The trailer for today’s release, Premigalige MMCH, has a few hard-hitting dialogues and B-grade visuals. The movie, too, has them, unfortunately, in large quantities. They are tackily stacked on top of one another. And it gives no breathing space for the viewers to digest them.
Ragini Dwivedi, billed as a “special appearance”, actually plays a supporting role. She gets a masala “hero introduction” scene that’s replete with punch dialogues (in the North Karnataka accent as her character hails from that region) and unbelievable fight sequences. She, single-handedly, kicks the derrieres of 10 burly men. Oh, that’s not it. She tells the men who’ve come to rape her (yes, that’s their agenda) that she’s drunk and, yet, she doesn’t lose her balance even once. However, a couple of minutes later, she struggles to stand straight in the commissioner’s office.
Wait! Here’s a spoiler. She isn’t brought in for breaking the bones of the dirty criminals; she’s a cop. She has a murder case to solve. The Indian film producers and directors would probably like to give the tag of a “rough-and-tough cop” to Dwivedi’s character (named Jhansi Rani). Malashri was regularly playing such kinds of cops on screen a decade ago. And the audiences were busy purchasing tickets for her movies back then. It looks like the era of Dwivedi’s cop avatar has begun though her box office pull isn’t in the same league as Malashri’s.
And that reminds me, I still haven’t introduced you to the MMCH part of the title. Those letters belong to a gang of four women (played by Meghana Raj, Samyukta Hornad, Prathama Prasad, and Deepti). They become friends in the college hostel as they share a room. They wake up at 1 in the morning and yell “Happy Friendship Day”. That’s the bond they are known for. They stand by each other through thick and thin, and, I have to tell you, it’s oddly satisfying to watch these women chase and hunt down the thugs who harass them.
These sunshiny bits pass off as cotton-candy entertainment. But the treatment given to the content by writer-director Mussanje Mahesh is full of WhatsApp lessons and preachy messages, and that’s where the interest in wanting to sit till the end of the case (and the movie) dips. He takes the entire first hour to mount a whodunnit, and, then, takes the second hour to narrate the tales of crimes committed against women.
Inconsistencies plague the movie, and there’s not a moment that lets you enjoy the proceedings. The film’s best portions are the ones with Jhansi Rani – along with her assistants – trying to piece together the clues that she’s got from different places to put a name and a face to the victim, as the post-mortem examination is simply not enough to give all the answers in one go.
Premigalige MMCH, in the times of #MeToo, could have become an exemplary film in Kannada cinema. But it ends up as a shoddy mess that doesn’t deserve even a mention in the same breath as the raging movement.
And, before I wrap up, let me walk you through the opening scenes. The students of a Bengaluru-based college are asked to read about the lives of MMCH (Megha, Mala, Chaya, and Harshitha) by a well-meaning lecturer (the four girls were her students once upon a time). She’s got books that have their life-stories in them.
I’m sure those students wouldn’t have gone past page 30 if this book were given to them for real.
(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.)