Mirchi Part 2: I Still Have So Much More to Say!

Like I said yesterday, I am being lazy this weekend, because it’s summer and a feel like it.  So, I am splitting a movie post into two pieces, and I am pulling from an old email to fill it out.  But whatever, it’s a really good movie!  And it’s been a while since I posted about a Telugu film, so it was time.
(First half of the post is here)

I already covered the first half, with everything up to the big fight scene before the interval.  And now, interval!  And then, post interval!  I liked the second half better, and therefore have less comments about.  After he returns from his big fight scene, Richa is all excited to tell him that her family is arranging their engagement.  Which inspires him to say he can’t marry her, and then give her a very very long explanation, which involves a massive hour plus flashback.

See, months back, he was kind of a momma’s boy living in Hyderabad.  First, his mother is smoking hot, right?  I may have to show this to a man to confirm, but I am pretty sure she is the most attractive woman in the film.  And I just wiki’d her, and she is 47!!!  And apparently kind of like Madhuri in terms of personal life, walked out on a promising film career, moved to America for a while, and then came back in her 40s to do mother roles and host a game show.  Which I guess is why she gets the big post-interval introduction and all the big acting bits.  Because she is a beloved returning heroine.  Oh, and worked primarily in Tamil and Malayalam films, which makes me think of the usual stereotype that there are no good parts for heroines in Telugu films.

(so pretty!)

His pretty pretty mother is a wedding organizer in the city.  I am fascinated by how wedding planner and fashion designer are the only acceptable big career paths for women in Indian film.  Oh, and interior decorator.  Sort of like “architect” in America for men.  I’m guessing it’s because organizing events and making clothes and decorating the house are an acceptable hobbies for an upperclass woman?  So it is also an acceptable passion?  I mean, there are heroines who are just shop girls or office workers, but if they have their own business and devote their life to it, it is fashion design, interior decorating, or wedding organizer.  Especially for mothers, lots of sons of wedding designers in Indian films (off the top of my head, this, Hum-Tum, and Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna).  Which, I suppose makes sense, because it would be the Aunties organizing weddings, so it is a very acceptable middle-aged woman kind of job.  And, plot wise, it is very handy to have that be the hero’s mother’s job, since it gives plenty of ways to meet pretty young women.

Anyway, at the wedding, he and his Mom are watching the groom and his father interact, and Prabhas makes fun of him a little.  Which, pot-kettle much, Momma’s boy?  The exchange when he makes fun of the groom and his Dad is really sweet though, in an odd way.  I noticed that it isn’t the official “Dad-jobs” like finding a bride or greeting the guests even, but just the little love pats, which his mother responds to and he makes fun of.  So it isn’t that “a boy needs his father!” type thing, but just a “I am sorry you missed the chance to be with a person who loves you” that is missed.  Also, I liked that he seemed confident, but not that interested or comfortable with girls, in this brief glimpse.  Which is an early indication that the character from the whole first half, the one Richa met was never the real him, because the real him wouldn’t have flirted and danced with her to begin with, because he isn’t that interested in girls.

Except for our heroine!  Who is a cousin? Sort of?  Anyway, another member of the household back in his home village, which he finally visits after his mother tells him that his father is still alive and living in his village in order to maintain the peace between villages in their little feud.  Anyway, I love the heroine!  And she is the kind of heroine I associate with South Indian films/actions films that I really like.  The heroine in Singham, in Son of Sardaar, and in Dabangg (all southern remakes), were all kind of like this.  Earthy village girls who went after the guy and got into fights and bossed men around.

(also, I recognize the actress from Bahubali!)

And then there is another nice peaceful breaking up of an arranged marriage, just like in the first half. It didn’t take much to break up the arrangement, with no bad feelings on either side, but it took a little more than just the heroine saying she didn’t like him.  But in this case, she took it into her own hands!  She didn’t wait for some guy to convince her mother, she just went off and bullied the servant/poor relation into helping her and talked to the boys herself.

I was also really interested in the respective strength and understanding of the two women.  Richa was highly educated and had lived abroad.  But she was still shyly waiting for the guy she liked to show up, she didn’t speak up for herself when she didn’t like a guy, and her interactions with the hero were all kind of shallow, showing off her figure and stuff, not really talking about family or anything. In contrast, Anoushka has a high school education, has never been abroad, has never lived outside the home.  But she is completely able to take care of herself, to speak her own mind, and Prabhas responds to that strength.

