I started watching the Tamil film Maara (streaming now on Amazon Prime) with much trepidation as I was told that it was a re-make of the Malayalam film – Charlie. With Charlie I couldn’t go beyond 15-20 minutes. But, I did watch Maara fully and here I am with this flash review.
In terms of the story, Maara resembles one of our childhood stories like Cinderella/Hansel and Gretel kind of fairy tale in a present setting. The animation story with the titles at the start set the tone for the same. The screen play is partly in hyperlink format taking us into sub stories within the main story with each piece being carried forward by a new character. We get to see these stories when individual characters narrate to the female lead, Paaru played brilliantly by Shraddha Srinath. All the sub stories build the aura about the male protagonist Maara.
At the end, Maara is a simple love story. But with a twist. Or with a couple of twists. First, it’s a love story where the lovers don’t get to see face to face till the climax. They don’t get to talk to each other properly till the very end. But where the feeling of love arises more out of mutual respect and regard for each other based on circumstances. Yet, they get to come together for a common cause. Second, probably it is a story of love not between the lead pair but two other individuals. You must watch the film to understand where I am coming from. Either way, this makes the film a bit different and hence interesting.
Coming to the cast, Shraddha leads the pack. She looks naturally pretty and charming, ambles along in great but simple costumes and emotes well, reminding us of yesteryear Revathi of the 80’s! This is not Shraddha’s first film but Maara would be a career defining outing for her. Looking forward to see her in good roles in the coming days. For Madhavan, this is a walk in the park role. He is the hero but not by being one. The film should have been titled Paaru, I feel as she is the one who is the mainstay throughout. Madhavan does a pretty neat job even with very limited opportunities. The leading pair is ably supported by some stellar supporting cast with names like Abhirami, M.S.Bhasker, Alexander Babu and others. But among all this Moulee who makes a comeback as an actor in the big screen steals the show. As the elderly Velaiyya, he acts so naturally that one can easily relate to the character.
Maara is a slow film. At times it is so slow that you may lose patience and give up just as I did with Charlie. But if there is one thing that keeps you at it, is the brilliant cinematography by Dinesh Krishnan and Karthik Muthukumar. For a film about a painter, they have used the camera to actually paint a slew of colourful paintings. As you watch the film, it feels like you are going through the work of a master painter. Instead of lights, it feels as if they have a used a palette of colours. Kerala by itself is pretty. Here, God’s own country looks even prettier with the collage of colours and landscape.
The other thing which keeps us engaged is the music score by Ghibran. We all know that Ghibran is a man of huge talent to watch out for. The poignant songs in the background and the lively and very measured background score add to the feel good look and feel of the film.
Some of the sequences in the film are unfathomable. In these age of mobile phones, a person remaining untraceable for a long while and his house being left open for anybody to just walk in feels very strange. Nevertheless, Maara is an interesting film that demands a onetime watch for which the credit must go to the Director Dhilip Kumar. For people who like the past paced, action genre in cinema, Maara may not be up to their liking. At the end, even they would not regret the time just for Shraddha. May be now, I should go back and complete Charlie. But from whatever I have seen of both, I can say that the Tamil version makes things a lot more obvious. Charlie was more in the realm of imagination. Maara though sets up things more clearly in the screen play which I think makes it more likeable and appealing to a larger audience. Watch it for absorbing some feel good vibes at these times and Kerala.
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