S Saraswathi says, director Balu Mahendra's Thalaimuraigal is a heartwarming tale of a grandfather coming to terms with his own conservative values and beliefs, while at the same time instilling in his grandson, a sense of pride and appreciation of his language and culture.
After more than four decades in the film industry, ace filmmaker Balu Mahendra, who has given us some memorable films in Veedu, Sandhya Ragam and Moondram Pirai, makes his acting debut in Thalaimuraigal.
He has also written, directed, edited and wielded the camera for the film.
This is the first time that the 74-year-old director, who started his career as a cinematographer, has shot a film in the digital format with a still camera, the Canon 5D DSLR.
Thalaimuraigal is produced by M Sasikumar`s company, Film Productions, and he also makes a cameo appearance in the film.
The film stars Ramya Shankar, Vinodhini, S Sashi and Master Karthick.
Ilaiyaraaja has composed the music for the film.
The story opens with a phone call to Dr Siva (Sashi) from his childhood friend Govind, who informs him that his estranged father is recovering from a massive stroke.
It is 12 years since Siva has last seen his father Subbu (Balu Mahendra). Siva was thrown out of the house by his orthodox father for marrying a Christian girl, Stella (Ramya Shankar).
Though deeply upset at the news, Siva is in a dilemma as he is not sure that his father will accept him back.
Stella, however, convinces him to go and Siva makes the journey to his village to see his ailing father.
Subbu is rude and overbearing initially, but he cannot hide the joy and pride at seeing his son, a successful doctor.
Stella, who is very keen to give their son Aditya (Master Karthick) an opportunity to know his grandfather, also joins him after a couple of days.
At the very first glimpse of his grandson, Subbu is overjoyed, and all the anger and hatred just seem to melt away. Even the contempt for his Christian daughter-in-law vanishes.
Subbu is now just an old man trying to understand his grandson, who does not speak a word of Tamil. Unfortunately, Subbu not only does not understand English, but even hates the language.
Is there a common meeting ground? Can they break the strong barriers of caste, religion and language and find love and respect for each other? All this is revealed with a lot of sensitivity and simplicity in the second half of the film.
Balu Mahendra’s effortless performance in Thalaimuraigai proves that acting is yet another skill to be added to his already long list of accomplishments.
He plays an angry father, who eventually comes to regret his orthodox beliefs; his perception of caste and language differences are changed by his grandson and daughter-in-law.
Despite all the differences, the underlying love and pride between the father, son and grandson is brought out beautifully.
Master Karthick plays the bright and intelligent grandson, whose curiosity and earnestness will definitely make you smile. All the others too, have excelled in their respective roles.
There are no songs to mar the narration and the background score by Ilaiyaraaja remains inconspicuous, subtly bringing out the depth and intensity of the film, while enhancing the natural sounds of the singing birds and the flowing water.
Balu Mahendra is a master of cinematography and his love for shooting in natural light is evident throughout the film.
Director Balu Mahendra's Thalaimuraigal is a heartwarming tale of a grandfather coming to terms with his own conservative values and beliefs, while at the same time instilling in his grandson, a sense of pride and appreciation in his language and culture.