Now, if most of you went to this movie expecting a new age Romance film with two young people unabashedly pda-ing their way through 120 minutes of trying to figure out true love, you would have been slightly disappointed.Mani Ratnam, as with most of his films, only uses the storyline to focus on a strong central female character. Like Roja, Kannathil muthamittal, Raavanan and Alaipayuthey – the story and the incidents are used to reveal and examine the female protagonist’s character.
However, Maniratnam promises romances and he delivers. The love story between Ganapathy and Bhavani, I felt, formed the central romance of the movie. A sort of role model for Thara to look upto and learn from while finding out what love means to her.
The film looks at how love and marriage would work in todays world, where the world is everyone’s playground and dreams are bigger than ever. How does one find time and a place for the right person, amongst all of one’s ambitions and plans, if at all one finds the right person?
Adi, is a young, care-free Game designer who wings it through life. The opening scenes establish his role and character and then throw him to the backseat as Thara moves into the picture. Dulquer salmon, does justice to the character, bringing in energy and wit to the character. However, he is largely overshadowed by Nithya Menon, who is simply astounding as Thara, the rebellious new age girl.
Thara is an architect aspiring to reach heights. She is ambitious, fearless and proactive, chasing after and getting what she wants. Surprisingly fresh and infused with Maniratnam’s subtly, Thara makes the first move, she says hi to adi, she calls him up and she tells him that she is gonna move in with him. And in Maniratnam’s carefully understated style, there is no hue and cry about it. There is no astonishment from the hero, there are no nosy onlookers remarking how brave the girl is. Maniratnam makes it seem an everyday occurance. Having had a rough childhood, Thara does not believe in marriage, looking only for a good time when she meets Adi. However, she slowly falls in love with him and is confused between love and ambition and how to balance the two. The movie progresses wonderfully from passionate love to the point of conflict in a way that will make you wonder at the end whether two hours have actually gone by.
And of course, there is Bhavani aunty and Ganapthy. The chemistry between Prakash Raj and Leela Samson has to be seen to be believed. Here too, MR wins with his understated subtlety. There is one scene towards the end, where a Forgetful Bhavani, suffering from Alzheimer’s, gets lost and is brought back home. A fretting ganapathy runs towards her and takes her into his arms. Bhavani, in all innocence, chides ganapathy for getting lost and tells him how worried she was. And Ganapthy replies, Sorry ma, Inimae apdi pannamaattaen. Right before he says this, Prakash Raj takes an almost imperceptible pause and looks at Leela Samson. That pause gave more meaning to those words than they would have had. Again, the brilliance of MR portrayed by the brilliance of Prakash Raj.
ARR’s music is almost unnoticeable in the background as it blends in with the movie and pushes it forward. Many of the songs, which I found hardly enjoyable on their own, add so much weight to the movie.
P.C. Sreeram, Sharmista Roy, and Anand Krishnamoorthi have all weaved their brilliance into a single piece which does not lend itself to identification to any one of them yet underscores their brilliance. The final 20 minutes of the movie is filled with the rains of mumbai and was so brilliantly captured that i walked out of the theatre wondering when did it get so sunny!!
There are not many who could leave this movie, without grinning at the happy ending, or without being moved to tears by Bhavani and Ganapathy. I, for one, am waiting for the Blu-ray disc to come out.