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Murattu Kaalai

Posted in Cinema, Reviews, Tamil by Suganth on June 16, 2012

Murattu Kaalai is a pointless and inferior remake that is just about watchable because it is unpretentious

Kaalayan’s (Sundar) life revolves around his four brothers. He earns the wrath of Varadharajan (Suman), a big shot in the neighbouring village, on account of refusing to marry his sister. Meanwhile, Bhuvana (Sneha), who is on the run from Varadharajan, seeks refuge under Kaalayan and the two fall in love. This only increases Varadharajan’s fury and he begins to plot Kaalayan’s downfall.

Imagine an alternate reality in which there was never a blockbuster titled Murattu Kaalai, featuring one of the iconic characters played by Superstar Rajinikanth. In such a scenario, Selva Bharathi’s Murattu Kaalai would be seen as a typical masala film that combines elements from every other Sundar C film in which the actor-director would play an affectionate brother (Veerappu), sing duets that are never quite romantic with the heroine in exotic locations (Sandai), spout punch dialogues in loud decibels (Thee) and bash up the villain and his henchmen, with the cinematography and the background score pummeling you into submission (Perumal).

But since that isn’t the case, comparisons — however unfair they might be — are inevitable. To be fair, the original isn’t really a classic in the actual sense of the term but is certainly one of the most important in Rajinikanth’s canon of films. It was a commercial potboiler with right mix of action, romance, comedy and sentiment that worked big time at the box office. And, it features, arguably, his most iconic intro song, the rousing Podhuvaga En Manasu Thangam… and some of the best action sequences that the Superstar has featured in (the fight on top of a running train in the climax, for instance).

The remake features both these elements but they are not a patch on the original. While the remix of the song (by Srikanth Deva) is just pedestrian, the train fight sequence (Silva is the stunt choreographer), despite the advancement in film technology over the years, lacks the nail-biting tension that the original offered. Add to that the disappointing editing, by the National Award winning duo of Praveen and K L Srikanth no less, who seem to throw in every transition and effect from their editing software, to make the hero seem all the more powerful. But it is our eyes that begin to strain with these needless gimmicks.

Still, the good news here is that, surprisingly, Murattu Kaalai isn’t a disaster and works to an extent. But, the bad news is that this is an entirely pointless remake with hardly anything new to offer. One of the reasons why the film remains watchable is because Sundar wisely decides to not ape Rajinikanth’s portrayal and sticks to his typical shtick (a brave simpleton with a heart of gold). Also, Selva Bharathi (of Ninaithen Vandhaai and Priyamanavalae fame) treats the material as just a mass movie and doesn’t try to overreach by attempting any improvement upon the original.

The rest of the cast is strictly passable; Suman is never as fearsome as Jaishankar, while Sneha manages to coast through with her smiles. Interestingly, Vivekh seems to have regained a bit of his comic touch. He plays an effeminate character with a dark secret, and has a comic track unrelated to the film’s plot that plays as a spoof on 16 Vayathinile. Though nowhere as funny as his early 2000 comedies, the actor manages to wring a smile out of you now and then with his one-liners and that is certainly welcome.

Copyright ©2012 The Times Of India

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