Drinking is a way of life for a major chunk of the men in our state and the TASMAC wine shop is the place which is the biggest unifier as people from different backgrounds congregate to drown themselves in alcohol.
MadhubanaKadai traces a single day in the functioning of a typical wine shop. That day happens to be prior to Gandhi Jayanthi, which is one of the few days when the wine shop is actually closed. All sorts of people come to the shop and it is a roller-coaster at the shop as each character gets into some mischief or the other. Such is the power of intoxication.
The episodes involving two perennial drinkers, Chinnarasu and Petition Mani, are definitely enjoyable. Even school kids, people who dress up as Gods and young professionals also make an appearance at the bar much to the amusement of us.
We have had many Tamil films where the wine shop is the scene of action for a few scenes. Santhanam has provided many a funny moment in his films with his drinking. But here, the entire movie is replete with such incidents which just become an overdose beyond a point. You just become numb as the same incidents revolving around alcohol are played out over and over again.
A love track involving the wine shop owner’s daughter and one of the employees in the shop named Rafeeq is one of the very few distractions from the scene of action.
The director Kamalakannan has also used this movie to highlight some issues like illegal adulteration of alcohol and the fact that laborers like drainage cleaners depend on alcohol for some peace of mind.
Ved Shankar has given two enjoyable mass numbers while the song that comes before the finale, is poignant. His re-recording tends to become too noisy at times in his attempt to capture the ambience of the wine shop authentically.
The camera is constrained within the wine shop for almost the entire movie while the set design for the wine shop has been done authentically.
The target audience for MadhubanaKadai is restricted and some people might even get second thoughts just seeing the title of the movie.
To conclude, the director has intentionally avoided any structured narrative and has just showcased some incidents that happen in a typical day at the wine shop. One can safely say that it is an out of the box attempt
Verdict: Experimental attempt but not very intoxicating