Period films – an unusual and most challenging genre that stops many filmmakers to make a gracious attempt over it. Uncalled for any clarifications, filmmaker Priyadarshan has excelled with his capabilities of striking spectacularly with such films. The best illustrations go with his perpetually appreciative ‘Kaalapani’ and ‘Kanchivaram’. Brimmed with inspirations and eagerness over endeavoring with similar genre, Vijay stepped on with ‘Madharasapattinam’.
But a constant question that keeps ringing in everyone’s mind is – Why should an unusual romantic tale be expressed in the backdrops of period film? The film doesn’t deviate itself from any other romantic tale and it looks like Vijay has unnecessarily impinged on pre-independence genre.
An aged granny on her death bed wants to make a visit to Chennai. As the journey starts, the film unfolds granny’s flashback as she earlier visited ancient Madras as Amy (Amy Jackson), daughter of British Governor. The pre-independence era deals out with the shouts and hails of patriots, the sets of old Chennai, the conflicts that break open between British and working society of Madharasapattinam that comes to be decided under a combat and a love that blooms between Amy and an Tamil dhobi Ilamparithi (Aarya).
The proceedings of present and past narrated with sluggishness pulls away everyone’s attention during first hour turning them restless. On the contrary, the post-intermission sequences have some grip over the course, but that’s too late as audiences have already given up their patience. The film reminds off lots of international flicks – Titanic, Lagaan, Gladiator and so on. The very impressive part of the film is the best enchanting works of Nirav Shah’s cinematography. It’s very much evident that filmmaker has granted Nirav to place angles on his own creative interests. The specific tone mixed with sepia touch offers a right feel of travelling into a different context. The film’s other hero is art director Selvakumar for his mind-boggling set works. He has all chances of proving himself ahead at international standards. Costumes have been typically designed as before in other period flicks and Anthony doesn’t have more opportunities to showcase his preexisting gimmicks. G.V. Prakash’s background score is very average while couple of songs has been splendidly done. He has to thank Nirav for canning them with crème de la crème attributes.
Getting on with performance level, Aarya gets himself striving for perfection and does his job exactly the way Vijay has insisted. Perhaps, it isn’t the best as his yesteryear ‘Naan Kadavul’ and Aarya has underplayed his part during many sequences. Since the complete story travels from the female protagonist’s point of view, Amy Jackson persistently sustains herself in everyone’s mind and her beauteous looks keeps it moving ahead scoring brownie points for her. But during more portions, she looks like a showcase Barbie. The other supporting actors have done justice to their roles with late actor VMC Haneefa proving himself at his best. It really urges us feel his absence in mere future. Nasser is okay while Omar has done a fantabulous job.
On the flip side, Vijay fails to deliver an intensely emotional romantic feel and audiences will fail to get themselves adhered to these factors. Period films don’t mean the duration has to be less than couple of hours. Just as mentioned, by the time Vijay exerts the right stuffs, it becomes too late. Vijay has likely focused more into technical arenas and has let them overshadow the narrative aspects.
The visual fiestas of ancient Chennai is fantastic and the present age cohorts may take a chance of journeying to Madharasapattinam for this sole purpose.
Lots of English-oriented lines may perplex the suburban and rural audiences.
But if you feel that it’s gonna be a heart-melting romantic tale of two hearts from different places across the boundaries, then you may be literally disappointed.
Doubtlessly, the film has chances of pulling miniscule audiences while the other groups may feel this show to be slightly odd and not a piece of cake they wanna taste.
What works: Top quality technical aspects, Aarya, second half
What doesn’t work: Screenplay, improper treatment of period phase
Verdict: A film for exceptional film lovers
Banner: AGS Entertainment, Red Giant Movies
Production: Kalpathy S Agoram
Direction: A.L. Vijay
Star-casts: Aarya, Amy Jackson, Nasser, V.M.C. Haneefa, Bala Singh, M.S. Bhaskar, Omar, Periya Karuppu Devar, Balaji
Music: G.V. Prakash
Cinematography: Nirav Shah
Art: V. Selvakumar