Director Selvaraghavan is very well-known for his honestly made films and experimental attempts. ‘Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam’ is written by him and is directed by his wife Geethanjali (the same film was started with Actor Karthi and ‘Kadhal’ Sandhiya in 2006 and was dropped due to financial reasons, later it was started again in 2008 with Dhanush and Andrea in lead roles but was shelved). The film has been produced by Editor Kola Bhaskar, where his son Balakrishna Kola has done the lead role alongside Wamiqa Gabbi. The shooting began in mid 2014 and has released today (1st January, 2016) after various delays in different point of time.
Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam is the story of Prabhu (Balakrishna Kola) and Manoja (Wamiqa Gabbi), two contrasting individuals who get into an arranged married. Selvaraghavan has written a simple love story of a couple who has got contrasting preference and priorities with real-time scenearios that we see today. Selva has very well depicted the scenes how arranged marriages are planned and the couples are pushed into a relationship.
The scenes that shows the difference between them in everything right from food, music and lifestyle, the development in their relationship (how Manoja gets used to Prabhu’s snoring, the scenes where Prabhu tries to understand her completely) and their conversations are all well-written; the writer has also thrown lights on how illiterate the views of a guy are on sex & marriage (who has never been in friendship or relationship with a girl). The film often questions about the arranged marriages and their problems. Also, there are many bold scenes and dialogues allthrough; the interval block is definitely disturbing which warrants the film ‘A’ certificate for sure (the film is strictly for adults).
The first half of Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam was completely engaging with full of realistic and raw film-making; it was an uncompromising / unadulterated product (except the compromises in the production value) till the interval. Whereas, the second half was quite draggy with a very usual, boring style of writing. There were only few scenes enjoyable in the second half due to the inconsistency in narration; the direction looked so poor in those scenes. The TASMAC scene in the second half, followed by a song in TASMAC was so annoying. It was so worrying to see such an unnecessary abusive scene and a third grade song in a film written by Selvaraghavan (though it can be told that it is only to attract the buyers).
Balakrishna Kola as the male lead role has given a very average performance, not doing the right justice. No complaints about the scenes where he behaves very oddly because the character demands it, but he struggles a lot to emote in ordinary scenes too. He resembles RaviKirshna a lot in body language and dialogue delivery, which is a very big minus point. Thankfully, we have a boon in the other hand – Wamiqa Gabbi, an excellent find. Wamiqa is a promising debut who has done her part excellently; if she chooses right scripts in future, she will go places (failing to do so, might make her just another Richa Gangopadhyay or Sonia Agarwal who shined only in Selva’s direction). Cinematography and Music by debutants Sridhar and Amrith have contributed a lot for the film despite the low production values. Sridhar’s work was commendable for the film’s budget and the story that revolves around two characters alone, whereas Amrith’s background score was too good in some scenes and very average in few portions.
Verdict: A typical selvaraghavan style script with intense emotions & bold scenes, sadly let down by medicore casting and uninteresting second half. Worth a watch!
Rating – 3/5
Review by: Rahman
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