While we have films that score huge at box office but the impact the film induces stays only for a while. While in the other end we have films that comes to screen after bagging various awards and recognition but its impact will stay forever. Once such phenomenal creation is Merku Thodarchi Malai. I would like to start off by thanking Vijay Sethupathi in proving himself as Makkal Selvan as a producer too by taking up such films that will connect to people.
Merku Thodarchi Malai is a promising film about the people of western ghats. The lifestyle of those people who travel to and fro the mountains for their daily work has been depicted with utmost nativity and in the most realistic way possible. Despite their untiring and strenuous efforts and labour they end up landless is the plight of those people and the core plot of this film. Predominant usage of people based from that place rather than trained actors has been one of the huge plus in the film that has contributed to the native and realistic essence to a greatest extent.
Conveying the life happenings of Antony and Gayathri after they get married through Ilayaraja’s authentic melody was interesting. Giving preferences to wide , zoom out shots can be stated as one of the film’s uniqueness. This film will not fall into those category of films which will leave us in extreme shock or tragedy , this film has all the necessary lighter moments that has actually helped in gripping us to the film till the end and adds to the freshness.
Only 4 to 5 characters from this film is taken up by actors among which Antony the lead who has played Rangasamy and Gayathri who appeared in Joker has played the wife of Antony. Antony has delivered a credible performance where he trumps. Gayathri has impressed us with the way she has handled the transformation from the fun loving village girl to the mother of a 10 year old. Every other character in this film that passes over instills the impact for their remarkable screen presence and incredible performance. To mention a few the Kiruku Kezhavi role played by Pandiyamma tests our emotions , Bakiyamamma played by Sornam and all others. This kind of satisfaction in performance comes up only if the characterization and screen writing is well penned. In that regard , this film has justified.
Director’s way of handling intense subject like landless labour , daily wage workers who transport load of cardamom across the hills , artificial manures , communism in a lighter way without bombarding all at once and blending it intelligently with the nativity , their slang , their daily routine , body language and mannerisms is top notch. Lenin Bharathi is one of the truest creator of tamil cinema but for which such quality and sensibility would have been difficult. Lenin also deserves an applause for extracting the realistic performance from the cast , retaining the nativity and not bringing in any cliches.
Cinematographer Theni Eswar’s work is terrific because of the drop dead shots of the entire mountains and the way he plays with lights and frames in the beginning is the highlight trait of the film. How can he even capture such lively visuals , using raw shots and the frequent zoom out shots of breath taking view of landscape. This film will stay in our heart and mind for longer time for its technical brilliance. He will amaze us with his jaw dropping depiction of the entire premise frequently.
Even the smallest of characters grabs our attention for their unique mannerisms or slang. The film travels for a span of 14 years and the transition showcased by Antony and Gayathri is outstanding. Editor’s wise choice of angles , frames and crisp cuts engages the audience through out the film without loosing the hold. Isai Gnani has composed soulful background scores and melody which goes in hand with the tone of the film. Another factor that deserves a special mention is that director has not compromised on any of the cinema values , no scene / shot looks misfit and surprises us all together. This artistic film will be lauded for its perfection and sensibility.
Every aspect in this film compliments every other elements by equally balancing everything a quality film needs. This film is definitely a must watch for the fulfillment it gives at the end. Merku Thodarchi Malai will undoubtedly win people’s heart at the same will be cemented in the good books of tamil cinema for the promising product it is. It is actually overwhelming to see such films coming up amidst ordinary commercial flick. These kind of films are the identity of progressive cinema.
Merku Thodarchi Malai is a realistic journey into the paths that narrate the darker realism of people that is presented flawlessly by utilizing every aspect like humour , family , emotions , politics in a undeniably incredible pattern. You are sure to leave the screens with heavy heart also as a satisfied consumer. It is a must watch film for all the cinema fanatics.
TalksOfCinema Verdict : Merku Thodarchi Malai : A Hard hitting journey into reality
TalksOfCinema Rating : 4/5
Merku Thodarchi Malai Movie Review Retrospect