Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Nanna Preetiya Hudugi (2001)

Nanna Preetiya Hudugi (2001)
Featuring: Dhyan, Dipali, Bhavya, Lokesh and others.
Directed by: Nagatihalli Chandrashekhar

Like most people I know, I first heard of Nagatihalli after “America! America!” which I think was a pretty good movie. The concept of people losing their way to distant dreams was pretty well portrayed in the movie. Hence N.Chandrashekhar became a big name in the business almost instantaneously. He was probably one of the first movie makers who showed regular everyday life in the United States without falling for the clichés some previous directors had succumbed to. The treatment was unique and of course, it had the “Ramesh factor” which always helps.

However, with “Nanna Preetiya Hudugi” the same man has missed the boat completely. This movie has nothing new to offer whatsoever. Stories of people from two superlatively different backgrounds – both financially and socially – falling in love and their respective families opposing it is as old as cinema itself. I am not sure what exactly it is Nagatihalli was trying to convey by repeating such an ancient concept. Okay. We get it Mr. Chandrashekhar. You have lot of contacts in the United States of America and your obsession with that country is more than people like us who actually live in that continent. But how many more times should we be subjected to the same scenarios? The same never ending shots of freeways? The same “my first day in the USA” routine? Can we move on please considering half of India is now in the Silicon Valley? Would the movie be any different had the girl been a rich lass in Bangalore? Would the movie be unique had the boy been a poor lad with a finger up his nose from Timbaktoo?

Putta (Dhyan. I don’t know why people call him this since his name is Sameer Dattani.) is a school going lad in a remote boat-connected little island-like village. He is shown to have a passion for playing the flute. A camera-conscious Nagatihalli (yes the man himself) shows up out of nowhere to teach the rather falling apart school that Putta goes to. If he is not busy mouthing some inspirational words to his “students” he is also magically managing some miracles. One of them is to get an American woman to sponsor Putta in a student foreign-exchange program due to Putta’s talent. The fact that Putta does not touch his flute the moment he touches the United States is a different story. Bhavya plays Putta’s concerned mother who is shown to be very affectionate to the boy and reluctantly sends him to the US.

Once in the Unites States he starts living with Susan (don’t even get me started on this lady’s knowledge of Kannada. For some reason Mr. Chandrashekhar feels we would appreciate an American woman mouthing bad kannada. As if we don’t get enough of that from Kannadigas itself) who helps Putta settle down and get started on his education. Now what exactly he is studying in Detroit is of no relevance since the first day of school he is said to be in Class 11. Interestingly all this is happening in Michigan State University campus with a classroom of about 10 students. I have no idea what the arrangement there was and I don’t want to find out.

Somehow he manages to meet another Kannada speaking girl in the same class (conveniently because God forbid he should realistically fall for any other kind of Indian) and before you know it they are exchanging everything from bicycles to jackets to kisses.

A couple of songs later the girl’s parents figure out what Mr. Flute master is up to and unrealistically move their entire family and lifelong business from Detroit to Miami. A change of this sort needs a catastrophe in America but a few innocent confrontations is enough for these scare-easy parents. Suresh Heblikar is the cliché American dad who is against this “love affair”. Before you have tried to stay awake from this goings on, the couple elopes…ends up in a bizarre white water rafting accident and end up back in their respective homes. I wonder what poor Susan must be thinking of our little boy who was expected to gain laurels in the United States with his “musical talents” and somehow manages to do everything but.

Back home more chaos waits. Bhavya is shown to have lost her mind since her husband (Lokesh in a completely wasted role) and relatives have convinced her that Putta is not coming back. This scares the already scared Putta who hops on the next flight (Susan must be really rich!) and arrives back home. His mother jumps onto the bewildered boy out of nowhere to let us know she is mentally sick. A few “You are not my son! I am being cheated! He is not coming back!” scenes later she somehow recovers and realizes that he indeed is her son.

For the first time I am actually wondering why I am writing a review for such a storyline. Everything after this becomes as predictable as a Ramsay horror movie. None of the girl’s parents are shown towards the end (duh!) and she manages to fly back home and join her lover much to Bhavya’s glee.

“Nanna Preetiya Hudugi” is easily the next bad movie I have seen after Kashinathji’s “Hendati Endare Heegerabeku”. At least in the latter there were tacky but laughable moments. In this movie nothing convinces nor amuses.

First things first. Dhyan (or whatever his name is) cannot act. Period. Nothing more to add. Why Chandrashekhar keeps choosing this fellow over and over again is beyond sanity. The boy can’t finish one sentence without making an artificial “I know I am on camera” hand gesture. Come on! Join an acting class man! The new girl Dipali is the only one with any emotional presence in the rather mundane script. I hope to see her in better scripted and more powerful roles since she can definitely emote given the right director. Others are passé with nothing noticeable. Chandrashekhar’s appearance as the know-it-all teacher is a drag as well since he is as emotionless as a stick in his small role. What could have been a major dynamic character turns out to be pretty lukewarm.

Technically the movie is alright. Editing is one department this man always has a problem with. No synchronization whatsoever. People suddenly change positions during a scene…face expressions change….boy oh boy he needs a crash course in Editing 101. Music is alright with a couple of pleasant tunes. “Car car” song made it big although I don’t see anything special in it except they compare two completely distinct modes of transport in two ends of the world.

All said and done Chandrashekhar for some reason is still not over his “America!America!” shot at limelight since he keeps taking us back to it in various forms and shapes. Dubbing for the American actors is just plain bad. For the first time I saw an American teacher in an American university without an American accent.

I always thought Nagatihalli was over-rated and this movie just asserts this point. It is one thing to have a noble goal to showcase good entertainment but it is a completely different thing to execute it properly. This is the area where Nagati keeps misses the bus…or should I say "Car car".


Jang!! said...

Woa! man.

I think I have offended you. Sorry. Wasn't intended.

Jang!! said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jang!! said...

And isn't my viewpoint mine? Just like I can't tell you to stop reviewing kannada movies, you really shouldn't expect me to stop expressing my viewpoint. It's a personal opinion, just like the ratings you give the movies you review.
A director will be in love with his movie, he'll give it 5 out of 5 stars. If you give him one out of five, he can't come and ask you to change it. Similarly, you shouldn't.