself in a hopeless situation as his own people in the village fail to identify him. Finally, his mother recognises him.

Sreenagara Kitty has given a memorable performance as protagonist Nani. Newcomer Rachana Malhotra fits her character perfectly. But it is Sushma Bharadwaj who breathes life into her small role. Other quality performances come from artistes like Neenasam Aswath, Ravishankar, Enagi Balappa and Roopa Devi.

But Dwarki has failed to do his homework that would have added authenticity to the proceedings. Some of the sequences lack credibility and even look silly as there are mistakes.

But for these errors, “Mathe Mungaru” could have been a top class presentation. Dwarki has also failed in presenting the climax effectively.

The film’s major highlight is the music, which has one song by the legendary Asha Bhonsle. Asha’s rendering is certainly the best composition. Paul Raj scores even in the “Chata chata male hani song”. The background score suits the mood of the film perfectly.

Another person who has done top class work is Sundaranath Suvarna behind the camera. Even the art work is perfect.

“Mathe Mungaru” is a very honest attempt backed by good efforts. If only Dwarki had worked on some details and polished his script, the film could have been much better.

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