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Mudhalvar Mahatma

Posted in Cinema, Reviews, Tamil by Suganth on March 30, 2012

Naïve and with a misplaced sense of Gandhian ideals, Mudhalvar Mahatma is a disservice to the Father of our Nation

After his death, Mahatma Gandhi (Kanagaraj) goes to heaven where he argues with God to send him back to India to finish the work he had begun. By going on an indefinite fast, he forces God to agree to his demand and returns to the nation as a sanitary worker. Can he revolutionize the country once again?

Haven’t we all fantasized at one point or another during our childhood about the return of the Mahatma after being taught about his life and ideals in moral science classes? Balakrishnan hasn’t yet grown out of this fantasy and being a filmmaker, he has made a movie whose sole intention seems to lie in fulfilling this childhood dream.

Still, such a movie should have proven to be been one worthy of discussion given its topicality in today’s socio-political climate. And, the film does touch upon many of today’s issues like corruption, state-run alcohol shops, inefficiency of the government machinery, farmer suicides and even the Eelam issue (with a laughably-executed scene in which the Mahatma meets Prabhakaran). But, sadly, the whole enterprise feels not only naïve but also has a misplaced sense of Gandhian ideals that it actually turns out to be a disservice to the Mahatma.

What makes it worse is how the director executes the scenes showcasing the Gandhian methods of protest like fasting and civil disobedience. Watching his Gandhi indulge in such forms of protest makes his method seem farcical and the character comes across as an adamant child who gets his chocolate by just being obstinate. And Kanagaraj, despite his valiant efforts, cannot bring out the inner strength of the frail-looking Mahatma.

Even when taken as just a film, Mudhalvar Mahatma is so flawed that you wonder which one should be blamed the most — the aimless script or the dated execution, which makes the film look like it has been pulled straight from the oldest shelves of the film archives. Talking about the script, Balakrishnan isn’t clear whether to focus the film on the Mahatma’s return or on Anupam Kher, who plays a chief minister (and badly lip syncs to the dialogues) following in his ideals. And, Kher has a totally different complexion to Sundar (the actor who plays his younger version), which makes you wonder which fairness cream he has used. Or, maybe, it was goat’s milk!

If you plan to catch the film, better take your gang of friends along. You will enjoy the innumerable LOL moments even better.

Copyright ©2012 The Times Of India

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