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Nala Damayanthi (2003)

Indian version of Depardieu's "Green Card".

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Ramji
...
Damayanthi
Shrutika ...
Malathi
...
Badri
...
Amloo
Santhana Bharathi ...
Flight Passenger
...
Immigration Officer
...
Ramji's Uncle
Madan Bob ...
Ramji's Cousin
Vaiyapuri ...
Ramji's Cousin
Divyadarshini ...
Bhagyam
...
Ivan
...
Inspector Hector
...
Mourner
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Storyline

A village cook Ramji (Madhavan) goes to Australia to become a chef at a multi-millionaire Indian's home. Unfortunately, the millionaire dies of indigestion the day Ramji arrives, leaving him jobless with an expired visa. Desperate to stay and earn, he starts working illegally as a cook, but to stay on, he needs to get legal. A solution comes up when Damayanthi (Geetu Mohandas), a free-spirited biker, agress to marry the docile cook for a price. Written by Joyojeet Pal

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Comedy

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3 July 2003 (India)  »

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Connections

Remade as Ramji Londonwaley (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hilarious Tamil Comedy
28 December 2004 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Kamal Hassan's film production, 'Nala Damayanthi', made 80% in Australia in early 2003, must be the most hilarious motion picture ever to date, for comedy was clearly not contemplated here for it was meant to be a serious movie, and yet the way that mediocre director Mouli (famed for making useless movies, which puts him close to that legendary Worst Hollywood Director of all time, Ed Wood) has directed this picture has inadvertently conveyed comedy!

People say that if Kamal Hassan had been in Madhavan's shoes as the dim-witted cook, the film would have worked better, but I disagree, for Kamal would have overacted, bringing the staleness of comedy as he had previously done in 'Tenali' (2000). This film was definitely meant for Madhavan alone, and the way he has portrayed a dumb character entirely different from the boyish, smartypants roles that he has played before does him great credit as an actor. Madhavan's acting in this movie is natural, with neither overacting nor underacting but just a well-deserved performance.

The storyline of the film is pretty straightforward. Ramji (Madhavan) is a cook from an Indian village, who decides to go to Australia to work as a chef there in order to get the money required for his sister's marriage. Unfortunately, the cook's employer is dead by the time Ramji appears and he soon finds himself wandering around aimlessly in the cold, cruel city of Melbourne, looking for some salvation. Again there is misfortune, when Ramji loses his passport and visa at a railway station where Aussie gangsters bash him up. Ramji wanders aimlessly around until he gets bumped by a demented kid's wheelchair that's going down the hill, which is the most awkward scene in the movie, and I don't know why Director Mouli did this ridiculous sequence.

Fortunately Ramji is taken into the home of a kindred Indian couple, Badri (Sriman) and his wife Anu (Anu Hassan), who are the parents of the retarded child, and they employ Ramji to work for them as their chef. But life isn't easy for Ramji, for the police are trying to nab him since he's an illegal immigrant!! However, Badri's Sri Lankan lawyer friend, Ivan (Bruno Xavier) decides that they should arrange a fake marriage between his own fiancée, Damayanthi (Geetu Mohandas) and Ramji, in order to get the cook Australian citizenship. The splendid car-chase in which Ivan is driving Ramji and Damayanthi in a car away from police vehicles to the church to get them married off is quite thrilling. The Police Inspector Hector (Mark Jensen) arrives to late to capture the cook for he has been legally married off to Damayanthi, and so it's evident that the police inspector has been defeated before the cinematic intermission, but not for long.

The police inspector gets immigration officials to check the authenticity of the marriage between Ramji and Damayanthi, and while the "married couple" are going through this phase of coming up with a fake story of how they met, Ramji comes across a lady who reveals that Ivan had married her in a similar way like Ramji where he had to get Australian citizenship and had subsequently deserted her! Ramji realizes that Ivan's a crook who's cheating on his "wife", and when Damayanthi learns about her fiancée's true character, she wishes to have nothing to do with him. Enraged, the lawyer thinks that Ramji is responsible for his downfall and in the ultimate climax, he gets the same Aussie gangsters who had bashed the cook earlier in the movie to smash him again. But here, the cook stands up for himself and he bashes everybody up before leaving for the immigration office. But at the immigration office, Ramji inadvertently blurts out the truth and is deported to India. Since Damaynathi has fallen in love with the cook, she leaves Australia, and is married to Ramji in India, where they run the "Mahabharata" restaurant.

Nala Damayanthi is a pretty interesting film for you want to know how the cook is going to manage with all the problems regarding the police and immigration, and the absurdity of many things about the film makes the theme of immigration and the law less serious than it should be. There are a number of ridiculous incidents in the film:

(1) The scene where Ramji gets hit by a demented kid's wheelchair and goes down the hill.

(2) Ramji performing Hindu rituals at the Yarra River in the city of Melbourne, where a fight between Aussies and Indians takes place before it ends up in the arrest of the cook by the police.

(3) Ramji talking crap with the immigration officials.

(4) A troubled Damayanthi phoning Ivan up and asking him, "Are we really in love?" to which Ivan replies, "Yes, Damay, of course we are in love!"

(5) When Ivan becomes the cook's enemy, he suddenly shaves his head!!

(6) When the Aussie gangsters tried to bash up the cook in the finale of the film, we know it's Ivan's doing, but how he knew these rogues is not explained.

(7) It's ridiculous that the lawyer at the finale of the film should have been fighting with a woman when he should have been fighting with the cook who is his greatest enemy, and it's ridiculous that the lawyer should have gone and hit the wall by himself during the fight. It's also ridiculous that the film should leave Ivan badly injured when we would naturally expect him to be arrested by the police!!

Despite it's outward flaws, 'Nala Damayanthi' is nevertheless hilarious, and I really enjoyed it very much, and I definitely recommend Tamil audiences to watch this movie!!


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