Director Suku Purvaj’s second film struggles to take off, thanks to a yawn-inducing screenplay and dull performances
Last Updated: 12.21 PM, Feb 24, 2023
Ram, who loses his sister early in life, shares a warm rapport with his brother-in-law Eeshwar. When Ram stays at Eeshwar’s residence in a serene small town, he falls in love with Sita, a dancer who can’t speak. However one morning, he finds Eeshwar dead under mysterious circumstances. Much to his shock, Eeshwar too finds Ram dead in the same room. Where’s this tale headed?
Maataraani Mounamidhi is the kind of mishmash you get when a director mistakes a few good ideas to be a good story and has little control over his craft. Filmmaker Suku Purvaj uses Quantum’s dual body theory to lend a different twist to the horror-thriller genre and gives it a supernatural dimension. However, it turns out to be an ordeal to watch, despite a two-hour runtime.
Perhaps, owing to the limitations during its execution, it’s hard to relate to the backdrop in which the filmmaker sets up his story. Beyond a mansion and a few scenic locations, there’s a vagueness that permeates its universe. The character arcs are half-baked, the staging is ineffective and the screenplay, directionless. There’s hardly anything for the viewer to stay invested in the proceedings.
It’s a struggle for budding actors to do anything impactful with the dull material. The film lacks focus and goes around in circles for a major part. Though the intermission twist piques your interest, there’s nothing substantial in the second hour to capitalise on it. The flashback, set in the 80s, centred on the love life of a magician, is an exercise in futility and the climax doesn’t impress either.
In a few sequences, the director’s offbeat (mostly abstract though) ideas warrant your attention but he struggles to transform them into visually captivating sequences and they’re not backed by substantial detailing. Though the filmmaker refers to Quantum’s dual body theory in the context of a magician’s life, it’s hard to comprehend what the latter is upto. The storytelling is too amateurish to buy the twists and turns.
It’s disappointing when upcoming filmmakers rely on sleazy dance numbers to make their ‘new age’ product saleable in the market. The songs aren’t memorable and there aren’t many meaty situations where the background score can salvage the situation either. It’s not enough to set up a thriller in a scenic small town, you need substance in the plot to complement the visual grandeur.
The characters who play and Ram, Eeshwar’s friends contribute little to the story and many of their conversations, filled with double entendre (the rhyming one-liner around two pegs…) are mere excuses to make up for the fragile plot. The director tries to blend a flurry of genres in the same story, though the end result is a hotchpotch.
Newcomers Mahesh Datta and Soni Srivastava make for a decent on-screen pair and showcase good screen presence, while Srihari Udayagiri’s magician-act could’ve been written better. Archana Ananth is passable while she lasts and Suman Shetty’s presence is wasted.
Maataraani Mounamidhi is a poorly made horror thriller with a few interesting ideas that don’t add up. A dull screenplay means that the film takes its own sweet time to arrive at its core conflict and the payoff isn’t great either. Among the actors, Mahesh Datta, Archana Ananth and Soni Srivastava make an impression.