The realistic portrayal of life in North Madras by director Pa Ranjith manages to keep you hooked
What’s it about
As the title suggests, the movie takes place in Madras – in a housing board colony in North Madras to be specific. The protagonist Kaali (Karthi) is employed in a good company (being one of the more educated young men in this colony) and has a set of close friends in this middle-class neighborhood with whom he plays football and hangs out with everyday. Anbu (Kalairasan), his best friend, has political leanings and wants to do good for his locality. The political bone of contention between two rival parties in this locality, however, is a wall – a wall that has lead to fights, murders and accidents. Politico Maari (Vinoth) supports Anbu and their right to retain control over the wall, while their rival Kannan (Nanthakumar) wants access to it. Incidentally his father’s image is painted on this wall.
The rest of the story is about the fight over the wall between the two rival parties and how Kaali gets involved in this explosive political situation accidentally. What does Kaali do when he loses Anbu and how does he avenge his death?
Focusing on a group of young men in a North Madras locality, Pa Ranjith’s story is very well-etched out and the script is tight. He has all the ingredients that are common to young men as well to most films – love, rivalry, friendship, revenge. But what differs is his story-telling and how he lifts these regular aspects with innovative situations. Credit to choosing the perfect cast must go to the director – each and every person he has chosen has delivered a memorable performance – be it Kaali’s grandmother, Kaali’s mother, Johnny or Kalai. Hero Karthi has delivered a wonderful performance (Award-winning if we can add) – subtle, sober, emotional. Perhaps the best of his career. Catherine Tresa has played her role well too.
The cinematography and the locations must also be applauded. The movie settings are realistic – right from the peeling walls in the small rooms to the fight over water at the locality pump. The scenes are real and untouched and the cinematography really lifts the film (especially the top angle shots). Music director Santhosh Narayan has once again delivered apt music for a film using unique voices and songs for the different situations.
There’s hardly anything that’s negative in this film.
What to do?
Madras is a must-watch flick! Karthi has delivered an extraordinary performance and director Pa Ranjith must be congratulated for having come up with a script that portrays realism and is memorable. This is a movie that's a hallmark in their careers.
3.5 out of 5
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