Nala Damayanthi

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Nala Damayanthi
Nala-Dhamayanthi.jpg
Directed byMouli
Produced byChandra Hassan
Kamal Haasan
Written byKamal Haasan,
Mouli
StarringMadhavan
Geetu Mohandas
Shrutika
Sriman
Anu Hasan
Music byRamesh Vinayagam
CinematographySiddharth
Edited byRaja Mohammad
Production
company
Release date
  • 6 June 2003 (2003-06-06)
Running time
138 minutes
CountryIndia
LanguageTamil

Nala Damayanthi is a 2003 Tamil comedy film directed by Mouli and written and produced by Kamal Hassan. The film stars Madhavan in the lead role, with Geetu Mohandas and Shrutika playing supporting roles. Telling the tale of a naive Tamil cook stuck in Australia, the film released in June 2003 to positive reviews. It was later remade in Hindi as Ramji Londonwaley in 2005.

Plot[edit]

Ramji Narayanaswami Iyer (Madhavan), a naive and docile Tamil Brahmin (Palakkad Iyer) cook, dreams of marrying off his sister Bhagyam (Divyadarshini) to a good family, as they are orphans and it becomes his sole responsibility. As per convention, he has shell out dowry for the marriage and somehow falls short of the agreed sum. Incidentally, the groom's family happens to admire the food cooked by Ramji and plans him to send to Melbourne, Australia as a cook for a multimillionaire Australian-based Indian family. In return, he has to send part of his salary as compensation for the dowry he owes.

The millionaire dies of indigestion the day Ramji arrives, leaving him jobless and without his passport and visa, which had been stolen. Desperate to stay and earn, he starts working illegally as a cook in an Indian hotel owned by an NRI Badri (Sriman), but to stay on, he needs to get a legal work permit as the immigration police are on his heels. Ivan (Bruno Xavier), Badri's cunning lawyer friend, explains to him that the only way out is marriage with an Australian citizen. Ramji reluctantly agrees for a fake marriage with Ivan's fiancé Damayanthi (Geetu Mohandas), a free-spirited motorbiker of Sri Lankan Tamil Christian background, and they get married over the weekend. For all these gimmicks, Ivan charges heavy fees from Badri and deposits in the joint account of his with Damayanthi. Ramji converts to Christianity, becoming Robert, and then moves into Damayanthi's house.

The police believes this is a fake marriage and decides to refer the matter to the consulate. Constant stalking by the police forces the couple to stay together to avoid detection by authority. Damayanthi is deeply troubled with the rural mannerisms of Ramji. To break the ice, Ramji cooks delicacies for Damayanthi and wins her heart. Over a period of time, Damayanthi realises that Ivan is fooling around with her and does not love her.

Meanwhile, Ramji is not able to send the dowry installments as promised and his sister's in-laws throw her out. Damayanthi handles this situation smartly, sends all the money received for the fake marriage in their joint account to her, and makes sure her long-time friend takes care of her. In their confrontation with the consulate, Ramji answers more than he is asked at the immigration office then is forced to return to India. Damayanthi eventually comes along to Palakkad and the film ends with a happy note where couple starts off a restaurant. Actors Kamal Haasan and Jayaram come to inaugurate their restaurant and wish the couple luck.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Kamal Haasan had written the script with himself in mind to play the lead role in the late 1990s, but never got down to making it because he felt it would not have been cost-effective.[1] Through the project, he had aimed to reprise his character of the Palakkad Brahmin cook Kameshwaran from Michael Madana Kama Rajan (1990) and place him in funny situations occurring in a foreign country. He had briefly considered making the film in early 1999 with the title of Londonil Kameshwaran after Marudhanayagam had run into production troubles, but instead chose to prioritise his commitments for Hey Ram (2000).[2] After the profitable Pammal K. Sambandam (2002), Mouli asked Kamal Haasan to re-collaborate with this particular script but Kamal Haasan was uninterested.[3] Madhavan was selected by Kamal Haasan to replace him, after the pair had shot for Anbe Sivam together in the period.[4] Geetu Mohandas was signed in February 2003 after Mouli had seen her picture in a magazine, and thus she made her comeback to the Tamil film industry after having appeared as the child in the 1988 film, En Bommukutty Ammavukku.[5] While casting for the role of the lead actress, the makers had made several broadcasts over Radio Australia without success. Mouli had been insistent on casting a new actress in Tamil and subsequently considered Malayalam actresses Kavya Madhavan and Navya Nair before finalising Mohandas. The actress was also recommended to the team by actor Jayaram.[6][7] Bruno Xavier, an Australia-based Sri Lankan Tamil actor, was selected to play the antagonist's role after a successful audition.[8]

