During the press meet for 49-O, director Arokiyadoss said that the film would showcase the plight of farmers and the struggles they face. Goundamani, meanwhile, is known for his unique comic sensibility. Arokiyadoss uses Goundamani’s comic talents in the best possible way – without exaggeration, as a perfect contrast to the serious tone of the film. The result is a realistic political satire, with enough punchy moments to qualify as ‘Nalla Padam’ (a good film). A little short of Goundamani’s claim that it was ‘Idhu Oru Nalla Padam’ (the best film).
Goundamani plays a social reformer who lives in a village fully dependent on farming. In a tough situation for the villagers, a local MLA (Karikalan) and his sidekick convince the farmers to sell their cultivable lands to him. But, they do not pay the entire amount (just the advance). The movie highlights the way a citizen’s votes are bought with fake promises. In this case, by Karikalan and the opposition party leader Dheenadayalan.
The farmers are struggling. The situation is grim. Goundamani responds by rousing the villagers towards a ‘greater tomorrow’. He explains the procedure involved in an election. The plot catapults towards election day when the villagers decide to take the nominations into their own hands. How Goundamani works to regain the lands and transform the consciousness of the villagers drives the plot of 49-O.
Arokiyadoss’ intention is to show how the farmers struggle when dealing with ministers, officials and real estate brokers. Goundamani’s subtle references to the existing political and economic situation certainly elevates the story.
At one point, Goundamani points out, “Makkaluku edhavadhu kettadhu nadandha arasialvadhinga thaniya nippanga.. Adhe makkalukku edhavadhu nalladhu nadandha adha ellarum serndhu keduka paapanga.” (If something bad happens to the citizens, these politicians would contest separately. But when something good happens, they join hands and try to disrupt it.)
And further, “Indha naatula mannenna vaangardhu dhan kashtam, MLA aagardhu easy.” (In this nation, buying oil is difficult; becoming an MLA is fairly an easy task.)
The revising committee has recently been in the spotlight for being too harsh. Urumeen’s trailer was denied certification for it tagline, ‘Revenge is Ultimate’, while Rajathanthiram had to modify key scenes to get a U certificate and the 30% tax exemption. Surprisingly, despite pointed critiques of corrupt politicians and exploitative real estate brokers, 49-O seems to have sneaked through their radar.
Naan Kadavul Rajendran and Chaams evoke much laughter from the audience with their track about real estate advertisements. The movie is slow paced at first, but gradually picks up momentum. The timing of the songs is fairly jarring. Sad, because music director K’s songs are definitely pleasant. A 76-year old shaking his legs to the songs is quite a refreshing sight.
Thematically similar to Kaththi, this film will go down as another laudable attempt at taking on social corruption, and trying to empower the downtrodden.
The 49-O review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have an advertising relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.