Nala Damayanthi

The movie was released in the year 2003. A film directed by Writer Mouli, staring Madhavan R, Geethu Mohandas, Shrutika, DD, Anu, Sriman and veteran actors like Delhi Ganesh, Vaiyapuri in supporting roles. The movie has scenes from Mouli’s famous script ‘Flight No 172’ which has been staged many times and that was the one which gave break through for this engineer turned director. The famous scenes include all those shot in the airport and plane which describes Ramji’s first on board. All those dialogues are still part of Stand up comedy scripts while speaking about anyone’s first on board travel. They absolutely belong to ‘Kannula Thanni’ moments of the movie. The movie was written and produced by Kamal Hassan and he takes up a cameo role in climax.
The title of the movie can be traced back to epic times. Nala, a famous king known for righteousness and his wife Damayanthi known for her beauty and intelligence. Their story comes in Vana Parva of Mahabharatha. While Yudhishtira and Co feel low about their exile and their long stay in forest, they get to know about other kings who had been to forest and their hardships. And in that list of stories comes Ramayana and Nala Charithra. Nala Maharaja has close association with Sade Sani in astrology. So in what way the title is related to the movie? This king Nala is known for his cooking abilities. History tells that he was a master chef. People call it ‘Nala Bhagam’. The hero of the movie is a good cook and name of the heroine in the script is Damayanthi.
Madhavan R. comes as naive Cook. Typically, the famous Michel Madhana Kama Rajan movie’ dialogue of ‘Neengalum Cooku unga gramamum Kukka’ suits Ramji Narayanaswami Iyer. Geethu Mohandas makes a come back as Damayanthi after ‘En Bommukutty Ammavukku’. The story is all about how these two come together despite various differences between them. The script doesn’t hurry and unfolds itself slowly and steadily.
The script is just like life and while looking back one could beautifully connect the dots with much ease. Shrutika as Malathi, comes just for a song and very few scenes. Wiki says she is the grand daughter of veteran actor ‘Thengai Srinivasan’. She has acted in very few films hardly less than 5. She could have been in Bigg Boss now and if she had been honest like Oviya Helen, just like ‘Kokku netta kokku’ thing, people would have been struggling to tell ‘Chip chip bus bus chip chip bus bus mmmch mmmch hai’, one that comes in Nalangu song beautifully sung by Sriram Parthasarathy and Sujatha. Anu Hassan and Sriman would have their part so well in the movie. If one has to see DD in mute mode, this movie could be shown as a reference. The movie speaks all about dowry and its impact in a marriage and how it affects a family.
A strory of a brother who leaves his home land to make money for his sister’s well being and the hurdles he faces down under in making money because of the laws of that land and the series of events that turn out, ending up in marriage of convenience for work permit. Later, how the hero is moulded out of the situation and the love that blossoms between the couple out of a marriage just in papers. For Maddy, such a role is cake walk. Geethu Mohandas is good in expressing anger, betrayal, love well on screen. Wonderful music by this unsung Music Director Mr. Ramesh Vinayagam.
For Thala, Ulaga Nayagan sang ‘Muthe Muthamma’ and it was a super hit. Here an awesome English folk which brings about the emotion of homesickness so well, ‘Stranded on the street’. A beautiful melody ‘Enna idhu enna idhu’, spectacular rendition by Chinmayi Sripada and the music director himself, speaking all about the beauty of love. The notes of ‘Vendum Vasantham Vaasal Varalam’ is as breezy as the movie. Songs penned by Vaaliba Kavingyar Vaali.
A very warming movie in short. At the end of the movie, two things stand in mind. One could be a Dosa Fan. Dream about all differnt kinds of dosas in this world. Dosa can be affectionately called as ‘Aamji Aamji’. But as one enters a mall, these days with GST in à la carte or see the price of dosa in food court and in that moment one can copy the reaction of Maddy from the song ‘Enna Idhu’. That priceless reaction he gives, after calculating the price of a shoe. The degree of reaction is directly proportional to the type of the restaurant one chooses.
Still, ‘Pottu vaitha kuttu kullae kadhal yendrum nidradhillai’. Is love for food an exception? Aamji. Aamji!


2 thoughts on “Nala Damayanthi

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  1. I remember watching the Hindi remake of this movie about a decade back. I wasn’t particularly fond of the movie back then but reading your fond review of the original makes me wonder if the essence of the story was lost in adapting it to a different language?
    Great review! Cheers 🙂


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