MAPPILLAI MOVIE REVIEW
Cast: Dhanush, Hansika Motwani,Manisha Koirala, Vivek
Production: Sun Pictures
Music: Mani Sharma
Cinematography: S. R. Sathish Kumar
Editing: T. Kishore
The 1989 Super Star Rajinikanth movie Mappillai, saw the tale of a young husband who struggles to keep his marital knot intact despite his mother-in-law’s efforts to snap it, and was a blockbuster.
Now the movie has been remade with the same title and this time, Rajinikanth’s real life Mappilai (son-in-law) playing the Superstar’s role in the remake. Dhanush, after establishing himself as a versatile actor in Aadukalam, is stepping onto a mainstream commercial venture once again with Mappillai.
Suraj, who gave a quite impressive Padikkadhavan in 2009 with Dhanush, has roped in his lucky charm Dhanush for some good old-fashioned spicy stuff to set the summer box office cash registers ringing.
So does it, in fact, work magic on the silver-screen? That remains to be seen.
It says much for Vivek’s star power that the movie actually begins with him, and comedy track of Vivek, Sathyan, Balaji and cell Murugan continues for at least 15 minutes before the hero makes an appearance.
Saravanan (Dhanush) is a so good guy, who is soft-spoken and held as an example to all the ‘youth’ in the area, like Child Chinna (Vivek). Of course, he has a ‘past’ in Kumbakonam as well. He comes across the pretty, chubby heroine Gayathri (Hanshika Motwani), daughter of arrogant business woman Rajeshwari (Manisha Koirala) and falls for her in double-quick fashion after plenty of silly sequences.
Coming to know of their affair, Rajeshwari decides to get them both married. The reason is- she is keen on getting a son-in-law, who will always do what she wants and be under her control.
But she is in for a shock when she comes to know that Saravanan has a past. He is a ruffian and is feared by one and all. Now she plans to halt all plans, while Saravanan takes up the challenge and ensures that he end up marrying his ladylove.
It’s now a cat and mouse game between Saravanan and Rajeshwari.
Once again, the movie belongs to Dhanush alone; he smirks, dances, fights, crows and throws around punches and dialogues. ‘onnai parthale pidikkanum, paakka paakka pidikka kudadhu’
This is the sample of the kind of punch lines that Sun Pictures’ Mappillai (Son-in-law) abounds in.
He is good at humour and those scenes where he challenges his mother-in-law. His body language and complete ease rattling off trite words is one reason for why you’re able to sit through the movie.
Manisha Koirala doesn’t quite manage to bring across the powerful, conceited woman. She provides a frail foil to the effervescent Dhanush and this evinces an indifferent reaction from the audience. It is like a lopsided match. The costume designer has done a good job and Manisha’s sarees and accessories are stylish reflective of her opulence.
Somehow, you can’t really see her as a ruthless woman who will kill to gain her ends. To top it all, the lip sync of Manisha does not match making it difficult to relate with the character. Rohini dubbing for Manisha has done a good job but Manisha mouthing the dialogue should have brought out more power emoting them.
Vivek as the ardent Namitha fan with coiffured hair attempts at comedy but annoys for the most parts with his accent and logorrhoea.
Then there’s Hansika Motwani, one of the most anticipated debutantes of the year, already dubbed ‘Chinna Khushboo’ due to her resemblance to the yesteryear glamour queen. She looks plump and cute and excels in midriff exposition. Sadly, though, her work in this movie consists only of dressing to the nines, dancing to Mani Sharma’s enthusiastic tunes (especially Ennoda Raasi Nalla Raasi) and falling in love with hero at a moment’s notice.
Asish Vidyarthi is wasted in Mappillai.
Music by Mani Sharma is good and there are a couple of racy numbers and it peps up the proceedings, with the highlight being ‘Ennoda Rasi Nalla Rasi…’.
Dhanush’s acting. He takes the whole burden on his shoulders and passes the difficult test of enacting a famous role played by Rajinikanth with consummate ease.
Vivek, in his horrendous get-up and timely punches manages to wring a few laughs.
Sathish Kumar’s cinematography is rich and glossy and lives up to the theme, while editing by Kishore is crisp.
While the first half moves at the reasonably good pace, the second lags, largely because you already know what’s going to happen next. Every sequence is predictable.
Mapillai suffers from weak characterization especially of its lead character Manisha Koirala and this cannot be pardonable as the main premise itself is the confrontation between mother-in-law and son-in-law. There is no zing or fizz in the altercations between the duo which is where the epicenter of the film rests. One cannot but stop remembering the brilliant performance of late Sri Vidhya and her body language.
There are many logical loopholes. While Suraj can take umbrage under the mainstream cinematic lenience for few scenes, for some he cannot. An entire village unable to handle Dhanush because he is the son of a thasildar and Manisha very quickly accepting Dhanush meekly as her son-in-law are a few samples. There is no mention anywhere about Manisha’s husband.
Having chosen to remake a hit and that too of a superstar film, It is natural Suraj has to bear the burden of comparison. A shrewd Suraj has made some changes to make it more contemporary and lively but has only been half way successful in his task. He also added some mass elements for Dhanush, making no bones about the fact that there’s no logic or common sense to look out for.
The Current version is no match to the magic of the original.