Movie: Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam
Direction: Gitanjali Selvaraghavan
Cast: Balakrishna Kola, Wamiqa Gabbi
Genre: Drama, Romance
What is it about: The movie basically deals with a subject in most of the relationships behind the closed doors. In this film Manoja (Wamiqa) is forced in to arrange marriage by her mother, which marks the entry of Prabhu (Balakrishna) who is sexually repressed and sees marriage as an exit to that. The following events form the crux of the story directed by Gitanjali Selvaraghavan and scripted by Selvaraghavan.
Why it’s disappointing: Even though MNM is directed by Gitanjali it has Selvaraghavan written all over. His style of direction is explicitly shown in every frame. For some reason the male lead of his films happen to be sexually repressed most of the time, and SEX becomes a central point in his story. This one deals here with SEX as the vital point in the movie. We hardly get to see movies focused on these subjects in Tamil cinema, even though its set with an open mind, few dialogues makes you cringe in the movie, as it does not have class nor crass. The reason being the way it has been delivered. There is nake how the words should be placed, whereas in MNM it’s spitted out.
Balakrishna is shown as a lad who works at a call center and hails from a wealthy family, but to our surprise he can’t read the menu nor does he has the etiquette’s required in a bathroom, it was absurd to see that character vandalize the bathroom with tissues and toothpaste splashed around.
The other characters in the film such as the heroine’s mom, she is one wooden actress I had seen ever, there is no scope for emotions and in few extended close up shots she doesn’t even blink for a second, making it look so camera conscious. In the movie most of the time you feel that the characters are doing some sort of staring contest all the time.
Balakrishna as Prabhu is born with a silver spoon as his father produced this flick, no offence but if not for that I doubt anyone else would take him in their movie. He just read the dialogues written on the paper, with no emotion nor was reaction to it, one place he did well is the court room scene where he pleads to Manoja (Wamiqa). I think he did an easy debut without any hard work. If he’s serious about acting, he has to work his sweat off.
The whole of first half goes in vain establishing these pointless characters heading in no direction, you sit down expecting for a better second half and you’re again brought down with disappointment. There is a portion where both Prabhu and Manoja try to make each other jealous, in that process a new character is introduced which is played by Parvathy Nair. She was utterly wasted and the dialogues given to her were very poor. When she says “Are we going to romance here” amidst a crowd scouting at buffet sounds down right pathetic.
The point which Selva and Gita were trying to make gets lost, as the victim in the story doesn’t get enough time to repent for his mistakes and the love of Manoja for Prabhu isn’t convincing enough till the end. Selva as usual uses his template for this movie as well, but without proper narration and execution it falls short on the emotion which MNM intend to invoke in to the audience. Moreover the movie runs only for 2hours and 4mins, but it gives you feel of a movie which ran for almost 3 hours.
I Still don’t get one thing about censor board, MNM is certified “A”. Then why the “Beep” when sexual references in the movie are spoken aloud.
What to watch out for: The female lead Wamiqa Gabbi as Manoja is the saving grace of this flick. To start with her lip sync, she can teach the leading ladies of Kollywood one or two about it, as it speaks down right money, she nailed it. Her character was well etched, maybe we get that feel due to her performance which was really good. She carried it off really well, no matter which mood was presented before her. Every emotion was intact and she delivered it perfectly.
Apart from her performance it was the music director Amrit, who saves the day with few tracks which received huge applause from the audience.
Verdict: The couple which made this movie, couldn’t evoke enough emotion nor thought in the narration. Which resulted really ill for The Couple in the movie. Being that said, Gitanjali couldn’t make this relationship work. The movie starts with a quote “It’s difficult to explain few love stories”, if it was it wouldn’t have been a problem explaining.