First things first. Mappillai, the remake of the old Rajinikanth-Amala starrer of the same name, is not a patch on the original. The original had a strong script where the confrontations between the son-in-law, Rajinikanth, and mother-in-law, Srividya, were well developed, clever and nicely executed. Here, director Suraj has just not built up the scenes well enough for us to feel that sense of glee when the protagonist wins. In fact, more often than not, they simply fall flat.
With the story and screenplay having nothing going for it, the actors try what they can but it isn’t enough. Dhanush does his best to play the character of the brash son-in-law but somehow the casting does not quite gel. The original character, which Rajinikanth expertly played, exuded plenty of power whether it was body language or dialogue delivery. Dhanush is rather lack lustre and only some of the comic sequences work for him. The other side of his character is a rowdy but his lean body frame does not lend support to it. Ultimately, the shots of him beating up the baddies look very unconvincing.
Manisha Koirala plays the rich, arrogant mother-in-law well enough, effectively using wickedly triumphant glances well when she is one-up on Dhanush. However, she still fails to have that ruthless edge to her character, that of a woman who would do anything to get her way, which Srividya had in the original. Blame it on the writing and treatment. She has an enviable wardrobe that at times even outshines the heroine and undoubtedly has a better figure than the chubby heroine, Hansika Motwani, who looks cute in places but overdoes the cute giggling bit. Again, she comes a distant second to her predecessor, the charming Amala. A major screenplay glitch is that anything ever is mentioned about Hansika’s father in the film, nor does he appear at the time of her marriage.
Comedy by Vivek is overdone and gets on your nerves after a point of time especially considering he gets almost 15 minutes in the beginning of the film before the hero’s entry. His weird hairstyle and clothes irritate too.
If the film is unable to let the actors shine and rise above the script, the technicalities don’t lift it either. The camerawork is below average. Many scenes are dull and lack gloss and during the dance and fight sequences, the camera movements make it difficult for things to register properly. The editing is jerky in places especially again in the fights and dance sequences where there are too many jump cuts and shots of extremely short durations. The music by Mani Sharma hardly makes an impact and the background score turns a little too dominating and obvious in places.
All in all, one tends to feel that the entire film was little more than a half-hearted attempt on the part of both – the cast and the technicians – and barring the odd comic moment here and there, the film is better avoided.
Tamil, Comedy, Drama, Romance, Color