Monday 12 August, 2013
O Nanna Nalle Kannada
Starring: V. Ravichandran, Isha Koppikar,Sadhu Kokila, Bullet Prakash
Director: V. Ravichandran
Producer: Mansoor Ahamad, Paras Jain, V. Kuppu Swamy, Ramesh Chowdry
Music Dir: V. Ravichandran
Lyricist: V. Ravichandran
Singers: S.P. Balasubramanium
Distributor: Video Tronix
Genre: Romance, Drama
Pune Railway Station. Raja (Ravichandran) boards the Bangalore train. There is a large group of students on the train. He sings the first song “Kanasugarana Vondu” (“Listen to the Dream of a Dreamer”). Everyone listens attentively. He is then introduced to Shaalu, Dharma, and Chinna, thee of the students who have completed their studies and are going home to Bangalore. They ask if he is returning from studies, but he tells them that he has been in jail for seven years. They want to know why.
Ranganayaki (Isha Koppikar) arrives by auto-rickshaw at the house her grandmother has in Bangalore. Everyone is letting off fireworks – is is Diwale? During the festiviies, Raja is singing the song we heard him sing in the train.
Next day, Rangu is told at College that the musicians, who were supposed to be coming for a college function in aid of orphans, are unable to come. She remembers the song of the previous night, and says she will go and find the singer. He is sleeping on a cot, that is moved from one place to another, and eventually to the middle of the road, holding up the traffic (including the auto-rickshaw that Rangu is in), and she is angry with him, and goes off, not realising he is the singer of the night before. That evening, he goes to the college, where she is singing his song, with a very demure group of college girls – for she is a singer, and has been able to memorise the song and the melody. He climbs the wall to see, and she notices him, and is again annoyed. But next day, she tells everyone how much she is indebted to Raja, still not knowing that she has met him.
He comes into some money (Rs. 500) and happily sings the song “Dude Duddappu” with all the other young lads of the locality. “If you have money, you have everything”.
Rangu’s third encounter with Raja is also inauspicious. They are travelling on the bus, when a man grabs her by the waist. She thinks it was Raja, who is standing close behind the man who had grabbed her, and has him thrown off the bus. She then finds she has won a prize from the Mallige Magazine, for her poem, or rather Ravi’s poem. She is anxious to meet him, and he is anxious to meet her, to thank her for giving him a break, by singing his song. When he hears this news, Ravi is delighted, and sings the love-song “Kavana Dalli”, which has an interesting and persistent rhythmic instrumental backing. Rangu hears it from college, and she and all the college-girls dance to the tune.
Then Raja becomes involved in a fight with some rowdies, brought by the father of Amita, a college girl who is in love with Sunil (one of Raja’s friends) of whom Amita’s father disapproves. He is beating up the rowdies, when guess who is passing in an auto-rickshaw – yes Rangu, in their fourth encounter. Finally Raja asks Amita’s father to honour their love, and let them marry. Then a thief steals the money Raja was about to send to his mother. He runs off, with Raja in hot pursuit, ending up in the College Chemistry Laboratory, where he knocks over a bottle of acid, which breaks, splashing acid everywhere, and in Rangu’s eyes, making her blind.
The father of the girl whose father did not want her to marry, has honoured their love, as Raja had asked him to do, and comes, with the girl, to thank Raja and all his friends, and to invite them to the wedding. They say they will accept if Raja sings. He sings “E Preetiga Kannu Illa” (“This love doesn’t have eyes, This dream doesn’t need eyes”). The blind Rangu is at last to be introduced to Raja, but she does not realise who he is, nor that he is responsible for her being blind. The final song in the film, “Rangu Rangeela” is a love-song featuring a lot of differently coloured umbrellas.
The train arrives at last in Bangalore, and we realise that the what we have seen is the story that he told the students on the train. They said they were very touched by his story, and wanted to know what he would do now.
But what happened then to Raja and his romance after spending seven years in jail? Did Rangu find out how she became blind? What have the students in the train from Pune got to do with the rest of the story? The rest of the film provides all the answers.
1. Kanasugarana Vondu
2. Kanasugarana Vondu
3. Dude Duddappu
4. Kavana Dalli
5. E Preetiga Kannu Illa
6. Rangu Rangeela
Released Year: 2000
Running Time: 127 minutes/Colour/Kannada
This film is a remake of the 2000 Telugu film, “Nuvvu Vastavani”, which starred Nagarjuna and Simran, but I have not been able to watch it as it is not subtitled. There are certain similarities to the story of the 2010 Yash Chopra film “Lafangey Parindey”, but it is not the same story. I enjoyed this film.
Ravichandran is excellent in his portrayal of Raja, a kind and well-meaning lad of the street, who seems to be a friend of everyone. He is looking for a break with his singing, and the poetry of his songs.
Isha Koppikar, the girl who plays Rangu is a very talented actress. She has only appeared in two Kannada films, this one, and Sooryavamsham (1999). She is known for raunchy roles in Hindi films, such as “Kyaa Kool Hai Hum” (2005), but she is also very good in kindly sympathetic roles, as in this film, and also like she was in “Ek Vivaah... Aisa Bhi” (2008). In “Shabri” (2011), she plays a simple woman from a Mumbai slum, who successfully takes on the Mafia gambling underworld. Kannada film producers should use her more!
The songs in this film are different from the usual. They are not set in exotic locations, but rather they are a continuation of the story and happen in the location of the film, like “Dude Duddappu”, where Ravi has some money, and breaks into song where he is. Ravichandran is highly talented, not only as an actor and director, but as a music director and lyricist.
The only thing I did not really like in this film, was all the comedy routines of Sadhu Kokila. Now don’t get me wrong. I think Sadhu Kokila is an excellent actor. Though he normally plays an excellent comedian, he is also an excellent straight actor in a serious role (as in Durgee, a 2004 Kannada film). I do realise the importance of the comedy sub-plots in Indian films. It wasn’t his acting I did not like, but somehow I did not find the scripting of the comedy routines particularly funny. I wondered if it was the mood I was in when I watched the film, but when I re-watched it, I felt exactly the same – and in particular, I thought his appearance at the end of the final scene somehow spoiled the emotion. However, don’t let that put you off watching this excellent film, which has an intricate script.
N.B. I had a slight problem with the DVD. Halfway through the film, there is a slight pause, as normal when the layer changes, during which you see a close-up of some flowers at the end of Chapter 10. The next scene is Chapter 11 of Raja in the post-office, when a thief runs away with his money. This is the chapter in which Rangu becomes blind. In one of my DVD players the DVD skips to the Chapter 12, and I had to put it back manually to Chapter 11. In another DVD player, it works perfectly. So if after the flowers, you see Chapter 12, where Rangu comes into a theatre, in a green dress, go back a chapter!
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