Feb 27 2017
Notwithstanding the weak critical and commercial reception it got, Manirathnam’s Kadal was definitely a dream debut for Gautham Karthik since it got him noticed. But based on the scripts he has been selecting since then, the actor seems determined to become the poster boy for actors whose career takes a sharp nose dive after starting off with a strong debut. His latest film Muthuramalingam continues the downward trajectory of his career. If anything, it makes the fall seem steeper.
Muthuramalingam(Gautham Karthik), is the much loved son of Mookiah(Napoleon). Muthuramalingam is really good at the art of silambam and gets the chance to display his expertise at a couple of places. Gautham acquits himself well at this but comes up short pretty much everywhere else. His punchlines are laughable and this is due to both his inability to deliver them convincingly as well as the quality of the lines themselves. But he does have a moment referring to his lineage when dances to Amaran‘s Vethala Poatta Shokkula….
But before we know about Muthuramalingam’s silambam skills, we learn that he is also really good at headbutting. We get an absurd intro scene where he headbutts a goat(!) and a couple of scenes where he vanquishes others using the same skill. But its not all for fighting. He once renders his lover Viji(Priya Anand) unconscious when he inadvertently knocks her on the head and the way he and his dad express affection is by gently hitting their heads together(that’s all the dad asks for when Muthuramalingam is leaving him). With all this headbutting, the film might as well have been named Mutturamalingam!
Mookiah sports a voluminous mustache and the reason soon becomes clear since the film is obsessed with mustaches. It has a few dialogs that associate them with manliness but it doesn’t stop there. It goes to silly lengths with a cop hauling Mookkiah by his mustache and Muthuramalingam chopping the cop’s hand off for insulting his father. But the silliest moment comes later when Muthuramalingam, with his pencil-thin mustache, lets a policeman go, telling him that he didn’t kill him because of his mustache!
With Mookaiah and Muthuramalingam going into hiding, the film shows some signs of coming to life. But with Vivek showing up as the cop assigned to bring them in, the suspense is channeled into comedy. His antics and jokes barely raise any laughs because of the situation(we are supposed to believe that the cops are looking for Muthuramalingam without a single photo to actually identify him. But the track still fares better than Singampuli’s horrendous track in the first half that saw him wander around with a vessel with a human head hidden inside).
The film’s main conflict is introduced abruptly just before the intermission but the opportunity it affords for drama is not followed up well either. The main revelation is easy to guess(the other two possible choices have no emotional heft) and though it leads to sentiments, it doesn’t evoke any emotions since the relationship between the characters until then has not been shown strongly enough to warrant those sentiments. The villain’s act behind the whole thing in the flashback doesn’t make a lot of sense either. There is a small twist that sets up an interesting conflict between two characters but that is revealed in a matter-of-fact way and so has no impact also.
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