Low budget films make a large part of Tamil cinema. Every year the number of flicks made on shoestring budget hitting the screen keeps on mounting. But only a bare minimum of them manage to make an impact in the box office. Film maker GRS’s Marutha is the recent addition to the long list of low budget entertainers. The film is based on the traditional practice called Seimurai (a practice of giving money to a family when they are gearing up to host a family event) that is quite popular down south of Tamil Nadu. The film boasts the presence of talented artists such as Radhika Sarathkumar, Saravanan, Vela Ramamoorthy, and Viji Chandrasekhar. So, how has the film come out? Is it solid enough to get in to the small pool of successful low budget dramas of k-town? To know that let us get in to the movie review.
The drama depicts the events that occur around Kaali (Viji Chandrasekhar), a rude and avaricious woman and her family. When Marutha opens it gives us an explanation about Seimurai and how it became a part of the culture. It then goes on to tell us about Kaali who never miss a Seimurai as it is a matter of pride for her. But there is a catch! She turns worse than a loan shark when people miss to do it back to her. She is married to Maayan (Saravanan) with who she has a daughter, Amuthavalli (Lovelyn Chandrasekhar). Maayan has given a huge sum as Seimurai to his sister Meenakshi’s (Radhika Sarathkumar) family function. When time comes for Meenakshi to return the favor she could not, and as a result is insulted by Kaali. Humiliated by it her dejected husband (G. Marimuthu) commits suicide. Years pass by but not Kaali’s cursing of Meenakshi.
After 20 years, Meenakshi as a single mother has faced numerous hardships and has raised her son. To her disappointment he grows up to an idler. Meanwhile, Kaali is preparing to marry off her daughter Amuthavalli and is orchestrating a Seimurai for it. Meenakshi has to repay her debt at least this time to reclaim her dignity. With a loafer as a son will she be able to do it, will her son stand up for her, is what makes the rest of the flick.
Director GRS has picked an interesting issue to build his script. But unfortunately, he could not serve his cause with his clumsy writing. The very opening epilogue that it delivers on Seimurai is not done in an interesting way to get us hooked to the drama. It claims that the Seimurai practice was actually devised to lessen the financial burden of a family that host a family function and that it is an act of relatives and the community coming together to help them. Then it goes on to say how the practice has become a matter of pride that bleeds people instead of aiding them. Indeed, this seem like a good enough material to build an engaging drama. But the way it is presented is very obsolete. For instance, remember the decades old dramas that play on K tv where, when it comes to depicting intimate moments between the leading pair two flowers will be pushed across each other and shaken? If you are laughing, you are not alone. Marutha still has not evolved from that style of writing.
Even the dialogues mirror the ones from the films in the 70’s. Perhaps, assistance from professional writers might have made a difference. Another drawback is, the flick does not explore the concept of Seimurai that it initially promised to do. Rather, it just gives details of it and goes on to narrate the tales of the families and its members. To top it all, the technical side and execution is so bad that it literally takes all the energy we have got to watch it till the end. With such an ensemble cast along with the tune of Ilaiyaraaja Marutha had a huge potential to be a solid drama but has missed out on that opportunity. It is high time, that low budget film makers of Tamil cinema realize that having a good content on hand alone is not enough to sell it. The need for technical competence cannot be substituted.
Director GRS is passable as an actor. But not good enough in the emotional portions. Actress Lovelyn Chandrasekhar seem clueless in her role. She is not the one to be blamed. It is how bad her character is sketched. Veteran actress Radhika Sarathkumar pulls of her part effortlessly as usual. Though it would have been interesting to watch her in Kaali’s role. Actress Viji Chandrasekhar is adequate but sometimes overplays her role. Actors G. Marimuthu, Ganja Karuppu, Saravanan, and Vela Ramamoorthy have all chipped in and played their part. The rest of the cast has delivered a decent performance.
On the technical front, musician Ilaiyaraaja’s tracks are dearth of his magic while his background scores aid in enhancing the emotive portions. Cinematographer Pattukottai Ramesh’s frames should have been better. The director himself has edited the flick and has done a below par job with it.
On the whole, Marutha is yet another film to go in to the never ending collection of tedious low budget films with interesting premise.