Director Pandiraj swiveled the spotlight towards him with his very first film Pasanga, a simple tale of school going boys and their lives which received its glory at National and International film festival circuits. As a tribute, he has aptly named his production venture as ‘Pasanga Productions’ whose first film is Marina.
Director Pandiraj continues to tread in his comfort domain of lives of children and this time in Marina, it is the children whose abode is Marina, the second longest beach in the world. Marina has curiously aroused interest also due to his hero Siva Karthikeyan who is a much loved TV host, thanks to his witty repartees and comic sense.
Marina talks about the people who depend on the beach and its visitors for their daily bread and butter, their happiness, sorrow and dreams and Pandiraj has scripted his tale around these lives. One cannot but draw parallels to his Pasanga whose core was children with a light hearted romance as accompaniment. Marina also follows a similar route.
In Marina, Pandiraj’s dialogues come to his aid hugely and they are the major highlight of the film. ‘Kaadhal oru nalla guru, adhu ellaraiyum seedana othukaradillai’ is one such example.
Primarily Pandiraj should be lauded for his sincere and socially responsible attempt in showcasing the lives of beach vendors. And in this effort of his, there are not many cinematic leeways in the form of action sequences or item numbers or unnecessary comedy tracks.
Credible characterization is a positive element in Marina and all the artists fit in perfectly with their respective roles, with Pandiraj picking some of the real life beach vendors. The director has so finely tuned all his characters that actors on the fringe too manage to make a mark like the thatha, Anbuchelvan IPS, the horse jockey, postman and the girl’s dad.
Having said that the film maker could have worked more to avoid the documentary feel the film gives for the most part. It is due to this very reason the film struggles to sustain the interest of the audience completely.
The Siva Karthikeyan-Oviya romance is absolutely enjoyable and hilarious. In fact these portions bring color to an otherwise a monochrome film. Siva’s revenge tactics in the form of aappu, revit courier, his duplicate bike-wheelie techniques, his mental calculation of budget for Oviya, his idea of gift wrapping idli and getty chutney, sangu episode are all testimonies of interesting brainwaves of Pandiraj. These portions provide the fun moments in Marina.
The children’s diverse ‘range’ of competitions is naughty. A touch of humanity comes to the fore with the postman delivering Pongal greetings with 50 rupee to the children.
As the role of Senthilnathan requires Siva Karthikeyan to be just himself, it is just a cake walk in terms of performance for this actor. His ‘thathuva’ friend is endearing and so are the kids in the beach. Oviya does what is required of her. Jayaprakash is appealing in a small cameo.
Debut music composer Girishh’s refrains are good with Vankkam Vaazha Vaikkum Chennai topping in the recall list with Yelelo Pongum Kadal following it. Girishh also scores in the RR department. Camera work is tough especially when the premise is only the beach and its sandy terrain and lensman Vijay has showcased the script appealingly with the right kind of angles and tones.
The positivity that is being conveyed needs mention and so is the stress on child education. If the documentary feel had been avoided, Marina would have been even more enjoyable.
Verdict: Marina - a pleasant beach.