The title of Kool Productions' latest Tamil venture is in itself an interesting one -- Mahesh, Saranya Matrum Palar (Mahesh, Saranya and Others) and you settle down with some anticipation. But pretty soon you wish debutant director P V Ravi had concentrated as much on his screenplay as he did in naming the film.
Predictably, the Mahesh and Saranya mentioned in the title are the lead pair. Equally predictably, the movie revolves a lot around their love story.
The beginning, however is from Mahesh's sister Keerthana (Saranya Mohan) and her dance recital at the temple in Kumbakonam upon which she receives a marriage proposal. Asked to help his sister choose her husband, Mahesh (Shakthi) arrives after his exams in Chennai a bit late, as he misses his train, and enters upon his sister's marriage celebrations with gusto. In between, as his large and loving family comprised of sisters-in-law and numerous children run around, he reveals, bit by bit, his love for Saranya (Sandhya), and how exactly he captured her heart in Chennai.
It's certainly a merit that there's no mandatory kuthu song, or half a dozen fisticuffs. But need a movie drag along like a mega-serial, for all that? In his efforts to portray the normalcy of Mahesh's family, the director has gone overboard and tracked down every single pause, flicker of an eyelid, or movement of foot. After a point, the endless phone-calls, exchange of addresses and good-byes begin to take a toll on you. Some of the arguments between Mahesh and Saranya remind you of Kushi, as well.
Also, aside from a couple of comic interludes with Santhanam, there's really no spice either to the love-story, or the family's trials. The climax, as a result, leaves you feeling as though you've sat through a melodrama of the 60s.
Shakthi looks shell-shocked a couple of times but mostly manages to deliver a creditable performance after his Thottal Poo Malarum days.
But good God, what's happened to Sandhya, the fresh-faced girl from Kaadhal? With loads of eye-shadow and make-up plastered on her face, the girl looks like a cross-dresser at certain inopportune moments, and far from being natural, her voice is almost permanently high-pitch. You could say that she does a good job in the climax but this film hasn't made use of her talent. Saranya Mohan, as the perky, too pretty sister is, as usual, relegated to the background, while the others mostly provide a backdrop.
K Gunasekaran's camera work seems a bit dull on occasion, while Rocky Rajesh has acquitted himself with the stunts. You can see why Vidyasagar has come up with lacklustre work aside from the too familiar En Paadal, nothing lingers on.
Mahesh Saranya Matrum Palar is a love-story that lacks spice.