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Movie Review: M.Kumaran s.o. Mahalakshmi (2004) Back to Movie
Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam
Fans Rating: 83%%83%% 83% (125 votes)
Movie Still Inspite of a successful debut with Jayam, its hero Ravi has taken awhile to appear on screen again. Perhaps realising the importance of the second movie in consolidating his position as a promising hero, he has taken his own time to sign his sophomore offering. To further lessen the risk, his second movie too has the same team as Jayam - with his brother as director and his father as producer - and is also based on a Telugu hit. Though Ravi acquits himself creditably, the movie, which starts well with a fresh mother-son relationship, loses steam in an unimpressive second half.

Mahalakshmi(Nadiya), after separating from her husband, has brought up her son Kumaran(Ravi) on her own since he was 5 years old. A grateful Kumaran is in turn, loving and affectionate but also hates his father who he feels abandoned his mother. A good kickboxer, Kumaran has to be trained by the 5-time Malaysian kickboxing champion Eeshwar to prepare himself for the National championships. But he forgoes the opportunity to take care of Mahalakshmi, who has had a minor heart attack. Meanwhile, he falls for a Malayali girl(Asin), but neither he nor the girl are ready to reveal their true feelings.

The 'mother' sentiment has played a crucial part in Tamil movies over the years and as the title makes clear, is at the heart of M.Kumaran also. But instead of the usual teary-eyed sentiments(made popular by the likes of P.Vasu), we get a delightful relationship between a mother and her son who are more friends than mom and son. Scenes where Nadiya teases Ravi about the reason for picking her up and bonds with Asin without revealing her relationship with Ravi are very cute and funny. And though their relationship is mostly portrayed in a lighthearted manner, with only a few scenes where sentiments come to the fore, the movie successfully brings out the bond between them.

The other relation that charms us is the romance between Ravi and Asin. Comedy is once more at the forefront in their meetings and the dialogs sparkle with wit, leading to hearty laughs. Though the sequences themselves are not completely original (Ravi spying on Asin trying a beedi with her friends is a replica of Prabhu walking in on Amala in a similar situation in Agni Natchathiram), the script is very funny and littered with wordplays that remind us of 'Crazy' Mohan's work. The dialogs extract a lot of mileage from Asin being a Malayali and many of the laughs come from puns on Malayalam words(the Periyappa Alla... and the Nokia pieces are two clever instances).

But the movie fails to hold on to its charm after the intermission, when focus shifts away from the above two relations. Another relationship and action take centerstage in the second half and neither of them is as interesting as the goings-on in the first half. The new relation is more cliched and is unconvincing because of the half-baked characterization of one of the two characters involved. The reasons for the character's past actions are flimsy and sound suspiciously like the director could not come up with a stronger basis for them. The kickboxing sequences are capably done but the climax follows the tried-and-tested formula of Ravi allowing himseslf to be beaten before rising again and claiming victory.

Ravi confirms the fact that he is one of the more promising heroes in the field. He is convincing in the few scenes he emotes and looks comfortable both dancing and fighting. Asin looks cute with an expressive face. Nadiya looks like she could give the younger heroines a run for their money and is a great choice for the role of the young mother here. Her acting skills don't seem to have abandoned her either inspite of the long gap. Prakashraj seems as confused by his character as we are while Vivek raises a few laughs. Aiyo Aiyo... and Tamil Naattu... make us hum their tunes successfully.

Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam