In Mugulu Nage, Golden Star Ganesh plays Pulkesh, a man with a strange affliction that makes him laugh instead of cry when he’s sad. But really, what seems to more fully define his condition is the absence of social filters and impulse control.
But that’s alright, because the world that Mugulu Nage inhabits is wonderfully welcoming of such a man, and his life seems to work out rather well despite him blithely saying and doing whatever he feels like at the moment. So, he can do such ‘quirky’ things as abandon the woman he loves at the doorstep of the airport, after promising her that they can pursue their dreams together in the US, and get away with just a few momentary tears and no great hard feelings.
If Pulkesh can’t tie himself to his first love’s ambitions because family and home are too important to him, the second woman is unwilling to tie herself to his dream of marriage. Not that she’s opposed to it in principle, but only that she can’t see herself taking that path.
Pulkesh is almost ready to give up on love, when romance strikes again. This time, there’s no free-spiritedness, no personal ambition, but rather, much like himself, a strong love for family. Will third time be the charm?
Director Yogaraj Bhatt, who teams up with Golden Star Ganesh again 10 years after the wildly successful Mungaru Male, is eager to turn Mugulu Nage into a quirky, unusual tale of love. But the journey is hit and miss, sometimes coming off just plain weird. In many places, the light and breezy air the film takes towards love and relationships seems artificially forced, pushing the boundaries of logic too far.
But along the way there’s enough visual finesse and good music to keep you more than engaged. And if you ignore the discomforting running joke involving a man with a pronounced lisp never being understood by anyone, you might find many parts of the film funny and entertaining. It’s also quite refreshing to see women characters who have ambitions, are perfectly comfortable living lives on their terms, and handle power tools and adult responsibilities with equal aplomb.
And while Ganesh is competent at playing a variation of his Mungare Male character, some of the supporting cast members like veteran Achyuth Kumar – as Pulkesh’s bewildered and frustrated father – are a treat to watch. Apoorva Arora, Ashika Ranganath and Nikitha Narayan are not too bad in the three female lead roles either.
However, when the dust finally settles, Pulkesh’s story seems to suggest that if you follow the straight path of job, marriage and children, life works itself out. That leaves you wondering why we had to take a meandering journey through multiple relationships to arrive at a point that is a fairly well-established default.
Mugulu Nage has its eminently watchable moments. So, what if you can’t think too deeply about it?