A good movie always brings my spirits up. However, movies (for that matter any movie) with ribald humor, sexual innuendo and biased treatment of women not only revolts me but saddens me immensely. I can tolerate, even laugh with a senseless movie but cannot stand a politically incorrect movie. When a talented director like Karan Johar takes pride in a song like Chikini Chameli” and a top heroine such as Katrina Kaif has to take shelter in item songs to cut competition, then something is wrong with Indian psyche.
Some critics blame South Indian influence on North India to ruin the intellectual genre of North Indian films with senseless pot-boilers. I feel insulted but when I see any random Telugu movie, it hurts me more both as a human being, woman, and mother of a teenage daughter. The sycophancy, the utter caste/sexist/vulgar nature of the tasteless films, and worse, the notion of doing all this in the name of heroism is sickening.
It is a statistical fact that the number of rapes in India have increased directly to the proportion of the increase in item songs. According to a study in Hyderabad done by the Sociology Department of the Central University, rapes increase immediately after the release of any new film (Hindi or Telugu) with a hot or item song as they call it. Entertainment does not stop in theatres but extends to streets. Gang rapes and abductions are on the rise and these item songs add to the rate. It’s true that 80 percent of Indian women stopped going to the theatres. Hits, as they call them, are mainly endorsed by men. Yes, these are probably 100 crore films, but both audiences and producers have a moral responsibility both to their family, in particular, and society in general. As writers and journalists we are supposed to research every fact. Doesn’t one as a producer/director who has so much visual influence on its audience have to do this as well? But again, sadly, demand does fuel supply and vice versa.
I am sorry, I diverted (a lot). But my point of this staggering introduction is this: After seeing films like Makkhi, English Vinglish, my spirits and hopes for the quality of movies has come back, albeit a little. Rajamouli’s films are in general, lusty, filled with sexual innuendo but have been definitely different in treatment of them.
Makkhi is definitely an exception to his “general masala with a difference” rule. After his Maryada Ramanna, Makkhi is another such beautifully narrated movie. Very cleverly and early on, the director establishes the fact that this is merely a story told by a father to his young daughter to get her some sleep. With this he takes some extraordinary creative liberties as a director (Flies don't come out of eggs but from live maggots to pupa and it takes 7-10 days to become full fledged flies; A fly writing in the English language with such mental alacrity is impossible as is a fly gaining muscle with exercise plotting and planning to take revenge on his enemy, etc.). But if Simba can do so much in The Lion King so can our very own desi Eega! And what a cute one too!
The story of Jani and the Makkhi are so endearing that you cannot stop a wide smile spreading warmly on your face whenever either of them enter. Jani with his sweet love for his Bindu stole the show in the first 20 minutes. His perseverance and undemanding love finally captures the heart of Bindu, a micro artist who after two years finally gets ready to accept his love. The tender love scenes between these two are fresh and very heart-warming.
Enters Sudhir, a lusty, mean and self-centered man who falls head on for Bindu. But realizing that she likes Jani, he kills him, just like that. Our Jani’s soul or life source creeps into a fly (the birth of which was depicted incorrectly, as stated previously) immediately. I don't understand why Rajamouli purposefully ignored the facts surrounding the birth of fly or not. When he even details us the 4000 lenses in the fly’s eye sometimes, why such an easily available fact about birth is missed by him is a mystery to me. I am not sure but this is definitely a misrepresentation of fact but for some reason could have been deliberate.
From here on the story turns and twists and becomes a revenge story with an expected yet satisfactory climax.
I liked this movie. It’s fast paced and tightly delivered. The transition from real life footage to animation is so smooth that you would hardly notice it. The technology used is world class. Also, the story and treatment are fresh. In Maryada Ramanna Rajamouli proved that he can use any man and make him a hero and with Makkhi he establishes that if a story is told well, even a fly can become a hero.
You just can’t help being swept away with Eega’s emotions: his sorrow, his anger, his frustration, and his amusing body language all come across very well. I especially enjoyed how he rubs his feet in glee or gets ready for combat. One can never stop singing the song “Makhkhi, Makkhi Makkhi,” the heroic theme song which played during Jani’s several conquests as the Makkhi. And oh my gosh how can I forget the compelling “thief.” He deserves such a special mention. His rehabilitation program through love is simply superb. I think these scenes with the sweet thief are the highlight of the film. Clean, healthy, and real humor with no ribald jokes on obesity, homosexuality, casteism, sex, religion or region. Reminds you of you Hrishikesh Mukherji’s clean comedy. However Makkhi is much richer in its comic sense and technological creativity. Performance wise all of them did good but Sudeep just ruled the roost. He is just too versatile. And of course the dear little Makkhi.. Samantha did great too. Nani is good for the first twenty minutes of the film and I am glad Rajamouli did not keep embedding his face on the Makkhi now and then just to remind us of him. Another small uncomfortable fact: a fly dies within 20 days. So if Jani is coming back as a Makkhi, he has to die every 20 days. This, again, is impossible but well, we love to have him back, at least in our fiction.
Overall, Makkhi is a brilliant film to watch with your family and you will be exhilarated. His exercises to empower himself to face his enemy are extremely endearing. Makkhi, as it indulges in victory dances giving free rein to its emotions expressing through postures and its thin arms to convey its feelings without uttering a word, will surely remains a hero in every watcher’s heart.
IPM’s Rating: ***and Half.
Some Makkhi Facts
Eggs hatch into larvae or maggots within one day. Full-grown maggots are ready to pupate in a few days. Before transforming to the pupa stage, the maggots crawl from their food source to find a cool place to dry. This is the stage were we often see them crawling out of our garbage. In optimal conditions, adult flies emerge from the pupae completing the process of egg to adult in about 7 to 10 days. Adult flies usually live for 15 to 25 days.(http://www.vtaide.com/png/housefly.htm)
The fly is a marvel of Creation; its wings beat 500 times per second and, as a result, it has a glorious flying ability. Even more amazing are its eyes, each one of which has thousands of extraordinarily complex lenses. A fly has compound eyes on both sides of its head, each of which is divided into 4,000 sections, each of which, in turn, has a lens that perceives an image from a slightly different angle. When a fly looks at a flower, the full image appears separately in each of its 8,000 lenses. When these images reach the brain, they combine together like the components of a jigsaw puzzle. As a result, an image that is highly significant for the fly emerges.
A few more misc. facts to round things out. Did you know... The average house fly lives on average 21 days.
A flies wings beat 200 times per second.
Flies have 4000 lenses in each eye.
Flies jump up and backwards when taking off.
Average speed of a fly in flight is 4.5 m.p.h. Flies smell with their antennae