There are a few obvious advantages in rehashing an old formulaic movie; the director can put his mind to rest and simply take the template off the old one and populate it with new actors. Rajini’s Mapillai must have posed no creative challenges to Suraj, its director, for he has mostly followed the original version. However, after watching this version, it’s hard not to compare it with its older counterpart and
think that must have been only Rajini’s magic that made the old one work.
We are familiar with Mapillai’s story that revolves around the warfare between a conceited mother-in- law and her rebellious son-in-law, who she thinks is out to polish her off her wealth. But the truth is that the son-in-law is as pure as gold and he is only out to fix the mother-in-law’s behavioral issues.
Suraj has not left out the inevitable build-up scenes from the original version and hence we have Dhanush with an introductory song and what not to announce the impending arrival of the one. But what is new is that Suraj has spruced up the comedy portions and it is inherent – as is present in his other movies.
Dhanush is in familiar turf (how can you forget Thiruvilayadal Arambam?) and his reprisal act towards his mother-in-law is almost effortless for him. But the mother-in-law? Manisha has made a caricature of herself and the role, once done to perfection by the legendary Srividya. Manisha also seems to be aware of the fact that she is graduating progressively into roles like this. There is nothing to write home about the pleasantly plump Hansika, who is the namesake heroine assigned to sing, dance and disappear as and when required. She does the disappearing act to perfection post-interval and the movie is almost rid of her after that.
The initial sluggishness gives way to momentum after Manisha is introduced and her meeting with Dhanush comes about. But the momentum is also short-lived as the movie predictably falls into the shallow crater banalities and never once shows signs of recovery.
Despite all this, what makes Mapillai watchable in parts is Dhanush’s irrepressible charm. He carries the film on his shoulders and in the process, conceals most of the movies flaws. The comedy track with Vivek also helps in a big way to achieve this. If you are used to Suraj’s brand of film making and his irreverent (many a times crass) comedy, chances are that you might just about enjoy the movie. But if you are a stickler for logic, do not even think about getting a ticket. Save it for Dhanush’s next!
Verdict : Passable entertainment!
Tags : Mappillai,Dhanush,Hansika Motwani,Vivek,Manisha Koirala,Suraj,Mani Sharma,