Mounam Pesiyadhe is engrossing enough largely due to its treatment and style rather than its subject matter. Director Ameer Sultan makes a reasonably auspicious debut showing he is quite in control of his cinematic craft and if given the right script, he could do wonders. Of course, he would prove this later with Paruthiveeran (2007).
In the film, Gowtham (Suriya) runs a cafe by the seaside. He is focussed on his work and doesn’t believe in distractions like love, which, in fact, he finds quite silly. Kannan (Nandha), his friend, loves a girl Maha (Maha) yet cannot stop himself from flirting from each and every girl he sees much to Gowtham’s chargin. Kannan’s family wants him to marry his cousin, Sandhya (Trisha) but Kannan doesn’t have the courage to tell his family he loves Maha. Gowtham speaks to Sandhya and tells her Kannan loves Maha only to be told by Sandhya that she too is not interested in this proposal as she loves someone else. All her hints point to Gowtham and slowly Gowtham finds his resistance against love breaking down and he falls head-over-heels in love with Sandhya. Sandhya calls him for a ‘date’ and when he goes to meet her, she introduces him to her fiancé…
The problem with Mounam Pesiyadhe is the wafer-thin plot. Simply put, boy is anti-love, boy finds love (or so he thinks), finds it exhilarating and then boy faces heartbreak before the final twist in the end. The screenplay too needed to compensate for this and have more depth but it doesn’t, the major flaw being Gowtham’s characterization. There is no explanation for what experience or experiences Gowtham might have gone through to be the way he is; he just is and we are expected to accept that. Then on top of that, there are too many scenes to drive the point home that he is anti-love. We’ve got the point much earlier.
That said, there is no doubt that once the film has accepted its plot as is, the treatment and the way it has been shot easily raises it a notch or two. The scene at the marriage hall where Gowtham goes supposedly to talk for Sudhakar is an original take and well-integrated with Gowtham’s character, yet surprising. Many other sequences are extremely well handled like, for instance, the scenes of Gowtham realising he has fallen in love. It is refreshing to see a film where the director has stayed with the character through a montage of shots where we see Gowtham initially trying to control his feelings and then move on to him feeling moments of extreme happiness within himself as he feels the flushes of first love. And when Sandhya introduces her fiancé to Gowtham, you are as shocked as he is to realize she is not in love with him.
The climax or the final twist in the end regarding Laila works purely as it is totally unexpected and makes you sit up and go along with it but in hindsight, you cannot help but feel it is a trifle gimmicky to give the film and Gowtham the happy ending of sorts. Still, one has to admit the film did try something beyond normal mainstream cinema conventions and what’s more, the film has also tried to make this twist as credible as possible even if you cannot escape the feeling that it is being a mite too clever for its own good.
Looking at the performances, the film sees an extremely engaging central act by Suriya as the brooding loner who is anti-love. Post the accolades he received for Nandhaa (2001), one sees the emerging confidence in him as an actor and what’s more, here he opens up reasonably well in the dancing sequences as well, even if not perfect. He seems to be enjoying himself in the dances and, in fact, carries off the sequence, where he locks himself and dances in exhilaration as he realises he has fallen in love, really well. As he does in the scene when he takes Trisha’s call as she phones him to fix a meeting, grinning from ear to ear as the cat who got all the cream even as he pretends to be his usual rude and curt self on the phone to her. Continuing from Nandhaa, he is spot on be it in the angry young man sequences or the romantic and emotional moments proving yet again what huge assets emotive eyes are to an actor. He is absolutely brilliant in the sequence where Trisha calls him to meet her fiancé and he realises she doesn’t love him and subsequently as he goes out into the hotel lobby talking to himself.
Of the rest of the cast, Trisha is just about adequate enough in a weakly written role she can do little with. Nandha shows confidence in front of the camera in spite of this being his debut film but perhaps this character needed a little more flair particularly in his flirting sequences. Maha, also making her debut, is just about so-so.
Technically, Ramji’s polished camerawork is a huge asset as is Yuvan Shankar Raja’s musical score for the songs. However, the background score is far too overblown going against the nature of the film and a definite downer. Well composed as all the songs are, easily the best composed and picturised is En Anbae En Anbae rendered absolutely wonderfully by Shankar Mahadevan. The sad song Kadahal Seithal Pavam too works nicely bringing out Gowtham’s heartbreak perfectly with a well worked out transition from the scene to the song. Resorting to a song rather than a fight sequence against the trouble makers again surprises one although reminiscent of the Just Be Cool number in West Side story (1961) or older films in Indian cinema were the woman broke into song to avoid a fight between the hero and villain from taking place. However, one song the film could have done away with the Valentine Day song though I think it is maybe the first song in mainstream Indian cinema after Chalat Musafir from Teesri Kasam (1966) where the hero participates in the song but other minor characters mouth the song. The action sequences too are well executed though barring the one in the railway track, they are repetitive in that they are full of glass shattering and little else.
All in all, no doubt watchable but a good, tight screenplay could have made Mounam Pesiyadhe a great film, which it is not.
Tamil, Romance, Drama, Color