Pandiraj is a visual storyteller. His shots, more often than not, close up on objects and simple actions. With Marina, he attempts to create a companion piece to the satire, Pasanga. Again, kids are the heroes. What he initially intended to do was nice; to tour us through the lives of those surviving on the Marina beach, a hotspot for locals. They sell all sorts of things- peanuts, water packets, sea shells, toys etc.
By getting right to the characters with explicit characterization, Marina invites us by showing promise. Where Pandiraj goes wrong is in believing that these kids are defined by their jobs. Pasanga fails to cut to the hearts and souls of the characters (or viewers). It is more about what these kids say and do than the people that they are. Soon enough these kids become cardboard cut-outs doing grown-up things that viewers are expected to find cute.
Embedding this premise with a love story involving good-looking but unintelligent characters is Pandiraj's first misstep. The conversations that these lovers have are downright stupid. Almost every discussion begins with 'Pombalenga…' That's Pandiraj counting on the non-individualistic male to identify with a society of men and he knows that they're going to clap for it.
Cops make their appearances at the beginning expressing commitment to something serious. When they finally cut to the chase (something the film should've done too), you realize it was *Spoiler Alert* a childish prank gone wrong.
The humour is clean and sometimes funny but Pandiraj relies more on repetition than screen-time reduction. Seriously, when was humour enough to make a good movie? Films are a form of storytelling. You are expected tell a story with characters. Characters are at the fore here but we distinguish them from one another by their appearances and professions instead of their personalities. This tiny slice of their lives is hardly worth being a part of. No one comes of age, no one overcomes anything worth mentioning, and no one emerges stronger. "What am I doing here watching all of this?" I couldn't help asking myself. There are no turning points in any of their lives except the death of an important old man whose death they make a mockery of, out of good will. I don't understand how people are expected to swallow such drivel.
The music is nothing short of unsuitable. Do they really have to build suspense for a scene where a guy is escaping from some random factory we see for the first time?
Pandiraj just wanted to make another 'good' movie. Swap good with dull and I would've called this a success. I suspect that the new trick from Kollywood is to focus more on milieu than on characters or story. They're probably thinking "Once we get a new setting, our film is going to stand out as an original piece of work." No, it doesn't. You've got to tell new stories, define new characters and make movies only when there is drive to make them. I'd rather watch a straight up commercial like Vettai than watch a film which particularly aims at being noticed as original. And you just wait for it to collapse, which it eventually does.
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