Mouna Ragam

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Mouna Ragam
Mouna Ragam poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Mani Ratnam
Produced by G. Venkateswaran
Written by Mani Ratnam
Starring
Music by Ilaiyaraaja
Cinematography P. C. Sreeram
Edited by
Production
  company
Sujatha Productions (P) Ltd.
Distributed by Sujatha Productions (P) Ltd.
Release date(s) August 15, 1986[1]
Running time 146 minutes
Country India
Language Tamil

Mouna Ragam (English: Silent Symphony) is a 1986 Indian Tamil romantic drama film directed by Mani Ratnam. The film stars Mohan and Revathi in the lead roles, with Karthik in an extended cameo role. The soundtrack and background score are composed by Ilayaraja and the cinematography was handled by P. C. Sreeram. Mouna Ragam released on 15 August 1986, coinciding with Indian Independence Day.[1] The film was Mohan's last blockbuster and was critically acclaimed upon release. It received the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil in 1987. Mouna Ragam was dubbed in Telugu under the same title.[2]

The film was remade into the Hindi film Kasak in 1992, starring Rishi Kapoor, Neelam and Chunkey Pandey and in Kannada as Chandrodaya with Ramesh Aravind and Shivrajkumar.[3][4]

Plot[edit]

Divya (Revathi) is a mischievous and naughty girl in a conservative family. Her father is a government servant and is very strict about her conduct. One day, she finds out that there is a marriage proposal for her which her parents are very much looking forward to. Unwilling to get married, she deliberately comes home late on the day the groom's family is there to meet her; so that they reject her. To her surprise, the groom, Chandrakumar (Mohan) and his family are patiently waiting to meet her. Divya talks very arrogantly to Chandrakumar in an attempt to make him dislike her, but he ends up liking her and agrees to the marriage. Divya succumbs to family pressure and marries Chandrakumar.

Post marriage, Chandrakumar takes Divya to New Delhi with him. Unable to come to terms with her marriage, Divya snubs her well-meaning husband at every given instance. This culminates in her asking for divorce when Chandrakumar asks her what she wants as a wedding gift. A shocked Chandrakumar probes her for a reason and her flashback unfolds where she was in love with another man. It was during her college days that she met a man Manohar (Karthik), who along with his gang beat up the son of a M.P and robs his money. She considers it a gang theft and reports to the police. But later, she finds out that the theft was done because the M.P's son had run his car over a poor girl and to arrange money for the girl's treatment. After knowing this she feels guilty of framing him and bails him out of the police station. Manohar falls for her and tries to win her love. Divya initially rejects him but falls in love with him in due course. Manohar is a member of a revolutionary troop which plans an illegal rally. Divya doesn't approve his participation in such unlawful activities and persuades him not to attend the rally. Manohar urges her to marry him the next day. On the day of the marriage, Manohar, being a suspect, is falsely charged for participating in the previous day's rally. As he is arrested and taken away by the police, he attempts to escape and runs to the marriage register's office where Divya is waiting for him. In the following chase, the policeman accidentally shoots him and Manohar dies on the footsteps of the registrar's office.

Chandrakumar is ready to forget her past and live with her but Divya cannot accept another man in her life. Both of them file for a divorce, but as per the law, since they are newly married, they can get it only after one year of their marriage. Divya is forced to live with Chandrakumar and she slowly gets starts liking him. But Chandrakumar ignores her completely, since after a year she will be gone and he doesn't want to get used to her. Once Chandrakumar is attacked by his company's labourers as he had suspended their union leader, Divya struggles to save his life. After his discharge from hospital she renders her services as a wife. Chandrakumar however neglects it, which hurts her. Divya finally comes to understand her love for him and tries to reveal it by wearing the anklets which he gave her just after marriage. But he is irritated by her immature acts and asks her to leave to her parent's home and even books tickets for her travel. Until Divya leaves the house both of them don't share their feelings for each other. While she is about to depart Chandrakumar gives her the divorce papers which she asked as a gift. Divya bursts out and finally admits that she loves him and she would wait for him till he realizes it and leaves. Chandrakumar, finally coming to terms with his repressed feelings, gets her out of the train and both return home happily.

