Magalir Mattum Tamil Movie
The movie has the same title as the 1994 movie, with Oorvasi and Nasser being the common actors enacting different roles - then and now. Apart from that, the theme of both the movies leans on women empowerment, depicting the hardships women face and how 'inadvertently' men tend to overlook such things. As a theme, it is an evergreen one. From Balachander to Karthik Subbaraj, filmmakers have been thronging to capture the various facets of feminism through their eyes.
'Magalir Mattum 2017', not only stays true to its original theme but also leans heavily on the narrative pattern of the 1994 film. Of course, there are changes in attitude towards women and among society at large, so the narrative has found its relevance. It can be treated more like a franchise movie, and this one talks about feminism.
There are 3 women in their late 40s and one in her 30s (maybe). The older women are leading a 'supposed to be' sorry lifestyle - one with a drunkard, one with a chauvinist husband and son and the other is left to wail alone, as her son departs to fly abroad. They are being cheered up by Prabhavathy (Jyothika), a progressive 'alpha' female - in other words, she represents Revathy's character in the yesteryear movie.
From the trailer, one could make out what was the movie all about. I was praying that it shouldn't be preachy, delivering messages at every possible juncture. But I had my hope intact, because of director Brahma. He had previously directed the thought-provoking 'Kuttram Kadithal'.
I was largely not disappointed in the way in which the things unfolded. The preachiness was wrapped under funny subtexts and scenes that had so many easter eggs buried deep within. Watch out for the scene where the three women in a 'supposedly' inebriated manner taking rounds to punch a punching bag, in the process venting out all their suppressed frustrations and emotions they've accumulated over the years.
The same scene inadvertently gives off an off-screen irony of the director unable to showcase the women actually consuming alcohol, as it may come under the dangerous radar of the censors, while he is given a free ticket to showcase the men doing the same in the same movie. Such is the pathetic state of a movie that is supposed to talk about 'empowering and recognizing women'.
Jyothika, though she has diligently handpicked the role, it was a let down of sorts because of her lacklustre acting (overacting) that clearly fabricates what she isn't. Saranya Ponvannan and Oorvasi steal the show with their natural performance and charisma. Again the punchbag scene stands testimony to the cocktail of emotions that they bring about on the screen.
Pavel Navageethan is another potential actor who has to be given some more meat to feed on. I like his role as that of a South Indian guy who is brought up with rural North Indian sensibilities in a family where patriarchy rule the roost! I felt his role and the character arc that he experiences were so typical as that of a 'feel good' film, which was a sort of disappointment. But with the limited scope which was provided, he was able to strike a chord. Livingston as the drunkard husband was funny in parts but brought forth genuine emotions on screen.
The movie is certainly targeted at families, especially the female fraternity. The narrative style of wobbling between the past and the present with the three women in contention made for an interesting narrative. However, elements of preachiness creep in, expecting people to wet their handkerchiefs time and again. It's a one-time watch for the feel-good factor.