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By Behindwoods Visitor Manikandan
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This is a travelogue written on a recent journey I had been on-A journey to Madharasapattinam. A journey that was eventful and full of life every moment.

Somehow one of the scales of measurement of a film industry’s talents has been its ability to make quality ‘Period’ movies. In that aspect Madharasapattinam is one of a kind, showcasing the abundance of talent and ability in Tamil Cinema. Every aspect of the movie is mesmerizing making it an enchanting work of art. Even during the titles animation, it is very clear that the journey you have embarked on is not the usual commercial masala.

To begin with, the backbone of any period flick-Art direction- was excellent. The hand written Ad’s on the Central station walls, the bells on the Trams make it evident that research and creativity have gone hand in hand with every finer aspect. Hats off to the creation of Buckingham Canal (the then ‘coovam’) and the 1947 Central station. Nirav Shah’s cinematography has given the necessary support to the art direction by making each frame a pleasure to watch. G.V. Prakash has yet again proved himself and his ability to handle big projects by the wonderful songs and BGM. The BGMs blended well with every scene. ‘Pookal pookum tharunam’ leaves you humming the tune when you leave the theatre. Editing by Anthony is another crucial part of the movie. Arya has done
justice to his character and deserves the accolades in every sense. Amy Jackson is not only enchantingly beautiful but she steals the show with her impeccable performance. The 2008 Miss teenage World has fitted very well into the character and has carried the weight well by an apt display of emotions.

Good music, good cinematography, good performances so what? It’s been the case with many other period flicks that were attempted before as well. What else makes this movie special?

Yes, though there have been various attempts at making period movies in the recent past from Siraichalai to Hey Ram to Bharathi to Periyar and though the technical aspects were equally good and though veterans like Kamal Haasan have been the directors, there has been a missing element. The element that is responsible for connecting these dots- A good Screenplay. The one significant factor that differentiates Madharasapatinam from all similar attempts before is the gripping screenplay. Vijay belittles all other departments in this aspect. After perhaps the days of Veerapandiya Kattabomman by the legendary Sivaji Ganesan, I feel the Tamil audiences were captivated by a period script only in Madharasapattinam. Kudos to Vijay for the brilliant screenplay. Except for the odd placement of the ‘Aaruyire’ song which slowed the pace of the movie a little in the 2nd half, there was no glitch anywhere in the entire screen play.

Besides showcasing extraordinary talent in all departments, I think the movie will have a big social impact. How many of us who have walked, run, slept and (Sorry to say this but) spat in the Chennai Central Station have thought that it is one of the biggest historical monuments of the city? The next time Chennaites see the Coovam they will for sure feel a tint of shame for what they have done to the once scenic ‘Buckingham canal’.

Although one would feel shades of Lagaan and Titanic during the course of the movie, as a whole package I think it has taken Tamil Cinema to new heights. And the least we can do to encourage such creators and creations is to watch the movie in theatres.

Thank you Vijay for the wonderful journey that took me from the polluted, stinking, Chennai I know of to the beautiful Madharasapattinam and (importantly) back. Sometime again in my life when I do pass by the Central Station and if the clock strikes, I will remember the lovely couple- Paridhi and Amy Wilkinson- who spent a night in the very clock room once upon a time in Madharasapattinam.


Tags : Madharasapattinam, Nirav Shah, Arya, Vijay

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