Kaaka muttai, Kutrame dhandanai, [ Kirumi as writer ], Aandavan kattalai which are completed projects and Kadaisi vivasayi & a hollywood remake are in pipeline. This is the quick 5 year career summary of Manikandan who’s first short film screened in 2010. He has started his career as a wedding photographer, a vivid street photographer, studied photography in Rajeev Menon’s school and short films. No assisting, scene developing decade long dreary n repeated jobs. Crisp writing, apt framing, rightly using music and strong sense of cinema language makes his works better n better.
When Mahendran, Kamal, Shankar, Manirathnam kinds are still using songs Manikantan has keeping the usage of songs minimal [ or Nil in Kutrame dhandanai ] fluidly in his works. The other good thing is he co-writes, take someone else’s story without ego and breaking the wall of Story, Screenplay, Dialogues & Direction monologue. Also he handles the camera for the needed films and gives space for someone else too [ AK has a new cinematographer Shanmugasundaram ]. A similarity between him and Mysskin is that they change the plots, technicians they work with and still delivery a neat product independently [ not depending on Antony / PCSreeram /ARRehman kinds – You know what I mean ].
An unusually normal protagonist Gandhi [ who wears pant/shirt just like us ] leaves his village to repay his debts by travelling overseas. He reaches Chennai along with his friend and gets into the hands of brokers – the blocks in the forms he fills up leads to one incident by another incident [ rather trouble ] and what happens to him & his friend’s life is all about the tale.
The most tedious job for all of us in a busy day is that in some office someone handovers a form and ask us to fill up with all supporting documents [ I still take a moment to fill first name / last name ]. I could recollect 2 personal incidents once when I voluntarily entered a police station in my teens to enquire about the delayed police verification where I was questioned seriously about my urge to get the passport. Second I got my marriage certificate by filling appropriate forms, visiting twice to registration office and finally paying Rs.50/- which was the official fees that time !
Let’s see Vijay Sethupathi first – The psychology behind Rajinikanth was he ‘was felt local and very native. The same happens with VS – he’s felt very local and abnormally normal. He just elevates the narration with all his efforts and scores neatly film after film. The greatness of Morgan freeman and Amitabh is that they come as themselves in most of the movies and still blend into the character life seamlessly. VS is similarly blessed – he is not doing any foreign make-up, weight gain/loss, carved moustaches.. nothing. He comes as himself and still makes you to feel the difference between pizza, dharmadurai, kadhalum kadandhu pogum, naanum rowdy dhaan and Aandavan kattalai [ excluding Sethupathi – though it didn’t do much change ]. He never goes overboard on punch dialogues or even fights sequences [ I expected one in the middle ] and also egoless with other characters. The actors makes us to believe the characters and transfer their emotions to us. Of course it is evident that he’s from the drama school where he’s taught inside out and outside in !
To add on the casting, the second best are [yes are! ] Nesan [ Sivagnanam Aravindan ] and Pandi [ Yogi babu ]. Nesan scores in emotion and Yogi scores in brilliant timing/one-liners. And of course rest of the casting who all does their part so aptly. Though I assume the character Karmegakuzhali [ first time name in Tamil cinema ] was given to Rithika sing for the salability of the film she adds value to the slightly alien role and fits to the subtle romantic relationship [ thankfully no duets and I couldn’t recollect the recent movie where the lead pair don’t even touch ! ]. The casting and performances were really noteworthy. Also thankfully the Srilankan Tamil dialect or their life was not used for comedy. Also, the courts are getting better and better nowadays in Tamil cinema. On the message side, the movie talks about travelling overseas for debts, tourist visa issues, marriage/divorce reality and about immigrants [ another interesting Tamil novel named KADAVUCHEETU by V.Jeevakumaaran –
Naamalum Ilakkiya vaasaganaache ].
The story was by Arulchezhian and screenplay was done by Arulcheziyan, anu charan and Manikandan. Rarely do we see such collaboration in Tamil films giving space to each other. Interestingly Anucharan is the editor as well as the titles designer [ simple 80’s titles and an end card saying SHUBAM ]. The second half court sequences are normally possible only by the great Crazy Mohan involving mistaken identities, false names [ Mythili / janaki ], interchanging characters [ who’s dumb was very cleverly used – similar to the stammering used in kadhala kadhala ] and it has come out brilliantly. Manikandan is well aware of what he’s doing and he might not fall for the commercial gimmicks which may deviate him. Of course there are smaller and ignorable mistakes, very few dragging moments which I don’t want to mention n bring down the morale of these good attempts.
A nice n enjoyable, decent family, comedy drama in the recent times. I’m curious to hear the comments normally when coming out along with the crowd and in the bike stand [ u get real reviews there ] and two guys were saying all were too good and why the heck they kept this old title. I second their curious question.