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Mudhal Nee Mudivum Nee: A nostalgic trip down the memory lane and nothing else!

Everything 90’s!

It’s the year 1999, the setting is Chennai and we have a bunch of school kids hanging around in their school, snooping at the list of new admissions to their 11th grade class. This is the setting with which, Mudhal Nee Mudivum Nee starts and it immediately shows you ‘All Things 90’s’, just like it promised in the trailer. Within the first 10 minutes of the movie itself you’re taken down a memory lane of 90’s AR Rahman, Walkmans, Spencer’s Plaza, radio cassettes, etc. This 90’s trail is spread across at least till half of the movie. 

At the outset, the movie just explores a bunch of characters, who are school students, who explore teenage pressures and enjoyments through their school life. This along with the fact that it was the 90’s, so the mindset of the children is entirely different from the mindset of children today. But, as the movie progresses, it just feels like a cluster of school-related scenes put together for the audience to so-called relive their childhood school days. However, it just becomes a little mundane as it goes. 

The love sequence between Vinoth (Kishen Das) and Rekha (Meetha Raghunath) is truely adorable to watch. Their small squabbles and conversations are typical of childhood love, also called puppy love. The two characters become key ones that help take the movie forward eventually. 

 

The movie, covers a few important issues. The word ‘addresses’ is not used here, because the movie just skims through these issues, but does not really address or talk about the impact of them. For example, two bullies are shown in the film, Richard and Catherine. While Richard apologises to Francis for bullying him, eventually, the impact bullying had on Fracis’ life is not shown anywhere. Similarly, Catherine, who is seen to be a hot-headed and confident girl, gets groped. And the way she receives it is entirely different from her general character. However, how it impacted her life is not explained anywhere in the movie later. 

The worst part of it all is how the two bullies are treated. While Richard is just not condemned for his actions, rather supported, Catherine is forced to face her cycle  vandalised with Cow Dung and urine. She turned out to be a bully only because she had to deal with Chinese Kumar’s constant proposal torture, even after she clearly declined his offer. She is still portrayed as the villain, even in the later parts of the film.Catherine’s life as an adult is also not that great, as she explains that again to the same Chinese Kumar, after he vandalises her car, yet again, even as an adult. 

Keeping these apart, the movie takes a sudden turn at the middle. What was a school storyline, suddenly shifts to a story of love, more than that of nostalgia. While the first half of the movie is entirely set at the school, most of the second half is set at a reunion party, where all the classmates meet again, as their adult selves. Of course, the transition was really nice to watch because the characters actually looked like they grew up. But, again, this reunion set up is just a long stretch of how these characters have changed or not changed over the years. It was something like the movie 96’ except that this movie started with school days first and then transitioned into adulthood. 

After a point, the movie becomes more of a meaningless bunch of scenes put together. The audience starts pining for the climax, because the scenes in between don’t really make sense, and do not fit in. With that being said, the way the movie ended was warm and cosy. But, the problem with the entire movie is that it has no head or form, no sequence or structure. Just a theme, that is, 90’s. 

Kishen Das as Vinoth and Harish Kumar as Chinese, performed their roles extremely well. Amritha Mandarine’s persona as Anu, as both a teenager and an adult was extremely well differentiated, and her performance is one that the audience will take home. Other notable performances include Purva Raghunath and Meetha Raghunath.  The costumes were also designed to fit the era, and it perfectly matched the setting. It goes without saying that the music is the movie’s biggest plus point, given that Darbuka Shiva is the director of the film. The songs make it easy for us to pass through the two and a half hour movie. 

With a predictable screenplay and a mundane story, Mudhal Nee Mudivum Nee had more potential to be something better than just our lives playing out in front of us. One can watch the movie, only if one wants to badly relive the 90’s and all that it encompasses. 

 

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