Sunday, 10 January 2021

Maara


Cast

:

R Madhavan, Shraddha Srinath, Moulee, Sshivada, Abhirami, Alexander Babu

Director

:

Dhilip Kumar

Cinematographer

:

Dinesh Krishnan

Karthik Muthukumar

Music

:

Ghiran

Editor

:

Bhuvan Srinivasan

Producer

:

Pramod Films

Release Date

:

January 08, 2020 (streaming in Amazon Prime)

Length

:

145 minutes

Language

:

Tamizh

 

My Thoughts

Maara is an adaptation of Dulquer Salman and Parvathy Thiruvothu starrer Malayalam movie Charlie released in 2015. This is one of the rare adaptations that is better, logical and emotionally satisfying compared to the original. If you have watched Charlie, you’ll realize that the characters in Maara have a purpose. There is a reason for everything due to which the relatability factor is higher.

Paru (Shraddha Srinath) is a starry-eyed twenty something woman whose profession is to restore old buildings and stuffs. She likes stories and agrees that she may not know what she wants from life, but certainly know what she doesn’t. As a part of her profession, she visits a beautiful place (I think it’s the attractive Fort Cochin just like the original) where she is puzzled to see illustrations on buildings that depicts the story she had listened as a child, narrated by a fellow passenger during a bus journey. Paru is intrigued and coincidentally gets to stay in the same house where the artist who had created those paintings stays every now and then. That artist in Maara (R Madhavan). She also stumbles upon an art journal which illustrates a story but is incomplete. Her inherent inquisitive nature makes her go into a journey of finding the rest of the story. In the process, she gets to know more about Maara. From what she gathers, he seems to a charming selfless man who has acted a genie in many people’s life. Does her quest for Maara answer the primary question – how did Maara know that story that was narrated to her as a child by a fellow passenger?

Maara is a well-written, well-edited, well-presented package. The cinematographer uses so many hues of colors that the world around which the story is woven looks even more utopian. It is one of those rare feel good movies that we get to see these days. We see only good people. We see only lightness in air, frame after frame. It has a fairy-tale like quality and vibrancy coupled with surrealism that keeps us glued to the story although it is 2 hours and 25 minutes long! All the actors have delivered a realistic performance. Madhavan infuses lot of charm with his twinkle eyes and cute smiles. He has also portrayed sense of helplessness with lot of conviction that we empathize. So has Moulee. We feel for that character and it aches our hearts. It was a pleasant surprise to see Alexander Babu (in case you are wondering, he is a standup comedian – Alex in Wonderland, being his best). He is at ease and makes us crackle.

In these times of uncertainties, tension and negativities which is generally felt due to the influence of virtual world and specifically by the pandemic, Maara is a beautiful story of hope and perseverance. Certainly, a movie that could be enjoyed with family – all you need to do is dim the lights, plop in your favorite couch and stream the movie in Amazon Prime – Yes, its that simple. So, go for it!!!!

Rating

4.5/5 

If you have watched Charlie, please continue reading as I have made some comparisons (I know its not a frame to frame remake, but still…)

***Some Spoiler Alert too***

What worked in Charlie and not in Maara

·       The part with Kalpana in the original and Abhirami in Maara – I liked Kalpana’s portion better. Abhirami was really good. But something was missing. Maybe that streak of melancholy that Kalpana adorned in her face – not sure.

·       The unravel of the story through the art journal flip - Charlie had an element of surprise. We really didn’t know, just like Tessa, what Charlie and the Kallan saw when they moved the tiles of the house and peeped inside. This is not the case in Maara. Though Sshivada was good, the way the scenes between Charlie and Kani was better in Charlie than between Maara and Kani.

What worked in Maara and not in Charlie

·       The characterization

o   Honestly, Charlie was irritatingly loud, hyper and came across as a spoilt child who had no purpose in life. He looked more a maverick to me, of course, with a good heart and all that. Also, he came across to me as a demi-God who can fix all the problems and too easy-going with nearly Zen-like detachment and zero emotions. Whereas, Maara was charming and emotional. He was a meandering too, but with a reason. He was vulnerable and more humane.

o   Similarly, Tessa was aimless and boasted that having no plans is the plan. She wanders, she runs away from home and we don’t even know from where she is getting all funding. We don’t know what her educational or professional background or the mere reason why she is so rebellious – rather why she is the way she is. Whereas, Paru is more grounded and has a purpose. She is more real with a profession and clarity of mind.

·       Use of art – Though Charlie is an artist too, we don’t really see much of art. But, Maara is constantly sketching and sometimes for a cause too. And most importantly, his artistic gift is the base of Maara unlike Charlie.

·       Lingering of emotions – There are reasons why Maara is longer than Charlie. Maara lets the emotions linger for a bit. Whereas Charlie was in a hurry. Sometimes, that pause is important so that we feel for the moment too just like the characters.

In short, Maara worked for me better than Charlie. And glad that it did 😊


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