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  • Watching, Munnudi, directed by P.Sheshadri is a memorable experience. More than background, the sea merges into Muthuchchera's (a village in South India) life, its destiny. Muthuchchera comes into life in a season; ships bring Arab merchants who come for business and pleasure; they buy timber and spices; Muslim girls are arranged for a price; the institution of marriage (nikah) and divorce (talaq) is corrupted to provide temporary wives; the girls, left behind, are free to marry again. The film is about Rukhiya; the Arab who married her left her behind without nikah, for he had fallen in love with her, with a promise to come back; seasons pass but he does not; her child Unnisa, her paternity unknown, is Rukhiya's concern; the broker who has an eye on her all but forces the helpless Rukhiya to agree to her daughter's nikah with an Arab. To Unnisa's relief, the nikah does not come off; Muthuchchera's destiny, the sea, intervenes to change life for the village; the discovery of a girl's body, the victim of a nikah forced on her, transforms Rukhiya into a rebel; she frustrates a nikah in time, annuals her daughter's nikah, vows that in Muthuchchera there shall be no more nikah, prostitution in a corrupt form. Is it a film for the elite? YES and NO. Yes, because it is addressed to a cultivated audience; NO, because it is time that films like 'Munnudi' serve the larger purpose of redefining popular taste; the stagnation of the conventional film should end; the ordinary film-goer, who is fed on a diet of romance, which means running around trees, songs and 'dishum' (fighting sequences) should be educated; films like this offer the alternative, one way to change popular taste. I recommend this film strongly.