Everyone wants to come first! In all walks of life, being first is what matters the most. AVM's Mudhal Idam tells us that even petty crime is no different. Petty criminals also have ambitions, of being the biggest criminal, if not in the world, or the country, or the state, or the city, at least within the local police station limits. That’s the premise on which Mudhal Idam opens.
Yes, if you want to be an outlaw, be the one that will be feared, revered and remembered for a long long time, rather than lead a low life that will be forgotten once you are done with active crime. That is the kind of philosophy that the protagonist (if you would call such a character one) played by Vidharth carries. And, he is ably supported and encouraged by senior relative and self-appointed mentor played by Mayilsaamy. These two want to be on top of the rowdy pyramid in the town of Thanjavur.
There we go, you might think! Another one of those village side violence flicks which will end only in bloodbaths. Well, the director here proves that all of them need not be the same. Yes, there are the clichés that we have come to associate with such themes due to the overdose of such films that we have had post Paruthiveeran; the irreverent attitude, the sarcastic and sometimes lecherous lines, drunken brawls etc, but Mudhal Idam is not just about all these. There is also a neat twist or two in the story and an unexpected end to the proceedings, which will make Mudhal Idam stand apart, even if it is just a wee bit, from the crowd of rugged rural action films.
The first half of the film is quite a drag. Looks like the director wanted to reserve all the good stuff in the script for the latter part of the movie and decided to fill the first half with random happenings, comic moments, songs, and a fight here and there etc. Yes, it is worth an attempt, but it takes a film maker of immense skill to keep an audience interested without too much actually happening in terms of the story. The director here tries hard, but the fun wears off soon until the first major twist arrives at the stroke of interval. The only thing that sticks to one’s mind after the first half are the Mayilsaamy moments (boy, isn’t he coming back in a big way, he just had Potta Potti). He is quite hilarious as the uncle who is willing to do anything to help his nephew become a more ‘acclaimed’ rowdy, kind of reminds one about the Paruthiveeran-Sevvazha relationship. It is only the last 45 minutes or so that is packed with actual momentum in the script. And, it almost makes up for all the lost time.
One good thing about Mudhal Idam is that the director has not overdone anything; be it the violence, liquor scenes, profanity etc. He seems to have understood that many of these elements have been drubbed to death in recent Tamil cinema, and thus keeps it all down to acceptable levels.
But, he should have also worked on a script that didn’t make the viewer feel uneasy and disinterested very early in the first half; no matter how much ammunition he had up his sleeve for a good finish. Also, he could have toned down the melodrama at a couple of places; certain things are almost too good and sweet to be considered real. And, please stop this nonsense of good looking educated girls falling in love with men who are just short of being vagabonds; surely, Tamil cinema is better than this. If you want your hero to be an unkempt street scrapper, then why not avoid having a heroine!
Vidharth should have been hoping for a repeat of Mynaa. He does his part with conviction though; but will need to find more variety before being accepted as a performer. Kishore in a key role, does just what is asked of him; which is not much, but still intense and powerful. Debutante heroine Kavitha Nair has got big expressive eyes, but does not get a chance to put them to use; later perhaps.
Technically, the movie holds up rather well. Imman, who might also have wanted a Mynaa repeat, does a fair job. The disappointment however is that this product came from under the AVM banner. The film just does not look and feel like it has come out of one of the most respected production houses in Indian cinema. Certainly, AVM is a lot better than this and we hope that this is just a temporary blip.
Mudhal Idam is a fair effort which is let down by a script which has its punches distributed unevenly. There are moments of fun and excitement, but they are interspersed by stretches of meandering scenes.
Verdict: Mudhal Idam! Not even on the podium!