The story is based on a respectable man in a village whose only mistake in life seems to be his marrying two women. As he marries the second woman, his first wife outcasts him. The first wife has a son, while the second has a son Parthi and a daughter Deepa. The old man
lives as a family with the second wife and the two siblings. Ritu, a friend of Deepa takes shelter in the family, fearing ragging at college. Deepa is spoken for a relative, and she is married soon
afterwards. With this, Ritu sets off to her hometown, Kerala, which is when she and Parthi their love for one another. Seems like a lot of characters? Well, there’s far more. The first wife’s brother, her daughter marrying the same uncle, their 12-year old son, first wife’s
son, the many uncles that the young lads have, Deepa’s husband’s family, Ritu’s family, over and above the rival Ponram… It’s good to know a lot of people and be in a big family, but not when all that goes around is hatred and crime in various forms, apart from uncensored flow of language.
The film begins with the death of the old man of respect, the day after his daughter gets married. This opens the ground for the first controversy, as there is spat on who should perform the deceased’s last rites, according to their traditions. Once that responsibility is handed over to the first wife’s son, comes the second controversy over the shortfalls on the others’ part in the rituals. This in turn leads to multiple man hunt, turning the film into a series of one death after another. But more than the other family affairs, most of the film is canned around the rites and rituals over the various deceased. With so much blood and death in the air, ‘Madha Yaanai Koottam’
resembles a battlefield more than an entertaining movie. It can be argued that the film is heroine-centred – Viji Chandrasekhar-centred to be specific. Playing the first wife of the old man, Viji portrays multiple different complicated emotions ranging from an innocent yet angry woman, to a caring and confident individual. All through the film, Kathir comes around as a man with pent up vengeance of many years, given his mother’s condition and the complication he puts
himself into, unintentionally. Although Oviya’s screen presence is minimal, she has played the perfect Malayalam girl as Ritu, coy yet confident about her love and optimistic about her life.
After the old man’s death, there are a lot of family complications which Parthi (Kathir) has to hurdle, getting himself neck deep in trouble from different backgrounds. Second half of the movie answers many of the confusion, especially helping out in clarifying the various characters. Most part of the movie is set on the backdrop of last rites and death, which does not seem like quite an optimistic approach. However, it is commendable to have come up with such a
complicated and intertwined story with so many interlinked characters. But enough care does not seem to have gone into establishing an emotional attachment with the characters on screen.
Madurai seems to be the hot bed for action movies these days, with a lot of films being based on lives in the temple town. Director Vikram Sugumaran also takes this opportunity to his favour, tailoring a story, based on a suburb of Madurai. What sets off as an innocent fight for deserving rights turns fatal with complications at every level. Kathir, Oviya and Viji Chandrasekhar are woven into this detailed thriller, in pivotal roles. Vengeance, revenge, love, action, sorrow, comedy – ‘Madha Yaanai Koottam’ has it all.
A lot of careful effort has gone into penning down the dialogues, which are typical of Madurai slang. But this takes a hit too, as these words are not for audience of all ages, a lot of them blatantly censored already. Ragul Dharuman deserves special appreciation for canning all the fine details of the many rituals in the movie, and also the action and chase sequences. Why the cinematographer has used light bulbs and mirrors extensively is an unanswered question as yet.
NR Ragunanthan’s music has already been praised for months now, and he sure does match up to the expectations vested on him, in the background score as well. With importance to the vengeance story than the love tale, this movie is yet another in the league of Madurai-based action flicks, and a bold step forward by Vikram for an out-of-the-box story. Marking the debut for GV Prakash as producer, ‘Madha Yaanai Koottam’ is a heavy story, with intermediate dark comedy relief on a different genre of entertainment; the film, on the whole, is a commendable venture for the sort of trend in screenplay, it has taken initiative in.