Tag Archives: Manisha Koirala

Mudhalvan Review

If you can’t tell by now, I am going on an trip through various Tamil movies from the 90s and early 2000s that were released during my childhood. Next up is Mudhalvan. This film is interesting because it portrays the standard David vs Goliath story and tackles the theme of corruption in politics in India. I will talk about this more later in my review.

Acting/Characters

First of all, this is a fairly simple story. Unfortunately, it does result in characters that are somewhat 2-dimensional. First off, let’s start with our hero: Arjun as Pughazhendhi. Arjun’s character is the stereotypical good guy hero. He loves his parents, does honest work as a cameraman and is willing to help people. Yes, this appears to be a 2-dimensional character. But this innocence and good guy vibe is very important later in the film. He does grow and change as the movie goes on, so while he appears 2D at first, he definitely becomes more developed towards the end of the film. Unfortunately, our heroine did not fare so well in this film. Manisha Koirala plays Tenmozhi, a village girl who falls in love with Arjun’s character. Unfortunately, that is about all the depth that appears in Manisha’s character. She is just there purely to be a love side story, nothing else. She does not contribute that much to the plot line at all except partially to provide an excuse for the various songs. It really was depressing to see Manisha in this role. Now don’t get me wrong, Manisha did a fantastic job with what she was given. Unfortunately, she was not given enough to work with. There was absolutely no room for her to flex her acting muscle at all. Next up, we have the main antagonist Aranganathan played by Raghuvaran. The archetypal villain, there is not much depth to this character either. While Aranganathan does a splendid job of acting this role, just like Manisha, he does not have much to work with. Overall, this is the most disappointing aspect of this movie.

Score: 5/10

Music

A. R. Rahman is at the helm of the music for this film. As usual, he delivers a great set of songs. Some of them will definitely be making it into my music collection including Shakalaka Baby and Uppu Karuvadu. That said, I was not a big fan of the other songs. While they are catchy, I do not think are quite up to par with what A. R. Rahman usually produces. That said, it is a much better soundtrack that many of the more recent tamil films. So I will give this a decent rating.

Score: 7/10

Cinematography

The village scenes are truly beautiful as well as the scenes used in the dance sequences. Overall, shots were clean and well thought out. There was a number of CGI sequences used in this film. While they do not look splendid in terms of today’s standards, they pretty decent for the Kollywood industry at the time. At the same time, nothing really stood out for me. In terms of song and dance sequences, they were well choreographed, the costumes and sets used were nice and colourful. Again, these are typical of the films of the time in my opinion so nothing particularly stood out for me.

Score: 7.5/10

Plot

This is easily the strongest part of the movie. A good summary of the plot is that a news reporter, played by Arjun, causes the CM of Tamil Nadu, played by Raghuvaran, to mess up an interview. As a result, the CM challenges him to try being a CM for one day just to see how tough it is. Against the CM’s expectations, Arjun’s character manages to do a fantastic job. People are in the streets demanding that he becomes the CM, so the current CM is forced to resign. Arjun’s character is voted into power during a landslide victory. The rest of the film deals with Arjun cleaning up Tamil Nadu and the former CM plotting ways to remove Arjun from power. It is not a complicated plot, there is one main story with a side story of the romance. Unfortunately, the romance feels mostly tacked on and as filler for the first half of the film. The romance is almost forgotten during the latter part of the film and is resolved in a hurried manner in the last few minutes. The not complicated plot works in the film’s favour. Instead of being bogged down by the details of the day-to-day goings of the CM’s job and going into depth on how Arjun comes into power, the film opts for a simple explanation that suffices to move the plot along. The most important part of this plot is when Arjun starts losing everything he holds dear as a CM and eventually how this drives him to put aside the ethics he swore to keep just so he can be rid of Raghuvaran’s character. You see him fighting the urge to become just like the politicians he dislikes. The film also delivers a very strong message to the people of Tamil Nadu and to the politicians themselves. If politicians actually did their job of upholding laws and justice instead of caving in to corruption, think about how much better the state would be. It’s definitely not an easy message to ignore.

Score: 8.5/10

Overall Score: 7/10

While the film does have its flaws, the plot alone is enough for me to recommend this film to others.

 

Dil Se Review

This is a review about the film Dil Se starring Manisha Koirala and Shah Rukh Khan.

