The phrase 'realistic movie' usually raises visions of a sad or violent film that doesn't take
a familiar route when dealing with familiar issues. But director Radhamohan proved in
Azhagiya Theeye that a realistic movie can be made by focussing
on the brighter side of life too. And he does it again in Mozhi. With down-to-earth
characters facing everyday issues, he fashions a movie that is sweet and charming and offers a
wonderful, welcome change of pace from the loudness, violence and glamour of Tamil movies today.
Karthik(Prithviraj) and Vijaykumar(Prakashraj) are keyboard players who score the
background music for movies. Karthik falls in love with Archana(Jyothika) and learning
that she is a deaf-mute only strengthens his love. Understanding that Archana is against love,
he decides to become her friend first and Archana's friend Sheila(Swarnamalya) paves the way
for that. But for Karthik, the path to Archana's heart is a bumpy ride even after that.
Mozhi comes as an antidote to viewers sick of the glamor and violence in Tamil cinema. The
subtlety of the humor, the cleanliness of the romance, the down-to-earth nature of the characters
- all these come as a relief in the currentt atmosphere of larger-than-life heroes, bloody violence,
loud comedy, glamorous romance and over-the-top sentiments. Mozhi's first scene, which is a
scene from a 'regular' film, shown under the pretext of Prithviraj and Prakashraj scoring music for
it, almost seems like Radhamohan's way of telling us "this is how Tamil movies usually are. Now
see how different my film is gonna be!"
Radhamohan has a wonderful knack for mining humor out of normal, everyday situations and that is
Mozhi's biggest strength. The film does have its share of fights, sadness and sentiments
but it keeps us smiling for most of its running time. This may be because of the good naturedness
of its characters or humorous lines or explicit gags but the fact is, we keep smiling. Almost all
the characters have atleast a couple of lines that make us laugh(maybe because of its unexpectedness,
I laughed the most at a line uttered by Jo's grandma to Brahmanandam, about a prospective suitor he
picked for her) and most importantly, they make us laugh without seeming to try too hard. In fact,
there are a few segments designed for laughs and these are the ones that don't work as well. The
punchline for these is clear long before and since there are no surprises, the impact is diluted.
The four main characters populating Mozhi are likeable and when you have characters like this
headlining a movie, it is no surprise that the movie itself ends up being likeable. Be it Prithviraj's
sincerity, Prakashraj's frankness, Jo's self-confidence or Swarnamalya's eagerness to see the best
happen for her friend, they are well-defined characteristics that help us quickly warm up to the
characters. These four main characters are surrounded by a few other memorable characters and
Radhamohan reminds us of the KB of old in the way he gives importance to even the smallest
characters and makes sure they have a nice character arc in the little time they have.
Inspite of none of the characters having a bad bone in them, the movie's conflicts don't seem
artificial or forced. There are two main conflicts and both make sense considering the backgrounds
of the characters involved. They also lead to some of the best segments in the movie. Prithviraj's
explanation of how Jo can contribute to his music and his pointed questions to Jo near the end both
feature some wonderful lines. The climax is quite predictable and simple. It is short and realistic
and in keeping with the tone of the rest of the film. But considering the delightful climax in
Azhagiya Theeye where too the end was fully predictable, the ordinary climax here is
a little disappointing.
In the line of directors like KB and Cheran, Radhamohan appears to be another director who is
capable of exploiting the medium of cinema well. He has a number of deft touches(like the clever and
hilarious ways he finds to represent the onset of love) that prove that pictures are worth a thousand
words. And his imagination and sense of humor jointly provide a number of memorable segments (like
Prithviraj's walk to experience the world the way Jo does).
I've admired Jo's growth as an actress but there never was any doubt that she was 'acting'. But here,
for probably the first time, she is completely natural. Her expressions and body language as she talks
with her hands are wonderful and the smoothness with which she does her sign language is a real surprise.
She probably worked real hard at it and it has paid off. Its only when she has to show serious emotions
like anger that the actress in her rears her head. Whatever the fate of the movie at the box office, as
an actress, Jo is definitely going out on top. As he proved in
has wonderful comic flair. He is very expressive and has a natural charm that makes most of his jokes work.
Prakashraj is a revelation. The actor, who lately has been stuck in villain and character roles, gets to
do comedy here and he is excellent. He has a number of good lines(like his conversation with Swarnamalya
near the end) which he delivers perfectly and shares great chemistry with Prithviraj(the sequence where
Prakashraj narrates his proposal is one of the funniest in the movie). Swarnamalya makes good use of her
comeback opportunity and does well though she mostly has to serve as foil to one of the other three. Baskar
impresses in a serious role while Brahmanandam delivers laughs as the harried apartment secretary.
Songs are well-placed and Vidyasagar's melodious tunes and Radhamohan's picturization make sure they don't
turn into cigarette breaks. The picturization of Sevvaanam Selaiyai... captures the spirit of
the song and is fun (Jo gets to wear a lot of costumes in this and the split-second view of her in a
police dress makes us wish she had gotten a full-length policewoman role). Kannaal Pesum Penne...
takes the next spot with some imaginative and energetic picturization. Kaatrin Mozhi... is
picturized perfectly on the foursome while Pesaa Madandhaiye... is suitably sober inspite of
the unnecessary group dancers.