“Maragatha Naanayam”… Better than your average horror-comedy, but could have been much better

Posted on June 21, 2017

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Spoilers ahead…

Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/maragatha-naanayam-movie-review

What would you do if your story began with a prologue in the Pallava period, dealing specifically with a supernatural emerald stone (hence the title, Maragatha Naanayam), and came to rest in the present day, with numerous raiders after the lost artefact? One option is to craft an Indiana Jones adventure. Director ARK Saravan (note those Spielbergian initials!) chooses to divert this conceit towards Tamil cinema’s most lucrative genre, the horror-comedy.

I bought into whatever the film was selling very early on, when we see a small-time crook named Senguttuvan (Aadhi) conduct a series of suitcase swaps using hilariously matching code phrases reminiscent of Cold War spy thrillers. I won’t even try to translate them, but here’s one: “Meen kozhambu…” The expected reply from the other party is: “Vaasanai thookkudhu.” Another code pair goes thus: “Thala” / “Thalapathy.” Imagine saluting the reigning stars, as expected, and yet managing a wink. Senguttuvan wants to lay his hands on the emerald. He furnishes a fishy backstory about needing 40 lakhs, and I suspect it’s so that we’d feel he’s more desperate than amoral. I wasn’t convinced, but this is not a film fuelled by character arcs and motivations.

Continued at the link above.

Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.

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Posted in: Cinema: Tamil