Yamudiki Mogudu was made in 1988 which may explain some of the costume choices or, then again, maybe not! Whatever the reason the wardrobe guys seem to have had the time of their lives and the costumes used in the songs here are fabulous. Our DVD came with a breezy alert stating “Regret Poor Quality”. It turns out that was not useful life advice or a comment on the film, but a warning that the picture quality was a bit dodgy so we regret the poor screencaps.
But what about the movie … Well this is another Chiru film which manages to fit in plenty of action, drama, fight scenes, obligatory machetes, preposterous moustaches and hairstyles, romances with two heroines, a double role of sorts and plenty of singing and dancing. And at 147 minutes the pace is cracking, with never a dull moment.
We meet Chiru first as Kali, a thief with a heart of gold who robs, steals and works as a mercenary in order to help fund his brothers education, support his family and generally look after the inhabitantsof the slum area where he lives. On one occasion he is called to the mansion of Kailasham, to be punished for daring to steal from the magnate, when his daughter looks out of a window and spies Kali fighting off her father’s goons in true hero style. Of course, like us, Radha falls instantly in love with the dashing Kali and grabs her video camera to rush down and immortalise the action.
Her love is reciprocated and Radha’s father is appalled when he sees photographs of the two of them together. These photographs are from a dream sequence song so we’re not quite sure about the science that made this possible.
Kailasham conspires with his onetime enemy Kota Kondappa (Kota Srinivasa Rao with a flamboyant moustache), and his repulsive son Chantibabu to destroy Kali. This will allow Chantibabu to marry Radha and put a stop to the depredations Kali is making into the business of the two conspirators. They have been the ones employing him to steal, but logic doesn’t play a big role here. They assassinate Kali on his wedding day, at which point Kali is taken to hell. Kali argues with Lord Yama (Satyanarayana) about his early demise, and gains the assistance of Vichitra Gupta (Velu) who points out the rather serious error made by Chitra Gupta (Allu Ramalingaiah). Lord Yama does some quick thinking to get rid of this loud and irritating human who has dared to tap dance, rock and roll and even disco (yes, really) in a range of amazing costumes with the heavenly apsara played by Ambika.
Kali’s body has been cremated meaning he cannot simply return to his old life. Lord Yama shows Kali three other men who look identical to him, and who are each about to die. Kali can choose to inhabit one of their bodies once they are dead, and in this way return to Earth.
Since he has no other options he takes on the body and thus the life of Balu, a rather pitiful man who has been beaten down into the life of a servant by his free-loading uncle.
Although Kali isn’t supposed to remember his former life, he does know that he is no servant and proceeds to turn his new family upside down. Balu assumes control of the family fortune, frees his mother from kitchen drudgery and spends time with his girlfriend Gauri (Vijayasanthi). His uncle really should have known as soon as that steely eyed stare fell on him that his easy living days were well and truly over!
Of course we know this can’t last, and events conspire so that Kali does regain memory of his former life.
We finally get to a resolution where the bad guys lose, the good guys win and Kali/Balu has to somehow reconcile his relationships with both women. Kali appeals to Lord Yama to help sort out his marital problem. Surely he should have realised that Lord Yama was perhaps a bit unreliable in his decision making?
Chiru is his usual wonderfully athletic and energetic self as Kali and the songs were obviously choreographed to show off his dancing style. While the inspiration for the costumes is anyone’s guess, the backdrop in the many songs is equally bizarre and colourful and we love it! Radha initially plays it straight as the spoilt and indulged daughter, but once she falls in love she is vivacious and energised and does a really good job of keeping up with Chiru in their songs together. She even manages to look comfortable in all the ruches and ruffles of her costumes. Vijayasanthi is beautiful as the feisty Gauri and we thought she had made it through the costume department almost unscathed until she emerged, draped in pearls, from a clam shell. Then we saw Chiru had also been clam shelled. The design department on this film really made it their own!
The film was written by Satyanand and directed by Ravi Raja Pinisetty. The fight scenes are well choreographed and flow nicely with the action sequences. The best comedy is in the scenes with Chiru, Lord Yama,Chitragupta and Vichitragupta. The character of Chantibabu initially is fairly repulsive as he tries to rape Radha to ensure that she will have no choice other than to marry him, but he very quickly becomes a figure of ridicule. Most of the remaining comedy subplot revolves around the relationship between Kota and Kailasham and is not particularly funny, although Kota’s untameable hair is. The real reason to watch it is Chiranjeevi, of course, and the fabulous song picturisations based on the compositions by Raj-Koti and lyricist Veturi.
Heather says: This is one of my favourite Chiru films and I think one of his best performances. The fight scenes are well choreographed, and the dancing is superb, when you can take your eye off the costumes that it! Any film that includes Lord Yama will appeal to me, as I like the opportunity it gives to make the impossible happen, and it usually means plenty of mayhem. I also like the bumbling conspirators and their vacillating between being enemies and friends. Both Radha and Vijayasanthi are lovely in this and do well to hold their own against Chiru in his energetic performance. Its such a shame the set and costume designers don’t get credited as their work in this film is truly outstanding. I did also like the glowing skull eyes in hell and horns on the demons that were very floppy when they danced! But of course Chiru is the reason to watch this film, and the Megastar really delivers. 4 1/2 stars from me.
Temple says: This is so very entertaining, and if you haven’t seen a Chiranjeevi film before I think this is a great place to start. The songs and costumes are brilliant and completely over the top, while still being linked in to the story. I liked that there was some sort of discussion about the whole taking over someone else’s body idea. Kali not only had his self-preservation instinct but felt protective towards the displaced soul and wanted to somehow repair things for Balu. All the performances are good, with Vijayasanthi and Radha being both decorative and memorable. But it really is Chiru’s film, and the film succeeds in keeping my attention through all the plot permutations because he gives it his all. He is fun as Kali and quite pathetic as Balu, and gets to show some dramatic range even while pummelling the bad guys. Like Heather, I always enjoy an appearance by Yama in a film as it usually means lots of sparkly gold and a dance number. My expectations were met, and then some! I’m an unashamed Chiru fan, and I really loved this film. 4 and 1/2 stars from me.
Great review ladies!! and an AWESOME!! movie.. Chiru always is the best… btw its “Kota Srinivasa Rao” not Srinivasan 🙂 ..
Everyone’s a spelling critic 🙂 I have a soft spot for this film and even though it is very silly at times, I just love it. I did learn that if ever I am forced to try to strike a deal with a god, I probably want to deal with Yama as there is more chance a mere mortal will win 😀 Thanks for your comment, and your proof-reading! Temple
“Everyone’s a spelling critic” and “and your proof-reading”
LOL 😀 😀
My bad! Thanks Temple for fixing 🙂 I should know by now – he’s another ‘actor who is never out of work’ in SI cinema!
Kota garu… I have no words for him.. hes the best Villian, commedian,character artist I know.. you should watch “Shatruvu”, “Ganesh” , “Aha Naa Pellanta ” meaning “Its my Marriage” … hes the best in these..
@Temple.. lol regarding the proof 😛
This movie WAS fun, but my enthusiasm is slightly more restrained than yours. The costume choices did get to me, as did some of the ridiculousness of the characters. This is the 80s at their best (and/or worst). But of course, in the end, Chiru can make pretty much anything fly, so it wasn’t a waste of time either. It’s really hard not to love him… even dressed in pearls… and sequins… 😀 Just not sure I’d rewatch this one before other movies of his that I’ve seen.
