Maari- Ellam Adhe Maari, Konjam Nalla Maari
For those who aren’t fluent in Tamizh, Maari is the same old story that manages to keep us hooked with its humour. Balaji Mohan had created a fanbase through his first two projects which not only tickled our funny bones but were quite different in their story. It’s a shame that someone who has established his creativity had to resort to what is easily the most common story line and depend on hero-worshipping and a few wisecracks here and there. But this isn’t to say that Maari was not enjoyable. I was grinning ear to ear through the entire duration of the movie and enjoyed most of it. It is just that a combo of Dhanush and Balaji Mohan holds plenty of creative potential.
What I loved thoroughly about the movie was that it took its own time to get to the story (if we had to assume that there was one). The character establishment was superb for the most part. I say this because it is painfully obvious that the heroine has been given scenes just so that it looks like she has a role to play in the grand scheme of things. Maari is like buying an extravagant meal and then deciding to beat in a mixer and serve it like Cerelac. It’s brilliant stuff but you’re long done eating this kind of food. You can see the twists(hahaha sorry I had to use that word) a mile away.
The movie revolves around Maari (no shit, Sherlock), a local gangster who has a love-hate relationship with the people around him. They need him to protect them but consider him a nuisance. They see a white knight strutting towards them on a unicorn, puking rainbows and immediately consider him their saviour. As Maari is banished they slowly realise his importance. Rajni then chucks his gangster life and decides to be an auto driver. In the end, as always, Batman comes back and is proved to be a necessary evil and they thank him for saving the day. Wait… sorry those are different movies. My bad, it’s easy to get confused when they’re all the same .
The most enjoyable characters in the movie are the two minions of Dhanush. Robo Shankar has given an unforgettable performance. It’ll be pretty difficult for him to ever top this performance. He and ‘Kalloori’ Vinoth keep us in splits for every second. For me they were the saviours who made the movie what it is. They aptly capture my feelings for the movie in a particular scene where they rejoice by sharing a Hi-5 but scream out ‘Bullshit’ (Bullshit is a strong word I know, Dhanush fans don’t stone me).
This is definitely a feast for Dhanush fans out there. The man just oozes style. So much that you can’t help but picture Rajnikant whenever he flips a cigarette or walks with swagger. The Basha feels are strong with this one. Whatever problems the script may have, Maari is a definite watch for this guy who keeps establishing his prominence in this industry. But if VIP resulted in objections because people thought it showed smoking in a stylish light, well this movie has one-upped that (Maari 2: Rise of Gutka Mukesh?). We can expect a new set of fanboys desperately trying to ‘thara local’(Not me I swear). Kajal Aggarwal is there only to roll her eyes (again borrowing lines from the movie). The formulaic approach does annoy me. To counter the amount of attention to a negative role, Dhanush randomly breaks into a monologue about how bad rape is. I get it you want to send a message but do it better for heavens sake. The eye rolling of Kajal Aggarwal is accepted here.
What is truly praiseworthy is the camerawork. It was a treat for the audience as each scene has been captured to perfection, magnifying the emotions at play at that moment. I also liked how every now and then characters subtly broke the 4th wall and took their witty jabs. Anirudh’s music is catchy but not a stand out. What hurts my ears is the lyrics. I’ll cry the next time I see the words ‘Poet-u’ Dhanush. ‘Nursery Rhymes’ Dhanush has a better ring to it.
I get that this movie aimed to be ‘commercial only’, but those words are fast becoming a safety net for substandard scripts that survive purely on mass appeal. A one-time watch that’ll have you reminiscing its jokes for quite a while.