Marina beach is a collage of human life. It is a place of fun, joy and festivity. It withstood the test of time and has seen many changes. For every Chennaiite, Marina is a place to reckon with.
On the other side, we have seen many children selling sundal, horsemen waiting for customers and women astrologers searching for clients there at Marina. Have we ever wondered what their daily life would be like? The answer lies in 'Marina', directed by Pandiraj.
The movie is one helluva trip to the shores of Marina. Though there are darker shades of life on the sands, Pandiraj has taken feel-good moments and weaved them into a movie. After his National Award winning 'Pasanga', Pandiraj has laid his hands on a similar genre.
A group of children, a handful of serious characters and some comedy in the form of Siva Karthikeyan and Oviya, 'Marina' begins well and ends well.
There are many underlining messages in the movie - keep the shores clean, treat elders with courtesy and above all provide proper formal education to child labourers for a better tomorrow. Pandian who played Pakada in 'Pasanga' takes the lead role. Ambikapathy (Pandian) is the pivot around whom the whole movie revolves. An orphan, he comes to Chennai to eke out his livelihood. The very sight of Chennai initially scares him. But he musters courage to face all challenges.
Marina beach beckons him. Ambikapathy decides to sell water packets. His friendly manners win him the admiration and love of young child labourers on the shores of Marina. An old man (Sundararajan) and postman (Jithan Mohan) turn friends for these children.
There is a singer (Aatkaati Arumugham) and his young daughter Annamma (Jayashree) who live in the shores. The beach also witness every evening a lover couple Senthilnathan (Sivakarthikeyan) and Sopana Sundari (Oviya) coming there and spending time.
All twists and turns lead to a riveting climax where the need to provide formal education to children and the need to do away with child labour is brought out well.
Pandian has continued from where he left in 'Pasanga'. The young boy has played his part well. He gels with his character and lives the role of Ambikapathy. His body language and dialogue delivery are a treat to watch. Be it the emotional sequences or fun-filled moments, Pandian brings out right expressions.
The host of young boys in the beach along with Pandian is tailor-made for the roles. The surprise element is Sundararajan. The old man plays a dignified role and succeeds in providing heartwarming moments on screen. Anchor-turned-actor Siva Karthikeyan and Oviya form a vital part of the movie though they appear in very few scenes.
Jithan Mohan as a postman provides the right twist to the script. As mentor to the children selling sundal on the shores, he performs with aplomb.
Watch out for debutant cinematographer Vijay. Capturing the whole movie in Marina beach is no easy task. But Vijay has taken it in his stride to show the beach in a fresh new hue. The busy life, especially the aerial shots of crowded beach et al has been captured well in his camera. Giving him good company is debutant music composer Girish. The young gun has come up with a splendid background score that compliments the storyline.
Pandiraj's vision and message is loud and clear. The movie seems to have achieved the goal. A movie like 'Marina' that is unconventional from the word go deserves appreciation.
Though at places it sounds more a docu-drama, 'Marina' makes a pleasant watch. In a nutshell, 'Marina' is perhaps India's answer to Oscar-winner 'Slumdog Millionaire'.