So, right, he goes back to the home.  There were two things I found really great and interesting about his meeting with his father.  First, again, it was all about just loving him.  There was no “and now I will learn how to be a man!” or “now I can take your blessing!”, it was just really nice to be together.  And the first village song did so much work in building his character and relationship to the people!  It showed his growing respect and love for his father, and his father’s blind devotion to him.  But more importantly, it showed his growing sense of love and responsibility for the village people.  A leader in the best possible way.

Oh, also, in the middle when he is carrying children out of the flood, I couldn’t help but remember that one scene in the item song in Bahubali when he lifts all the three woman simultaneously.  And then when the bad guys come, and he reacts (great shot with his uncle’s fist, and then his in the background!), you know it isn’t just “mirchi” anger, anger responding to anger, but it is because of his sense of protection towards the people they threatened and his love and honor for his father.  And it felt like his threat to the bad guys, saying “the son has arrived!”, or whatever it was, also related back to the peaceful song.  Because it made it clear that the villagers really needed a new generation of leaders, and that it was too much for his father to continue handling all on his own.  Both in terms of helping with flooding and solving disputes and so on, and in terms of protecting as needed.  It almost seemed to indicate that, maybe, his father wouldn’t have been so pacifistic all these years if he hadn’t been so aware that 600 families were resting solely on him, with no back-up.  And then his follow up to the threat, pushing so hard that the car window glass breaks under his hand was just cool.

Oh and I forgot, also in the song, her lifting him to get fruit off the tree, completely subverting our expectations, was just awesome.

And then there was the fire on the village and they went to the police, who did nothing.  That was interesting.  It wasn’t exactly saying the police are useless, or not worthy of respect, everyone did show up for the meeting, but it was definitely saying that they can’t really solve a situation like this, it’s not a matter for police, it is a matter for the village leaders.  And then his father decided to send him back to the city, which I thought was such an important segue in the film.

We get to see that he is truly driven by protection for the villagers and his father, not by raw anger.  It’s not like he gets back to the city and starts busting heads.  Even when his co-worker starts flirting with Anoushka (so cute!), he reacts by threatening him verbally, not by smashing heads.  So he has control, just not in the village situation.

And more importantly (for me!), it fills in the gaps of the Anoushka romance.  She can handle his urban life just as well as she can handle his village life.  And he starts acting in that “pseudo-husband” way towards her, not just flirty flirty like in the first half with Richa.  He is arranging where she is staying and what she is doing, he is watching her around the house, being natural, and he is taking it slow and just enjoying the feelings, not feeling the need to rush anything because it feels so secure.  That, to me, is what was so awesome about their love song.  That they are both just so confident in the relationship, that there is no need for games or even open flirting, it’s just there.

 

And then he kills like 30 guys.  Which I don’t think was supposed to be super shocking, but it was!  Not seeing the fight scene, but just the aftermath, somehow made it worse.  Although, again, you notice he didn’t just accost them in a cafe, he knew they had come to his house looking for his mother and his girl, so it was his protective instincts coming through, not pure violence.

And then he sends the girl back to the village, where she immediately calls his mother and resolves their love story.  It is super abrupt!  Not bad, but really fast!  I like that she had no worries about just calling his mother and telling her everything, it goes back to her “going for what I want” attitude, and the security she had that he did truly love her.  And I like that of course he showed up after he heard about her phone call!  And he is back in his button shirt village wear.

Oh, speaking of, I think I might be getting now why Rajamouli wanted him for Bahubali.  Because in this movie, again, he really did change on a dime from this sort of over the top out there cool dude to super serious responsible leader.  In his voice, his walking, even his way of fighting, completely different between the two personas.

So once the love story is resolved, wedding time!  And we have the mother arriving, and again she is just so pretty!  And the conversation between his two parents where it seems like they may be getting back together, yay!  And then wedding!  Him tickling her foot during the ceremony was my favorite part.

And then that amazing fight scene!  If I was understanding it correctly, it wasn’t just that he was being blatantly violent, it was that he was inspiring others at the wedding to the same violence.  I think we saw some shots of background characters we were supposed to recognize (but I didn’t), pulling out their machetes and joining him, which was the first time (I think) that anyone besides Prabhas himself had fought on behalf of the “good” village.

