Maragatha Naanayam: A Fun yet Narcissistic Popcorn Thriller
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
ARK Saravanan’s Maragatha Naanayam stays true to its genre despite its overlookable flaws. Of late, most comedy films in the Tamil Film Industry try to be funny but end up being politically incorrect instead. This film though, is naturally funny and this is its biggest driving point. The situational comedy gives you a break from harsh realities and pushes you to overlook its starting troubles and sense of self-worship.
Senguttuvan (Aadhi) and Elango (Daniel Pope) are apprentices to a small-time smuggler named Nochukuppam Ramadas (Ramdoss). Soon, they grow tired of playing it safe and look-out for larger deals that would fetch them a meaty lump sum. On one such day, they meet Jaan whose Chinese client offers ten crores to anyone who procures him the feisty and legendary Margatha Naanayam. Elated to have landed this whale of a deal, the boys get excited.
Matters take a complicated turn when they learn that the Maragatha Naanayam originally belonged to a king name Irumporai who continues to guard his precious jewel. So far the angered spirit of Irumporai has killed 132 people for trying to to steal his jewel. The unraveling of their precarious adventure and whether or not they acquire the cursed Maragatha Naanayam forms the rest of the story.
The film takes quite a while to take off. The first thirty minutes are smothered in a juvenile understanding of smuggling. But as the core plot starts to unravel, the fun actually begins. Director ARK Saravanan has to be applauded for straying away from loud and jarring introduction songs. He exterminates such useless indulgences and dives right into the story. In fact, through his very first film, he showcases an admirable tendency to merge fantasy and comedy in an entertaining manner. This isn’t to say that Maragatha Naanayam is without flaws.
The film is overstuffed with one-liners, some work but some fall flat. In fact, some of the dialogues written with puns never take off because they look good on paper but seem too unnatural when delivered through a visual medium.
Every now and then, Maragatha Naanayam throws a double-meaning joke your way. This tone of vulgarity could have been simmered down further. Given that the film ventures into fantasy, looking for logic can be a foolish motive but in some scenes, the freefalling sense of logic seems to have been pushed too far.
Once the hunt for this cursed jewel begins, situational comedy based on the character’s quirks take the spot-light. Hereon, the audience is taken on a joy-ride. But this joy-ride takes too much time to reach its destination and this is where the problems begin. Towards the end, Maragatha Naanayam indulges in narcissism as it drags out sequences unreasonably. Their search for the jewel starts to appear bigger than the jewel itself. If Saravanan had just retained the impactful parts of their adventure, this film could’ve been concluded with a greater impression.
As Senguttuvan, Aadhi is good most of the times. But his appearances could’ve been optimized in a better manner to make his character origin more authentic. His looks seem too polished to be passed off as s rooted character from Tiruppur. As Chanakya, Nikki Galrani is a pleasant surprise. This is the first time her performance comes across as organic and quirky. Anandraj, Ramadoss and Daniel Pope have impeccable timing and admirable spontaneity.
Visually, the color palette of Maragatha Naanayam is interesting but the film’s transition shots could’ve been smoother. Music director Dhibu Ninan Thomas gives the film, quirks in plenty and supports the story-line by establishing suspense wherever necessary.
On the whole, Maragatha Naanayam scores big with its dark humor but a round of fine tuning could’ve lifted it to greater heights. If you want to lose yourself in a fun popcorn thriller, this film is a good choice.