Director : Rosshan Andrrews Cast: Jyothika, Rahman, Abhirami

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A few minutes into the film, when the title song plays, as montages of middle-aged women and their daily activities are shown, it gives you the creeps whether this could be ‘Magalir Mattum-2’. Thankfully, from there on, the film gets on to a lighthearted track.

Strengths
The flow of story- as it takes new turns every fifteen minutes. Every time, the film keeps changing its epicenter, clinging on to newer conflicts. As it is slowly built on such small events, it gradually begins to connect back to everything it has come across so far. This forms the best interesting part of the film.

Jyothika and…
Undoubtedly, it is Jyothika who created a strong expectation in you to watch the film, and she might also end up the most attractive element of the film. She looks still better and more professional than those films she starred in as the heroine, a decade ago. She has managed to blend in the playful damsel with the mature dame to render the ‘Vasanthi’ of “36 Vayadhinile”. She is the one who manages to keep things intact in the first half-an-hour, diluting the fear of it becoming a feminist propaganda film, as the film travels with lighthearted humour reflecting real life scenarios.

The next best strengthening elements in the film are its characters and the importance given to each one of those. A character that appears as a supporting element in one scene becomes one changing the direction of the story at a later point. Those people, the characterizations, their backgrounds form different colours of the palette.
There are moments in photography and the music that are soothing. The element that forms the base of the comical scenes, of course after Jyothika’s expressions and body language, is the background music. Though the film happens mostly inside a house and an office, visuals and music are the prime reasons, it doesn’t turn out monotonous.

The conflicts
Though it is unarguably a dashing comeback for Jyothika, her appearance and the purpose of the comeback are contradicting. You could see a flabby, heavy Jyothika in the advertisements she appeared in the meantime. As the film’s story revolves around a mature married woman, a mother, who has lost her energy and form, Jyothika has suddenly shed a lot of kilos and got into the perfect figure for a heroine- something you could only rarely see even when she was playing the romantic heroine in the past. A character that laments frequently, “I have lost everything…”, “I have sacrificed my youth”, is appearing as a belle with a peerless figure, only wearing a cotton saree, now how does that look?

Ironically, the Jyothika shown once in a while as a college student is the one that looks a lot older. In many scenes, in the background, you can see middle-aged women, who have lost their opulence and gloss, buying vegetables on the roadside, taking their kids to school, hurrying to their workplaces. The odd one out, who looks completely contradicting from those women, is apparently the heroine of the film, which represents those women and their hardships.

The film speaks about feminism. That is the problem. It only speaks, speaks and speaks. Even the character backgrounds are explained in dialogues- dialogues that are completely clichéd. A woman suddenly jumps out of nowhere-though it is hinted in an earlier scene, the actual scene only looks her jumping in suddenly- and boosts Jyothika’s confidence with a set of dialogues. Those are phrases that we hear every Sunday, in television programs like ‘Arattai Arangam’ and ‘Makkal Arangam’ (This character actually looks like the one, with characteristics of aging and senility to take the lead role in the film, but ends up sidelined, and ironically plays the role of one rendering support and confidence to the heroine, who actually looks the exact opposite of her)
If there be a situation when there is decrease in sympathy for the heroine, someone pops up, discouraging and abusing her, saying how useless and hopeless she is. Few dialogues, and once again the sympathy is back and the heroine’s fighting attitude is nourished. Aren’t such messages meant to be blended into the incidents in the screenplay, discussing the feasibilities being part of the film, to achieve the intended inspiration meant for the audience?

The Separation
As said earlier, the first 30 minutes of the film are lighthearted. As the film gets more serious, gradually it loses the simplicity. Comical scenes are more realistic than the serious ones. The scenes meant to be intense, rather turn into propaganda dramas.

The film’s problem doesn’t lie in it being average. It is in the fact that, it promises more but delivers less. The chief culprit in rendering a below average image to the film, is the editor. It looks just like any other ordinary commercial film with such a tame style (the editing style of ‘Pogiren…’ song is a good example). The accomplice is the dialogue. Having discussed enough about it earlier, here is another example- the scene where Nassar and Jyothika meet. The scene is also an example of the template style of filmmaking as in many other parts of the film.

On one hand, the compromises in production collapse your concentration. When Rahman speaks on phone, you can see a house, one looking like the toy ‘Puppy house’ that kids play with, drawn on the background, and you sit there like ‘Seriously?’ The scene when the little girl calls on video is another example of the poor graphics. On the other hand, Santhosh Narayanan is a serious letdown in this movie. There are just 3 songs and 5 instrumentals on the audio track. One song is placed as the opening title song while the other is reserved for the end credits. Technically, there is only one song inside the film. The BGM forms the majority of the sound track. Usually when you remember films with Santhosh Narayanan as the music director, you can recollect at least two scenes per film, which were given a different dimension thanks to the BGM. You may not find such moments in this film. The ‘president’ music reminds us of the template tracks we heard in the 1980s and 90s, when a politician or the prime minister arrived, and in Vijayakanth films.

A nice core, Jyothika’s scintillating energy, a number of pleasing moments, appealing visuals, classy art have all lacked direction and ended up exquisite elements of an ordinary film.

This film is for…
Audience on both extremes, neither the ones looking only for commercial elements, nor the ones looking for an artistic/serious film experience will find the film completely satisfying. The film is left stranded somewhere in between. However, do not miss it for the social, domestic, environmental issues it has spoken about, for Jyothika’s comeback, for the lighthearted comedies, for the important lessons in it for today’s women (also men). But on a whole, as a ’FILM’ it only stands out as a half-baked, incomplete one that might make you feel it could’ve definitely been a lot better.

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