Oh, that reminds me, I liked, again going back to the general “what makes a good leader” concept, how well the contrasted the two households.  Manasa’s house, everyone was sad, the women spent all their time in the kitchen, the only prospective grooms were worthless, everything was bad.  His house, again very traditional village place, but the women were happy and had time to play, and the villagers celebrated with the leader, and there was a constant stream of high quality grooms.  So just changing the leader, even if everything else was the same, made it all better.

So yeah, awesome fight scene.  Oh, and I forgot, again the cop is involved right before when he warns Prabhas’ father that Prabhas has been fighting.  And again, not as someone who can truly help with this situation, but as a sort of outside observer who can sometimes be kind of useful.

So, sad wedding, but I like that Anoushka is totally willing to follow him when his father banishes him for teh big fight.  And a definite Ramayana reference.  With his “wife” wanting to join him in his banishment and the whole village following him to the very border.  And even if Anoushka didn’t follow him, I liked his casual comment about hearing from her later, like “I don’t even need to emphasize this, of course we stayed in touch!”  Oh, and right before the banishment, again the grabbing the machete in a distinctive “this is a weapon that belongs in my hand!” kind of way, not just “this is used to cut coconuts!”

So then, back to present where he is explaining this whole thing to Richa, and that it is why he decided to come to her village and teach everyone to be “happy” so they will stop fighting.  But also still fight them when they threaten his family.  And then there is a conversation Richa’s evil uncle that I think is supposed to explain the whole non-violent/violent philosophy, but actually I think the song in the background did it better.

I believe the subtitles said “it takes a man who can do both.”  I think that might have been the point.  That it wasn’t enough to be passive, like his father, and just sit back and refuse to respond.  You had to be willing to fight when it was time to fight, but also able to hold back and try for love when you could.  Didn’t he also say something about “changing” them?  I guess that could be it too, that you had to be strong enough to go into the enemy camp and force them to change, instead of just staying within your own boundaries and working on yourself.  And then the old crippled guy from the evil family talks and calls for love, which I have totally seen before in another movie but I can’t remember which one, and we see Richa all happy (I guess just because the feud is over?  “Cause she’s sure not going to get together with Prabhas!  Which was her initial unhappiness, that she didn’t want to go home and get back into it), and Prabhas’ Dad shows up with his villagers.  Don’t get that bit, are they finally ready to fight for themselves?  Or did they just come as witnesses?  Or to try to save Prabhas?  Or just to make the ending tidier?

And then the end end bit, his reunion with Anoushka, which was awesome!  Felt like they were in a different movie than everything else.  Very just the bubble of them being happy.  They really had great chemistry in this, makes me excited for seeing their romance in the next Bahubali!  And a little disturbed at them as mother and son in the last Bahubali.

(Disturbing now!)

And The End

 

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21 thoughts on “Mirchi Part 2: I Still Have So Much More to Say!

  1. There are so many things to unpack and correct in this (part 1 and 2), but for now let me just say, Dabangg is not a remake of any southern film, but an original Hindi script.

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        • I know it is, as in it is Telugu and it came out last year (I saw it 8 times in theaters in 2 weeks! The ticket taker started laughing when he saw me coming by the end of it). But I am assuming it isn’t the norm for Telugu films? The budget alone, I imagine, would set it apart. And I don’t think there is a huge category of historical/fantasy epics? So something like Mirchi, set in modern times with a more modest plot and budget, would be more the norm.

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          • Wow, you beat me in terms of number of viewings for Bahubali! I only managed four times, but that was because the Telugu film only had four screenings, and I refused to see the Hindi dubbed version.

            Actually, the Bahubali type of films (in terms of subject matter) were the staple of Telugu films at one time, and in fact the Telugu industry was considered the best at this genre (wrongly called “mythological” when it was based on Hindu scriptures). There was another genre that was very popular, too, which you might call “folkloric” — some of them were based on actual famous folk stories, and others were made up by the script writers, but the point is that they weren’t based on any kind of religious stories, but they still had elements of fantasy (magic spells, etc.) and plenty of sword fighting. But such films haven’t been made for about 30 years. However, one of that kind, considered THE classic Telugu film was just re-released in a colorized version a few years ago, and it’s on youtube with English subtitles, so while I’m getting my Salman list together, go watch that. It’s Mayabazaar. Have fun! 🙂

            Incidentally, one comment I wanted to make regarding your observation on how adept the actors in Mirchi and Bahubali were in sword/machete fighting: The action director for Bahubali is an American (Lee Whitaker, I think), and he said on twitter that he was amazed by how physically “talented” all the Indian actors were in doing the action sequences (he called Prabhas “a beast of a talent”), much more so than American actors. I wanted to ask him if he thought that was because all the Indian actors also have to dance, so they have to develop that physical coordination, but alas, I never did. I do think it’s probably part of the explanation.

