Grandma's Tales

February 26, 2007

Why you should watch “Mozhi”

Filed under: Movie,Society — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 11:14 pm

Our (Ability Foundation) fundraiser went off without a hitch. After every such event, we pat ourselves and say, “We pulled it off and you know why? We’re an all-girls team!” 🙂 Well, it was a sell-out show.
During the break, director Radhamohan (RM) climbed up the stage at Shantham. He was followed by Actor Jyotika, an extremely pleasant young lady; it wasn’t a surprise she got a welcoming applause. Prakash Raj jumped up, again to applause, and behind him were Bhaskar, an excellent actor (appears on TV serials) and Dhakshaya (I hope I’ve got her name right) who made/chose all those lovely costumes, Jayshree Raveendran, director of Ability Foundation and Vijaya who made the movie possible by teaching the cast sign language.
If you know Tamil, or if you’re the let’s-go-anyway type, DO NOT miss this movie. I’ll tell you why.
[1] After a very long time, here’s a movie that can be called a genuine comedy. Radhamohan has re-defined situational comedy for us. It comes as a breath of fresh air, after all those innuendoes and unspeakable violence that people had come to accept as cues for laughs. I’m sorry, I cannot understand how a guy being beaten to a pulp can evoke chuckles. Is it because you know it’s all fake? Are you happy because you feel the guy deserves it?
What can and should make you laugh are unexpected situations that we find ourselves in, situations where laughter can heal, where a sense of humour is the best way out. Good comedy can be based on a misunderstanding, a totally innocent, not-well-thought-of act, a train of thought that has a totally unexpected twist in the end… and sometimes on a play of words.
[2] The comedy is not just a bellyful of laughs – oh, the one-liners are not what you forget the minute you reach the parking lot. You watch, you go ha, ha, ha, and then you wonder why there’s a lump in your throat. Where did that come from? Yes, you are likely to remember some of the situations for a long time to come. RM makes you think even as you double up in the seat. The Prof’s lines, for example.
[3] RM scores on the analysis of disability in a very big way. There are issues that he makes crystal clear: what it is to live in a silent, speechless world. What it is not to be able to listen to all those sounds (lovely, if you ask me. I live on the noisiest street in Chennai), not being able to follow conversations around you, not comprehending what people call music, not being able to know what’s happened to grandma … you know the rest.
[4] RM wants you to know that speech/hearing-impaired people don’t want your pity, far from it. They are quite capable of looking after themselves, just as you and I do. What they need is friendship, that accommodation (how many of you will learn sign language because your classmate can’t hear?), that readiness to accept them for what they are. See them as people first, he says, echoing Ability Foundation’s philosophy.
[5] To put forth these ideas in the most acceptable, celebratory, joyful way, RM has roped in an impeccable cast. I’m not sure if it’s the actors or RM’s direction, but I guess it’s both. Some directors manage to get the best out of everyone, right?
[5] The montage. The colours, the lens work and the sweep of the camera are an integral part of the movie. This is one movie where the frame is as much part of the theme as the dialogue and the action. RM has created every background lovingly, with lavished care. The effect is often a stunning, photographic effect that complements that part of the happening in the narration. Watch out for the poster that keeps appearing when Jyotika makes her dramatic entry. Look at the backdrop of the sky in the outdoor shots. Soak in the gorgeous interiors, the changing lights and shades of the outdoors. Who is the cinematographer here?
I did an insta exit poll. I asked a dozen people what they liked about the movie. No, that wasn’t a loaded question. Hey, they liked it, they gave it a standing ovation!
“Comedy is superb!” said most of them. They picked lines I wasn’t laughing at, but there is a generation between us. But I was happy they did laugh at the “situations”. One couple, after a bit of prodding said, “The acting, and the way they showed deaf people.”
The finest compliment came from a speech/hearing impaired viewer. She walked over to the stage during the intermission when the VIPs stood there telling the audience their experiences while making the movie. And began to sign.
“Thanks RM, thank you so much,” she signed, while Vijaya translated. “You made a movie for us, about us. This is exactly how we feel. You’ve told the world our innermost feelings. You made us feel we count. You made us proud. Now we’ll feel less disadvantaged, less unwanted, a little less stereotyped. Thanks and god bless you.” There wasn’t a dry eye on the stage. Actor Revathi, who introduced the director and the cast was seen choking with tears.
That’s it. A 2-hour movie did what reams and columns written on mainstreaming people with disabilities couldn’t do. What a 10-year-old comprehensive Act of Parliament couldn’t achieve. In the pleasantest way, the movie told us how to view disability, what accepting disability as a part of the diversity of the society is all about.
Go, watch the movie. Overlook that one scene which will put you off if you are over-sensitive like me. But go to the theatre and watch. That will encourage people like RM and Prakash Raj (producer) to attempt more poems like “Mozhi”.



  1. […] பத்மநாபனும் அதையேதான் சொல்கிறார்… After a very long time, here’s a movie that can be called a genuine comedy. Radhmohan has […]

    Pingback by கில்லி - Gilli » Mozhi — February 28, 2007 @ 11:05 am | Reply

  2. radhamohan deserves a hit … i watched only a few scenes from mozhi and jo has given a splendid performance … waiting to catch the movie … prakash raj surely deserves a special mention for producing such quality films which rely on content …

    Comment by Dinesh — March 4, 2007 @ 11:50 pm | Reply

  3. Hi Dinesh, thanks for stopping by. Agree with you totally. I met Radhamohan yesterday at the CavinKare Ability awards function. He was beaming from head to toe, guess the movie is a hit… the success of the movie flies in the face of that repeated argument of producers that a medley of song-dance sequences, a hashed-up (or bashed-up) story, inane dialogues and an unspeakable comedy track are “what the public wants”.

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — March 5, 2007 @ 7:06 am | Reply

  4. […] …… […]

    Pingback by Why you should watch “Mozhi” — March 27, 2007 @ 8:08 am | Reply

  5. This is the first time that I am writing a review on a Movie. I am amazed that I am writing one. But that is because the movie is really world class. It is Humourous and serious at the same time. It makes you think. It is taken with a lot of thought.
    RM is in my opinion in the class of Directors such as Balachander and ManiRatnam.
    Hope he continues to give us such movies.

    Comment by Prashanth — April 4, 2007 @ 12:08 pm | Reply

  6. Even though my mother tongue is not tamil, this was one movie which I really enjoyed. The message came across amazingly. Kudos to the entire Mozhi team!

    Comment by Shreya — May 8, 2007 @ 4:58 pm | Reply

  7. Hi Shreya, isn’t that the greatness of the movie? Also, it is that rare movie which can be watched by the entire family – together! I saw many families trooping into the hall when I was there. I think that’s what entertainment is all about. Wholesome! I’m so happy Mozhi is doing well.

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — May 8, 2007 @ 6:10 pm | Reply

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