Urban love stories have a unique charm. They are engaging, entertaining and most importantly, relatable for the multiplex audience. As far as Sandalwood is concerned, urban love stories are a rarity. Lifeu Ishtene, Ayana, Katheyondu Shuruvagide, Iruvudellava Bittu, Nathicharami are a few that fall in this category.
Joining this list is Vinay Bharadwaj’s slice-of-life tale Munidna Nildana (Next destination). Filled with love and beautiful frames, the 1-hour-45-minute long movie leaves you craving for more. The movie opens with Partha Srivatsav (Praveen Tej) explaining his photos to a woman at an exhibition. Partha is an IT professional whose first love is photography. He loves to indulge in nature while playing with the camera. He accidentally meets Meera Sharma (Radhika Narayan), an art curator. A few cuppas later, friendship turns into love and they start living together. But when marriage comes up, there are complications. A medical student Ahana (Ananya Kashyap) also makes an appearance.
Unlike your usual love story, the characters here are independent and well-etched, keeping youngsters in mind. Like in the scene where Meera proposes to Partha. She doesn’t care about conventional dating rules and plays by her whims. So does Partha. He hates marriage and stands by his decision. But that doesn’t make his love any lesser.
The characters are an apt representation of millennials and their state of mind – be it career or love. The beauty of Mundina Nildana is that just when you think something is a cliché, a brilliant twist awaits you. What could have been just another love story has been carefully crafted as a slice-of-life film, courtesy a brilliant screenplay, rich cinematography and a fitting colour grading.
As you walk out of the film, you are left with the feeling of having witnessed something really beautiful, like you have taken a trip to the most beautiful place where you have not only enjoyed the stay, but also the whole journey. A lot of scenes linger within. Cinematographer Abhimanyu Sadanandan is the real hero here. Every frame is gorgeous. Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment has done the colour grading and the quality of work stands out. The contrasts, the props, the lighting are placed aptly and they pan out beautifully on the canvas. Be it Partha-Meera’s room’s balcony, the Himalayas, the Netherlands or Sakleshpura, everything has been captured artistically, especially keeping the youngsters and their tastes in mind.
Perhaps because it is an urban tale, the actors have gotten into the skin of the characters easily. Praveen Tej, who was earlier known for Simple Aag Innond Love Story and Churi Katte, emerges as a mature actor here. Years of film experience have made a difference in the way he faces the camera. This is also one of Radhika Narayan’s finest performances. She steals the show in the second half.
Ananya Kashyap is a revelation. She debuted as a schoolgirl in Neerdose and here, she passes with flying colours. Dattanna in a cameo role is brilliant as always. Ajay Raj as Eka, Partha’s friend, gives much-needed support to the actor. There are no unwanted characters and the film stays true to its roots. Another highlight is that none of the lead actors here are new, but since they have appeared in only a few films, their energy has helped the filmmaker maintain the freshness of the story.
It is hard to believe that this is Vinay Bharadhwaj’s debut movie. He has put in a lot of effort to narrate a charming story with the right pauses and frames. Most films in this genre usually end up being slow at some point, but Mundina Nildana maintains the pace throughout. And with the pauses comes Vasuki Vaibhav’s melodious music. The songs 'Manase Maya' and 'Innu Bekagide' stay with you. If you are tired of typical commercial films and want to experience something new and colourful, make sure you book your tickets to Mundina Nildana and enjoy this beautiful journey.
Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the series/film. TNM Editorial is independent of any business relationship the organisation may have with producers or any other members of its cast or crew.