Films with a non-linear narrative structure and those with more than a single story as part of the proceedings are generally interesting as we are automatically inquisitive to know whether the stories have anything in common. That point when the two stories converge is highly anticipated.
Here, we are told at the beginning that Mathil Mel Poonai is based on real life incidents. Two stories are shown in the first half – one shows a bunch of school kids who are roguish and utterly violent in their modus operandi and the other is a typical filmy love story between a beautiful girl and her driving instructor. How the two tracks converge is the interesting part of the movie which is around the interval segment of the movie.
It is actually disturbing to see small kids indulge in such violence in the first half. The director actually shocks you in the segments before the interval when the main kid by the name Johnny goes on a mad manic spree and results in a bloodbath.
Just as we expect something interesting in the second half after the interesting way in which the intermission is set up, the second half that follows is one which is mind-numbingly violent. The proceedings happen in a hilly area for the majority of this part before an inexplicable shift in terrain in the climax. How did the experienced editor duo Praveen – Srikanth miss such an abrupt transition just when we expect the movie to head towards its resolution?
Though the first half has an interesting narrative structure, the two stories if analyzed on a standalone basis are equally clichéd. The kids’ antics remind you of other movies such as Pasanga, Kalla Thuppakki to name a few. But here it is really violent and the actual reason why the kids are so fierce isn’t properly established, more than the customary blame being put on their upbringing by parents and teachers. We have a fat kid in the group as is the unwritten rule, and we have the expected farting jokes and trumpet sounds accompanying his actions.
The romance between Vijay Vasanth and Vibha has nothing new in it either and you start wondering why romance is so dumb in most of our movies. It’s a severe test of Vijay Vasanth’s capabilities as a solo hero and the sudden heroic change in his character graph towards the end is jarring.
The boy who has acted as Johnny really brings on the manic rage in his expressions and body language and the kid is bound to go places. The other Brahmin kid who is at the receiving end of all the violence and abuse wins your sympathy. Karthik as the elder Johnny tries to carry forward the same hyper mannerisms and rage and he succeeds partially.
Vibha Natarajan is pretty and she has been put through a strenuous physical experience in the second half. Even early in the movie the director shows that she can run pretty well and she has to do the same for majority of the second half. Towards the end she gets to indulge in some violence of her own and she even puts on a heroic visage as she spits out blood in one of the scenes. The bankable Thambi Ramiah’s clichéd comedy portions in the school portion fall flat.
Ganesh Raghavendra’s songs are pretty likable but the background music has been done in a really loud and amateurish manner.
Miracle Michael’s stunt choreography sparkles in the scene when an Aghori Baba and his little girl protégé take on Johnny and his friends in the second half.
On the whole, the director Bharani Jayapal’s basic idea of portraying the extent to which kids can go, if they aren’t brought up in a proper way by their parents and teachers, is laudable. But we wonder if kids can go to such violent extremes just because of a few incidents which make a mockery of their self-esteem.
Verdict: Mind-numbingly violent and farfetched