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Jhummandi Naadam : I appreciate the horny tale of Nigraham and Legs

July 3, 2010

Summer has come and gone, but I didn’t buy mangoes. The bandiwalas sell watermelon juice 365 days a year, but I never touch it. Sugarcane is out of the question, grapes are at times way too expensive. In short, I would prefer to watch and imagine the taste of fruits from a distance. It’s a different issue that my digestive system goes kaput at the very mention of this so called ‘health’ food. If you are wondering what this description of fruits has got to do with Jhummandhi Naadam, a movie starring Manoj and Taapsee, then you are asking a stupid question. It’s a K.Raghavendra Rao’s (KRR) film for heaven’s sake. Fruits are an integral part of the movie. What else did you expect from his films, especially when he chooses to direct a love story! Before you imagine the midriffs and navels of all those damsels whom KRR has immortalized, there’s a twist in this tale. The focus has shifted away from the midriffs. It’s more about legs and 3-4 inches above the knee, which I reckon was the threshold limit conjured by KRR himself. You see, there’s a thin line of difference between sensuality and soft p*rn. It’s still a million dollar question how the veteran director always manages to stay on the sensuality side of the thin red line.

The first movie of KRR which I remember of having seen on big screen was Chiranjeevi’s Gharana Mogudu. I was too young to understand why the crowd was going gaga over the film, especially Nagma and the songs. I bet, you still remember that rain song featuring Vani Vishwanath! Few years later, I saw the cult film Jagadeka Veerudu Athiloka Sundari on TV and I still didn’t understand why majority of the people thought Sridevi looked like an angel in the film. Then he surprised us with films like Annamayya and later Sri Ramadasu. I was enlightened about the hype surrounding KRR when I saw his prodigy, S S Rajamouli’s first film, Student No.1. Gajala was placed amidst oranges in a song and someone cracked a joke that the student has learnt some of his master’s tricks. The fruit became a symbol for sexuality and after revisiting some of KRR’s movies from the 90s, I finally understood why the fruits & vegetables would forever be indebted to him! It’s just not the fruits; the trick is in their placement and the expressions on the heroines’ face when these fruits hit them. That small act, small expression became a sensation that the male specie who were aware of KRR fell in love with his heroines. Ramyakrishna was one such actress. It’s an important aspect to understand, if you want to appreciate KRR’s style and why we prefer him the way he was and continues to be. Old school still has some valid lessons that the internet generation has to study before arriving at a conclusion.

Jhummandhi Naadam, the title is inspired from a popular lyric. Since the tag line ‘Music is my life’ is a giveaway, the film is about a young chap who wants to be the next SP Bala Subramaniam. Manoj, a Bhadrachalam bullodu comes to Hyderabad to fulfill his dreams of becoming a great singer. He falls in love with Taapsee, an NRI girl who comes to India to finish her research on traditional music from all over AP. Eventually they fall in love and several twists and turns later, it’s a happy ending. It’s been the same story since the whole concept of Adam and Eve was invented. However, unlike most other clichéd films with rotten storylines, Jhummandhi Naadam is like finding a preserved pickle amidst the rut of love stories. Of course, this pickle has all the ingredients of the rut, but it’s a product of KRR. It tastes the like it did in the 80s and 90s, but what’s impressive is its packaging to give the impression that it’s fresh.

I am a huge admirer of Manoj Manchu. He ain’t too handsome, but has enough energy to impress you. His voice is a little uncanny, but he carries that I-am-a-nice-guy look on his face quite well. Neenu Meeku Telusa, Prayanam, Bindaas and Vedam stand testimony of his zeal to put in a great effort in whichever role he chooses to play. Of late, his stunts have become quite popular, but with films like Bindaas and now, Jhummandhi Naadam he shows us that he can pull off a rom-com with ease. It’s unfair to say that he has gone a little too overboard in Jhummandhi Naadam with respect to his voice modulation and energy. Probably KRR preferred it that way. The other main character in the film, Mohan Babu delivers a noteworthy performance. The catchphrase ‘I appreciate you’ has been put to great use and the ‘Collection King’ was in great form. Thanks to his performance in this film, I can finally forget a nightmare named Saleem. His flamboyance was restrained and here he dons a role which is sensible with good comical undertones. The real father-son duo breeze through their scenes quite nicely. Yeah, the sense of humour takes you back to the 90s, but the silver lining is that it’s so typical of KRR.

Apart from the father-son duo, there are several other things which strike you in the film. Taapsee, Keeravani, S Gopal Reddy and KRR himself. All four of them complement each other and quite effectively manage to sustain the core essence of a KRR’s film. The latest catch from the damsel-breeding cities like Mumbai and New Delhi is Taapsee, a Punjabi kudi from Delhi. I am not sure if it’s numerology which prompted her to place an extra ‘a’ and two ‘e’s instead of ‘i’. But when someone has ‘see’ in their name, you ought to see what she looks like. Apart from being an eye-candy, she has that perennial smile on her face which makes her a pleasant watch. She plays the role of an NRI girl who loves Telugu sampradaayam and wants to shoot a documentary on what people sing out in the countryside. Taapsee delivers an honest performance in her debut film and if you haven’t noticed her while she was trying to act, blame the cinematographer S Gopal Reddy and KRR. It’s not her mistake that she’s naturally beautiful. Historically, a beauty in KRR’s hands means it will be explored and exploited to a certain level. I wonder if KRR has a natural eye to spot where to focus on when there’s a damsel in a particular frame. If it was the midriff and navel with Ramyakrishna, now the focus has shifted to Taapsee’s legs all the way upto 4 inches above the knees. I bet, you didn’t take your eyes off them. Instead, the jaw drops and you wish you could rewind the scene. That’s the power of sensuality, my dear folks. The fruits can wait for a while; there are better things to be gazed upon now!

