Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam
Director: Gitanjali Selvaraghavan
Cast: Balakrishna Kola, Wamiqa Gabbi
Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam, written by Selvaraghavan and helmed by his wife, Gitanjali, reminded me so much of a wonderful film Mani Ratnam made in 1986. There is an uncanny similarity between Gitanjali’s work and Ratnam’s Mouna Ragam (which stars two eminent actors, Revathi and Mohan as leads).
However, while Mouna Ragam was a subtle exercise in exploring a couple’s relationship that grows out of a tragedy, Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam -- also dealing with a similar plot -- is overdone.
There is very little novelty in Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam. There is also more anger and bitterness than joy and excitement in the film, whose title roughly translates to a euphoric evening.
Employing an overused cinema technique of a sequence stream, the film highlight’s protagonist Manoja’s story. Essayed by Wamiqa Gabbi, Manoja’s endless affairs fail to help her find love. Her puritanical no-sex-before-marriage sentiment also finds her boyfriends getting fed up. She finally bows to familial pressure and weds Prabhu, played by Balakrishna Kola.
Poles apart, Manoja detests him and his traditional ways. She cringes when he asks for sambar rice at an Italian restaurant, and his plain looks and snoring push her further away. His desperate attempts to woo her also fail miserably. One drunken night, he forces himself on her, driving the last nail in the coffin of an already doomed marriage.
Attempting to the present differing sides of the argument, Gitanjali however falls into the trap of presenting a movie which is dramatised beyond the make-believe in her debut effort.
Often, Prabhu with a deadpan expression, appears more moronic than naive, which is perhaps what Selvaraghavan had in mind. But in this day and age, which educated young man working in a call centre is dumb enough to argue with a waiter that an Italian eatery based in India is duty bound to serve the local cuisine. And the judge at the family court – can he be so unfeeling? The pitfalls further weaken the premise, making Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam eminently forgettable.