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Mannar Vagera  ( U ) (2018)  (Tamil)
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Mannar Vagera Review

Director Boopathy Pandian has churned out a formulaic family drama that caters to the general audience who are served with finger licking masala!
2.1 out of 5 (Average) Mannar Vagera NOWRUNNING REVIEW | Baranidharan Sivasankaran
Rating:  2.1/5
Nowrunning Critics: 2.1/5
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With the title bearing a vague colloquial reference pointing south (Pattukottai and the adjoining areas), director Boopathy Pandian has churned out a formulaic family drama that caters to the general audience who are served with finger licking masala!

The story is set in a rural milieu with Mathiyazhagan (Vimal) playing the jobless youth whose mission is to be righteous or portray himself to be one. Upon uniting his brother (Karthik Kumar) with his lover (Chandini), his love with Ilayarani (Anandhi), takes a beating. On top of it, there is a father-son sentiment, brother-sister sentiment and so many other emotional overflows that were narrated with action and romance which we're used to.

At a time when contemporary movies are trying to put forth a more progressive appeal in terms of their portrayal of characters, this movie looks to make rapid strides backwards. With a very conservative narrative that roots for cast-based surnames and justifying it with various surnames of female celebrities (Sameera "Reddy", Deepika "Padukone", Aishwarya "Rai"), it certainly doesn't add up to the equation. In another scene, the director has reintroduced the long forgotten "customary filmy slap" offered by a husband to his wife, when his emotions are on a boil!

The cliches do not stop there. There was a heroine with brains blown off, a hero who goes about undeterred with a bloodstained sickle on the streets, villains who make dumb and predictable "wicked" plans, an "item duet" that credited the director as the lyric writer (was wondering what's the monicker "kattaya kavignar" for?) and the final sentimental outburst when the lead man gets beaten for something which he hasn't committed.

We've seen it all in the past. Yet, director Boopathy Pandian wants to somehow inject an element of freshness into the narrative but fails. For Vimal, this role was right in his zone. The action scenes, though cliched, had a mass appeal and Vimal carried it off well without overkilling with unnecessary punch dialogues or gimmicks. Karthik Kumar as Vimal's elder brother was a miscast. He is synonymous with a city slicker. That too his expressions and language just don't gel!

The supporting cast of Prabhu, Saranya, Jayaprakash, Meera Krishnan and others did well to do the heavy lifting by pulling off the emotional scenes. That's mainly because they were more organically rooted in the script and appeared to be a natural choice. Robo Shankar, with his slapstick and modulation, was a hit or a miss in terms of comic timing. But largely made the proceedings gallop a bit.

Songs and BGM were an average fair without much to talk about. The movie was quite a drag in the second half where we know what's about to come, but we are teased time and again with unwanted action, sentiment and songs that seemed never-ending!

The movie has been strictly targeted as a mass entertainer and that, the movie has achieved by and large. Had the director been more prudent, by employing a fresh narrative with novel ideas (like his "Thiruvilaiyaadal Aarambam"), it could have been a much better outing!
Critic: Baranidharan Sivasankaran
 2.1 out of 5 (Average) 2.1 out of 5 (Average)  

0.0 - 1.4 : Poor
1.5 - 1.7: Poor, A Few Good Parts
1.8 - 2.3: Average
2.4 - 2.9: Fairly Good
3.0 - 3.4: Good
3.5 - 5.0: Very Good

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