Monday, January 6, 2014

A truly engaging suspense flick - MADHA YAANIA KOOTAM

TIMES OF INDIA - REVIEW With a team of freshers, debutant director Vikram Sugumaran (a former associate of Balu Mahendra and the dialogue writer for Aadukalam), weaves a rustic family drama that is intriguing and riveting. The director’s detailed scripting, well fleshed out characters and deft narration make the characters come alive on screen. The film marks the debut of music composer G V Prakash as producer. It opens with a funeral and a grand send-off to the village patriarch Jayakkodi Thevar (Muruganji). As the plot unfolds, it unravels a story of family feuds and hatred, of violence unleashed and lives lost. The patriarch’s wife Chevanamma (Viji) was estranged from him after his second marriage. Fathering two kids from each, Jayakkodi Thevar was living with his second wife (Ammu). The bitterness comes out in the open when the first family claims right over the body, refusing to allow the other family to attend the funeral. The native dialect and the folk arts blended well with the narration, setting a realistic tone throughout. Village prejudices like the humiliation and resentment faced by Parthi (Kathir), the patriarch’s illegitimate son, is brought out well. The love track between Parthi and Reetu (Oviya has less to do) is a weak link in the otherwise taut narration. The background score and songs (Raghunathan, assistant to G V Prakash), blend well with the narration. The cinematography (Ragul Dharuman apprenticed with Ravi K Chandran) enhances the mood and feel. Debutant Kathir as Parthi, gives the right shade to his character, the rough edges in his portrayal lending it a realistic feel. The director maintains a steady and consistent pace. The momentum though tends to slacken towards the latter part, where Parthi on the run reaches Kerala, and where the romance with Reetu is rekindled. The chase and search for Parthi here by Chevanamma’s brother Veera Thevar (Vela Ramamurthy, a novelist) and his men is a well choreographed one. But Parthi’s one-man assault against them when he is lured back and cornered, could have been crafted better. It’s an emotionally stirring, violent finale to the tale. The director has chosen his actors well, the supporting cast finely tuned. Viji essays Chevanamma with perfect understanding. With a controlled performance, she depicts the distress of a woman wronged by her husband, and her moral dilemma when her loyalty to her brother is questioned. Another memorable performance is by Vela Ramamurthy as the cool calculating Veera Thevar, determined to avenge his son’s death and family humiliation. For a plot set in a rural milieu, the film offers enough of intrigue, suspense and action to keep one engaged almost throughout.

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