Movie Review – Thanga Meenkal

Posted: September 15, 2013 in Movie Reviews
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“Magalai petra appa kaluku dhan theriyum Mutham kamathil serndhadhu illai endru…”

was how the movie had its tag line which I once noted behind the bus while driving home after a hectic day. But the way I remember the tag line to be is like this

“Magalgalai petra appakaluku mattum thaan theriyum mutham kamathil serndhadhillai endru…”

I don’t know which one is grammatically correct and which one is not but the point I’m driving to is it was a simple yet fascinating quote.

Thanga Meenkal

There was a stupid discussion about this quote in Thanthi TV sometime back. The news reporter citing that the sentence was profane because of the word Kamam used in this. I can’t believe that a news reporter could be so ridiculous. Angry young man that he is, Director Ram didn’t let him complete his sentence even once so the news reporter had to stop for break. It was like saying the word ‘sensex’ is profane because it has ‘sex’ in it. But Ram’s temper is much controlled now than it was when Tamil. M. A released.

Some more to add on… In another interview about the movie he was asked how he goes about shooting a scene. He gave him a brilliant answer. The answer in simple words is that he decides location first but the explanation he gave was what made the reply brilliant. I think he cited Silapathigaram as example where it’s said that land is more important, only then the characters could be there, the technical instruments could be placed and the shoot could go on. Thus he emphasized on deciding location first. Not a beautiful piece of land but something which makes the scene an appropriate one.           He made me fonder of Tamil poetry through his words.

It is believed that Ram had the script of this film since 2009 but there wasn’t a single producer to produce this film. Finally when he took the script and narrated to Goutham for about 3 hours he decided to produce the film. Further seeing the way Ram narrated the script Goutham asked him to act. And that’s how the film happened. The meeting between Goutham and Ram would have been a curious one. Goutham a soft spoken primarily English thinking literal director versus an angry young man who thinks his life got organized because of Silapathigaram. If there had been one thing that would’ve worked for this partnership its honesty. Both these people are as honest as possible. I love the way Goutham gives interviews. He’s a clean slate. May be that’s why his films are literal. He doesn’t want to hide anything from us whereas Ram gives it in a way I’d love to listen to anytime of the day. Such is his energy.

There is a song in this film, “Anantha Yazhai.” After a long time I’m hearing one such song which is so soothing. The way it is shot gives us a smile and a kind of warmth. “Magalai petra appa kaluku dhan theriyum Mutham kamathil serndhadhu illai endru…” Can anyone explain a dad and daughter relationship better? And see how judiciously graphics has been used in this song. On any other day with any other song this graphics would have spoilt the essence of the song. But it adds to the cuteness of the song here. I could keep on raving this song but let’s get to the movie.

There is one more song during the second half of the movie when Kalyani goes to Kerala for a living. Amazing song that one but an even more interesting thing to note is when Kalyani and her daughter play in a stream during the song. The girl wears a white petticoat and as she’s drenched in water it’s almost transparent. Her hair for that scene is done in a beautiful way. She looks her best in the scene. Any other color other than white could have been used there as her dress if he had any wrong notions. But for a father her daughter is same no matter what she’s wearing. Thus even the little white petticoat added to the fragrance.

Contrary to Tamil MA everyone here in the film is a good soul. Only problem was that the dad and daughter were way too good than the rest. Others being practical people they adjust with life and go on. But Kalyani (Ram) and Chellamma have a life of their own. There are many scenes I loved the scene where Elvita talks to Chellama which is the best of the lot. When Ram enters you could see that some disturbance had happened in the house which is unexplained. A pretty unsettling pretty scene. Another one is where Acchi asks her husband to keep quiet in front of the child while scolding Kalyani and when we think that Achi was the only slightly negative character in the film even she goes to her husband and cries asking him whether the kid would think badly of her. I could go on adding to the list. It was beautiful. There were some unanswered questions and it felt good when it wasn’t explained. When I heard the Anantha Yazhai song starting music again during the climax I was literally crying, so was the whole theatre including the white and white politicians who were sitting in the first row and were restless throughout. But most of them being egoists, couldn’t accept their tears. Yuvan does a great job by holding that music till climax to give it full effect.

This movie could have been even more awesome if he had avoided the stereotypic ending and few over the top moments towards the climax. The last song especially spoiled the whole artistical built up of the movie. Even the Kerala scenes as well as the long shot of his daughter getting drowned spoiled the essence of the movie. But as a single shot I liked the long shot, the way camera panned to certain obsolete angle. The scene was a curious one. Even the shot of a silent dock was a treat to watch. You don’t see that much in Tamil cinema.

I’d say Thanga Meenkal was better than Tamil. M. A. because it was less propogandish and less furious than Tamil M. A. was. His question about the education system was a good message towards the end but it wasn’t forced to the story of dad and daughter. It plays a good background foil. We don’t know whether his daughter was lacking in anything or not and we don’t even wish to know as all kids are angels. This movie could be made a lesson in every Tamil book in school. Whether the kids realize it or not the teachers definitely would realize their mistake and consider teaching a noble profession yet again. Will they dare to?


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