Cast[edit]

  • Mohan as Chandrakumar
  • Revathi as Divya
  • Karthik as Manohar
  • Ra. Sankaran as Chandramouli (Divya's father)
  • V. K. Ramasamy as Chandrakumar's boss
  • Kanchana as the lawyer
  • Vani as Divya's Mother
  • Bhaskar as Divya's brother
  • Kalaiselvi as Divya's sister
  • Baby Sonia as Divya's sister

Production[edit]

When the last schedule of Mani Ratnam's debut film Pallavi Anupallavi (1983) was stretched inordinately to a year, he began working on his next script named Divya, which eventually became Mouna Ragam and his fifth film.[5] It was written as the story of a girl who goes to an alien place and does not know the language.[6] The film was named "Mouna Ragam", after the song "Naan Paadum Mouna Ragam" from Ratnam's Idaya Kovil (1985).[7]

Although Mouna Ragam was Ratnam's fifth film as a director, he considers it practically his second, because it was done the way he wanted it to be done, the way he thought it should be done. Even though he began working on the script during Pallavi Anupallavi which released in 1983, Mouna Ragam did not enter production until after the release of Idaya Kovil.[8]

He cast Mohan (with who he had previously worked in Idaya Kovil) as the male lead. Revathy (with whom Ratnam had worked with in Pagal Nilavu) was chosen to play the female lead. When Ratnam had finished writing Mouna Ragam, he had Supriya Pathak in mind. However, it took him a few years to make the film, and by then Revathy came into the picture.[8] Mouna Ragam was also Ratnam's first film with PC Sreeram as the cinematographer.[3][9] He previously tried working with him in Idaya Kovil, but that fell through. The rest of the collaborators were from his older films.[8]

Ratnam states that the only difference between Divya and Mouna Ragam was the inclusion of the portion featuring actor Karthik, which was not there in the earlier screenplay. In Divya, the girl's past was not there. It was just the story of how a girl settles into an arranged marriage. But by the time Ratnam had done a few films, Ratnam realised that this was not enough to make the story reach across to a larger audience.[8]

So he decided that if he needed to make this accessible, he had to give the audience something that would not make them question the character, but they would accept that character as a plot point. And then the film can deal with the concept of an arranged marriage - two strangers suddenly thrown together together, and how they can find a way to adjust. That is how the girl's past with Karthik came in. It was something Ratnam had resisted at first, but having made this decision go giving an easier reason for her resistance to the arranged marriage, he thought he would make the flashback portion light and breezy.[8] In a bid to bring down the production cost, the entire unit of Mouna Ragam used to get food cooked at the producer's home.[10]

Because Mouna Ragam was the story of a person going to a strange place where she does not know the language, where it's colder, she is an alien and then starts belonging to the place, it was set in Delhi. This was an indoor film and both Ratnam and Sreeram were ready to experiment. They did not want it to be claustrophobic. They wanted the indoors to look as lively as the outdoors - because there were not too many characters, and they did not want it to look like a play. So Sreeram came up with the idea of backlighting inside a house, and Ratnam was satisfied. Thotta Tharani found them the right house in Chennai which had a lot of sunlight coming in and which was so different that it could be convincing as a Delhi house, and give Sreeram all the freedom to light the inside like the outdoors. Mouna Ragam also became Ratnam's first film to make excessive use of stacatto dialogues, which became his trademark.[11]

The song Panivizhum Iravu was shot at the Taj Mahal, while scenes from Mandram Vandha were shot at the India Gate and Sikandra, Agra.[12] Mohan's voice was dubbed by S. N. Surendar.[13] Film critic Baradwaj Rangan compares Mouna Ragam with J. Mahendran's Nenjathai Killathe, due to its main theme: a woman torn between the man she loved and the man she married.[14][15]

Soundtrack[edit]

Mouna Ragam
Soundtrack album by Ilaiyaraaja
Released
1986
Genre Tamil Film Soundtrack
Length 22:43
Label Oriental Records
Producer Ilaiyaraaja

The soundtrack consists of five songs composed by Ilaiyaraaja, with lyrics by Vaali.[16] The soundtrack along with the background score was positively received at the time of release. The hit number Mandram Vandha was later adapted by Ilayaraja as the Hindi song Cheeni Kum in the 2007 namesake film.[17] Filmmaker Poongothai Chandrahasan said, "I like the way 'Nilave Vaa' is shot. It's not like they go into some exotic location but this sort of flows seamlessly, integrated into the narrative. And Ilaiyaraja's music is such that even when you listen to it ten years later, you still remember the song."[18]

No. Title Singers Length
1. "Nilaavae Vaa"   S. P. Balasubrahmanyam 4:36
2. "Mandram Vandha"   S. P. Balasubrahmanyam 4:46
3. "Chinna Chinna Vanna Kuyil"   S. Janaki 4:24
4. "Oho Megam Vandhadho"   S. Janaki 4:25
5. "Panivizhum Iravu"   S. Janaki, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam 4:32

Reception[edit]

