More Mumbai Madness!

An Indian superhero AND martial arts film?!


by Martin Hafer

Welcome to another installment of my You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet! series–films that are so strange that you just need to see them to believe them!  Mugamoodi is an unusual Indian film to say the least.  The popular notions are that super-hero films are strictly an American creation and that Martial arts films must come from China or Japan.  However, in this genre-bending film from India you have BOTH types of film rolled into one!

Anand (Jiiva) loves martial arts and is exceptionally good at it.  However, he beats up a gang of tough guys right in front of the girl he wants to impress (Pooja Hegde).  The trouble is that she sees him as a thug and never gives him a chance to explain his actions and she doesn’t know that he was actually attacked by them!  So, he comes up with a crazy idea–to impress her with his skills by dressing up as a masked crime fighter!  This is insane, clearly.  However, in the process he ends up being pulled into the real world of organized crime (secretly operated out of the Dragon Kung Fu School) and actually helps the police catch a bad guy.  But how can one hot-head take on an entire gang of hardened crooks.  And, how can he ever get the girl–especially because later she comes to think he’s shot Granddad?!

While much of this sounds very unconventional for a Bollywood or Tamilwood* film, it does also stick firmly rooted in Indian films in style.  The typical romantic notion of love at first sight is a very common cliché in Indian romances.  So, typical with this cliché, Anand is tenacious and it does eventually pay off.  There also is the supposedly cute meeting that is very clichéd where she attacks him (this is a TERRIBLE scene by the way and makes no sense at all).  In real life, such  behaviors could get either of them arrested or at least in serious trouble for sexual harassment or assault!  Also, like most contemporary Indian films, it does have the obligatory song and dance numbers–though they are fewer than you would typically expect in such a movie.  And, like some Indian production numbers, these ones feature some very odd locales and camerawork to say the least.

So is this odd melange any good?  Well, yes and no.  As I mentioned above, the scene where the lovers-to-be meet is really dumb and there is one brief scene with a robot which is never explained!  But, it also is hard to dislike as well despite being a bit silly.  While the martial arts aren’t as good as you’ll see in the better Chinese films, the technique isn’t that bad and makes for some exciting scenes–even if the baddies have the silly habit of attacking one at a time!  The bottom line is that with such an outrageous combination of film genres, it’s really hard NOT to enjoy the film!

*While the word Bollywood has been applied to all Indian films, the Bollywood films technically come from Bombay (Mumbai) and are typically filmed in Hindi.  However, this is not the only film center in India and many are also made in Southern India in the Tamil language.  Mugamoodi is such a film.