The film was shot predominantly in Melbourne, Australia in February and March 2003 to make most of the daylight hours.[9] Anu Hasan, daughter of producer Chandra Haasan, helped with production duties and cut costs of the team's shoot in Australia, as well leading post-production works while also provided voice for the film's lead actress Geethu.[10]

Soundtrack[edit]

Soundtrack was composed by Ramesh Vinayakam.[11] The soundtrack for the film, which included an English folk song sung by Kamal Haasan, became a success.[12][13]

Nala Damayanthi
Soundtrack album by Ramesh Vinayakam
Released2003
Recorded2003
GenreFeature film soundtrack
Length28:22
LabelAn Ak Audio
ProducerRamesh Vinayakam
Ramesh Vinayakam chronology
University
(2002)
Nala Damayanthi
(2003)
Azhagiya Theeye
(2004)
Track list
No.TitleLyricsSinger(s)Length
1."Thirumaangalya Dharunam"Na. MuthukumarSujatha Mohan, Sriram Parthasarathy, Saijanani4:45
2."Pei Muzhi"Na. MuthukumarSharath, Sindhu5:47
3."Sudupattadha"Pradeep GovindKamal Haasan6:18
4."Enna Ithu Enna Ithu"Na. MuthukumarRamesh Vinayagam, Chinmayi5:14
5."Stranded On The Streets"Pradeep GovindKamal Haasan6:18
Total length:28:22

Release[edit]

The film was a moderate success at the box office and performed well in multiplexes across Chennai.[14][15] Sify gave a verdict that the film was a "comedy caper" and a "clean comedy with some warm moments".[16] The Hindu called the film a "decent offering", adding that "a logical storyline and a well thought out script by Kamal Hassan are definite scoring points that sustain viewers' interest till the end".[17]

Kamal Haasan stated that he intended of remaking the film in Hindi, with the title of Maharaj, but the project did not take off.[1] Madhavan later wrote and starred in a Hindi version, Ramji Londonwaley, which released in September 2005.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "'Someone has taken a political ride on my vehicle' – Rediff.com India News". Inhome.rediff.com. 21 June 2003. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  2. ^ http://m.rediff.com/movies/1999/mar/10ss.htm
  3. ^ "Director Mouli on Nala Damayanthi — Rediff.com Movies". Election.rediff.com. 15 February 2003. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  4. ^ "Kamal Haasan and Madhavan on their film Anbesivam". Mypage.rediff.com. 9 January 2003. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  5. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20030609032956/http://chennaionline.com/reeltalk/may24.asp#rtalk7
  6. ^ http://www.rediff.com/movies/2003/feb/11geetu.htm
  7. ^ http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/mp/2003/06/12/stories/2003061200270202.htm
  8. ^ "Winsome Villains". The Hindu. 14 August 2003. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  9. ^ "Success graph". The Hindu. 22 April 2003. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  10. ^ "Metro Plus Madurai / Profiles : Spreading fragrance everywhere". The Hindu. 16 December 2006. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  11. ^ "Nala Dhamayanthi (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". Deezer. Anak Audio. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  12. ^ "Cinema Plus / Columns : My first break". The Hindu. 7 November 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  13. ^ "Kamal Haasan sings in English". Rediff. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  14. ^ http://www.rediff.com/movies/report/kadhal/20030806.htm
  15. ^ ${FullName} (10 June 2003). "Nala Damayanthi Review — Tamil Movie Review". Nowrunning.com. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  16. ^ "Movie Review:Nala Damayanthi". Sify. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  17. ^ "Nala Damayanti". The Hindu. 13 June 2003. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  18. ^ "Alas, Ramji could have been good — Rediff.com movies". Inhome.rediff.com. 2 September 2005. Retrieved 18 October 2012.

External links[edit]