Bhagavath R C
Mohanlal, Prakash Raj, Aishwarya Rai
Run time (mins)
Amazon Prime (India)
Mani Ratnam is one of the stalwarts of Indian film makers who has never hesitated to thematize movies on controversial social scenarios, autobiographies and Indian epics. Master of nuanced and subtle story telling, awe inspiring characters and breathtaking visuals which itself has been referred and recreated by others. In the same lines Mani Ratnam retold the story of the greatest political duo/contenders of Tamilian or Dravidian politics who changed the political landscape of Tamil Nadu. The movie talks about the friendship and the political rivalry between two individuals Anandan and Tamilselvam who started on the same ideology complementing each other and later finding themselves in political extremities.
Movie starts in pre independence TN where a struggling actor and theatre artist Anandan trying to establish himself as feature film actor, who takes the help of the firebrand writer and Political activist Tamilselvam to build his career. Both of them grow in their respective fields supporting each other till a point when they go against each other. The director depicts the events in the personal life of the duo and how it changes them: the women in their life and how they influence the plot. In the end the friends rethink how the journey started and how they have reached here looking at the past and what's left with them.
Mohanlal has done an amazing job as Anandan evolving throughout the movie from the struggling actor to the super star of the masses to the ever successful Politician. Prakash Raj brings in his energy as the writer, lover and politician in the same intensity to bring in the difference between two characters. Mani Ratnam, being Mani Ratnam has filled in with subtle moments which refers to the character evolution - from being best of friends, seeds of doubt and finally fight of ego.
Movie has multiple leading ladies who lead Anandan in different decisions during his life(Aishwarya and Gowthami) while for Tamilselvam they remain in the background questioning his thoughts.
Being a political drama which touches upon an erstwhile super star and a legendary writer dialogs and poems play key role due to the usage of intense language and vocabulary. Suhasini and Vairamuthu has done the job in perfection. ARR has produced music as well as bgm which goes hand in hand with the movie.Not to make elaborate cuts due to censoring background music has been enhanced to mask controversial dialogs basically on caste issues and political scandals.
There's always visual magic created when Santosh Sivan and Mani Ratnam join hands. The single take shots and the Mohanlal speech scene with a revolving camera showing the expressions of the two characters in the same scene is amazing.
Due to the controversial nature of the story may be Mani Ratnam would have thought to shoot the movie in one part rather than going for a sequel, which again reflects in the second half as in some places it felt like the story line being rushed.
To enjoy the movie completely I will recommend to have a light reading on Tamilian/Dravidian political history.
Overall Iruvar is another classic from Mani Ratnam which encloses the best features you expect from a Mani Ratnam movie.
My Overall Ratings (of 5):