|Directed by||K. Bhagyaraj|
|Written by||K. Bhagyaraj|
|Edited by||A. Selvanathan|
|Box office||₹40 million|
Mundhanai Mudichu (transl. Saree Knot) is a 1983 Indian Tamil-language romantic comedy film directed and written by K. Bhagyaraj. He also stars alongside Urvashi. The film focuses on Parimala, a mischievous girl, who falls in love with a widower who works as a teacher. She marries him by falsely accusing him of molesting her, but she has to take drastic steps to win his love.
Mundhanai Mudichu was the first Tamil film for Urvashi. It was released on 22 July 1983 and became a major box office success, netting ₹40 million against a budget of ₹3 million and running for over 25 weeks in theatres, thus becoming a silver jubilee film. For his performance, Bhagyaraj won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Tamil. The film was remade in Telugu as Moodu Mullu (1983), in Hindi as Masterji (1985) and in Kannada as Halli Meshtru (1992).
Parimala, a school drop-out, is a mischievous and nubile girl who perennially plays pranks on unsuspecting people in her village, aided by her gang of pre-teen boys. These pranks often end her and the gang in the panchayat, which is headed by her father. An unnamed man with an infant child is appointed as the new teacher of the village's only school. When he comes to the village with his infant for the job, he is not spared from Parimala's pranks upon his arrival. The teacher takes classes by holding the book in one hand and rocking the cradle with the other in the classroom, much to the amusement of the villagers who call him "Vaathiyar".
Parimala's playful nature transforms into love when she learns that the Vaathiyar is a widower. She tries many ways to win his love, but fails every time. The Vaathiyar believes that a stepmother would not take proper care of his child from his first wife, and even rejects a proposal to marry his deceased wife's sister. The deceased wife's last words – that he should take care of the child well after she dies – keep echoing in his ears often. Parimala visits the Vaathiyar and openly requests him to marry her, but he rejects her and throws her out. Deciding to marry him by hook or crook, she complains to her father and the villagers that the Vaathiyar had molested her, knowing well that the panchayat would order him to marry her as a form of punishment.
A public trial is held, during which Parimala is questioned if the Vaathiyar molested her. She commits perjury, and with no way out, the Vaathiyar is forced to marry her. In revenge, he stipulates that Parimala has to remain a virgin for life as punishment for cheating him. He does not treat her as his wife. However, Parimala is persistent and does everything possible to come closer to him. She relentlessly tries to seduce him by unconventional methods that prove to be testing times for the Vaathiyar. Once, when the Vaathiyar fights with some people who are not supplying mid-day meals adequately to the schoolchildren and is almost stabbed, she saves his life by holding the edge of the knife. She suffers deep cuts on her hands and the Vaathiyar nurses her to recovery.
Parimala understands why the Vaathiyar is hesitating to consummate the marriage; he fears she would ignore and illtreat his son when she has a child of her own. She decides to undergo sterilisation to gain his confidence and gets admitted into a hospital. By then, the Vaathiyar comes to know of this and rushes to the hospital to stop it as he now understands her good intentions and does not want her to suffer. He reaches the hospital to find Parimala unconscious on the bed and assumes she has already undergone treatment. However, the doctor assures him that she has not been operated as he found her to be a virgin and realised that she must have wanted the operation under duress. The couple unite and consummate their marriage.
- K. Bhagyaraj as "Vaathiyar"
- Urvashi as Parimala
- Poornima Bhagyaraj as Vaathiyar's first wife
- Deepa as Pattu
- K. K. Soundar as Parimalam's father
- Nalinikanth as the villain
- Peeli Sivam as the doctor
- 'Pasi 'Sathya as a villager
- Kovai Sarala as Arukkani Debut
- Master Suresh
- Thavakalai Chittibabu as Thavakkalai
- Bayilvan Ranganathan as Vaithiyar
- Sujitha as Vaathiyar's son
The film was made at a cost of ₹3 million (equivalent to ₹41 million or US$570,000 in 2019). AVM Saravanan said Bhagyaraj "took two months to write the script. He had everything planned out to the last-minute costume change." After the film was completed, Bhagyaraj locked himself with his editor and "with a staple gun and a pair of scissors he stitched all this material together". Saravanan agreed to produce the film after he saw Bhagyaraj narrating the whole script all by himself without the paper. Bhagyaraj initially titled it as Chinna Veedu but later changed it as Mundhanai Mudichu after Saravanan did not like the initial title.
Urvashi started her career with Thodarum Uravu, but Mundhanai Mudichu became her first release. Originally, her sister Kalpana was chosen for the film. Bhagyaraj spotted Urvashi, who accompanied Kalpana and chose her to be the heroine of the film. Kovai Sarala acted as pregnant lady when she was in class X.
|1.||"Andhi Varum Neram"||Gangai Amaran||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, S. Janaki||5:13|
|2.||"Chinnanjiru Kiliye"||Muthulingam||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, S. Janaki||4:18|
|3.||"Kanna Thorakanum"||Gangai Amaran||S. Janaki, Malaysia Vasudevan||4:34|
|4.||"Naan Pudicha Mappilae"||Pulamaipithan||S. Janaki, S. P. Sailaja||4:30|
|5.||"Vaa Vaa Vaathiyare"||Gangai Amaran||S. P. Sailaja, Malaysia Vasudevan||3:51|
|6.||"Velakku Vetcha"||Na. Kamarasan||Ilaiyaraaja, S. Janaki||3:53|
Release and reception
Mundhanai Mudichu was released on 22 July 1983. On 7 August 1983, the review board of Ananda Vikatan said only Bhagyaraj could transform a short story into a beautiful film through his good treatment, and he proved to be a master in that, and also praised Urvashi's performance, rating the film 50 out of 100. Made at a cost of ₹3 million (equivalent to ₹41 million or US$570,000 in 2019), it netted ₹40 million (equivalent to ₹550 million or US$7.6 million in 2019), setting a new southern box office record at that time. It was the first film to run for 25 weeks in four Madras theatres and 10 other centres all over the south, becoming a silver jubilee film. It was also the first Tamil film to celebrate its silver jubilee in Trivandrum. For his performance, Bhagyaraj won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Tamil.
Mundhanai Mudichu was remade in Telugu as Moodu Mullu (1983) and dubbed in the same language as Vaadante Pelli. Its Hindi remake rights were sold for ₹500,000 (equivalent to ₹6.8 million or US$96,000 in 2019), the highest ever paid for a remake rights of a Tamil film at that time; the Hindi remake, Masterji, was released in 1985, and the Kannada remake Halli Meshtru in 1992. In May 2020, it was announced that M. Sasikumar will star in a Tamil remake.
The scene where Parimala prepares an entire dinner based on drumsticks to improve the sexual relations between her and the Vaathiyar attained popularity, leading to increased sales in drumsticks. A sequel to Mundhanai Mudichu, titled Mappillai Vinayagar, was shot in 2012 with Lollu Sabha Jeeva portraying the Vaathiyar's son, but the film failed to have a theatrical release.
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