Mudhal Ni Mudivam Ni is directed by Darbuka Siva and is streaming on ZEE5. It has a large cast of young actors including Kishan Das, Purva Raghunath, Meetha Raghunath and K Harish in the lead.
It’s a pretty cool trip back to the school days, in the late 90s, with kids and their issues. Now, these are not my school days at all. But it doesn’t really matter. Because by looking at someone’s school days, you extrapolate them to your time in school. It brings out a kind of nostalgia that is universal and doesn’t matter what time or era you are from.
This is why we are able to relate to the first half of falling in love for the first time or drinking beer or watching porn for the first time, the scent mania of that time, or even school bullying. I had a very different memory, which I am not going to share with you because it will reveal too much.
In short, the first half of the film is structured like little seeds, tiny seeds with different characters that take us back to a particular time through the things these characters do. Mudhal ni Mudivam ni is probably a too heavy title for such a film. Because it has a nice smooth flow in the first half. This is a light, handy watch. Sujit Sarang’s cinematography, which is excellent and Darbuka Siva’s score at times gives us more depth and texture than the screenplay at times.
After a while, I began to wonder, would this film have done a better job with fewer characters, and looked deeper at their issues rather than looking light with this large cast and a sprinkling of issues. Still, as I said, the first half goes smoothly, making it an easy watch.
And it basically gives you the feeling of opening an old album and searching for photos. You’ve seen these photos hundreds of times, but when you’re in the mood and you open that album again, these pictures make you smile. It brings back memories, things like this happen a lot in this movie. It’s all very predictable, but the actors help a lot because they really look like the guy or the girl next door, they’re made a certain way and they all look really real.
But the second half gets serious and tries to do too much. And this is where you really get the feeling that perhaps the film should have focused more on the central couple and the central love angle rather than trying to treat everyone equally.
Now, this approach works in the first half, as this love angle is one of the many things that happen in the film. But when it becomes the crux of the film in the second half, you feel that the writing doesn’t have as much depth as the title deserves.
In the first half, the sharpness of the scenes really works as you get these light-hearted moments. But when the same approach is adopted in the second half, it feels a bit heavy. For example, a man is able to overcome his homophobia in exactly the same way as after a small talk.
Three people who are not really friends suddenly gather together and share their most intimate moments and confessions. These are big plot points and are treated like very casually thrown scenes. Also at two and a half hours, the film feels too long for something that is essentially quite predictable.
So Mudhal ni Mudivam ni does not have the texture and texture of Darbuka Siva’s music albums. As a director, he settles for something easier, more convenient and something more comfortable. But since we have come to like these characters quite a bit, all this film is not a bad watch either.
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Over the years, we have seen many campus flicks across the country in different languages. But only a few have really made an impact and evoked a sense of nostalgia. Darbuka Siva’s Mudhal Ni Mudivam Ni is one such film. It is a simple yet refreshing story of a group of high school students who go through the typical difficulties of teenage life.
Dreams, first love, music, guitar, football, video cassettes and what not? The 90s kids are sure to take nostalgia and go deep into their hearts as most of the scenes are quite relatable and everyone must have probably experienced the emotion at least once in their life.
Though this marks the directorial debut of composer-turned-filmmaker Darbuka Siva, he has churned out a well-made film with the same sensitivity as veteran filmmakers. He knows exactly how to tell this story, where to start and when to end. In the very first scene, Shiva takes us to the first day of high school, where friends Vinoth (Kishan Das), Cheeni (Harish), Durai (Sharan Kumar) and Su (Gautam Raj) go to their classes to check the list. wait outside.
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New admissions. They just want to know the names of the girls and who would be their perfect match without even noticing them! Within minutes, we are introduced to Rekha (Meetha Raghunath), whom Vinoth falls in love with. Their love in high school is innocent yet mature. Actually, some incidents between the two have happened till death in Tamil cinema, but are still connected.
A scene in which Rekha buys a guitar for Vinoth, an aspiring musician, is poetic and real. From listening to Rahman singing together on the Walkman to dancing on stage during the farewell, most of the scenes evoke memories of one’s first love. Trouble begins when Victoria (Harini Ramesh) enters their lives. The misunderstandings and complications that arise between the two lovers due to Victoria’s presence separate them and indirectly affect their lives after many years.
While the first half of the film makes you feel good, the second half leaves you with a heavy heart with some hilarious moments. The clever thing about the writing is that, Darbuka Shiva does not stop with the love story, but explores the beautiful aspects and complexities involved in the life of each and every person who comes into the film from the very first scene.
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For example, the character of Chinese is beautifully written. It is a pleasure to watch his love scene with Anu (Amrita Mandarin). Amrita, who is famous in the short-film circuit, has done really well and has completely placed herself in Anu’s place. Katherine (Poorva Raghunath), one of his batch mates, comes across as a girl with attitude and ego in the first half. But his backstory, which we get to learn later, melts our hearts.
Not to forget, actor Rahul Kannan’s characterization, from a loser to an LGBTQ activist, is a sight to behold. His performance is good and it takes a long time to play such a bold role. Actors like Varun Rajan, Naren and Sharan Kumar have also done well.
