It’s very hard to sit and watch Mogudu Pellam O Dongodu for a full 2½ hours. That’s because it is just a 1½ hour movie. In addition, if you cut out all the unimportant parts, there are just 12 minutes left. And from this if you further cut out the credits and the interval, there’s just 2 minutes left. Correctly identifying these 2 minutes takes practice, but isn’t impossible. Yes, you just have to go with self-belief and determination. The film itself acknowledges this when it says in its promos, "This film has 4 champions – Raja, Shriya, Brahmanandam and you." Need we say more?
Mogudu Pellam O Dongodu is an experiment with making a film using just 3 characters. It is more successful than an experiment in drinking cyanide, but not much. It starts with Sriramachandra Murthy (Raja) and Satyabhama (Shriya) in their bedroom for their first night. Ram has on his mind the one thing that every self-respecting man has, but Satyabhama tells him that they have to wait 2 more hours, until midnight, for a good muhurtam.
Ram is impatient, though, and his concern is understandable – they are going to run up huge bills on astrologers if they have to run this test every time they feel like making love, and he’d probably have to pay a premium to the astrologer to keep him from mentioning this in his memoirs under the chapter titled "Hee Hee Haw Haw Har Har!!!". But Satyabhama persists, and he has no choice, since it’s been scienfically proven that women are unreasonable.
That does not stop him from trying to seduce her, and like a pesky mosquito that keeps coming back to drone in your ear despite all your shooing, he keeps at it. And the film is just as interesting as that mosquito. And just as you’re about to finally give in to the torture and confess everything, enters Brahmanandam as a thief.
Every once in a while comes a performance in a film that resurrects a confirmed disaster, that single-handedly delivers full value for your money, that adds a star to the rating all by itself. Unfortunately, this movie has no such performance. Brahmanandam has a role that is scripted even more poorly than those of the other two, and the second half has three people boring you instead of two.
Mogudu Pellam O Dongodu has a story that should have been a 10-minute comic interlude in a normal movie. There’s a difference between being creative and doing something different, and low budget films almost always need to have money substituted by enormous thought. It’s actually possible to make this an entertaining film, but the kind of intellectual effort required to come up with that quantity and degree of humor, and of tender moments, is clearly beyond the capability of the guys who made this.
With just a few exceptions, the jokes are either too bland or too clichéd. It’s such a challenge filling up space, you can almost hear the sighs of relief of the writers every time they come up with a new premise for a joke. Brahmanandam’s role is a specific disaster in point – there could have been so much more there. Instead he passes urine into a bottle of Chivas Regal. Laugh at that. And there are a couple of throwbacks to the couple’s courtship in a desperate attempt to fill up time.
Shriya, gorgeous as usual, is 85% of the reason an average man would want to watch the film, the other 15% being that he’s nuts. For women, it’s 30% Raja, 70% nuts. The performances are okay, but Raja isn’t energetic enough, and his comic timing needs a lot of improvement. Brahmanandam doesn’t need any endorsement – he just needs good concept-writers.
Your 1½ hours certainly have other uses.