Maalai Pozhudhin Mayakathilaey (2012)

Director: Narayan Nagendra Rao
Casts: Aari, Shubha Phutela
Music: Achu
Language: Tamil
Genre: Romance

The lyrical title, ‘Maalai Pozhudhin Mayakathilaey’ does spark a curiosity and the successful album (Oh Baby, Yen Uyire, etc.) also plays a part in its expectation by film buffs. The small glimpse of technical excellence seen in the trailer reflects the freshness of the young team. Hyped as an innovative attempt, does it keep his promise?

Firstly the debut director Narayan Nagaendra Rao, should be commended to keep his story concise and tell it though an evening at a coffee shop. The treatment of the story oozes with difference and style. It dwells with the problems, love and marriage of different people at a coffee shop. It also deals with even the smallest of joys and the sadness that trivial issues can bring on people’s lives. An interesting premise woven with novelty comes to a halt when the second half starts to be draggy and preachy. The poetic dialogues sound nice but lack realism. The climax feels predictable and convenient. In addition, the use of live sound unfortunately creates a sitcom feel to it. Some of the dialogues are surprisingly indistinct too. However the way the director uses rain and illayaraja’s songs to give a cosy feel results in a feel-good factor.

Aari has an aspiring director falling in love with Jiya (Subha) at a coffee conversation, does well. However his dance skills can be improved. Subha as Jiya has a remarkable screen presence but fails to emote accordingly. However, in a time where even Tamil heroines depending a dubbing artiste, Subha’s hard work to learn it, certainly should be applauded. Other casts such as Subbu Panchu, Tejasvini and Balaji have given a realistic portrayal.

Technically, ‘Maalai Pozhudin Mayakathilaey’ is a remarkable attempt. Breath taking visuals and lighting by cinematographer Amarnath elevates the freshness of the film. The set design of the film also is a highlight, although it does give a foreign feel for a story happening in Tamil Nadu. Achu’s music is the biggest asset for the film as all the songs rings in our ears even after the film have ended. Achu, if he gets the right films, could possibly join the big leagues of music directors.

 In overall, director Narayan’s attempt to create a feel good love story succeeds at parts with technicality playing a major part in it. In a time where commercial cinema takes a stand in Kollywood, a small-budgeted innovative attempt like this should be motivated.

Verdict: Great in style, diluted in substance

Rating: 2.5/5


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