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  2. Hey, I just typed up a long list of Salman’s films to get you started on your Salman week watching, and, maybe because of its length, the comment didn’t post at once, and I don’t see it now. Serves me right for not typing it up and saving on my computer first. So, can you give me some guidelines on any limits of comment length, or no-no’s in terms of formatting?

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    • Okay, i’m back from my meeting now and I can respond to this! I don’t think there are any big no-nos. If there are more than 2 links in a comment, it gets put in limbo until I accept it. And the first time someone comments, i need to approve them, and then after that if you use the same email to login, it will go right through.

      I don’t see any “limbo” comments, I’ll check the automated spam filters and, fingers crossed, I’ll find it there! Over the weekend I watched Suryavanshi, Saajan, Dil Ne Jise Apna Kaha, and Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai, so I need more recs!

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      • Good grief, you watched the one film that wasn’t on Youtube that I was going to recommend (Saajan). I admire your dedication! OK, I’ll post the whole list up again.

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        • Just wondering — have you watched all these films all the way through, or just skimmed them, skipping anything you found boring?

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          • All the way through. I don’t believe in fast-forwarding movies, or stopping in the middle. It’s one of my “rules”, along with watching the original before the remake and reading the book before I see the movie. Although, I may have left the room to make popcorn for a few minutes during a comedy scene or that type of thing.

            Which isn’t to say I have a crystal clear memory of all of them! Like Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya, I think I watched if 5 years ago or something? Not in theaters, but probably within a year of when it was on DVD. So my memory of it is very very hazy. But the Rajshris I’ve seen multiple times, Biwi No. 1 I randomly just re-watched pretty recently, Dabangg I loooooooooooove and I’ve probably seen about a dozen times (I have a weekly movie night and it was a crowd favorite, so we just kept re-watching it). So, it varies. I try to watch as many movies as possible straight through, paying attention. And then if I really like them and/or they are good to watch with a crowd, they enter my weekly movie night rotation and I end up re-watching them a lot. Or, if they’re newer movies, and they are big releases, I usually see them 3 to 6 times before they leave theaters. Bajrangi Bhaijaan was like that. And Ek Tha Tiger.

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  3. Fascinating background! I am especially interested in your point about how the different kinds of agricultural labor affected gender roles. That makes complete sense to me, that something so basic can change everything about how the power balance works in a society.

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  7. Finally here to comment on part 2!

    I liked the second half better, and therefore have less comments about.

    Haha, a woman after my own heart. 🙂

    I’m guessing it’s because organizing events and making clothes and decorating the house are an acceptable hobbies for an upperclass woman? So it is also an acceptable passion?

    Now that you’ve mentioned it, this is true! A lot of flower shop owners, as well. A few doctors. But not very many! I think it also has to do with these being professions that are not considered “serious” – a designer can always say, “Hey, I want to close shop for a while to follow this guy I fell in insta-love with!”

    Which is an early indication that the character from the whole first half, the one Richa met was never the real him, because the real him wouldn’t have flirted and danced with her to begin with, because he isn’t that interested in girls.

    This never occured to me! But I like this explanation – I feel like you’ve put more thought into the characters than the writer/director did. 😛

    Except for our heroine! Who is a cousin? Sort of?

    Dun dun DUNNN! This is where I cross-check what you remember from my lesson the other day. 😛

    No, but you are right. 🙂 She is a cousin – of the Type 2 marriage – maternal uncle’s son-bava (Prabhas) and woman’s daughter (Anushka).

    the heroine in Singham

    So….Anushka WAS the heroine in Singham. All three of them! 🙂 Although she isn’t a village belle in them. 🙂

    But she is completely able to take care of herself, to speak her own mind, and Prabhas responds to that strength.

