A wonderful story well told

Mookajjiya Kanasugalu

‘Mookajjiya Kanasugalu’, directed by P Sheshadri, is visual poetry. Adapted from a Jnanpith-awarded novel of the same name written by K Shivaram Karanth, it is a layered tale of Mookajji, an 80-year-old widow who has extra-sensory perception. She is often seen sitting under a peepal tree narrating the stories of the objects that she gets her hands on.

Even 50 years after the book came out, it remains timeless owing to the questions it poses about faith, belief, resolve, love, lust and friendship. Mookajji, in this sense, is the mouthpiece for the larger dogmas that plague human lives. Although there are multiple, nested narratives, Sheshadri weaves in and out of them seamlessly, aided by the earthy background score with tabla and flute that often harken back to the stage or theatre. The visuals are vivid, interspersed by sepia-hues for the flashbacks, giving almost a dream-like, stream of consciousness feel to the movie.

Out of the multiple stories that Mookajji narrates, the most notable are the ones about Nagi, a single mother and her story of infidelity, and that of best friend Thippi. In both tales, the legendary character displays vast compassion, forgiveness and empathy for the characters.

In the midst of these stories, we are also witness to Mookajji’s life. She is married off as a child but lost her husband before she even felt the pangs for companionship. Ever since, her best friend Thippi has been her rock, and Mookajji shows incredible courage, grit and affection for her.
The viewer can often identify with the character of Subburaya, played by Aravind Kuplikar, who is charmed and in awe of Mookajji’s stories.

By the end, the movie not only leaves you to simmer and shimmer in the afterglow of a wonderful story told well but also with questions about morally grey areas, death and the importance of maintaining relationships. Truly a must-watch.

 

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