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Bonding, bucolic style

malathi rangarajan
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hard-hitting story Magizhchi
hard-hitting story Magizhchi

E ven a slight slip could have made Magizhchi (U) an extension of a weepy Tamil soap. But V. Gowthaman's direction keeps the narration on track in this family drama set in 1989. Neela. Padmanabhan's ‘Thalaimuraigal' has been transformed into a fairly neat film. Filial piety and sibling sentiments have been a part of our films since the days of Paasa Malar some five decades ago. But the bro-sis bonding in Magizhchi goes ridiculously overboard when the girl actually places her hand in a pan of boiling oil to prove her love for her brother! Blood-and-thunder absolutely!

After television took over and began to make even family stories with potential boring, makers had to make do with commercial heroism and revenge sagas on screen. Also realistic rural tales are being milked to the optimum — Magizhchi fits comfortably in this slot.

A slew of veterans and each has been vested with enough importance. Heading the list are V.S. Raghavan and Sukumari. The characters are solid and well-crafted, and the choice of actors for the various roles is flawless. Gowthaman, however, is an exception. The director has doubled as hero — an unwise move. The scenes where he pleads with his brother-in-law (Sampath) are wearisome exercises in melodrama. Honestly, Gowthaman should have stuck to direction, which he proves adept at. Anjali, who plays his sweetheart Kuzhali, is apt as always. But the role of a childish village side heroine doting on her fiancé is getting too clichéd. The stereotype irks. Seeman, as Thiraviyam's friend, Kuttralam, comes up with a subdued, dignified and effective portrayal. After Dindigul Sarathy and Paalaivana Cholai, Karthika returns as the loving elder sister and utilises the scope the role offers very well. Sampath looks every inch the menacing husband in Magizhchi. With very little dialogue, his bravado and venom-spewing eyes make an impression.

Magizhchi is about a typical family comprising a grandma (Sukumari) steeped in old beliefs, a father, mother, three daughters and a son. Thiraviyam (Gowthaman), the son, is a responsible young man for whom family ties matter most. He dotes on elder sister Nagammai (Karthika) and when her future looks bleak, he takes a revolutionary step …

When the story is moving steadily, do you need a disgusting distraction in the form of gyrations at a gypsy camp? You can't make head or tail of its connection with the rest of the film. The comedy scene with ‘Kanja' Karuppu and the old woman is funny all right but it hampers the narration. So do the duets. Surely Magizhchi built on a solid story doesn't need these formula ingredients.

Grown-up sons beating up their aged fathers and mothers is slowly becoming an unhealthy trend in films set in a bucolic milieu. You saw it in Mynaa and you see it in Magizhchi.

Spanning the greenery of the fields and the inside of traditional homes with élan is Sezhiyan's camera. Art work (Rajasekaran) is commendable, except that the rich Sampath's home looks rather bare!

It's been quite a while since Gowthaman wielded the megaphone for a film. After the Murali-Simran starrer, Kanavae Kaliyadhae, and a stint in television, he has come back with a hard-hitting line.

malathi rangarajan

Magizhchi Genre: Family drama Director: V. Gowthaman Cast: Gowthaman, Anjali, Karthika, Seeman Storyline: A close-knit family and the challenges it faces Bottomline: Impressive edifice


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