Rating: 3 Stars

What's come into the Tamil film industry.  It's surprising to see a different genre of movies well away from the usual masala formula junk.  Even the acting has become more casual these days, except for those few old timers.

Villains or Heroes in our modern society are not well defined in black or white as seen or read in old films or stories.  They are what circumstances and unforeseen events make them out to be.  Their characters are not inherent but depend on how the viewers perceive them.  In Marumalarchi, the director wants to show everyone as a hero or a villain, at one time or another and of course with the exception of Mammooty, the hero for the audience, who see both sides of the story.

Mammooty is the centre figure of 38 patti (why is it always 38, is it because 'ettu' rhymes with patti?), the man of honour (kind of Yejaman, Chinna Gowndar) who has dedicated his life for the welfare of the village people.  He is so respected that the people even erect his statue (Is statue still considered as mark of  respect now, I doubt it!!). About half an hour of the film goes on building up his character (the weakest part of this nearly 3 hour long film). As the people in his village would not take money for his shopping, he goes to a nearby village.  In the crowded fair (sandhai) Mammooty pulls Devayani's hand to save her from an approaching cobra.  Unfortunately nobody but the hero and his car driver seems to have noticed the cobra.  Devayani makes a big fuss of the event by assuming Mammooty to be a rogue.  The local big boys (Ranjith and Mansoor), who are also in similar status as Mammooty in their village, beat him up in public without taking notice of his defense.

Mammooty warns his driver not to mention the humiliating incident to anyone and pretends the injuries were due to an accident. Poor mother Manorama believes so.  However, Ranjith and co. later realize that Mammooty actually helped Devayani from snake bite and regret the incident.  As per his father's advice, Ranjith  jets off to Mammooty's village on the very night to seek an apology.  While Ranjith is overwelmed by Mammooty's generosity and forgivingness, the car driver, not able to contain the humilation to his master, opens that up to his close friends.  The masses of the 38 patti arise, not only, to demolish Ranjith's village but also to burn his parents as well as Devayani's mother alive on the same night.  The returning Ranjith sees the destruction as Mammooty's cunning plan.

The trio (Ranjith, Mansoor, and Devayani) vow to take revenge on Mammooty in a similarly cunning fashion.  However, Mammooty gets furious with his driver and his village people when he comes to know about the previous night's riot.  What can he do but to apologize to the victims, who see him as their villain and refuse to take any monetary help from him.  He offers to marry Devayani, as she has nobody left in her life to live with.  But she sees this as an opportunity to destroy Mammooty.  Both Ranjith and Mansoor are also convinced so.  The turn of events, one after another, change their mind about Mammooty. The interesting part is to see how the events unfold.  The dialogue gives great support to all these scenes.

Two things stand out in the film.  The dialogues and Mammooty, who excels in the role with his casual acting and casual dialogue delivery.  Given the situations and the dialogue, any other hero, such as Vijayakanth or Prabhu, would have overacted. Nice to see Mansoor and Ranjith show a more human side to villainy.  Lucky days for Devayani.  She is either in the hands of good directors or amongst powerful performers.  She shows the same kind of emotions, same smile, same anger.  Well.. just being herself!!.  Atleast she must try a different hair-style for a change.  Manorama does her overacting bit.  M.R.R Vasu's son, Vasu Vikram, does a villain role and reminds us of his father's voice modulation.  The music is average.

A refreshing film.


Original Photograph (Marumalarchi): Thanks to Cinema Express.
Photograph scanned/reworked by: Krishna