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Movie Review: Mugavari (2000) Back to Movie
Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam
Fans Rating: 82%%82%% 82% (238 votes)
Movie Still Mugavari can probably be considered as a commercial movie thats deals with an art movie subject. It has all the trappings of a typical, commercial tamil movie. A saleable hero; colorful song sequences; a fight sequence; even an unconnected comedy track with a popular comedian. But the movie itself is about the struggle of a middle-class youth to succeed in his aspiration to become a music director. The harsh reality of his situation is not sweetened in any way. There are no dramatic turnarounds where he becomes a leading music director in the space of a single song. His wait is long and painful and his single-minded pursuit of his dream threatens everything else he holds dear.

Inspite of the serious topic, the movie never goes overboard with its sentimentality. The romance is pleasing and the way the families have been depicted is fresh. Instead of the usual routine of a father chiding his good-for-nothing son(like in Aaha or Aanandha Mazhai) we have all his family members rallying around Ajith and urging him to not let go of his dream. This is emphasised by a key scene late in the movie that, though a little overdone, is poignant. With its 'light at the end of the tunnel' dialog at the end, the movie manages to rise above the depressing nature of the theme to end up as a feel-good movie too.

Sridhar(Ajith) has been trying hard to become a music director for eight years. Inspite of having earned an M.A, his only dream is to become a music director(he even calls the eight-year wait a "penance"). His family, consisting of his father(K.Vishwanath), his brother Shiva(Raghuvaran), his sister-in-law Shantha(Sitara) and his sister, is fully supportive of him. He runs into Viji(Jyothika) and their friendship soon blossoms into love. She helps him get a foot in the door in the industry but bad luck spoils that chance too. When Viji's sister's marriage is finalised suddenly, Viji's father(Jaiganesh) asks her to get married too. But he is understandably worried when he learns that Sridhar is unemployed and following a dream that has not been realised for 8 years. Back in Sridhar's home, Shiva suffers a heart attack.

Realism permeates most of the frames of the movie, be it in the sets, the dialogs or the characterisations. Ajith's house is non-filmi and its inmates are everyday people. There are no uncalled-for emotions or sentimental outpourings. Feelings are expressed naturally and with subtlety as in the scene where K.Vishwanath feels for Ajith when Rajiv talks about his employed brother but tries to hide it by changing the topic when Rajiv talks to Ajith. Ajith's reaction here is excellent as he understands his father's feelings but is unable to do anything about it. As in Vaanathai Pola, family is at the forefront here too. Though not quite as upbeat as in that movie, the relationships between the members of Ajith's family are a joy to behold. The scene where they draw lots to decide who gets what they want with some bonus money is touching.

The major portion of the credit for the naturalness of the scenes goes to dialog writer Balakumaran. The script sparkles at several places and is down-to-earth. He deserves a pat on his back for his dialogs in the scene where Jaiganesh talks to Ajith about him marrying Jyothika. Jaiganesh's dialogs bring out the fears of a man worrying about his daughter's life perfectly while Ajith's response is genuine and understandable. Other scenes like Raghuvaran's advice to Ajith to stick to his dreams(along with the '10-feet-gold' story) benefit from strong dialogs too. The climax feels a little abrupt but Ajith's speech hits the right notes without feeling too long.

The director goes for smiles instead of belly laughs and is successful. The romance between Ajith and Jyothika is soft and has quite a few delightful moments. Their phone conversation and the way he wishes her on her birthday are charming while her meeting with Raghuvaran and his family at a wedding makes us smile. But the comedy track of Vivek seems like a miscalculation. The laughs are few and the crude nature of many of the jokes does not go well with the classy feel of the rest of the movie. Ponnambalam's character and the resulting fight are also unnecessary and feel tacked-on.

Ajith comes up with another good performance, conveying the hopes and frustrations of a struggling music director well. Jyothika looks cute(though a little flabby around the middle) and also proves her acting credentials here after her lightweight roles in Vaali and Poovellaam Kaettuppaar. She emotes impressively when talking to Ajith after their conversation with Jaiganesh. Raghuvaran is dignified as usual while Sitara and K.Vishwanath fit their roles well.

Deva could have taken more care with the songs considering that music is the backbone of the movie. Hey Nilave... and Keechu Kili... top the just above-average soundtrack. But the songs are rescued by the creative picturisation. Some impressive graphics are employed in the Aande Nootraande... song and a couple of the shots (like one where it seems as though Ajith is floating on a bed in water before it changes imperceptibly to him show him leaning on a wall) are imaginatively executed. The colors come alive on the screen through P.C.Sreeram's camera and the outdoor sceneries are frequently breathtaking.

Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam