I enjoyed watching Oru Muthassi Gadha, a Malayalam film released over Onam last year.
When translated the title means A/one Grandmother’s Mace. It is a Jude Antony Joseph film, a director who has made a reputation with his maiden film, Om Shaanti Oshana (check Hotstar to watch the film). I like him for his quirkiness, like the way he came up with the cigarette smoking is injurious to health mandatory ad for his first film casting Nivin Pauly and Aju Varghese. In this film, he has made his characters speak out the names of the behind the scene crew of the film during the title credits, bits of information which many of us usually don’t bother to read as it scrolls in and out. Jaya Bachchan had done something similar for Pa. Farah Khan films usually show all its cast and crew in person.
This film’s title suggests the story is about a Muthassi. Muthassi is one of the words used to refer to a grandmother in Malayalam. (I call my two women Ammachi and Ammamma.) Gadha is a club or a mace, the same weapon seen in pictures of Bhima and Hanuman. And I think that use of the word gada makes this film’s story different from the regular tales around a nuclear family with a grandmother in an urban space. Have you seen a grandmother with a club before? Flintstones did 😛 our Muthassi is a little primitive in her behaviour and crude to say the least.
This Muthassi is what we call in Malayalam a “mooshaatta” grandmother. (In the film she is nicknamed as Rowdy) Now, mooshaatta can mean grumpy, to give you an example, Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant is also a mooshaatta intially before he changes over into happy one. If a little girl was the reason of his transformation, here, it is a woman. This other woman is the mother of our mooshaatta grandmother’s daughter-in-law. They are grandmothers to the same set of kids, Alice and Allen. But in the beginning of the film, the kids love their maternal, more modern grandmother, and hate our paternal mooshatta, for obvious reasons.
The film’s plot goes into certain details and reasons as to our grandmother’s uncouth behaviour in public and at home. It is a kind of Fred Flinstone entering The Jetsons home and feeling unconfrotable.
The film also tries to talk about how different generations of parents and children need to bridge the gap between them, put in an effort to understand, make time and not just simply let anyone be. If both sides could meet half way then life becomes less grumpier, and more happier (grammatically incorrect, but that’s the essence)
However, there were a few moments in the film when I did feel the producer had taken money from Whatsapp and Facebook as a means of promoting their services and products to a prospective Malayalee audience 😂😂 Because if you don’t know what whatsapp or Facebook is, you can get a visual guide to how to install, use and create an account through the film 😛 the point is not about being tech savvy or any such, the point the movie makes is make time for each, have a little patience with each other and life becomes… Less grumpier and more happier 😂😂
Predictable ending! By the end of the film our mooshatta muthassi is tech savy, gadget friendly and has got herself sorted.
You can read about the plot and detailed storyline online. The film has borrowed heavily from the Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholason film The Bucketlist. And it is through the items on the bucketlist that our mooshataa becomes a non mooshatta grandmother towards the end.
ps: I wouldn’t have watched the film this soon if not for a conversation I had with Aneesh at the comment section on films in general.