Karu Pazhaniyappan, who has made reasonably thought-provoking films like "Parthiban Kanavu" and "Pirivom Sandhippom", turns hero with "Mandhira Punnagai". After exploring human relationships in his first two directorial ventures, Palaniyappan attempts to look into human lives psychologically.
In the movie, Kathir (Karu Palaniappan) is a talented architect known for his creativity. His straight and direct attitude in life fetches him respect and contempt as well. But he lives a carefree life complete with wine and women.
Then Nandini (Meenakshi), an executive in a car showroom, enters his life and things change.
Kathir works out the architectural plan for Nandini's office and impresses her with his work and attitude. Kathir sees shades of his mother in Nandini. Love blossoms between them but Kathir's father warns him against trusting the girl. The father feels there could be another side to her character as she loves Kathir despite knowing the kind of life he led.
Kathir starts believing his father and starts behaving in a bizarre manner with Nandini. A twist takes place just before intermission and the rest of the movie deals with Kathir's past and future.
Unlike in Bollywood, it's a rarity in the Tamil film industry to see a flawed personality as the protagonist in a movie. The director portrays the delusion of the protagonist really well. The mystery behind his behaviour too has been brought out well.
The problem with the narrative is that it takes quite some time to take off and more time to wind up. Palaniappan fails to tell his story in a gripping manner, especially in the second half.
Palaniappan and Meenakshi fit into their roles perfectly. Like we have seen in Palaniappan's earlier films, the heroine gets a meaty role and in this case, Meenakshi meets the challenge despite being known only for glamourous roles till now.
Palaniappan, as the caustic Kathir, is perfect but he is not convincing enough in emotional sequences.
Santhanam, as Kathir's friend, provides some much-needed comic relief. But some of the humour can be embarassing for audiences.
Bhaskar Shakthi deserves to be lauded for his sharp dialogues characterizing the protagonist.
However, Vidyasagar's music is not up to the mark.
"Mandhira Punnagai" is a bold attempt to view a man's life from a psychological perspective. It would have been a far better movie if the director had concentrated more on the script in the second half.