Young filmmaker Vijay, who has stepped out of filmmaker Priyadharshan's school, has made his mentor proud. If 'Siraichalai' was considered a master pierce from Priyan, his protégé has proved with 'Madrasapattinam' that he is equally skilled.
The movie is set in the 1940s when the Britishers were about to leave the Indian soil. The crux of the film is about an innocent and valorous Tamil youth falling in love with the daughter of the English Governor.
The troubles and turmoil that their romance face and what transpired between the young White girl and the Tamil youth on the day of Indian independence have been dealt clearly and crisply with a touch of political background, laced with patriotism.
Though shades of 'Titanic' could not be avoided in this period film, it is a sincere and a worthy attempt with the whole cast contributing their might, ably supported by sound technical brilliance behind the screen.
The Madras then has been craftily recreated by art director Selva Kumar. The dhobikhana, the waterways at Buckingham canal, which were used for ferrying, the Central Station and its platforms, trams and the royal Government houses of the British era have been erected close to perfection.
What more, the lens of Nirav Shah has been at its best capturing them well on screen. The lights and shades, the colour tone and the difference in flashback and contemporary on screen hog all limelight thanks to the cinematographer. His work is one of the assets of the film.
Manohar Verma's stunts are pulsating and racy. Especially the chase at the Central Station is astounding. Antony's editing as usual peps up the proceedings, though he could have trimmed a little in the second half. However his scissors seems to have woked with a purpose.
But the scene-stealer is young G V Prakash Kumar. He has come up trumps with the songs that reflect the time. What more, the background score is apt for the movie. At places, he reminds one of maestro Ilayaraja. He has shown a lot of promise and 'Madrasapattinam' is sure to take him places. The sorrow of a woman missing her lover has been brought out well by Prakash's background score.
The movie begins more like Titanic as an old English woman (Emy Jackson) almost at her death bed in London, wants to come down to Chennai in search of a young man Parithi (Arya) whom she last saw on 15 August, 1947.
Almost 60 years from then, she is clueless as she has just a picture of Parithi, which was taken then. The search begins. There are scenes where she recalls her past. It is revealed that Parithi was a valorous dhobi in 'Madrasapattinam'. He revolts against the British officials for they plan to construct a golf course in their dhobikhana.
Comes Emi, daughter of Madras Presidency Governor, and she develops an affinity towards Parithi. She is friendly and helpful. Sequence of events leaves romance blossoming between them. Parithi calls her affectionately as Duraiamma.
Even as they face trouble from the angry White officials, comes 15 August 1947 which brings freedom to India. Duraiamma is now forced to go back to England. Parithi runs from pillar to post and fights to hold his sweetheart's hands. But he couldn't achieve his mission. Cut to present, Duraiamma is back in search of Parithi. Did she realise her mission forms the climax.
Arya excels in his role. He fits the role to T. Be it an angry youth voicing against the Whites or a romantic youngster running around to save his beloved, he is right there giving his best. Emy Jackson walks away with aplomb. Her spontaneous expressions are the highlight. For a foreigner to give right emotions in a Tamil film is no easy task. But she does the impossible with ease.
Cochin Haneefa's one-liners are rib-tickling. The rest of the cast including Nasser, Balasingh, M S Baskar, Balaji, Kishore and Jeeva are adequate. English man Jack James as a greedy British cop is an apt choice.
Vijay has shown immense maturity in taking up such a difficult theme and working it out well with right entertaining and engrossing elements. His nose for minute details is worth mentioning. His adept screenplay and catchy screenplay work out right magic.
Produced by Kalpathy Brothers' AGS Entertainment and presented by Udhayanidhi Stalin's Red Gaint Movies, 'Madrasapattinam' is a movie to cherish for movie-buffs. Away from the madding crowd of commercial clichés, it is a film that would send positive vibes among those who love meaningful films.