Movies

'Magalir Mattum' review: Women to the fore

A still from the movie Magallir Mattum.  

Stop reading this review and go straight to the kitchen, where your mother or wife is likely to be busy whipping up your favourite dish, even as you anxiously wait to click a photo of it for Instagram. Take her to a movie hall screening Magalir Mattum.

She’d connect somewhere, for sure. Maybe with Komatha (Urvashi), who’s balancing her kitchen duties and taking tuitions for the neighbourhood kids, or with Rani (Bhanupriya) who’s settled in Agra and has a large family to take care of, or with Subbulakshmi (Saranya Ponvannan) who has a drunkard husband and an ailing mother-in-law to deal with.

But the protagonist of the film – rather the chief architect of the grand plans that are executed in it – is Prabavathy (a lively Jyotika, who’s ditched those sarees from her previous outing 36 Vayathinile and opted for a fun, young look). A documentary filmmaker by profession, she goes around filming real people, and it is only during the shooting of one such film on homemakers does she realise the trials they go through. She’s determined to change that world for her prospective mother-in-law Komatha (who, she adoringly calls ‘Goms’ throughout the film) and her two best buddies from childhood.

Film: Magalir Mattum
  • Director: Bramma
  • Cast: Jyotika, Urvashi, Saranya, Banupriya
  • Storyline: A documentary filmmaker reunites three long-lost friends and takes them on a trip

Magalir Mattum opens in the past – in 1978, to be precise – when three young girls are trying to escape from the strict routine at school and watch Aval Appadithan. They’re taken to task, not surprisingly, and sent back to their respective homes. But thanks to Prabavathy’s efforts, that will not be the end of their friendship.

Director Bramma gets his casting bang on – Jyotika is mischievous and full of vigour, while Urvashi’s energy is infectious (when was the last time you saw a daughter-in-law and mother-in-law bonding and having so much fun?). The filmmaker’s scene-structuring is also interesting – the film flits from the present to the past without any inhibitions, much like its women. The music by Ghibran too does its; ‘Gubu Gubu’ (sung by actor Karthi) and ‘Adi Vadi’ go well with the colourful visuals canned by cinematographer Manikandan.

The men in the film, though, get a raw deal. Nasser is portrayed as insensitive (“keep women where they have to be,” he says) while Pavel’s change-of-heart in the end seems to be more like a consolation prize. The filmmaker does try balancing them with a few good men, but Magalir Mattum always positions itself as a torchbearer of its female leads. Like Jyotika’s earlier woman-oriented 36 Vayathinile, there are messages here and there – and that bogs down the film a bit – but the camaraderie between the women is reason enough to head to the theatres.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2021 10:58:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/magalir-mattum-women-to-the-fore/article19689524.ece

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