Huduga Hudugi (ಹುಡುಗ ಹುಡುಗಿ) is a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy directed by Indrajit Lankesh. Dhyan and Lekha Washington play anchors of a TV show about love problems. When Lekha has a crush on a rich brat, Dhyan helps her snag him. And predictably, as her wedding date nears, she starts having doubts and start wishing for Dhyan instead.
Huduga Hudugi would have been a lot more watchable if not for the pretentious songs and pomp that Indrajit throws into the movie. Actresses Ileana and Sada are also added into the mix just for the sake of it. Despite this, a few songs are good, I like the slow Usire Ninna. Dhyan and Lekha are actually quite bearable and one can catch this movie just for fun.
After penning the scripts for many of Yograj Bhat’s movies, Pawan Kumar made his directorial debut with Lifeu Ishtene (ಲೈಫು ಇಷ್ಟೇನೆ) last year. Taking a philosophical look at love, this movie is dark, much like his earlier Manasaare. It follows the life of the hero (Diganth) through his many trysts with love from school to college to the workplace. The hero ends up realizing that he (and everyone else) is on a futile and endless pursuit of love that is caught in an Escher-esque infinity.
Pawan is a guy with a million ideas, anyone can see that with his earlier movies. However, Lifeu Ishtene suffers from his amateur directing skills. The idea is great, but the implementation is not. The movie is unnecessarily long, dealing with too many of the hero’s attempts at love. I tend to enjoy short movies that deal with a slice of life, not the baggage of the entire life of a person. The songs here are okay, but none stands out or is worth putting on a playlist. If Pawan is serious, he should stop putting such songs (the typical practice in Indian movies) which break the flow of the plot. The only song which helps the story along and the one I like is Kanasina Hosaputa. It is a nice introspection by the hero after he has been stiffed, shot very much like Tanhayee in Dil Chahta Hai. Lifeu Ishtene is a decent attempt that would have been watchable, if it was shorter and took itself a bit less seriously.
Pawan Kumar, the writer behind many of Yograj Bhat‘s hits, has quit the commercial movie industry to croudsource and make movies that he believes in. A prime example of what might have driven him to do this is Paramathma (ಪರಮಾತ್ಮ). Directed by Bhat for a masala audience, this movie is an abomination. Bhat has been force fed a big budget and a big name star and what he has created is a huge disappointment for anyone who loved his earlier movies.
The movie revolves around the antics of Param (Puneeth Rajkumar). This character fails his exams on purpose, but climbs Mt. Everest, learns martial arts in China and many other directionless achievements before saving a girl and falling in love with her. He pursues her back to her ancestral home in Malnad (where else?) and wins her heart.
The one word that best describes Paramathma is mental. The director and actors must surely have a few screws loose up there to have played a role in this insane piece of work. In Bhat’s movies, the smartass hero walks around spouting philosophical and sarcastic truisms. But, Puneet does not have the charm of Ganesh/Diganth and all of his lines here are equally inane. The viewer is tortured with Guinness Book of Records-like achievements of Param, which have no use in the plot. There is a CGI rendered squirrel in the movie, please don’t ask why, because no one knows. And finally, the girl’s Malnad home can only be called an asylum. All together, this is a disastrous venture into the commercial space by Yograj Bhat. The only saving grace in the entire movie is the song Paravashanadenu, beautifully written by Kaikini.
Tarka (ತರ್ಕ) is a Kannada whodunit that was the debut of director Sunil Kumar Desai. Shankar Nag is a murderer on the run from the cops. He manages to hide in a house by threatening the lady of the residence (Vanita Vasu). He is in for a shock when he discovers the murdered body of her husband (Devraj) in her cupboard. In exchange for hiding in her house, he helps her dispose off the body. Soon after, they start getting calls from a mysterious person who claims to know about their heinous deeds.
