60 Vayathu Maaniram
60 Vayathu Maaniram: A Tale That’s Overly Doused In Melodrama
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Directed by Radha Mohan, 60 Vayathu Maaniram is a remake of the Kannada film Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu starring Prakash Raj, Samuthirakani, Vikram Prabhu and Indhuja in central roles. At first impression, the plot of this film comes across as Radha Mohan’s forte. Stories that deal with complex human emotions and the fragility of relationships are Radha Mohan’s specialty. Sadly though, even though this film has a few genuine moments it is largely overpowered by melodrama and artificial staging. Maybe the problem stems from the fact that the director has stopped approaching the subject at hand with a perspective that is balanced towards both the characters involved. However, considering the kind of b-grade entertainment that makes its way into Tamil cinema these days, 60 Vayathu Maaniram is definitely worthy of one-time viewing.
60 Vayathu Maaniram is based on Govindharaj (Prakash Raj), a retired college professor who is admitted to an old-age care facility after he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. His son, Shiva (Vikram Prabhu) works as an IT Professional in Mumbai to make ends meet and on one of his visits to his father’s old age home, he decides to spend the day with him and takes him out. Their day out goes fine until Govindharaj is suddenly found missing. Shiva’s efforts to trace his father forms the crux of the film.
If you are someone who enjoys films made on the complexities and soft centers that surround human relationships, you are bound to be drawn to Radha Mohan’s films. Be it Mozhi or Abhiyum Naanum, the director effortlessly weaves together emotions and the conflict they bring to relationships inevitably having you hooked to his tales. Off late though, the director’s ventures have been shockingly sub-par. Take Uppu Karuvadu or Brindavanam for instance. The simplicity in his films have been traded in for melodrama and the humble locations have been replaced with poor production values. Sadly, 60 Vayathu Maaniram too belongs to the sub-par category. Even though the film has its moments, it mostly fails to immerse you in its journey.
One of the first aspects that catch your attention about 60 Vayathu Maaniram is the manner in which it takes sides. It paints the picture of a frail old man with Alzheimer’s being abandoned by his son who chooses a job in Mumbai over him. If the director had taken sides after showcasing a perspective that tells us two sides of the story, it wouldn’t have appeared this imbalanced. But to make villains out of youngsters just to milk sympathy for the central characters points to lazy writing. Youngsters abandoning their parents is a reality these days. But struggling youngsters who have no choice but to trust others in the care of their parents is also a reality. This differentiation could’ve been highlighted in the film. Merely pointing out that youngsters show no sense of moral responsibility is unfair.
Furthermore, the exaggerated staging and poor production design drag the film down. Many scenes are overripe with melodrama. The way they are executed seems strained and put-on rather than following an organic rhythm. The dialogues too are too dramatic and far from sincere. Take, for instance, the scene involving Samuthirakani and Kumaravel. From the moment the former enters the latter’s home, his feigned dialogues provide a lot of scope for unintentional comedy.
The way Alzheimer’s disease has been dealt with too is far from realistic. The behavior of Govindharaj and the strenuous lifestyle he leads because of the disease could’ve been written with much more research. For instance, Mani Ratnam’s Oh Kadhal Kanmani does a far more accurate portrayal of a woman affected by Alzheimer’s. Drama can be a part of the mix, but the problem in 60 Vayathu Maaniram is the fact that drama constantly overpowers all other factors.
However, these flaws don’t necessarily mean that the film should be dismissed entirely. 60 Vayathu Maaniram does have its fair share of heartwarming moments. If this story sounds like something you can relate to, the chance is your connection with the film might be much stronger.
As Govindharaj, Prakash Raj is brilliant. As he steps into his character’s shoes, he showcases his acting prowess with utmost ease. But his physical appearance isn’t entirely in sync with the character’s demand. As expected, Vikram Prabhu’s portrayal is below-par. The actor’s performance in a few crucial scenes is much too underwhelming.
Music Director llaiyaraaja’s background score and soundtrack are shockingly ordinary. None of the songs strike a chord with you. One cannot help but expect more from a maestro like him.
One the whole, 60 Vayathu Maaniram is ideal for one-time viewing. But it is nowhere close to Radha Mohan’s earlier films. It’s poor staging and melodramatic execution take away from the realism of the subject at hand.