I was never going to miss this. As always, a Mani Ratnam film release had massive hype ever since the teasers and first look posters were out. Firstly, we knew that the Mozart of Madras was scoring the music. Secondly, we were aware that the film and songs were shot in India, the images of those would ignite the traveller in us. Like the Bekal Fort in Kasargod (“Uyire”), Ooty Mountain Train (“Thayya Thayya”), Dhanushkodi (“Kannathil Muthamittal”), Athirapally waterfalls in Thrissur (“Raavan”) and so on. Thirdly and most interestingly, casting. It has been Mani Ratnam’s forte. Dulquer Salman and Nitya Menon brought in so much freshness and it was like we couldn’t have thought of any other pair donning that role. Vintage Mani.
The film, shot in the urban landscapes of Mumbai, could be easily connected to the modern day concepts of Live-in relationships. Debates are pretty obvious but I loved the way Mani succinctly gives out a message without ridiculing the very concept. The way he beautifully presents the everlasting affection and care between Ganapathi uncle (Prakash Raj) and Bhavani Aunty (Leela Samson), will move you. The retired man’s abundant love for his wife who is diagnosed with the 2nd Stage Alzheimer’s disease is so touching. The film may have catered to the younger audiences but everyone loved the elderly couple’s love story. In this speed driven generation, there is still scope for everlasting relationships.
Dulquer Salman and Nitya Menon have beautifully synced into the character. As Mani often says about Mohanlal,” He has got an amazing ability to just BE the character and NOT PLAY the character and that is his greatest strength”. I think these words perfectly apply to the lead pair in the movie. They looked at ease with the dialogue delivery in Tamil. The rapport and chemistry was commendable. And their acts seemed so natural.
A Mani Ratnam film allows you to explore the technical aspects of a film- musicals, sound quality, cinematography, editing and screenplay. Needless to say, Rahman has done what he has always done- to reserve his best for Mani. The exuberance in ‘Mental Manadhil’ song blends beautifully with the characters. So does ‘kaara aatakaara’ with the gizmo touch. Ah, even the Carnatic numbers were so mellifluous. Coming to cinematography, those interior shots from the base to the top of the mosque/dargah in Ahemadabad should bring PC Sreeram the National Award. Every frame of his oozed class. I don’t remember Mumbai being shown so incredibly in a long time. The thoughts of feeding pigeons in front of the Gateway of India has already started running.
Easily, Mani is back. With. A. Bang. Thanks for the message. Yes, there is nothing as beautiful as an EVERLASTING relationship between a man and a woman.