|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 having sex with her, but she has to take drastic steps to win his love.
Bhagyaraj based the story of Mundhanai Mudichu on his friend who lost his wife, and a woman who fell in love with him even as others started gossiping about them. Another inspiration was a poster of Ramu (1966) which depicted its protagonist as a single father, and Bhagyaraj imagining himself in that position. The film was produced by AVM Productions, photographed by Ashok Kumar and edited by A. Selvanathan. It was the first Tamil film for Urvashi.
Mundhanai Mudichu 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. It won the Cinema Express Award for Best Film – Tamil, and 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).
Parimalam, 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 preteen 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".
Parimalam's playful nature transforms into love when she learns that Vaathiyar is a widower. She tries many ways to win his love, but fails every time. 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. Parimalam visits Vaathiyar and openly requests him to marry her, but he rejects her and throws her out. Deciding to marry him by hook or by crook, she complains to her father and the villagers that Vaathiyar had sex with her, knowing that the panchayat would order him to marry her to preserve her chasisty.
A public trial is held, during which Parimalam is questioned if Vaathiyar had had sex with her. She commits perjury, and Vaathiyar is forced to marry her. In revenge, he stipulates that Parimalam has to remain a virgin for life as punishment for cheating him. He does not treat her as his wife. However, Parimalam 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 Vaathiyar.
Vaathiyar's former mother-in-law gives him a metal trunk box, belonging to her late daughter. Not knowing its contents, he sends it home to Parimalam. When Parimalam opens the box, she finds jewels and costly sarees owned by Vaathiyar's late wife. She dons the jewellery and goes to brag about it to her village friends. Meanwhile, Vaathiyar's son swallows a coin while playing with a neighbour, and Parimalam gets the child to take home. The child becomes sick, and is saved by the village doctor at the last minute. Angered that Parimalam's carelessness almost killed his son, Vaathiyar banishes Parimalam, and she is taken to her father's home.
Weeks later, Vaathiyar comes to know about the truth regarding the coin incident, and feels sorry for Parimalam. When 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 Vaathiyar takes her back and nurses her to recovery. He also tries to take out Parimalam, but once they leave, the photo of his deceased wife falls and breaks due to wind. Vaathiyar takes this as ill omen and stops the plan. He also saves one of his students, who was about to be killed by his stepmother. He fears such treatment for his son in future.
Parimalam understands why 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, 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 Parimalam 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 Parimalam
- Poornima Jayaram as Vaathiyar's first wife
- Deepa as Pattu
- K. K. Soundar as Parimalam's father
- Nalinikanth as Sekar
- Peeli Sivam as the doctor
- Renuka as Parimalam Amma
- Sathya as Valli
- Sarala as Arukkani
- Master Suresh as Balu
- Thavakalai Chittibabu as Thavakkalai
- Bayilvan Ranganathan as Kumaresan
- Baby Sujitha as Raja (Vaathiyar's son)
A friend of K. Bhagyaraj had lost his wife, and refused to remarry. A woman had fallen in love with him and desired to marry him, leading to people in the town gossiping about them. Bhagyaraj asked himself if it was wrong for a woman to love a widower, and this laid the foundation for Mundhanai Mudichu. Another inspiration for the film's story was a poster of Ramu (1966) that Bhagyaraj had seen as a child. The poster featured the protagonist with his motherless son. Bhagyaraj wondered how it would be if he himself were in that position, and prepared the story of Mundhanai Mudichu. Unlike Ramu, the protagonist's son was changed from a preteen to an infant.
M. Saravanan of AVM Productions 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. Cinematography was handled by Ashok Kumar, and editing by A. Selvanathan.
Originally, Kalaranjini accepted to be the lead actress. However, she later declined as she could not set aside two months as asked to. Bhagyaraj then offered the role to her sister Urvashi who accepted, making her Tamil debut. Kovai Sarala, then a class X student, portrayed a 30-something pregnant woman. The film was made at a cost of ₹3 million (equivalent to ₹41 million or US$570,000 in 2019). 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".
|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. The film won the Cinema Express Award for Best Film – Tamil, and 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, and Aishwarya Rajesh joined as the female lead. The screenplay will again be written by Bhagyaraj.
The scene where Parimalam 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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