Gautam Raj’s comic one-liners have done a really good job and kept us hooked throughout. Kishan Das as Vinoth stays with you for a long time as his contrasting performances in the first and second half keep you hooked.
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While the script and its characters are well crafted and they have no complaints, the only question is, why does every filmmaker who deals with a campus flick finally end the second half with a reunion? Why should every event or solution occur only during the reunion, and not otherwise? Some of the post-interval sequences give us the feeling that the second half could have been different and offered more details on the individual characters’ personal lives with an interconnect rather than a reunion. But then, as the film progresses, the writing picks up pace again, giving us a sense of the director’s intent. oh wait! There’s also a surprising fantasy element, a cameo, by Darbuka himself.
The film also talks about what you really want and what life would be like if certain things were compromised at different stages of life.
Cinematographer Sujit Sarang’s color tones, angles and hand-held shots complement the script well. Though not technically sound, it takes us into the 90s world and shows us exactly what the director wants us to see. Darbuka Siva’s music also stirs up emotions in the latter part of the film.
Perhaps, the writer within him has helped create melodies that add some magic to the script. Overall, the film is definitely worth watching and will be loved by the generation who remember their school days.
“It’s like how quickly the years went by.” This line always finds its way into the dramas of the coming generations. In Darbuka Siva’s Mudhal ni Mudivam Ni, this line is said as a passing commentary, and yet, with the ability to make you well. It helps that until then, we are transported back to a simpler time by this film that captures the simple, forgotten details that lead to the chaos of adulthood.
Darbuka Shiva takes us into a world in which we all feel like high-school students. When Rahman’s music was heard on a shared Walkman set. When adult movies were watched secretly with friends. When a simple ‘back’ sets you free from all mistakes. The film is set in 1997, and follows the fresh batch of 11th grade students of St. Martin’s Matriculation Higher Secondary School, who are still battling the holiday hangover. We are first introduced to Vinoth (Kishan Das), Chini (Harish Kumar), Durai (Sharan Kumar) and Surendra (Gautham Raj), as they eagerly examine the new admission list to ‘reserve’ girls .
We get simple, catchy one-liners about physical appearances, but this is also an attempt to capture what passes for humor in 11th grade. When it becomes a problem, the Chinese wonder how else can a person be so dissolved. It is a line that speaks of innocence.
Most of the film is about the love story of Vinoth and Rekha (Meetha Raghunath). Although stories about high school romances aren’t new, these unique characters and fresh dialogue writing are testament to why love stories are immortal and universal.
Interestingly, Mudhal Ni Mudivam Ni is not just about these two; His story is one of many in the film. The film, in fact, establishes this during the very first scene. Surendra (Su, as he is called) tells Vinoth that he is not Nayak and that he is not Nayak’s friend. Sugar is the quintessential doll that everyone loves; Katherine (Poorva) always tries to win over moody teenager Sugar.
High school isn’t a magical time for everyone, and so, we also get a well-written subplot that deals with bullying and homosexuality. Richard threatens Francis (Rahul Kannan), and these scenes can trigger victims of bullying and harassment, especially those with a strange identity. Although the story follows several subplots, Vinoth can be seen as the protagonist as his actions anchor the timeline.
There is a striking conflict in Mudhal Ni Mudivam Ni, and the biggest surprise here is that the director himself appears to be playing an unexpected character. It’s a great addition and it serves to bridge the two timelines and tells us from an astronomical point of view that first love, as it is called in these movies, is the ‘best love’.
After this pivotal moment, the film leaps to the future when the characters meet for the reunion of an office-going father and mother. From here, the film takes an unexpected path and while the individual incidents are interesting, something goes wrong with how everything comes together. This may be related to the fact that, in contrast to the vibrant outside school life, we see all of these characters within the four walls of a nightclub.
For the setting, the 90s are showcased outdoors, and we revisit places like Spencer Plaza and Besant Nagar Beach; Careful effort is being made to ensure that nothing prematurely spoils the immersion. Perhaps the best scene of this second leg of the film comes when we hear Vinoth singing the song ‘Mudhal ni Mudivam Ni’. The status, visuals and music of Darbuka are sure to soothe broken souls in love. Another great step forward is how the title and story tie together.
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The climax is a killjoy, with some subplots completing incomplete conclusions, including one involving Francis. There seems to be many untold stories for these characters here, even as the narrator is referring to. For a film that was so clear about what it wanted to be, it lacks a better, more coherent conclusion.
Mudhal Ne Mudivam Ni could be a dream debut for most of its newcomers, and their lack of experience helps us buy into their performances. Even small nuances, such as changes in their behavior as adults, come to the fore as a result of development.
Kishan as Vinoth gives a compelling performance and becomes everything one would expect from the character: a goofy friend of Sugar, a love-struck teenager, a mature musician with no zest for life, And so on. Harish, on the other hand, stole the show as Cheeni. He brings out his quirky eccentricity in this beautifully written character and makes you crave a friend like him. Actors like Rahul, Poorva and Mitha take advantage of the opportunity whenever they come into the frame.
Sometimes, a coming-of-age movie like Boyz or Kana Kanum Kalangal reminds us why these stories work so well. Mudhal ni Mudivum ni is the latest example. We are Chinese. We are Francis. We are all of them and none of them. this darbuka