Madras Movie Review

A remarkable milestone in contemporary Tamil cinema

Reviews 26-Sep-2014 6:00 PM IST Top 10 Comments

Directed by : Pa. Ranjith
Produced by : Studio Green
Starring : Karthi, Catherine Tresa
Music : Santhosh Narayanan
Cinematography : G. Murali
Edited by : Praveen K. L.

“It’s not just about an issue of Wall. It is about the lives that have been taken out of it.” These very lines said by Anbu (Kalaiarasan) is more than enough to elaborate what this ‘Madras’ is all about. The symbolic representation of this ‘Suvar’ in different sensing makes Ranjith, a craftsman worthy of unconventional creativity. There is a scene where Kaali (Karthi) is stuck by the roadside and then, he is suddenly taken by fear on tilting up his view on this gigantic wall. It’s hard enough for a non-living creature to gain such prominence until and unless it’s a supernatural thriller, where dolls like ‘Child Play’ and ‘Annabelle’ play with your emotions. The reason why we mention ‘Wall’ at its first place because, the complete story is set in this backdrop and it retains in our memories not as a property, but a character that few take it as political domain and few as a bad omen due to suicides and accidents that took place over it.

Stepping into the zone of Vyasarpadi, North Chennai – ‘Madras’ chronicles as an episode of many characters residing in the same locale that brims with a long time feud and hostility. Anbu religiously works for his party with an unceasing agenda of claiming back the ‘Wall’ from the opponent parties that had earlier acquired it. He means more than anything or anyone to Kaali and they share a bonding friendship. But the unexpected upheavals turn their beautiful lives into heavy turmoil leaving them in terrible situations.

The detailing of every frame gives a ‘novel’ impact to the film. If you’re about to read the script of ‘Madras’, then you would claim this to be a best work of novel indeed and Ranjith has included so much of effort into it. Thanks to cinematographer Murali for capturing his imaginations at a perfect stretch. There are minute things you will have notice in the film that involves the background filled with crowd and there is a drama happening apart from the characters in focus. The first hour is composed of light moments with humour, friendship and romance, but the thrill gains its dominance few minutes, right before the interval and extends aftermath it. Praveen KL handles few shot transitions in an elite style. Watch out for the candid shots comprising of Karthi and his mother speaking about the girls rejected. His editing skills add more humour and on the pars, the thrill moments exhibited through montages of fade in and out is a fantastic touch of Quentin Tarantino factor. Santosh Narayanan displays a piece of maverick work on background score. The ‘Suvar Theme’ is heard throughout the film and it brings a different ambience into our senses.

Karthi is so much acquainted to the role of Kaali and he resides completely into it. It’s obvious about his level of intensity drawn into the performance, emoting to the joy and outbursts .It’s time for the actor to keep his racks ready to fill up with awards. Catherine Tresa fills the romantic aspect with her presence. Sporting a deglamorised look is perhaps a surprise to many if they had seen her previous films and she carries it off well. Kalai Arasan substantially conquers the screens to a greater magnitude. The scenes where he defends his friend and accepts the pain for the sake of him in an epitome of pure friendship.... The characterisation of Johnny is a top on league attraction and there is no doubt, he’ll keep winning the applause in theatres. Ritwika as Mary, the wife of Kalaiarasan is excellent. The others we find throughout the film are extraordinary and you can’t blame anyone on the screen.

What works – Almost everything in the film from storytelling, technical aspects and strong performances of actors

What doesn’t work – Nothing specific and you really can’t pull out any such instances

Verdict : A remarkable milestone in contemporary Tamil cinema

Rating : 6/10

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