: Two small-time smugglers try to steal a highly valuable emerald artefact, which is believed to be cursed. To safeguard themselves from the evil spirit to whom the relic belongs, they seek the help of three ghosts!
: Just when we were thinking that ghost comedies are turning repetitive and going out of fashion comes Maragatha Nanayam, an entertaining ghost caper that shows that you can still make your film feel fresh and keep the laughs coming with some inventive strokes. Debutant ARK Saravanan’s script, which jumps between fantasy, heist, comedy, action, adventure, and even a bit of romance, demands kitchen-sink filmmaking, and he is up to the challenge.
The plot revolves around cash-strapped Senguttuvan (Adhi), a small-time smuggler, who, along with his co-smuggler Ilango (Daniel Pope), agrees to stealing the titular Maragadha Nanayam, a historical artefact belonging to the king of Irumporai, whose ghost, it is believed, is said to kill anyone who lays his hand on it. And on the advice of a swami, they seek the spirit of Ilango’s uncle, Chidambaram, to guide them. Circumstances result in Chidambaram’s spirit entering the (dead) body of their boss Nochikuppam Ramadas (Ramadoss). And Chidambaram calls upon the spirits of three of his dead friends — Mahendran (Nikki Galrani), Nesamani (Arunraja Kamaraj) and Tamil Ayya (Sangili Murugan). The four are among the 132 victims of the Irumporai King. Meanwhile, Twinkle Ramanathan (Anandraj), a gangster, too, gets into the mix!
Maragatha Nanayam does take some time to set up its characters and initially, the changes its tone are jarring, but once the plot kicks in, the film starts to entertain, handsomely. Director Saravanan also convinces us that he knows what he is doing and makes us understand that the jumps between genres are very much intentional. Even the small dose of romance between Senguttuvan and Chanakya (Nikki Galrani), which we get in the beginning and makes us apprehensive, gets a unique, comic twist.
That said, the quirkiness sometimes feels forced and even repetitive, like the moments featuring the Twinkle Ramanathan’s goofy underlings. The narration could have also been tighter, as many a scene goes far too long despite making its comic points. This is also why the thrill of a heist/adventure feels amiss, despite the presence of a chase scene involving a monster truck that feels like a nod to Spielberg’s Duel.
But these shortfalls do not rob the amusing quality of the film. For Saravanan’s supporting cast (the lead actors are more or less functional) turns in excellent performances that ensure that we are always amused.