Owning a house has been a central theme in Tamil artworks for a long time. Writer Mr Devan had immortalised the practical difficulties of constructing your own house in his classic “Rajathin Manoratham” and Director Balu Mahendra and Archana had brought to life the middle-class working woman who struggles to get a house built. We can see Mathil (2021) be a continuation to these and a tribute to similar works.
Mathil (2021) is a Tamil film available on Zee5 starring director K S Ravikumar. It highlights the issues faced by the common man in the hands of politicians and people in power. In this case, the problem starts when a local thug paints his campaign in the compound wall of the new dream house of a retiree. The film highlights a practical issue, has cast good actors but falls short of your expectation. It gets a Mangoidiots rating of ‘Raw’.
From the time in his childhood, when his father’s dead body was not allowed inside their rented house Lakshmikanthan (K S Ravikumar) has been dreaming about owning his house. Once he retires he uses all his savings to build his own house. The plot starts in the house-warming ceremony featuring the newly painted walls and thankfully, there are no backstories, as the film progresses we understand the characters in the family and their friends. We see a loving daughter to Lakshmikanthan, his son and north-Indian daughter-in-law, and, the co-artists and friends from the amateur-drama troupe he runs. Lakshmi is shown to be a kind-hearted & honest man.
“என் சுவர் என் உரிமை” – A catchy slogan meaning “my wall, my right” used in the film!
The casting of K S Ravikumar as the protagonist, Mime Gopi as the villain, Lollu Sabha Swaminathan, Madhumitha & Kathadi Ramamurthy as the troupe artists works well. In the scene where Lakshmikanthan is made to visit the mortuary, his expressions made you cry. After the first few times, the act of the middle-aged Madhumitha pretending to love the widower & retiree Ravikumar appears shameful and irritating.
Despite being old, powerless, how did Lakshmi & his friends outsmart the local politician and win their rights is the story that has been told by Director Mithran Jawahar in a casual manner. In the past, the Director has made remakes like the superhit Yaaradi Nee Mohini (2008) and disappointing ones like Meendum Oru Kadhal Kadhai (2016) has come up with this original story. Till the interval, the film felt like an onstage play with characters introducing others and explaining their actions. After which it tries to switch to higher gears during the confrontation but fails to pick pace. Lakshmi repeatedly manages to get on the stage of others, I am lost on why will they permit the limelight to be over him? As soon as he posts a video online he garners millions of views, again how is it possible?