Acting/Characters

With this film, we once again see Shah Rukh Khan’s acting talents on full display. As his character goes through the seven Arabic stages of love, you see him portray a man who goes from a boyish attitude to a desperate man without a hitch. We get to see his character develop through the seven stages of love and each stage is detailed enough to see the character change during the course of the movie. Once again, Manisha manages to deliver another stellar performance as an emotionally scarred young woman who must deal with an inner struggle between her desire to get independence for her state and her love for Shah Rukh Khan’s character. She manages to show her characters inner feelings through subtle emotions and body language. It always amazes me to see the talent of Manisha on display in a film. This film also introduces Preity Zinta as one of Shah Rukh Khan’s marriage prospect. While her performance is not at the same level as Khan’s or Manisha’s performances, Zinta does not drag down the film at all and pulls her own weight. We get a glimpse of Zinta’s character’s love background and while it is not much, it is enough to reasonably establish her character. Overall, the acting and characters in this film are fantastic.

Score: 8.5/10

 

Music

I do not have much criticism for the music in this film. Once again, A. R. Rahman delivers on the songs. They are fantastic, catchy and memorable. Considering the fact that I remember most of these songs (the Tamil versions at least) from the huge number of times they were played during my childhood, I think its safe to say that these songs were a huge hit. In fact, just like Bombay, all of the songs have made it into my personal music collection. In terms of the dance sequences for the song, the director manages to get some amazing locations and choreography going for the songs. One of my favourite dance sequences happens for “Cheyiya Cheyiya” when they are dancing on a moving train as it is going through the countryside. It was one of the most unique dance sequences I have seen in a very long time.

Score: 9/10

 

Cinematography

The locations used for this film, especially during the first half are absolutely stunning. Locations include Assam, Kerala, Kashmir, Delhi and other regions. It was the first time I got a glimpse of the people who live near the India-China and India-Burma border. It was also the first time I got to look at Buddhist monasteries that exist in the desert regions of India. Each of the landscapes was breathtaking to behold and the cinematography is definitely a treat for the viewer. There were no shaky cameras and the angles chosen for many scenes were good. The lighting during night time sequences was appropriate, especially during the fights with the terrorist group, during which it was dark and gloomy to help heighten the tension in the atmosphere. The cinematography during the second half of the film does not quite live up to the first half mostly because the film moves back to Delhi. However, that does not mean the quality of the cinematography suffers. In fact, it is just as good as the first half. Overall, a great job done on cinematography.

Score: 8/10

 

Plot

As usual, we are now at the most important part of the film: the plot. The premise here is quite straightforward, Shah Rukh Khan plays a person who works for the All India Radio station. He travels to the North-East of India to interview separatist terrorists. Along the way, he meets a beautiful woman (Manisha) and attempts to make romantic advances. Manisha’s character constantly refuses his advances but refuses to give him a solid reason as to why. Eventually, we learn she is a terrorist herself who plans to assassinate the Indian president during the 50 year anniversary parade of Indian independence in Delhi. From there, the film continues to resolve the two lovers’ story. During the entire plot, we can see hints of Manisha’s character developing feelings for Shah Rukh Khan’s character despite being reluctant to do so. It is refreshing to see a film where the romance between the two main stars does not instantly occur over a period of like 15 minutes. The romance is supposed to mirror the Arabic seven stages of love. While the movie does not make it entirely obvious which stage Shah Rukh Khan’s character is in during some parts of the movie, there is enough detail that you can guess at each part. The plot is simple enough that anyone can follow it, however it is not too simple that you will be rolling your eyes. The film manages to reveal just enough information about Manisha’s character that the viewer is kept interested without revealing too much at a time. The plot manages to remain lean and on track for the most part. However, I do feel that Preity Zinta’s character and the entire story line about her being a marriage prospect with Shah Rukh Khan was added just as filler to boost the running time. The film’s plot would have been just fine if they omitted Preity Zinta’s character altogether. Another bad point about the plot is the ending. While I will not tell you the ending itself, I will state that it felt kind of like a cop-out ending. While it was certainly conclusive with zero doubt, I felt like the writers took the easy path. Then again, knowing the 7th stage of Arabic romance, I am not surprised by the ending. But I’m always a happy ending type of guy and this sort-of unhappy ending left me feeling a bit cheated.

Score: 8/10

Overall

Score: 8.375/10