*MAJOR SPOILERS inside.*
After a remake and an ego-thirst-quencher the man is back at what he does best, stories involving “characters.” It is surely a cheeky script. So we have Trisha playing Nisha who apparently acts in Trisha’s movies (including Ghilli.). We have Kamal’s memories of his first wife which literally flash back in the neela vaanam song. We have Madhavan the spoilt man-child who depends on his mummy for everything right down to the suspicion on his girfriend. Note how this is complimented by a rather pragmatic father who asks him to deal with the arising confusion in a just way. There’s a scene in the middle when Madhavan shouts, ‘mere paas maa hai.” And I thought, ok, Deewar reference, but why in this movie Kamal? It’s only in the end that one realizes the whole character arc of Madhavan and the relevance of that line. He was never meant to be with Nisha. This man doesnt need a wife so much as he needs a mother. He’s been lorded over by his mother for such a long time that the child in him never grew up. Which is why he ends up with Sangeetha, the divorcee mother. Hell even in the last “Titanic” shot he is not standing with Sangeetha the wife but rather Sangeetha the mother with her young son in front. There’s the question of “Kamal’s 1st wife dying” trope that we see in all his movies to make way for the 2nd heroine. In this film he does that literally, let the 2nd heroine bump off the 1st one. I was laughing when Trisha confessed in the middle, “I am sorry I am responsible for killing your (1st) wife.” It’s almost as if Kamal is telling his audience, “OK. I acknowledge that I’ve overused that sequence.”
Philosophical musings run abound in the dialogues. The whole conversation he has with Urvasi regarding how he’ll somehow help them (the suffering couple) is brilliant in its comparison with Kamal’s current precedent. He talks with her and keeps walking. He can’t quite walk and talk at the same time. He informs her that he will surely find a route to get them out of the mess only to find himself in a dead end on the street. When she later questions him where he is right now he lets out, ‘I am stuck in the middle of the road.” with an expression that is typically Kamal. You cant help but feeling sorry for this man’s troubles. There is a is a truly wonderful line towards the beginning of the second half when Kamal says that what he is most saddened is the fact that his wife’s death was just an accident and not “fate” as his friends claim it was. Fate is this grand thing that people look upto. This was a petty accident. Not all of it is so serious though. There are some funny observations as well. When the Nisha the Tamil actress is introduced what is she acting in? Why, a dance of course. And its not just any song. It’s one of those horrible songs that appear just before the climax in the mass films. Her fans remember her only by the “Dai anga paru da. Appidi podu heroine da.”
Coming to Sangeetha; what a boisterous character AND pulled off with equal elan by her. I’d bet my isthiri petti that “New Wave” Tamil directors would have spent an entire movie on her describing how bitchy she is and how her modernity is her doom and her “wrong views” seemingly ruins others life. None of that here. Just a flawed and divorced mother who doesnt flinch when physically describing a good looking man and at the same time can make out whether her little son is sleeping or not. Outstanding. This is true New Wave characterization.
I was so intrigued by the first half that it came out as a sort of disappointment that the second half becomes afflicted with Crazy-Mohanitis. The second half has a meta-film happening inside with a bunch of actors trying to convince Madhavan precisely what he was fearing from the first; that his would-be is a two timer. One thing leads to another and before you know it all hell breaks loose. Kamal teases us with the possibility of the widower ending up the divorcee since he is so well-tuned with her children but this for some strange reason is left hanging. The ending is stretched and looks compromised.
As for Kamal’s acting…..if Rajini successfully bought back the theatrical school of acting in Endhiran, Kamal goes for understatement (for the most part. There is a delightful piece of slapstick in the first fight.) It’s all in the face. No grand gestures. No overwhelming dialogue delivery. His face can convey all that and then some more. It’s a shame that he feels the need to hide it under layers of makeup.
Kamal’s constant references about a particular community have reached such a stage that they can be only understood by that particular community. So it really defeats the purpose of public commentary.
If you’re looking for negatives of the movie don’t bother here. I am sure that many in the Internet have listed them. In the meantime I’ll just wait for the next Kamal film.