Tamil Reviews

Meaghamann Review: Fifty Shades of Black

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Actor Arya and Hansika in Meagamann Movie StillsThe template exists.

One man against the whole world. Sent in by the system to fight an evil adversary. Then the system turns on him. Then…

The template exists, and is good.

Director Magilzh Thirumeni knows not to tinker with a good thing. If it ain’t broken, why fix it?

*****

The adversary is remarkable for how unremarkable he is. A low profile drug lord who operates by stealth. So low key, he could ask you for a light at a train station, and you would barely notice him.

Then there is the system. A couple of cops – a woman and a man – are the face of it, until they are not. She is confident and determined and assertive; and he follows along.

They seem to have families, but the director couldn’t care less. These are professionals.

*****

What do you do when your Tamil movie is set in Goa? When your cops are from Maharashtra and your drug lords from Gujarat?

You make them talk in normal Tamil. No idiotic accents, no unnecessary Hindi interjections with Tamil subtitles to sound authentic.

Everyone just speaks in conversational Tamil and that is how it should be. Because anything else would be a distraction, and Magilzh hates distractions.

*****

The romance is cursory and hurried, possibly because Siva has better things to do than romancing Usha. Like fighting against the world.

When Siva – after a particularly grueling day – runs into a sad Usha, who earnestly complains to him about something rather inane, he breaks into an indulgent half smile. It could be the director smiling at his audience for complaining about how the romance feels rushed.

Right after a contrived road accident, Usha’s angry friend calls her shallow. “You think you are smart because you read Cosmo and Fifty Shades of Grey,” she tells her. And through the movie, Usha tries hard to stay true to that impression.

The romance here is so goofy, so obviously forced, that you want to like it.

Meanwhile, Magilzh must’ve borrowed Gautham Menon’s costumer for Hansika Motwani.

*****

“But they’re both spelt ‘desert’ sir,” the high-school kid had protested. “How do I know if it means a sandy area where Nagarjuna sings Oh Priya Priya, or if it is someone running away from the army?”

“In English,” his wise teacher said, “you judge words by context. The same expression could mean different things in different contexts.”

He could’ve been talking about Arya.

But to the director’s credit, Arya’s limited repertoire does nothing to take away from the movie. You barely see it, unless you look for it.

*****

Meagamann is relentlessly focused. Save for the barely-there romantic track, the script never veers from its central conceit.

One man, fighting the world.

And fight he does. A lot, using pen knifes, guns and other such dangerous and not-so-dangerous implements.

The stunts are crisp, bloody and violent. Arya’s Siva does not look like someone you want to mess with.

The writing is crisp too. Even the most inane of scenes has a grander purpose eventually. Most everything is setup logically.

Except that one time, with an all too convenient cellphone theft. And the inevitable Tamil movie curse: The rollback scene – “30 nimidangalukku munbu” – to explain things that are best left unexplained. And the Ghajini hangover, where any hero worth his salt has to plaster newspaper clippings and post-it notes on a wall.

But still, the writing is crisp.

*****

The director must like clean endings. Even as the end credits roll, he decides to tie that one loose knot left untied. Just so.

*****

S Thaman’s score blends into the background, barely noticeable. Which is how it should be. The songs move along in a hurry, punctuated by a lot of talking.

The locations and the camerawork stay true to the script. This is the Goa of warehouses and container ships, not beaches with pretty women in bikinis.

Even when there is a gorgeous church in the background, the camera hugs the protoganists; it is here to tell you a grim story, not show you pretty locales.

It has a good story to tell.

*****

 The Meaghamann 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.

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