The brothers are back with a bang. Five years after their last outing, ace director Selvaraghavan and his brother Dhanush a National Award winning actor have come out with Mayakkam Enna, an outstanding film.
The film has optimism, freshness and emotional honesty. Few filmmakers stick their necks out to tell difficult and different stories in these days of mindless entertainers. For this, Selvaraghavan deserve a thumbs-up.
Right away, you are drawn to the life of Karthik Subramaniam (Dhanush) a struggling freelance photographer in Chennai who does portfolios, weddings and other functions. Karthik has a keen interest in wild life photography and friends call him a genius, though he is bit of a loner. His role model is Madhesh Krishnaswamy (Ravi Prasad), a world renowned wildlife photographer and his dream is to be an assistant to this arrogant man.
Karthik hangs out with his friends and is extremely close to Sundar (Sundar) who introduces his girlfriend Yamini (Richa) to the gang. Initially Karthik and Yamini can’t stand each other but there lies the twist, when opposites attract.
The director is on familiar grounds as he has gone back to his unique edgy filmmaking and writing style which one saw in his early films. The story hinges on relationship, and deals with anguish and ruminations of a genius who goes down the road of self-destruction due to pain of love and alcoholism. The most frequently recurring theme in the film is an admonition not to give up on life. Why surrender when you don’t know what lies ahead?
Selva tells a simple story and packages it beautifully with the correct mix of entertainment elements. A couple of scenes stand out like the hatred between the lead pair evaporating into a kiss on a rainy night in a bus stand. The scenes of the hero pleading with the master photographer to make him his assistant and the shot in the forest when Karthick gets the shot of the rare bird that he was chasing.
In the end, the film belongs to Dhanush. He delivers his best work till date, emerging as the emotional soul of this film with spectacular, yet restrained performance that he constructs with the help of a solid script. Be it the spirited teenager, the frustrated photographer, the guilty friend, an insecure, unpredictable, alcoholic husband and the mature man at the end. For Dhanush alone, this film deserves a watch.
Richa is impressive in her first film in Tamil. She is able to stand up to Dhanush in the difficult climax scenes of the film. The voice modulation of Deepa Venkat who has dubbed for her has given the character the extra edge. Famous still photographer Sundar has made his acting debut as hero�s best friend and is riveting. Ravi Prasad as the scheming ace photographer who boils with rage seeing younger competitors is convincing.
Technically, the film is slick and well shot. Cameraman Ramji’s shot composition is visually hypnotic and emerges as one the film’s biggest strengths. His long shots and use of natural lighting is marvellous. Kola Bhaskar�s crisp editing makes Mayakkam Enna, the director’s shortest film at 2 hours 25minutes.
One of the pillars of the movie is GV Prakash and his background score, which moves the story and brings out its myriad characters alive. His rousing background score where silence is used as a motif in the first half adds considerably to the film’s evocative appeal. Kathal En Kadhal, Pirai Thedum and Naan Sonnadhum are all woven into the narrative seamlessly, while the first number Voda Voda.. is shot as a fun music-video style number.
Simplistic story telling with hard hitting impact, Mayakkam Enna will stay with you long after the lights have come back on. Here is a film maker who actually respects that a cinema audience can be both intelligent and mature.