Tamil film Subramaniapuram was released more than a year ago but its impact still exists in every rural movie that's made.
The more the Madurai [ Images ] slang, the merrier! That's the case with PSSR Movies' Tamil film Maathi Yosi (Think Differently -- the tagline probably derived from a number in Shankar's Boys), directed by Nandha Periyasamy.
The movie is a riot of sound, fury and banter right from the beginning, as you're introduced to the fearsome four who dominate the entire proceedings: Pandi, Manga, Onan and Mar (Harish, Alex and Co), who're afraid of nothing, live in a colony outside the village proper and take a hand in righting any wrong in the vicinity.
Combined with plenty of slang, shrieks and a healthy dose of comic relief, the four butcher evil-doers, trespass property and cross the local bigwig often (said bigwig's wife, who screeches at everything at the drop of a hat is a marvelous cameo), with the help of a tiny Karuvachi (a veritable little devil who swears at them and loves them with equal fervour). Eventually, they exceed their luck and promptly take a lorry-ride to Chennai, to escape the local police's clutches.
Their first few days in Chennai are hilarious. The friends try to make money, take in the city and find a hideout all at the same time. Desperate, they take to petty thievery, and Pandi has a run-in with a young girl, permanently nameless, about to be sold into prostitution by her uncle (Shammu). And they find a honest-to-goodness gun as well leading to their first kill.
Liberal doses of Paruthiveeran [ Images ] apart, the banter and obvious chemistry between the four lead characters is heart-warming. Their innocence, happy-go-lucky ways and fierce loyalty for each other wins you over -- as does their fondness for the hapless girl they're sworn to protect.
If only things had been allowed to end in a logical conclusion. But the director suddenly thrusts in a boatload of thugs, a police officer (Ponvannan, very dignified) and a rather pointless suicide that doesn't explain anything. Abruptly, our gang of merry men are forced into wholesale murder. The last hour is full of logic-less sequences; Guru Kalyan's terrible background score and hurriedly stuffed songs kill the pathos -- and the climax leaves you frustrated. There's precious little of Maathi Yosi in the screenplay.
While the production values are good, the rural slang, costumes and even the mind-set of four young men from a random village are accurately portrayed (a tad repetitive), you only wish the director had taken the pains to emulate his celluloid mentors and etched a rational tale. This would have been a truly different story.