Magamuni Movie Review rating: 2.5/5
Cast: Arya, Indhuja, Mahima Nambiar, Ilavarasu, Jayaprakash
Maga (Arya) is a taxi-driver and hit man for a politician Muthuraj (Ilavarasu). Also being a father of a 5-year-old son, his life revolves around his wife Viji (Indhuja) and the kid, creating a wall between his home and the dirty jobs he’s required to fulfill. Meanwhile Muni (also played by Arya) his brother is a good Samaritan who practices organic farming near Erode. He’s a follower of Swami Vivekananda’s principles, teaches underprivileged children in the locality, and all in all leads a very organized life. While Maga’s loyalty to his boss is barely reciprocated, Muni too comes across his own troubles when a journalist student Deepa (Mahima Nambiar) hailing from an upper caste gets into a relationship with him. Her stepdad (Jayaprakash) disapproves and gives him trouble. Maga tries to leave his life of crime behind but gets framed in an earlier murder case. How the life of these two brothers’ cross paths forms the reminder of the story.
Magamuni stands out thanks to its writing and in the nuances of its execution. It is a deeply moral film, but director Santhakumar has done a good job in gently guiding the viewer rather than to shine truth-bombs at your face. Arya playing a dual role has given a splendid performance and he’s the force of the film. Meanwhile, the women played by Mahima Nambiar and Induja are refreshingly solid, as they’ve been given important parts. All others like Ilavarasu, Jayaprakash, Deepa and Sundar lend their solid support.
On the technical front, cinematography by Arun Padmanaban hones in on what the director envisions and not just on the star of the moment. Thaman’s music is a big plus. Perhaps the runtime of 158 minutes could have used a bit of trimming. Santhakumar is absorbed by too much attention to detail, but that can be forgiven as the movie is arresting for the most part.There is an intensity in the filmmaking and the forceful performances – the casting, from crucial characters like that of GM Sundar, who plays a corrupt cop, to that of minor ones, like Deepa, as Muthuraj’s wife, or the actor who plays Jayaraman’s help, is just perfect – only elevate it. And for a change, we get not one but two heroines with agency. The sharp dialogues also include digs at the current socio-political scenario, and even add a touch of levity at times. Thaman’s background score is effective in adding to the tension in the scenes. And Arya comes up with a remarkably controlled performance that does a fabulous job in capturing the contrasting nature of both the brothers as well as the internal anger of the protagonist. Watch the scene where he puts across his point in a firm but polite way with the principal of his son’s school, after the young boy comes home with a black eye from a teacher’s punishment. It is proof that given the right role, this actor can be highly effective.