Muthirai is another entry in the list of movies that try to make up for lack of substance with style.
It is slickly made and has noticeably good production values but the familiar story, the long time taken
to get to it and the unsatisfactory conclusion override those.
Azhagu(Daniel Balaji) is a petty thief and Sathya(Nitin Sathya), who is driven out of his village after
a series of petty crimes, becomes his friend and roommate. Azhagu is in love with Kavya(Lakshmi Rai), a
dancer in a bar, but she refuses to reciprocate because of some bad history between them. Meanwhile Sathya
wins the heart of Aarthi(Manjari Phadnis) by posing as a CBI officer. The four of them become caught up
in situations beyond their control and are forced to go on the run, chased by both the Police Commissioner
(Kishore) and the aspiring Chief Minister(Ponvannan).
Muthirai's core story is similar to the storyline in Sathyaraj's Nadigan, as its foursome
unwittingly end up with some incriminating evidence and are followed by others more powerful than them. It
tries to cloak this initially and generate suspense with its screenplay shenanigans. So we see the beginnings
of a political dispute at Saravanan's house but not what happens, we are introduced to the Daniel's mysterious
neighbor but not told how he ties into the proceedings and so on. But its easy to figure out where things are
going and the story unfolds in a predictable way.
The problem with the above is that the film appears to take an inordinate amount of time to set things up. So
we have to wait while Daniel and Nitin meet, bond and then get together with their respective lovers before the
real story takes off. And this waiting is only intermittently interesting because those relationships are
portrayed with varying degrees of success. Daniel and Nitin are mismatched, which should have led to an
interesting friendship but Nitin is so irritating and flaky that we never buy into their friendship and keep
wondering why Daniel hasn't kicked him out yet. The romance between Nitin and Manjari is also unconvincing and
silly because of the shaky start that firmly labels her as dumb. What saves the setup is the romance between
Daniel and Lakshmi. Their past connection makes their characters more well-rounded and their behavior more
The pace of the movie unfortunately doesn't pick up once the four of them actually go on the run. Ridiculous
application of technology(Daniel and Sathya have wifi in some remote area and log into a bank account with
remarkable ease), some bad decisions by the group, contrived behavior from even supporting characters(like
Manjari's dad, whose conversation with her is completely unrealistic and obviously intended simply to facilitate
her continued presence in the group) and misplaced romance, all combine to drain away any possible tension about
the group's predicament. There are some unexpected developments towards in the end but the film overdoes it
in the climax and the way it unfolds is very amateurish.
Daniel Balaji makes a good transition to hero and has a no-nonsense demeanor that suits his character well here.
But Nitin Sathya overdoes the jolly bit and gets on our nerves. Like Premji in
Saroja, his actions and jokes seem ill-timed and so aren't very effective.
Lakshmi Rai and Manjari Phadnis don't make much of an impact since they are obviously on hand to up the
glamor quotient through duets. Ponvannan and Kishore play their parts well enough. Nenjukkulla... is
the only number in Yuvan's soundtrack that makes an impact on screen since it accompanies an important scene
in which the Maangalyam Thandhunanena... bits fit perfectly. The Night is Young... and Om
Shanti Om... are both predictably used in a club setting. The two couples aren't charismatic enough to
carry Azhagaana Neeyum... and July Maadhathil... on their own but get some assistance from the
nice cinematography and scenic locations.