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Starring: Arya, Amy Jackson, Nasser, VMC.Haneefa, M. S. Bhaskar.
Direction: A L Vijay
Music: G V Prakash Kumar
Production: Kalapathi S. Aghoram
This weekend, we hark back to the days of pre-independence as director Vijay transports us to the Madras Presidency in all its regal splendor and vintage architecture to narrate the love story of an elite British lady and an Indian dhobi. Madarasapattinam will be a complete mainstream pre-independence period flick in Tamil after a long time.

We have had quite a few authentic period flicks in the past couple of years and almost all of them have struck it off well with audiences. In 2006, Imsai Arasan managed to create ripples in Kollywood with its success and then there was Subramaniapuram in 2008 which took us to Madurai of the 1980s. Recently, Irumbu Kottai Murattu Singam took us back to an unspecified period in time and created a totally new world. There have also been flashes of period tales in otherwise real time films; like the spellbinding initial portions of Dasavatharam. The challenge that Madarasapattinam will face is to live up to the standards in period recreation that have been set by many of its predecessors.

Much of that responsibility lies with the director Vijay, art director Selvakumar and cinematographer Nirav Shah. There have been reports from shooting locations about huge sets resembling Vannarapettai and Old Mount Road that were erected. One also wonders whether the Madras Central; one of the oldest and most distinguished landmarks of Madras will be shown in its old glory. All these factors will definitely make Madarasapattinam a visual treat for all those who have known only Chennai, not Madras. It might also be a very nostalgic experience for old timers who want to revisit their beloved Madras.

But, let us not get carried away with these technical aspects. The most important part of any movie has to be its story. And, for those who thought that any film set in the pre-independence era has to be about the freedom struggle; Madarasapattinam might come as a surprise. This is basically a love story. But, inevitably, with every film set before 1947, Madarasapattinam will have the freedom struggle as the backdrop. The amount of focus that will be given to the freedom struggle is not known and we also don’t know whether any prominent figures from the struggle are depicted in the movie. The storyline is basically this- an elite British lady visits colonized India and comes to the Madras presidency. There she gets acquainted to an ordinary dhobi who also happens to be a wrestler. Slowly, she falls in love with this simple Indian. But, it is about that same time that the freedom struggle hits its peak and the end of British rule seems to be nearing. The British will soon have to leave the country and so will the young lady. What happens to the love story?

Love stories set in the freedom struggle backdrop have been made in Bollywood before.1942 A Love Story and 1947 Earth are good examples.

For Arya, this might be the biggest ticket to the major league. He proved his credentials as a committed performer with Naan Kadavul. Now, he is on the verge of real big stardom if Madarasapattinam, the biggest movie so far in his career, is able to satisfy audiences. It will not only be a boost to his career, it will also be a tonic to Tamil cinema to go in for more adventurous subjects. Amy Jackson plays the British lady. The film also consists of Nasser, M.S.Bhaskar and the Late VMC Haneefa in what is his last Tamil movie.

Director Vijay looks to stamp his class as a film maker after delivering two quality products in Kreedom and Poi Solla Porom. G.V Prakash too gets a huge opportunity and has delivered the right goods. The ‘Vaama Duraiyamma’ song is already popular. Meanwhile, one of the biggest factors in such a mammoth task of recreating old Madras is the producer. AGS Entertainment must be congratulated for taking up one unconventional project after another; their previous release was Irumbu Kottai Murattu Singam.

With a subject that will attract almost anyone, promises of transporting us to the Madras of yore and some great visuals, Madarasapattinam has the potential to make it big. Will it? Let’s wait for Friday.
Tags : Madrasapattinam, Arya, G V Prakash Kumar, Amy Jackson, Nassar, Vijay
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