Mouna Ragam was critically acclaimed, notably for its realistic portrayal of urban Tamils.[19] Receiving more praise for its musical score by Ilaiyaraaja and cinematography by P. C. Sreeram, it became director Mani Ratnam's first commercially successful film,[20] and a "milestone" in his career.[21]

Reviews[edit]

On 31 August 1986, Ananda Vikatan said, "Revathy has done an outstanding job in the film... Mohan played the role with maturity... The film does not have any commercial masalas, yet it creates an impact due to the camera work and music."[22]

Filmmaker Poongothai Chandrahasan, in an interview with The Hindu said, "Obviously, one of the most important things about a film that makes it a classic is that it has to stay in your mind. When most Tamil movies were doing a girl-meets-boy-and-falls-in-love routine, this was so different. That too, it was done within the commercial format. Mani Ratnam had the guts to make a film that interesting with a different storyline. Also the way P.C. Sriram shot the film was so beautiful."[18]

Upperstall.com said, "Mouna Ragam is looked at as Mani Ratnam's breakthrough film and though somewhat dated in places in terms of both content and style, the film has some of his finest moments." The critic praised Revathy's performance as among her "best ever", and added "As the gentle, kind and patient husband, Mohan is not bad even if as mentioned, he is too good to be true." and concluded, "All in all, Mouna Ragam is well, well worth a watch even today."[3]

Behindwoods said, "There are some movies which remain etched in your thoughts not because they dazzle you with wizardry but because they make their presence felt in a quiet manner. Mounaragam fits into the second category." and concluded, "In today’s world, where youngsters have more freedom to choose their life partners, Mounaragam may seem anachronistic. Yet, it is a film to be watched to understand the nuances of a good and lasting marriage."[23]

Awards[edit]

Ceremony Award Category Nominee(s) Outcome
34th National Film Awards National Film Awards Best Regional Film Won[24]
36th Filmfare Awards South Filmfare Awards South Best Tamil Director Mani Ratnam Won[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Mouna Raagam - Movie Reviews, Videos, Wallpapers, Photos, Cast & Crew, Story & Synopsis on". Popcorn.oneindia.in. 1986-08-15. Retrieved 2012-05-06. 
  2. ^ "mouna ragam". Tumblr. Retrieved 2012-03-10. 
  3. ^ a b c http://www.upperstall.com/films/1986/mouna-ragam
  4. ^ http://www.gandhadagudi.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7472&start=210
  5. ^ Rangan 2012, p. 22.
  6. ^ Rangan 2012, p. 28.
  7. ^ Rangan 2012, p. 29.
  8. ^ a b c d e Rangan 2012, p. 31.
  9. ^ http://www.behindwoods.com/tamil-movies-slide-shows/movie-1/mani-ratnam/cinematographers.html
  10. ^ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/tamil/movies/did-you-know-/How-Mani-Ratnam-cut-production-cost/articleshow/33956526.cms
  11. ^ Rangan 2012, p. 36.
  12. ^ http://www.wherewasitshot.com/2010/03/26/mouna-raagam/
  13. ^ http://www.hindu.com/cp/2008/03/14/stories/2008031450281100.htm
  14. ^ Rangan 2012, p. 32.
  15. ^ http://www.india-seminar.com/2004/535/535%20baradwaj%20rangan.htm
  16. ^ "Mouna Raagam Songs - Mouna Raagam Tamil Movie Songs - Tamil Songs Lyrics Trailer Videos, Preview Stills Reviews". Raaga.com. Retrieved 2012-03-10. 
  17. ^ http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2007-09-25/news-interviews/27967806_1_modern-films-indrajit-lankesh-song
  18. ^ a b http://www.hindu.com/cp/2008/01/18/stories/2008011850130400.htm
  19. ^ http://www.hindustantimes.com/Entertainment/Bollywood/Venice-honours-Mani-Ratnam/Article1-597191.aspx
  20. ^ http://www.geocities.ws/dirmanirathnam/movies.htm
  21. ^ http://www.tamilspider.com/resources/3005-profile-biography-tamil-director-maniratnam.aspx
  22. ^ Dhananjayan 2011, p. 104.
  23. ^ http://www.behindwoods.com/features/moviearticles/articles1/mounaragam/tamil-cinema-movies-article-mounaragam.html
  24. ^ "Directorate of Film Festival" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 11 February 2011. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Dhananjayan, G. (2011). The Best of Tamil Cinema: 1977 to 2010. 
  • Rangan, Baradwaj (2012). Conversations with Mani Ratnam. ISBN 8184756909. 

External links[edit]