Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam is a film which Selvaraghavan had been trying to make for a long time. The film has had various changes in terms of the cast and crew and title, eventually turning out to be Gitanjali Selvaraghavan’s debut film as director. Featuring a new pair of Balakrishna Kola and Wamiqa Gabbi in the lead, the film also introduces Amrit and Sridhar as the composer and the DOP respectively.
Prabhu (Balakrishna Kola) is a typical introvert who can’t every say a word in front of his affluent and influential father (Azhagam Perumal). He is socially awkward, except with his friends and hence most of the marriage proposals don’t work out in his case. Manoja (Wamiqa Gabbi) on the other hand is a busy professional, who is reeling from the after effects of a breakup and not keen to get married, but her parents, especially her mother (Kalyani Natarajan) who is a cancer patient insists that she gets married. And thus Prabhu and Manoja get married, Prabhu is happy that his father got him married to a good looking girl, but Manoja had agreed for the wedding only to keep her mother happy. Prabhu’s happiness is short-lived as Manoja does not want to get close to him. What happens from thereafter in the lives of Prabhu and Manoja is what the rest of the film is all about.
There are some well written moments in the film, like when the couple is out for dinner at an Italian restaurant and there is a sharp contrast between the two that’s seen. Manoja is perfectly fine with her order of food and wine, while Prabhu looks visibly uncomfortable over there and insists on having sambar rice. Another interesting moment is when we see Prabhu’s father getting angry with him and Prabhu allows himself to drown in to the strains of ARR’s ‘Nenje Ezhu’, only to break down later. But barring these moments there is a lot that you do not connect to at all. Selvaraghavan’s heroes are usually portrayed by a wonderful actor like Dhanush or else have a solid narrative to back them up as in case of 7G Rainbow Colony, making us accept the heroes despite all their flaws.
Here Balakrishna Kola portrays Prabhu in such a deadpan fashion, that you feel nothing, virtually nothing for him. Wamiqa Gabbi seen recently in the Telugu film Bhale Manchi Roju is a fine find, but the way we see Manoja eventually realizing her ‘feelings’ for Prabhu, sort of leaves us bewildered. All in all Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam is a mixed bag of sorts. Seen as a debut for Gitanjali it’s certainly not bad at all, but as a Selvaraghavan script it’s certainly a letdown.