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|March 6, 2000||
The hero as a human being
I came to the city with a lot of dreams. I think dreams are dreams and reality is totally different. I saw myself in Ajith when he decided to sacrifice his dreams for the family. I too have done that to marry my sisters off and treat my father in a hospital. I buried my dreams like Ajith did in Mugavari. Perhaps you may not understand our dreams and our difficulties."
Yes, I do, I wanted to tell Raghavan, the auto driver. As we got into Raghavan's auto in front of the theatre, our conversation was naturally about the film, Mugavari.
What is your ambition? What do you want to be in life? Have you any dreams? Every child grows up answering all these questions. As years pass by, all human beings, sadly and disappointedly, realise that not all their dreams come true. Mugavari, Ajith's latest release is all about such dreams -- the unfulfilled, unrealised dreams.
Sridhar is 29, but has not been earning anything for the family. He is trying hard to make it big as a music director in films. He is sad and dejected sometimes, but hopeful most of the time because of the undying passion and fire he has for music. It is this hope and optimism that give him courage to face defeat after defeat, and failure after failure. He hopes to succeed one day.
His loving and understanding family goes out of the way to help him realise his dream. Of course, he also loves and cares about the family, but not at the expense of his dream. He takes the sacrifices of the family for granted till his brother, the only earning member of the family, suffers a massive heart attack. His 67-year-old father talks about beginning to work again, so that his elder son can rest. His younger sister gets ready to take tuitions. Suddenly Sridhar asks himself, what is he, the 29-year-old male member of the family, doing for them? He feels ashamed and miserable.
When he is asked to choose between his love and music, he chooses music, because music is his first love. But when he has to choose between his family and music, he chooses his loving family. He feels that his dreams can wait, but not his family's needs.
Sridhar is not the typical successful hero that you see in most films. When somebody sarcastically comments, "for the last eight years, I hear that you are trying to be a music director? Why don't you do something else?" he does not get angry or gnash his teeth like a true film hero. Sarcastic words and failures make him more vulnerable and emotional. Like a normal human being, he cries every time he fails. Once the tears are dry, he carries on, for he has only one dream.
Debutant director Durai has the ability in him to take a sensitive and realistic film, but Mugavari is not without blemishes. As a person who was brought up on realistic Malayalam films of yesteryear (unlike those made today), one is never completely satisfied. The candid, beautiful moments of the family are realistic and poignant, but the dances and the fight are totally out of place.
The real winners are Ajith, the actor, and P C Sreeram, the cinematographer. It is Sreeram's excellent cinematography that gives the film an unparalleled beauty and character. He very effectively uses rain to accentuate the sorrow of the hero. Rain is always there in the background or with the hero in his moments of unhappiness.
It is amazing to see how Ajith has grown as an actor. He brilliantly portrays the vulnerable and sad Sridhar. Yes, the film is about the aspirations of a music director, but Deva's music is not great at all.
The surprising element of the film is the portrayal of the hero as a normal human being whose dreams are not fulfilled in the end -- a rare feat in a Tamil film.
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