Kannada Movie-Joke Falls

This weekend Satya and I watched another Kannada movie-“Joke Falls”.  This movie was very, very popular in Karnataka about four years ago.  It is a comedy.  I am beginning to lose heart with Kannada movies.  I think I assumed that since I like Bollywood movies that I’d like Kannada movies.  Of course this is not a fair to anyone.  This movie just didn’t make any sense to me and I didn’t think it was very funny-well, except for the 3 wannabe gangsters.  Their ridiculous appearances made me smile.


Plot:  The movie opens with an ode to Karnataka and to Kannada.  The scenery is extremely beautiful, particularly of Jog Falls.  Jog Falls is the highest “plunge” waterfall in the world, according to Wikipedia. 


A goodhearted (he lets the caretaker of the botany center visit his family by taking over his duties) botany professor marries a botany student.  I couldn’t figure out why she was so enamored by him…it seemed she made her mind up to marry him just because he wrote a well-known biology text.  The wife goes on and on about how marvelous her brother-in-law is.  The wife considers the brother-in-law to be next to God.  The brother-in-law is getting ready to be a judge so is being extra careful about his connections to make sure he is not connected to any scandal that could jeopardize his chances at a judgeship.  The brother-in-law disapproves of the botany professor.  I forget the exact reason why.  Salary not high enough maybe?


The botany professor decides to play a trick on the pompous brother-in-law.  He decides to become the brother-in-law’s chauffeur.  Part of the reason I think I didn’t find it funny was because a lot of the movie relies on language jokes and puns that don’t translate well or go right over my head.  For example, the botany professor’s alias as the brother-in-law’s driver is Priyatama.  Priyatama translates into “lover”, according to Satya.  The brother-in-law got very uncomfortable when his wife calling the botany professor/driver “Priyatama”.  Also, the brother-in-law also liked hearing pure Kannada uncontaminated by English so “Priyatama” would point out the idiosyncrasies of English.  “Priyatama” gets in a love triangle when a servant girl develops a crush on him.  “Priyatama”/botany professor get caught “doing yoga” with wife in the forest by a girl who then reports back to the brother-in-law.  Brother-in-law questions why his chauffeur would do yoga with his sister-in-law.  The movie was filled with mix-ups like that.


I couldn’t really figure out how making the brother-in-law look stupid would make the brother-in-law accept the botany professor.  Somehow it all worked out and there was a happy ending.


Good parts: I liked the songs.  As I mentioned before, Kannada songs are very different-sounding from Bollywood songs.  Part of this is because Southern Indian classical music, Carnatic, has very different influences from Northern Indian, Hindustani classical music. 


I thought the 3 gangsters were funny, although I thought the middle gangster with the two earrings, big necklace, and skirt-like attire was a cross-dresser at first.  Satya informed me that that is the typical look of a Tamil gangster.  Oops!  I have a lot to learn….


It was nice to pick up more Kannada.  Occasionally, I can match up words with their subtitles so that is a good feeling.


Finally, saw some more attractive men in the movies.  They were in the background, but still nice to see.


Scenery was nice.  Satya likes seeing the interiors of the homes and the scenery.  Jog Falls is awe-inspiring even on tv.  Maybe someday I’ll see it in person.


My conclusion:  Learning to appreciate Kannada movies is going to take longer than I thought.  I am not giving up though.  At least watching the movies gives me the opportunity to hear Kannada and to see how people act, dress, decorate homes, etc. 


To all those Kannadigas out there, what are some of your favorite movies?  I’m open to all suggestions!


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. snippetsnscribbles
    Dec 10, 2008 @ 02:43:05

    WOW – I dont think I can ever write so beautifully about a Kannada movie. So any movie for that matter 🙂

    As far as I know, this movie Joke-Falls is actually a remake of the Hindi movie of the ’80s called Chupke Chupke.

    The bro-in-law has high hopes of the kind of guy that marries his sis-in-law and always thinks too high of himself. Also, he is over critical of people and always claims to ‘know’ a guy the moment he sees him.

    Naturally, when the sis-in-law picks up the botany lecturer as her husband, who she falls for given his appearance and her love for his books, she keeps telling him that no one can stand up to her bro-in-law’s standards and the like. Hence, the husband challenges the sis-in-law by telling her that he will outdo him by being his chauffeur and that he will not even know!

    So thats how it goes :))) I think I wrote you a short story right here, dint I? 🙂 I havent watched this movie but I have watched the Hindi version of it which has very light humor and is a good family movie.

    Glad to know that you have not ‘yet’ given up on Kannada movies unlike me. To me, they lack standards and nice plots.


    • minnesotameetskarnataka
      Dec 10, 2008 @ 21:54:40

      Hi Snippets,

      Thanks for clarifying the plot! I guessed I missed the part about the challenge between the husband and wife. The professor/chauffeur sure made the brother-in-law uncomfortable!


  2. Chap
    Dec 10, 2008 @ 02:54:11

    I have been reading your blog for a while now and I must admit that I really admire you. I like the way you show so much interest and put in the effort to learn. Keep going!

    Kannada Movies – Well yes, I have a few favourites which could entertain you too. Anant Nag is my favourite.

    1. Ganesha series (Gowri Ganesha, Ganeshana Maduve etc.)
    2. Beladingala Baale
    3. America America
    4. If interested, u could watch old classics from Puttanna.


    • minnesotameetskarnataka
      Dec 10, 2008 @ 21:52:06

      Hi Chap,

      Thanks for the suggestions! I’ll try to track some down. My husband tells me America America is very sad, so it might be a while before we try that one.

      Do you think older Kannada movies are better than the newer ones?


  3. snippetsnscribbles
    Dec 11, 2008 @ 02:46:45

    Oh, and I agree with Chap. He has suggested some nice movies. You can also watch Amruthavarshini. Nice movie although it has a kinda sad ending.

    And I find America America painful too. Infact so painful that I dont even listen to its songs although they’re really melodious.


  4. La Vida Loca
    Dec 27, 2008 @ 06:09:45

    Nagarahaavu (old one)
    Malaya Maaruta
    Thanks for your list!


  5. some body
    May 24, 2009 @ 14:40:11

    amrutavarshini was painful too – to me. since i lived outside karnataka for the most part, i have watched very few kannada movies – most of the old ones have a lot of pathos. don’t know if that is your cup of tea. if it is, i suggest:

    – chomana dudi
    – sharapanjara

    and you definitely need to watch mungaaru male and america america for the songs.

    – s.b.

    Thanks for the suggestions! I’ve heard a lot of good things about Mungaaru Male and America America, but haven’t seen them yet. Right now we are watching a lot more comedies than tragedies, but I’ll keep them in mind.


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