    Wow, loved this thought. 🙂 Yes, it makes sense, because it shows why Vennela is the one Jai will end up with, despite all his flirting with Manasa. Like I said, you’ve thought more about these characters than the director has! 😛

    lso in the song, her lifting him to get fruit off the tree, completely subverting our expectations, was just awesome.

    Haha, yes, loved that scene as well. A tiny little moment, but like you said, it illustrates the difference between the two heroines.

    And then he kills like 30 guys. Which I don’t think was supposed to be super shocking, but it was!

    I always thought he knocked them unconscious? Cause – killing 30 guys barehanded in 10 minutes – without any blood – is stretching it a little too much, even for Telugu films. 😛

    And then he sends the girl back to the village, where she immediately calls his mother and resolves their love story.

    Soooo this is where I guess cultural immersion comes in? Cause every Indian viewer knew what had happened at the end of Idedo bagundi – Vennela’s father comes to pick her up and bring her back home, cause there’s a potential bridegroom coming over to meet her for an arranged marriage. It’s also why she calls her aunt afterward and not Jai himself – arranged marriages always have the blessings of the couple’s parents. So I guess Vennela thought that if her atha didn’t want her to marry Jai, she just wouldn’t tell him about V’s phone call. So, when Jai turns up at her house, it means that Jai/Vennela’s relationship is sanctioned by the parents, as well.

    then there is a conversation Richa’s evil uncle that I think is supposed to explain the whole non-violent/violent philosophy

    As I remember, it was more about the idea of masculinity being tied to aggression and violence. Richa’s uncle argues that a “real man” isn’t one who turns the other cheek but one who can take an eye for an eye. It resonates with Indians, of course, because of Gandhi’s Ahimsa Movement, and also because many villages did move away from it after Independence, getting involved in bloody family feuds. Jai, on the other hand, thinks it takes a “real man” to meet enemies with love, which ties in with the ending, when Uncle’s family collectively realises who the “bigger” man is and decide to adopt Jai’s non-violent approach to things.

    That it wasn’t enough to be passive, like his father, and just sit back and refuse to respond.

    Deva explicitly says this, actually, in the big father-son reconciliation scene. He says that Jai’s way is better because he aimed to end the enmity by changing his enemies into friends (DDLJ style!) instead of wishing for the enmity to end because the enemies got too tired of waiting for a response! 😛

    Prabhas’ Dad shows up with his villagers

    I thought it was because they magically found out that Jai was holed up – or trapped – in the enemy camp? Or Vennela told them, since they were in touch?

    They really had great chemistry in this, makes me excited for seeing their romance in the next Bahubali!

    So…now I need to read your BB2 posts to see if you loved their chemistry as much as I did. 🙂

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    • Also, I remember reading in an interview with Rajamouli that he didn’t have too many mother-son scenes between Prabhas and Anushka in BB1 precisely because of their awesome chemistry. 😀

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    • Good point on how they are also professions that can kind of bend if you fall in love with someone. Although according to this film, the “manly” construction firm job can also just sort of disappear for months at a time when our hero has to go off on some quest.

      I always put more thought into characters than the director! Except for Bahubali, where they really did work all this stuff out in advance. Part of the reason I find those films so refreshing.

      If she is that kind of a cousin, what is she doing living in his father’s house? Wouldn’t that mean her father is living off of his in-laws which is a big no-no? Or is it only a no-no in the north, not the south? Or is it just because this is a vacation or something and she doesn’t normally live there?

      Plus, Anushka is tall! Only half joking, there is a definite difference in how they look onscreen together than how he looks with other heroines. A kind of “rightness”. The visuals tell you they are equals.

      I am sure his clothing just repels blood, so there is never any evidence of violence, even after mass murder. But it is funny, I saw somewhere a criticism of B1 for how Shivu kills all these people presumably for the first time in his life and has no issues with it. But heroes are always like that! Happy carefree city guy stumbles into a village feud/happy carefree village guy stumbles into a city gang, they get really mad and in their very first fight kill everybody. And then there’s no nightmares of PTSD or anything about it!

      Okay, that makes sense. So the going back to the village and the phone call are all of one piece.

      I love the way this film goes with “I am winning you over with love, which involves a lot of cool fight scenes” as their thesis statement. It doesn’t quit work, but it almost makes sense if you squint a little.

      On Wed, Jun 28, 2017 at 8:30 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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