The Kannada remake of the 2018 Telugu film ‘C/o Kancharapalem’, ‘Monsoon Raaga’ is directed by S Ravindranath.

Dhananjaya and Rachita Ram in Monsoon Raaga
Flix Review Friday, September 16, 2022 - 18:30
Worth a watch

The 2018 Telugu film C/o Kancharapalem is one of the best slice-of-life films to have emerged recently. Remakes are desirable, given that the film is socially relevant and rejects toxic masculinity through the insightful, sensitive portrayal of its male leads. The Kannada remake, Monsoon Raaga, directed by S Ravindranath brings to life four tales of romance, amid evolving attitudes on relationships, gender and religion.

Forty-nine-year-old Raju (Achyuth Kumar), a single man, cannot claim to be content with his marital status. Things seem to never work out for him and he often faces pressure from his peers to get married. He slowly, reluctantly falls in love with his 42-year-old work supervisor Haasini (Suhasini Maniratnam), who asks him to marry her.

Schoolboy Sundara wears a pink shirt to school to impress his crush, Suchitra, but ends up being ridiculed by his classmates. Joseph (Shivank) falls for Raaga Sudha (Yasha Shivakumar), a Brahmin woman, and wants to make his life worthy of her. A thirty-something Katta (Dhananjaya) is in love with Aasma (Rachita Ram), a sex worker who visits the bar he works at every night and buys a bottle of alcohol.

Even though Monsoon Raaga’s makers did not officially declare it a remake of C/o Kancharapalem, five minutes into the movie you can clearly identify the inspiration. Despite the undertones of religious and gender freedom, the film doesn’t do justice to the original story. The dialogues aren’t as impactful and do not carry as much weight as they do in the original.

The smooth flow of the screenplay is disrupted to fit in a drawn out romance between Katta and Aasma, in what appears to be an attempt to accommodate the off-screen stature of the actors essaying the roles. Perhaps as a by-product, Joseph and Raaga Sudha’s segment suffers, as it feels rushed and doesn’t give viewers enough time and context to feel invested in their love story.

Despite having a star-studded cast, Monsoon Raaga lacks the simplicity of C/o Kancharapalem. However, it’s the performances of Achyuth Kumar, Suhasini and the young actors who play Sundara and Suchitra that hold the film together. SK Rao’s cinematography is both aesthetically pleasing and ideally suited to the film’s content. The two-minute intro song ‘Raaga Sudha’ by composer Anoop Seelin – an apparent effort to win over Tulu-speaking audiences – is an earworm.

Monsoon Raaga’s endeavour to retell a lovely story while preserving elements of commercial appeal is admirable in a time when remakes often tend to butcher the original film. However, as someone who has watched and loved C/o Kancharapalem, I can confidently conclude that Monsoon Raaga is a notch below the original.

Watch the Monsoon Raaga trailer here:

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film's producers or any other members of its cast and crew.

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