Saturday, April 16, 2011

Film Review: மாப்பிள்ளை (MAPPILLAI)

Mappillai (2011)
Cast: Dhanush, Manisha Koirala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Vivek, Hansika Motwani
Writer-Director: Suraaj

The Story: Sharavanan (Dhanush) lives in a friendly neighbourhood in Chennai and is the envy of all the neighbours. He lives with his sister and brother-in-law and spends his time visiting temples. Chinna (Vivek) and his friends are the bad boys who loaf their lives away. Sharavanan happens to rescue the daughter (Hansika Motwani) of billionaire Rajeswari (Manisha Koirala) from a scooter accident. The girl falls for him and seeing him for the quiet boy he is, Rajeswari decides to make him her son-in-law and keep the married couple in her own home. Just before the wedding, Rajeswari finds out that Sharavanan is not the simpleton that he appears to be. While she does her best to keep him out of her daughter’s life, Sharavanan sticks to them like glue and the rest of the story goes on to show how he proves himself to be a good son-in-law (Mappillai).

My Perception: The story sounds familiar? Yeah, of course, you have seen it either in Tamil – Mappillai (1989) starring Rajinikanth with Srividya playing the mother-in-law and Amala as Rajinikanth’s heroine. OR you have seen it in Hindi – Jamai Raja (1990) starring Anil Kapoor with Hema Malini playing the mother-in-law. Incidentally, Madhuri Dixit played Anil Kapoor’s love interest.

Getting back to this film, it began extremely well. Vivek’s comedy timing was perfect and the dialogue was quite witty and sharp during the first 45 minutes. Even the song – Kandhanukku arohara Muruganukku arohara – was good. One could relate to the lyrics that were quite well-written following the life-story of Lord Murugan. One could very well understand how young men from the lower and middle-income groups could relate to Dhanush, the actor. He looks like your local rickshawalla who can sing, dance, fight and romance. While he looks anything like a hero, Dhanush can definitely act. He so reminds me of Rajinikanth when he was new to films. The superstar used to look a lot like his mappillai (the pun is intended as Dhanush is married to Rajinikanth’s daughter in real life) and I remember not liking him much.

But later, I, like millions of others, fell for the superstar’s style and there was no looking back. I went to watch this film for the same reason, hoping to find some kind of a style in Dhanush that I could relate to. Maybe I am way too old and cynical, but, alas, I just could find nothing in the hero that could charm me, despite his good (just good, nothing exceptional) acting skills.

After about one-third of the film got over, it went straight downhill. While I really admired the writer-director Suraaj for the dialogues in that part, I was totally disappointed with the way the film moved steadily from bad to worse, with no surprises. I could have uttered the dialogues myself as it so closely followed the original Tamil version. BTW, I have seen both Rajinikanth’s and Anil Kapoor’s films.

Manisha Koirala has done an excellent job. Taking on this role must not have been easy to someone who had been playing the heroine not so long ago. But this was indeed a smart move as the mother-in-law’s role is fairly stylish and that of a vamp. Kudos!

Hansika Motwani had a negligible role that does not enhance her career in any way.

Vivek was excellent and I sincerely wish that he had had more of a role in the film. I had thought that his career was taking a downward spiral, but this film proves that the actor has a lot more comedy in him that he could share with the public.

Verdict: A must watch if you are an ardent Dhanush fan. Otherwise, keep away. I am sure Vivek's comedy scenes will soon be on TV. You can have your fun then if you are a Vivek fan. 

Rating: ** 1/2 (One of those stars solely belongs to Vivek)

* Silly
** Shaky
*** Smart
**** Snazzy
***** Super 


  1. Nice Review sundari...Will Watch the movie.

  2. :) i did not know there was a time u did not like Rajni, i thnk i have always been his fan!
    Agreed Dhanush can act a bit.
    Interesting review!

  3. kewl review. gotta totally agree with you on vivek's performance. Really a gud come back for him in "vadivelu" era. The whole movie I was wondering this the reason why people call Rajni "the superstar". Danush is so not anywhere near "superstar"..namma thalaiva..the always.

    nice review njoyed.
    BTW I cursed myself to have watched this movie FDFS (first day first show)

  4. Thank you Mahascientist, both for liking my review and for posting a comment :)

  5. @ Lakshmi,
    yeah, those were early days of Rajinikanth. You were probably a baby then and did not know much. I could not relate to the superstar then. But he soon grew on me :D