“Mehandi Circus”… A not-bad romance that wants to be an epic but falls short

Posted on April 19, 2019


Spoilers ahead…

Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/mehandi-circus-movie-review-a-not-bad-romance-that-wants-to-be-an-epic-but-falls-short-baradwaj-rangan/

Among the newer crop of filmmakers, Raju Murugan may be second to none in his love for Ilayaraja. He appears to be working his way through the maestro’s catalogue. If Joker featured Alli thandha boomi, from Nandu, Mehandi Circus — for which Raju Murugan is credited with story and dialogues — has another song from that very film, Manjal veyyil. O paapa laali plays a key role in the scheme of things here, and the narrative revolves around Jeeva (Madhampatti Rangaraj), who owns a recording shop named… Rajageetham. The year is 1992, when a young upstart named AR Rahman has appeared on the scene. (He’s dismissed, at first, because there’s no “thanana thanana” in his music.) And it may be no accident the first song we hear in Mehandi Circus is Vaa vaa en veenaye, composed by Ilayaraja’s brother Gangai Amaran. This film has been directed by Raju Murugan’s brother, Saravana Rajendran.

But that apparent diss to AR Rahman is not really a diss. (Though I think it’s safe to say that, after the thorough dismissal of a Minnale song, Harris Jeyaraj will not be working with this team soon.) It’s just that 1992 was a cut-off point for Jeeva. He knows all film music from earlier, from the popular (Aadhi manidhan in Bale Pandiya) to the obscure (Kangalil aayiram sweet dreams in Vandhaale Maharaasi). But 1992 is when Jeeva lost Mehandi (Shweta Tripathi), and that’s when the music stopped. She’s a circus performer from Maharashtra (she’s in the knife-throwing act), and they fell in love when the circus pitched its tent in his village in Kodaikanal. She hears Yeh raatein yeh mausam from Dilli Ka Thug floating down from his first-floor shop. She stops in her tracks. That’s the power of film music. The song is about two fictional characters in love. You hear it and you feel it was created for you.

Continued at the link above.

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Posted in: Cinema: Tamil