Magamuni movie review: Arya impresses in a double role in Santhakumar's story with well-crafted characters
Magamuni stands out for the way the director has delved into the subject of Karma and redemption, and also the socio-political issues, without being preachy.
castArya, Ilavarasu, Induja, Rohini, Mahima Nambiar, Jayaprakash, Deepa
Magamuni is a gripping and intense thriller that is well-crafted, and a triumph of smart writing. Director Santhakumar proves yet again that a well-knit script is the key to a successful film. The characterisation of Arya, who has come out with a stunning performance in a dual role, makes it work to a large extent. Plus, interesting supporting actors, including those playing strong female characters in well-written roles, justify the story.
Director Santhakumar, who made that brilliant Mouna Guru (2011) (remade in Hindi by AR Murgadoss as Akira), has taken his time over the script of Magamuni, his second film. He has worked on his characterisation, and it shows in the depth of the screenplay, with dialogues that stand out. The nuances he brings to each character, however minor they are, are crucial to the narration. The subtle spiritual message that the film wants to convey is that of karma – Everything you do comes back to you, whether it is good or bad.
The film travels back and forth between two characters, Maga (Arya), a cab driver in Chennai and a dirty job specialist for a politician, and fixer Muthuraj (Ilavarasu). Muni (Arya) is a good Samaritan, and an organic farmer who believes in Vivekananda Swami's teachings and thinks the world of Tamil literature and lives in a village near Erode. It is made clear that Maga is an atheist while Muni practices yoga, and spreads the word of Hinduism.
Maga thinks the world of his wife Viji (Induja), and his five-year-old son. He is also trying to turn a new leaf, and leave the world of crime. Muni is happy living with his loving mother (Rohini) and wants to be a ‘Nitya Brahmachari’, and at the same time impart knowledge to students. Deepa (Mahima Nambiar) is a journalism student, and daughter of local landlord Jeyaraman (Jayaprakash), who is in awe of the soft-spoken Muni.
Trouble erupts for Maga when one of the rivals of Muthuraj tries to fix him in an earlier murder case, which was planned by him. Muthuraj, to save himself and his nephew, enters into connivance with the police, and makses Maga the bad guy. At the same time, Jeyaraman does not like his daughter moving around with Muni , a lower caste man, and wants to eliminate him.
What made an ordinary story exciting are Santhakumar’s treatment, and the way he handles the plot. Till the interval point, the audience has no clue whether Maga and Muni are two different people or are they one and the same. The answers are there in the second half, and the way their lives intersect is told in a thrilling manner. The director is able to keep us hooked, and retain the suspense element till the very end.
The female characters in the film look real in well-written roles, whether it Induja as Viji, the simple girl who is madly in love with her husband, and wants to dress up and look good, or Mahima Nambiar as Deepa, the fiercely independent girl, who has a mind of her own. Deepa, in a small role as the cantankerous wife of the politician is so life-like, it is said to be modeled on the wife of a famous Tamil politician.
The film also delves into murky Dravidian politics, the use of platform speakers to hurl abuse on the opposition, casteism in rural areas, corrupt police force, and encounter killings to eliminate rivals. Arya, in a dual role, has given a knockout performance, and the girls, Mahima Nambiar and Induja, are very good, along with the supporting cast. Music director Thaman’s background score is in perfect sync with the mood of the film. On the downside, the film is slow-paced at 158 minutes. It looks like the director is in no hurry to tell the story, and is into too much detailing.
But overall, Magamuni is gripping and thrilling. It stands out for the way the director has delved into the subject of Karma and redemption, and also the socio-political issues, without being preachy.
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