Quick Review: Magamuni

By Rinku Gupta

Magamuni is the second film of Mounaguru director Shanthakumar, after an 8 year gap. Produced by Studio Green, it stars Arya , Indhuja and Mahima Nambiar in the lead.

Briefly put, Arya plays a hit man ( Maga) with a wife Viji ( Indhuja) and a kid. He lives life on the edge, working for a politico ( Ilavarsan). Things go over board one fine day when he finds himself on the run, the very people he trusts, betraying him. Does he survive?
On the other end is the naive Muni ( Arya) , who unwittingly gets embroiled in a caste war when a journalism student ( Mahima Nambiar) shows an interest in his naive yet intelligent personality. With her father out to get him, does he manage to survive ?
More importantly, what is the connection between these two characters? How thier destinies connect and impact thier lives is the story.

Director Shanthakumar gives you an edge of the seat experience, with a taut sceenplay, where tension seems to be building up right from the word go. Things seem calm on the surface, but one can feel something big and unexpected is brewing.
Thaman's background score is one of the highlights of the film, bringing out every nuance superbly. The songs are indeed spiritual sounding   and out of this world. (Why is  his presence more in Tollywood  than here? )
  Aided by debut cameraman Manu Padmanabhan's incredible cinematography which makes several scenes stand out, the film is a visual delight, inducing an almost meditative touch many a time . One such ( among many) is the climax scene. VJ Sabu Joseph's sharp editing leaves it mark.

The excellent supporting cast of Ilavarsu, Rohini, GM Sundar, Aruldoss, Kaali Venkat, Bala Singh, Jayaprakash and others, make up a plethora of unforgettable characters. The crisp dialogues of each are supported by intricate nuances of expression, especially eye movements, which betray everything they would like to conceal. The vagaries, weaknesses and tendencies of the human psyche are well brought out via these characters.

Arya as Maga and Muni is simply suberb, living both the roles in a way that neither one has any similarity to the other. He does full justice to the layers of the story and his characters, in  a subtle, controlled performance  standing out as the alert, violent Maga and innocent Muni. A career -best performance for the actor, one wishes more directors cast him in  meaningful roles.

Mahima Nambiar's character is superbly conceived by Shanthakumar, as the no- holds- barred, bold, aspiring journo, a far cry from what we have seen on screen. And Mahima gives it her best, her body language, dialogue delivery, intensity and self- assuredness, a sheer delight to watch. Indhuja as the fearful, naive and emotional wife of the killer Maga is aptly cast and nails her role, using her expressive eyes to advantage, though there is a tendency for over reaction in few places.

On the flip side, watch out for some bits of gory violence and some lengthy dialogues which require concentration.

With multiple layers and undercurrents, a blend of spirituality, topical social issues, a rivetting screenplay,  and good casting, characterization and performances, Shanthakumar delivers a must- watch, gripping film. 

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