Synopsis: Youngsters belonging to two rival factions in a village fall in love with each other. Will this romance add fuel to the enmity or result in peace?
Review: Two warring groups in a village, romance that blossoms between the youngsters in these groups, and a happy ending! Before you say 'Yawn!', here's the news. Mapla Singam is actually not bad. The film seems to have been cut from the same cloth as films like Varuthapadatha Valibar Sangam. Sivakarthikeyan has made a career out of these films, and Vemal's attempts have largely gone unnoticed. Perhaps this one could do the magic.
You could call these films LCD (Least Common Denominator) films. They are projects that are kicked off with no greater ambition than to act as a mild diversion to the audience, especially the rural ones, for two hours. You get comedy, family drama, romance and even notional action scenes, but what works in these films' favour is that they don't take themselves seriously. That is why the antagonist is also never presented as a serious threat to the hero. Think Samuthirakani in Rajini Murugan. Here, this role goes to Ramdas. He is Mahesh Babu (didn't we say the antagonists in these films are never scary?), the head of one of these groups, while the other group is headed by Sevuga Pandian (Radha Ravi). Pandian's clan has been the chairman of the village for many years. Anbu (Vemal), his brother's son, is his right hand man, and acts as a mediator in all kinds of disputes, particularly those involving lovers. Now, Sevuga Pandian's daughter, Vinothini is in love with Sathish, who belongs to the other group. And Anbu, who goes to warn the youngster, falls for his sister, Sailaja, a lawyer!
When Mapla Singam begins, with a collector (Pandiarajan) trying to make peace between the rival groups, things don't look promising. We are then introduced to Anbu and his gang of friends, which includes a foreigner (Adam Greig). He keeps commenting on the absurdity of the villagers' beliefs (Sevuga Pandian, for example, constantly keeps telling people to not educate their daughters) and his comments serve as the voice of reason. Nothing much happens in the first half, but the film manages to find a tone that is amusing to an extent; even when things seem to be getting formulaic, it doesn't bore you to death.
The resolution to the interval conflict is nicely done. We are told Vinothini and Sathish have eloped, but the second half shows what actually happened, and we smile at how the film has managed to surpass our opinion of it. Refreshingly, the film doesn't treat its female lead condescendingly as just someone who adds glam to the proceedings, like say Sakalakala Vallavan (the new one). In fact, it makes her character even more formidable than the hero. In fact, there is a sub-plot involving a local election as in that film, and Anjali is a candidate here as well. And the climax is quite low-key and we get an inexplicable satisfaction when exiting the theatre. Think we are over-selling the film? No, just bear in mind this is an LCD film... always!