I was also quite entertained by the scenes with Lord Yama and even more by the various versions of potential Chiru bodies – best part of the movie for me! 🙂 And if I may, I think some screencaps of the jungle man Chiru wouldn’t hurt 😉
I think my enthusiasm is unrestrained for all the Chiru films I’ve watched so far. There is just something about his screen presence that means I can overlook costumes, peculiar plots and bizarre stories 🙂 It took a few watches before I was able to get past the costumes and actually watch the characters, but they manage to look so unconcerned and jump around so much that in time I found I could ignore most of it. Apart from the song in hell, where I just cant get past some of the costume choices – green stockings for Goodness sake! 🙂
And I agree that jungle man Chiru deserves a screencap, but sadly he moved too much and the poor quality of the film meant that I just couldn’t get an unblurry picture. People will just have to watch the film to see Chiru wrestle a lion! That surely should be enough incentive by itself 🙂
Ah Junglee Chiru…We like to leave a few surprises to reward the viewer 😀 I made our friend Jenni, The Mahesh Fan, watch the songs recently. After an initial “Oh my eeeeeeyes!” she promptly borrowed the DVD 🙂
I’ve discussed this with Beth before – Chiru is the exception to every Law of Costume. If he wants to wear white pants & shoes with black socks, well so be it. But I will mock anyone else who tries. It never seems to bother him to emerge from a clam shell dripping in pearls, or do tippy-toe prancing swirling a silver mini-cape. He always looks so happy. Clearly the man is a brilliant actor!
I really liked the body selection tour too, and I think it was interesting that they vaguely touched on the ethics of taking over another man’s life. It wasn’t an in depth debate of course but the comment was made and I appreciated the nod to addressing a moral dilemma, albeit in a very filmi way. This is one of my favourite silly entertainment style Chiru films, and it is just froth and bubbles with sequins on top. I really like some of his more serious or emotional films too, but I am such a novice I know there are heaps I have yet to discover. Which of his films do you like most? Temple
Which do I like the most? Hm… Well, considering I’m still a baby and have seen under 10, it’s not really an informed opinion, but in terms of badassness I really liked Indra (and because I am newly in love with that one, may I suggest a very screencappy review? 😀 I know, I’m shameless, and I really should do my own, but even if I do my own, two reviews for this awesome movie won’t be too much methinks :P).
In terms of romance I liked Aradhana best. But I had to give up watching Mogudu Kavali which had great potential to become a favourite because it didn’t have subtitles and they seemed rather important…
Then if we’re talking ridiculous 80’s having their way with him… State Rowdi is still my favourite in that category. Sure the song costumes are not much better than the pearl armour, but there’s also that biker leather thing going on for a long time, which, while I agree that only Chiru and perhaps Aamir can pull such ridiculousness off, I was rather mesmerized by it. Ahem… In a good way 😀
Ah, I love discovering a new actor with a hefty filmography, it’s like a neverending fountain of joy 😀
I’m also a newbie at Chiru films but it does seem that there is something for everyone in his filmography. I’m quite fond of Vijetha – despite the silly premise, there is a lot of genuinely moving family stuff happening. And for silliness, I think Rowdy Alludu is up there with State Rowdy but it lacks the same commitment to leather. I think I have a copy of Indra, but must check and see if it has subs. Then let the screen-capping commence 🙂 Temple
If you love Yama movies.. you should be watching.. “Yamaleela” and “YamaGola” .. Ali is the hero in the first and Sr. NTR the hero inthe second.. both are good and funny movies..
I have Yamagola on DVD so will get to it…eventually. But I am not a fan of Ali – he is probably my least favourite Telugu actor but I suspect that is because I don’t like the kind of roles he usually plays. So thanks for the tip I should avoid Yamaleela! Temple
I think you should see Yamaleela.. though you dislike ALi.. its a fun movie. you wont be disappointed..!!
I second the recommendation on ‘Yamaleela’. We went to the movie when it was released because we couldn’t find tickets for another. All of our group was highly skeptical of Ali’s movie and some would rather go back than watch Ali’s movie.
But, it was very funny and we were pleasantly surprised. Ali’s isn’t highlighted as much as the story itself and it is a different role than his usual. Very funny bits by Yama and his side-kicks.
Regardin D and N comment….
I myself being a telugu and a big fan of Chiru.. havent seen Mogudu kavali ( meaning “I need a husband” / Mogudu = Husband , Kavali = Need ) .. cant really say if its a good movie or not .. but I heard it was a hit back in those days.. Did you watch “Chantabbai” ? Its toooo funny and one of my many fav chiru movies
I saw Mogudu kavali. Except for an amazing moon walk by Chiru in the introduction/title song, the rest of it has way too importance on the heroine who wasn’t very likeable to me. I would highly recommend “Manthri gari viyyankudu” (with Allu ramalingah in a prominent role) though.