Magalir Mattum stars Jyothika in the lead role.
Magalir Mattum stars Jyothika in the lead role.

Magalir Mattum movie review: Not without flaws but a film made with a lot of heart

Bramma’s Magalir Mattum gives its women the opportunity to shine on screen and rarely do we come across filmmakers with such conviction. Jyothika is, of course, on a roll.
By Karthik Kumar | Hindustan Times, Chennai
UPDATED ON SEP 15, 2017 08:48 AM IST

Film: Magalir Mattum
Director: Bramma
Cast: Jyothika, Bhanupriya, Urvashi, Saranya Ponvannan
Rating: 2.5/5

Magalir Mattum is the kind of film where you don’t mind overseeing the flaws because it leaves you with a heartwarming feeling when you exit the theatre. When was the last time you saw women in Tamil cinema hog the limelight from the word go? Bramma’s Magalir Mattum gives its women the opportunity to shine on screen and rarely do we come across filmmakers with such conviction. But Bramma’s Magalir Mattum may not be as impactful as his National award-winning film Kuttram Kadithal, and I’m glad it isn’t. It does go over the top at times and gets into the hamming mode of delivering a message.

Magalir Mattum stars veteran actors Bhanupriya, Urvashi and Saranya Ponvannan as well.
Magalir Mattum stars veteran actors Bhanupriya, Urvashi and Saranya Ponvannan as well.

The plot revolves around four women, led from the front by Jyothika, who is given the hero status and she gets to call the shots. Jyothika plays a documentary filmmaker and soon-to-be daughter-in-law of Urvashi and the initial scenes between are candid and outright hilarious. As we get introduced to Urvashi’s friends from school, the tone becomes slightly melodramatic and the flashback portions are needlessly stretched.

Jyothika is working on a documentary on the ‘great’ Indian housewives. It’s through her eyes, we see different women and the spotlight also falls on the lives of Urvashi’s friends. Jyothika believes a change needs to be brought about in the lives of Saranya and Bhanupriya. The four of them embark on a road trip and it’s a journey of self-exploration and finding the freedom within. As Jyothika points out in a dialogue, the real freedom of women is not about walking alone at midnight; it’s about marrying the man of her choice and doing what she loves. The road trip is fun for most part but becomes unbearable in the second half, particular when it’s heading to the climax. It becomes unnecessarily melodramatic and that kills the whole purpose of the trip. The road trip stretch needed to be funnier and livelier.

Jyothika plays a documentary filmmaker in the film.
Jyothika plays a documentary filmmaker in the film.

Magalir Mattum isn’t a bad film. It’s a much needed departure from hero-worshiping and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Jyothika is good for most part but her cuteness turns annoying after a point. Her expressions aren’t natural and one can sense she’s trying hard to put up a show. Nevertheless, she holds the film together with her strong screen presence. She is well supported by Urvashi, Saranya and Bhanupriya, and it’s a shame they’re not being used effectively by other filmmakers. If only better roles were written for them, Magalir Mattum won’t be one-off outing for them.

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