Out Of Theatre

Thunai Mudhalvar

Out Of Theatre
10 Apr, 2015 2 hrs 31 mins U
Jayaram, Bhagyaraj, Shwetha Menon, Manobala Mahadevan
Synopsis
The film making is so obsolete and feels like a badly made TV serial
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  • Critic's Review
  • Times of India
Synopsis: A man, who is elected as an MLA, stages his own death so that his remote village will reap the benefits of the largesse that political parties will bestow on the place when a by-election is announced.

Movie Review: Thunai Mudhalvar is set in a fictional village called Manjamaakaanoor and it is one of the very few things that the film gets right. Because the people living in the place are just that — manjamaakaans (idiots). The village is cut off from the mainland by a river and because no one built a bridge to go across, the place is without amenities like school, hospital and so on (though oddly enough, the homes have satellite television!), and so, the people here are just illiterate doofuses. We are asked to believe that they are so dumb that they will believe that Titanic is a brother-sister drama like Paasamalar , when Periyapandi (Bhagyaraj), the only person to have studied until third standard, says so! Periyapandi has a cousin, Chinnapandi (Jayaram doing his best buddy act), whose fiancee is Rukmani. She is played by Sandhya, whose career continues to plumb the depths after her remarkable debut in Kaadhal .

Periyapandi and Chinnapandi are the inseparables in the place and to ensure that they get a bridge built, the people decide to elect the former as their MLA. As luck would have it, the two principal political parties manage to bag equal number of seats and Periyapandi, who has won as an independent candidate, is courted by both sides. He becomes the deputy chief minister by offering support to one of them, but when he realizes that they will not let him do anything good for his village, he, along with Chinnapandi, hatches a plot and stages his own death hoping that when a by-election is announced, the politicians will bend over backwards to satisfy the villagers' every whim and fancy.

There is a lighthearted satire somewhere inside the premise of Thunai Mudhalvar but the filmmaking and the storytelling (Bhagyaraj is in-charge of the story, screenplay and dialogues) are so obsolete that for most parts of the film, we feel like we have time travelled to a not-so-appropriate past. The whole enterprise feels like some badly made TV serial. The entire first half is spent (read wasted) showing the shenanigans of the two leads and the villagers and it is nails-on-a-blackboard funny.

The film comes together only towards the end when Periyapandi decides to put an end to the drama but the truth is revealed before he can stage a grand entrance, and offers a glimpse of what could have been possible if this material had been handled by an able filmmaker, say someone like Chimbudevan.

There is lots of K Bhagyaraj style of adult humour(?), which are nothing but crass innuendos of the mallipoo-and-halwa kind. Nothing illustrates this better than the characterization (if you can call it that) Periyapandi's Malayalee wife, Thangamani (Shwetha Menon), who dresses up in mundu and blouse (the camera just focuses right on her bosoms) and breastfeeds her five-year-old son (yes, you read it right, the film is certified U)! That the men of the village (most of them seem to be in the 40-plus category) openly leer at her even in Periyapandi's presence is something that the movie thinks is comedy, so you see how archaic it is. And, the character even does a kuthu (amply showing her bare midriff) to collect votes for her husband. What a win for feminism!
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