Maara Tamil Movie Review
Director Dhilip Kumar calls his Maara an adaptation of Martin Prakkat's 2015 Malayalam film 'Charlie'. The film is essentially a remake of that Dulquer Salman and Parvathy Thiruvothu starrer, but I can see why Kumar terms it an adaptation. It is his way of saying that Maara is not a mere imitation.
Like Charlie, Maara is about a young, ambitious woman growing a fascination for a man over time. That woman is Parvathy/Paaru played by Shradha Srinath. When her family tells her to marry someone they know, Paaru goes away to a fishing village in Cochin. The trip is not an escape from her life's situation, unlike in the case of Charlie's leading lady. Paaru goes there as part of her restoration work, so it is unsurprising that Cochin's quirky artworks and mysterious people appeal to her. There, she discovers a scrapbook of Maara with adventure caricatures of characters from his life. Gradually, she becomes curious about each adventure in the book, and the characters in it.
Maara is different from Charlie in that it is more a realistic film with some elements of fantasy. Unfortunately, I remember Charlie well enough having seen it for the second time a few years back. So, my familiarity with the story did not quite help me to enjoy Maara to the fullest. Despite that, I could enjoy and appreciate the Amazon Prime film. The best thing about the Tamil movie is that it makes us want to revisit Charlie, like all good remakes do.
Charlie/Maara is unlike standard love stories. It is not a long distance relationship story, but we still find ourselves as invested in its characters as we would in that kind of tale.
Madhavan's protagonist character, Maara is charming, but he is not the ultimate charmer as Dulquer Salman's Charlie. The charm quotient is dialed down considerably here, which has to do with the age and the type of character Madhavan plays. These two are different characters in multiple regards. Madhavan has much more gray hair. His character is a lot more serious than Charlie. There is a sense of pain in his eyes, and his deeds make him closer to life. Conversely, Charlie mostly has a twinkle in his eyes.
Parvathy is a lot more faithful to the Tessa character from Charlie. Even so, Shradha Srinath's is a little brighter role, without much baggage. Shradha has enough star power to make you fall for this woman who goes in search of that man.
Alexander Babu as the thief friend in Maara's life is excellent in a cameo role. Babu's character does not aim for the big laughs as the same role of Soubin Shahir in Charlie does, which only makes it different. There is Abhirami as a prostitute with quite a backstory. Abhirami is such a fine actor that she makes a mark even in a cameo role. The same can be said of Sshivada, whose expressions communicate more than mere dialogues could. She is the standout performer here.
Moulee is an excellent, if a slightly left-field, choice to play Maara's father figure Velaiyya. He also has a backstory, and it, too, is nicely tied to Paaru's search for Maara as well as Maara's life philosophy and purpose.
Maara is a sumptuously shot film, which will make you miss the big screen experience even more. Given that it is a remake, the 2:30 hours running time is the only issue with it. There are some songs and scenes that could have been trimmed off to make it a crisper film.