Ajith: a memorable performance!
The film 'Mugavari' addresses the harsh choices
faced by human beings weighed down by their ambitions, who see many
false dawns, but for whom success remains elusive for ever. It
revolves around Sridhar, (Ajith) the 29 year old shy introvert who
has only one dream in life - to become a music director. Though the
theme is familiar the treatment is certainly upbeat which makes 'Mugavari' a meaningful film.
Music is not just a career
option for Sridhar, but a passion, a vocation, an obsession. Fired
by the ambition to become a music director he spends eight precious
years of his life chasing that will-o'-the-wisp but reaches nowhere.
The film starts with a very homely scene. Sridhar with his
father, elder brother (Raghuvaran) and his family has just moved
into a new house and they are busy setting up their new home. It is
a close knit family whose central concern is with the fulfillment of
Sridhar's accidental meeting with Viji (
Jyothika) at the railway booking counter brings the romantic element
into the story. The director has portrayed the blossoming of love
between these two kindred souls through tender situations and
sensuous song sequences.
After many disappointments and a
taste of the callousness of even the hangers on in the film industry, Sridhar is able to strike a sympathetic chord in Producer
R.K.Ram. Initially his phenomenal talent almost becomes his undoing.
But when he convincingly proves his talent through a soul-stirring
song the long awaited chance is almost within his grasp and Sridhar
almost reaches the victory stand. Fate then intervenes and Sridhar’s
sand castle is razed to the ground.
The most beautiful thing
at this juncture is how the whole family rallies around him without
even a look of recrimination. In fact when the family friend (Rajiv)
talks about his brother's whopping salary, chides Sridhar for
wasting time, and even offers him a well-salaried job the father
knowing his son’s mind cleverly diverts the talk. Though there is a
very slight tinge of regret in the old man's voice, it is well
camouflaged. The flame of hope keeps burning especially after the
success of Sridhar's millennium concert and he is bent upon
continuing his single-minded pursuit, even at the cost of losing his
girl in the bargain.
The scenario changes when the elder
brother, the sole breadwinner of the family has a massive heart attack. Sridhar is forced to take some hard
is a succession of minutely observed emotional moments in the film
many of which pull at your heartstrings. Sridhar's brother comes
with the arrears payment received from his office but the family
cannot decide how to spend it, each one suggesting buying something
for the other. Finally they agree that each one should write his/her
name on scraps of paper and decide by lot. While the whole family
assembled on the terrace watch the rainbow Sridhar sits overwhelmed
finding all of them have written only one name - Sridhar! When his
brother asks Sridhar why he didn't join them he replies, 'but I saw
the rainbow". The subtle poignancy of the scene is not to be
A totally humiliated Sridhar drenched in the pouring rain bursts out
into a song in the presence of the rapturously listening Producer
and the assembled crowd. Bonding with the audience is complete in
that moment. There is very subtle humour in the scene when Viji
repeats the 'ten- feet- gold' story to his brother and family. The
camera focuses on the kids' face with their mother cleverly
refraining them from letting the cat out of the bag.
is no feel-good solution at the end of the story. It is art
imitating life. When Sridhar walks away on the lonely road it looks
like final capitulation to destiny and soul-destroying conformity.
Everyone even the small urchin in rags squatting in the front row in
the theatre needs a dream to carry on with the business of life. By
evading the crucial question whether there will ever be light at the
end of the tunnel for Sridhar the director deprives the audience of
their strength to carry on with just their dreams, the sublimation
they look for. It leaves you disturbed and depressed.
Balamurugan's dialogue is one of the strong points of the
film. They add to the poignancy of the scenes without being
platitudinous. Realising how the girl boosts up Sridhar's sagging
morale every time it takes a downslide his friend the cassette
shopkeeper (Manivannan) tells him, "One can get a girl who loves you, but you have found one who loves your profession
too. You are lucky." Sridhar in one scene says, "If you are surrounded by people
who are concerned about you, that is heaven". And finally to protect
that heaven he decides to barter away his music which is his soul.
Ajith has given a memorable performance. As Sridhar there is
a brooding intensity about him making him look vulnerable, which
goes well with his role. He carries his winning streak into the new
millennium. He excels in the song and dance sequences too. And in
the one and only fight scene which blends well with the smooth
narration. His pent-up agony, frustrations, angst and fury are
almost palpable in every punch he gives. Jyothika as Viji is fresh
and sprightly, but her oft repeated 'ayyayyo...’ is jarring.
Raghuvaran as the elder brother almost puts everyone else in the
shade with his crisp and natural emoting. Others have all done full
justice to their roles. Cochin Haneefa as the vainglorious and
egocentric music director, a species often seen in tinsel town, is
very convincing in the cameo role. The Producer from Bombay is a
very good caricature of the typical 'hanji-naji' prototype from
P.C.Sriram's camera functions as a character in the
film adapting itself to the texture and mood of each scene.
Thottatharani's artwork is soothing. There is both passion and pain
in Vairamuthu's lyrics especially in lines such as "isayodu
isayodu vazhven, isayodu poven"(I was born with music, will live
with music and die with music).
Mugavari is not without its
stumbles. Deva's background score is excellent and accentuates the mood. There is melody in
'keechu kiliye...' (Hariharan) and 'nilave nilave...' (Unni Menon). But is that enough in a movie in which the
lead character loves music more than life itself? Shouldn't the
songs be excellent and extraordinary? One cannot go for the
superlative about any of the numbers. The textile garment showroom
scene where Ajith and Jyothika meet is a powerful echo of the
similar scene in Dil to Pagal Hai.
Vivek strikes the
discordant note going overboard in the name of comedy which is out
of place in a film of this genre. The mature audience at whom this
film is targetted will find it grating. It is unfair on Vivek too
because given a chance he can emote well as has been evident in
certain emotional scenes in the film.
Talking about Vivek
when will the Tamil filmmakers get over their obsession with
undergarments...? And stop stripping Vivek in every film..? It is