Though released in 1988, Tarka manages to be a good mystery to watch. Shankar Nag delivers a straight performance, that is thankfully devoid of his swagger. The movie sticks to a tight plot and there are no songs or distractions of any kind. As the viewer learns more about the shady pasts of the protagonists, new connections are formed and the mystery only deepens. As in most mystery novels, here too the viewer can never really pin the culprit since the creator has not revealed a crucial piece of the jigsaw puzzle. Once that is disclosed in the final climax, everything falls into place nicely. Tarka is an enigmatic little gem from the 80s.
Eradane Maduve (ಎರಡನೆ ಮದುವೆ) is a Kannada comedy directed by Dinesh Baboo. Anant Nag plays a house-husband who has (ironically) been fired from his job at Lok Ayukta on corruption charges. Due to his dishonourable exit from his job his wife (Suhasini Maniratnam), his three daughters and the maid (Tara) treat him like dirt. To teach his family a lesson, Anant Nag starts a friendship with a young TV actress (Jennifer Kotwal) that leads to turmoil at his home.
This movie is pretty enjoyable in the beginning but loses steam as it progresses. Anant Nag as the hen-pecked husband and Suhasini as the dominatrix have excellent chemistry. Tara as a unionized maid is especially funny, while Rangayana Raghu’s role is grating. The movie is too long for its thin plotline and one wishes the high-jinx in the second half would just end quickly. Eradane Maduve is yet another average family comedy.
After his success in Yogaraj Bhat’s whimsical movies, Ganesh seems to have run out of luck. None of his later movies have clicked with the audience. Another addition to this list is his 2011 romantic venture Eno Onthara (ಏನೋ ಒಂಥರಾ), a remake of the Tamil hit Kushi. Ganesh and Priyamani play the prime characters, who we are told are destined to end up with each other. They become friends while acting as couriers for the love letters of their mutual friends. (One really wonders why these lovers are writing letters when they could email, chat or at least use SMS?! 😀 ) A misunderstanding emerges between them and they become spiteful of each other. As always (yawn), in the end they realize their love for each other.
I have not seen the original, but a slower more boring movie than this could not possibly be made! Without his trademark banter, Ganesh just cannot engage the viewer in a movie that is 2.5 hours long. Priyamani is pretty and passes muster, but she tries to ape Jyothika so much that it is creepy. The script, whether copied from the original or not, is just pathetic. All the songs are horrible, except for the melodramatic Anthara Heegeke, sung by SPB which is the reason I checked out this movie. Give this song a listen, but do not under any circumstance try to watch Eno Onthara!
ಹುಡುಗರು (Hudugaru) is a Kannada masala movie starring Puneeth Rajkumar, released earlier in 2011. Directed by K. Madesh, it is a remake of the Tamil movie Naadodigal. Puneeth, Srinagara Kitty and Yogesh play three close friends leaving carefree but disillusioned lives in the town of Shravanabelagola. Just when their luck seems to turn for the better, Puneeth’s friend shows up at his doorstep asking for his help to elope with his girlfriend. The task is not easy since the lovers are the progeny of a rich industrialist and that of a powerful politician. Putting their lives at risk, the trio kidnap the girlfriend and help the couple to get married in secrecy. In the process, Puneeth loses his grandmother, Kitty his leg and Yogesh his hearing. They are enraged when they learn that their efforts were wasted since the couple decide to separate over marital differences.
Though it seems like a violent movie, there is little of that in Hudugaru. The movie is an unnecessarily long 2.5 hours, though it is thankfully bearable. It is helped by good comedy by all the characters, especially Yogesh. Radhika Pandit and a whole host of actors are introduced, but are completely wasted in their roles. The movie could have been a lot shorter by cutting out these characters and a lot of the petty banter. Shot all over small-town Karnataka, the production quality is nice. The songs are passable, the one that I like is Neeralli Sanna Ale, whose lilting lyrics are penned (unsurprisingly) by Jayant Kaikini. Hudugaru is an entertaining movie that can be watched once.