Keeravani’s music in a KRR’s film has always been pleasant and this film’s no exception. It has a soft number, a fast paced one, a traditional song, a folk song and a raunchy number. Since songs depict the “real magic” of KRR, he doesn’t disappoint us. I couldn’t find grapes, maybe it was an off-season for them. Instead, there are loads of pumpkins (which fly), coconuts, several other fruits and lots of water splashed all over. I wonder what the analogy between a coconut and it’s placement on the chick’s midriff is! Taapsee smiles forever in the film and there’s no reason why you have to wonder why there are fruits everywhere. I would have been surprised if there weren’t any. S.Gopal Reddy, under the aegis of KRR puts the camera to great use. The low angle shots and extra close-ups wherever required stand out. KRR garu, thank you for proving us wrong. We, the so called neo-generation movie buffs might have got used to slicker films. But you still know the trick of how to control our hormonal levels. The formula has worked most of the times and you are perhaps one of the very few flag bearers of commercial cinema in its original format.

There’s a running joke in the film where Mohan Babu advises Manoj to go have a shower everytime the latter is tempted when he talks to Taapsee. They call it Nigraham, which loosely translates to resist oneself from dark temptations. KRR’s aura along with his latest showpiece named Taapsee shadow the wisdom of ‘Nigraham’. All the cinema halls were ill-equipped; they didn’t have the sprinklers to enforce Nigraham on the audience. As a result, Jhummandhi Naadam turns out to be a horny tale which tries to strike a balance between wisdom, nigraham and sensuality. I appreciate it. It’s a pity that the internet generation doesn’t have the patience to appreciate the very foundation of humour and commercial cinema. Some things ought to remain the same to preserve the essence. To expect that KRR will do a K.Vishwanath is as blasphemous as expecting K.Vishwanath do a KRR. Each of them represents a different school of thought which has its loyal audience. Thankfully, I am enrolled in both the schools. What I really miss in KRRs films these days, is the drama and the sheer scale he managed to pull off in his films. Imagine an average tour guide saving a deva kanya!!!  For now, I guess I will stay away from Coconuts along with rest of the fruits. And I don’t want to be in the state of ‘Nigraham’; Water is too precious and scarce these days.

P.S: KRR and the team of Jhummandhi Naadam, should consider auctioning the “fruits” which were used in the film. Maybe, there are plenty of takers out there. In future, I wouldn’t be surprised if some cosmetic company sponsors each of those fruits, vegetables and flowers used in KRR’s films. It’s a perfect brand placement strategy if you ask me.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 3, 2010 12:36 pm

    yummy 😛

  2. pavan141 permalink
    July 3, 2010 12:51 pm

    good review

  3. yalkur permalink
    July 4, 2010 11:38 am

    dude first 2 paras f dis review r utter waste..waste of time reading dat..ok review..but not as gud as ur previous 1s..

  4. July 4, 2010 12:15 pm

    bro, I did not like this review…too long and boring. I don’t think this movie is worth of so many lines…and I honestly think KRR is not worth of so much stuff that you mentioned. anyways, final gaa film worth a watch annaavaa? leka choodatam time waste aa?

    • Kamal permalink
      July 5, 2010 12:43 pm

      I was quite impressed with your ‘saleem’s honest review. However I clearly see that you are bit compromised in this. This movie is as bad as saleem. KRR perhaps would have given many successes but as a dierctor he never impressed me…not even one film. You mentioned that some how he didn’t cross the sensibilities but clearly this is movie is more than a soft porn….

      • yalkur permalink
        July 5, 2010 3:18 pm

        xactly…its crap..but beautifull crap..wen KRR started making dis kinda movies like making heriones xpose so much n calling it to good or wateva, dey were new to us den(PADAHARELLA VAYASU, so many ramyakrishna movies) dey had som sensible story line..but not dis 1… not anymore..dint xpkt dis 4m manojj.. u cud hav been more candid like in SALEEMs review..

  5. venky permalink
    July 12, 2010 6:29 pm

    babu …”Imagine an average tour guide saving a deva kanya!!!” did u intentionally go around JVAS ? if not why didn’t u mentioned “An ordinary man commanding Yama” may be ur more afraid of mentioning this .

  6. August 1, 2010 1:56 am

    Very sensible review.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S._P._Balasubrahmanyam

    Hemanth, I guess you are a Telugu too. Please consider writing the correct spelling of Balasubrahmanyam.

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