Magamuni Tamil Movie Review

Feature Film
Director Santhakumar's 'Magamuni' not only hinges between two disparate characters but two disparate paths - love and hate, that made way for an elegant narrative!
Sep 9, 2019 By Baranidharan Sivasankaran

Director Santhakumar who made his directorial debut in 2010 with 'Mouna Guru' was praised and lauded for his immaculate screenwriting ability. The movie that also gave actor Arulnithi a break was a pathbreaking action thriller that was intense and gripping. However, since then, it's been nine years, and he was nowhere to be seen. When Magamuni's trailer popped up with director Santhakumar's name, I was pleasantly surprised. With a whole lot of expectations, I went into the theatre.

The movie takes the non-linear route with Arya serving his term at a psychiatric prison ward. The backstory makes two parallel tracks of Mahadevan and Muni who lead different lives in two different places. While Maha is a hitman and a 'sketch' specialist who schemes to 'knock off' people for money, Muni leads a more ascetic life in a village and has his heart towards reforming the lives of needy children through social awareness. As one could guess, they are siblings who were separated at birth but get united through destiny. Did all end well for both of them?

For Arya, this movie is like a comeback vehicle. The dual role that explores the minds of two different personas was an interesting paradox that was well set up for a revenge thriller. We also do get confused sometimes whether the story is about the same person with a flashback tucked into another or the happenings happen in parallel. We realize that it is the latter during the interval block.

Engaging characters and plot points primarily drove the movie. Arya as 'Mahadevan' and 'Muni' has performed with a subtle variation between characters. The intellectual one with a rural backdrop gives the 'socially responsible and ethical' messages while the more urbane and rustic one takes the rogue action path. Indhuja as 'Viji' was brilliant as the housewife with humble ambitions. Her cute lines and expressions add to the narrative texture. Mahima Nambiar in a more sophisticated journalist's role had her act cut out to portray the free-spirited 'Deepa' who has no qualms in crushing her feudalistic father's ego.

The movie does make a statement on the generic societal inequality, a stab at the current education system, and the way young children are subjected to violence. The caste bias, bureaucracy among the government officials, and the existence of 'God' and other supernatural things. However, I felt that the director's first film too had many of these comments tucked into the storyline, but more subtly. There were no specific dialogues that pointed to any individual aspect, unlike this movie.

Also, the narrative takes a backseat when the director walks the beaten path of mistaken identities between twins. The scenes that lead to this aspect was also not very convincing and was a far-fetched coincidence. However, the movie more than makes up for that with an eye for intelligence in the screenplay, like how a cop dumbfounds a murderer and a father giving his son a dope on the real 'gangster' aspect.

The narrative from director Santhakumar was as elegant as his first movie. But, somewhere down the line, we feel that the director has struggled to make the two disparate storylines converge convincingly. Having said all that, this movie can be watched for its intensity in character building, elegant narration and some solid performances from its cast. I am excited to see Santhakumar's next announcement!

Baranidharan Sivasankaran