Story : Kaalayan’s (Sundar) life revolves around his four brothers. He earns the wrath of Varadharajan (Suman), a big shot in the neighbouring village, after refusing to marry his sister. Bhuvana (Sneha), on the run from Varadharajan, seeks refuge under Kaalayan and the two fall in love. This only increases Varadharajan’s fury and he begins to plot Kaalayan’s downfall.
Movie Review: Imagine an alternate world in which there was never a blockbuster titled ‘Murattu Kaalai’ , featuring one of the iconic characters played by Superstar Rajinikanth. In such a scenario, Selva Bharathi’s ‘Murattu Kaalai’ would be seen as a typical masala film, combining elements from every other Sundar C film in which the actor-director would play an affectionate brother (‘Veerappu’), sing duets with the heroine in exotic locations (‘Sandai’), spout punch dialogues in high decibels (‘Thee’) and bash up the villain and his henchmen, with the cinematography and the background score pummeling you into submission (‘Perumal’).
But since that isn’t the case, comparisons — however unfair they might be — are inevitable. To be fair, the original isn’t really a classic in the actual sense of the term but is certainly one of the most important in Rajinikanth’s canon of films. It was a commercial potboiler with the right mix of action, romance, comedy and sentiment and worked big time at the box office. And it features arguably his most iconic intro song, the rousing ‘Podhuvaga En Manasu Thangam’ and some of the best action sequences that the superstar has featured in (the fight atop a running train, for instance).
The remake features both these elements but they are not a patch on the original. While the remix of the song (by Srikanth Deva) is just pedestrian, the train fight sequence (Silva is the stunt choreographer), despite the advancement in film technology over the years, lacks the nail-biting tension that the original offered. Add to that the disappointing editing, by the National Award winning duo of Praveen and K L Srikanth no less, who seem to throw in every transition and effect from their editing software, to make the hero seem all the more powerful. But it is our eyes that begin to strain with these needless gimmicks.
Still, the good news here is that, surprisingly, ‘Murattu Kaalai’ isn’t a disaster and works to an extent. But the bad news is that this is an entirely pointless remake with hardly anything new to offer. One of the reasons why the film remains watchable is because Sundar wisely decides to not ape Rajinikanth’s portrayal and sticks to his typical shtick (a brave simpleton with a heart of gold). Also, Selva Bharathi (of ‘Ninaithen Vandhaai’ and ‘Priyamanavalae’ fame) treats the material as just a mass movie and doesn’t try to overreach by attempting any improvement on the original.
The rest of the cast is strictly passable. Suman is never as fearsome as Jaishankar, while Sneha manages to coast through with her smiles. Interestingly, Vivekh seems to have regained a bit of his comic touch. He plays an effeminate character with a dark secret, and has a comic track unrelated to the film’s plot, which plays as a spoof on ’16 Vayathinile’. Though nowhere as funny as his early 2000 comedies, the actor manages to wring a smile out of you now and then with his one-liners and that is certainly welcome.
Cast: Sundar C, Sneha, Suman, Vivekh, Sindhu Tolani
Direction: Selva Bharathi
Duration: 2 hours 20 minutes
Avg Readers Rating:3.5