Debutant director Santhakumar is at top of his game here. He tells his story confidently and stylishly by smartly packaging the film with songs, romance and emotional content in the right mix. Background score and editing is top notch and so is the camerawork. Without a doubt Arulnidhi gets a meaty role and he give his best.
Karunakaran (Arulnithi) is different from the normal middle class guy who is a student in Madurai. Different in thoughts, ambitions, and his actions are quite unpredictable. A small scuffle at a telephone booth ends up in his principal sacking him from college and along with his mother he shifts to Chennai to live with his elder brother and family.
Aarthi ( Inaya) is his anniís (sister-in-law) sister who is also staying with them and is a medical student. Karuna joins a new college and moves to hostel but remains the same brooding guy that he is. Soon he gets entangled with some top police officers and becomes a victim of encounter. How he faces this and does he come out of the rut forms the rest of the story.
You see a far more intense and subtle performance from Arulnithi, a far cry from the village guy in Vamsam. He drives the film with the intensity in his eyes, body language and an underplayed performance. John Vijay as Marimuthu the police officer is riveting. The film is refreshing for its unusual casting, with mostly unknown faces and even reclusive actors entrusted with important roles.
Inaya suits the role, Uma Riaz Khan brings depth to the part of Palaiammal, the pregnant officer in crime branch and praise must go out to Murugadass (earlier seen as Dhanush in Otha kannalae.. song in Aadukalam) who, with his one-liners brings some light moments. Sure there are some minor flaws like a slow second half, which slows down the tempo. Mahesh Muthusamyís camera, Thamanís songs and background scrore and Raja Mohammedís editing are major pluses for the film.
On the whole Mounaguru works as an intelligent, taut thriller that sustains dramatic tension throughout.
Watch it for the slick presentation and solid acting that's on display. Nevertheless, Santhakumar makes a confident debut and delivers a brave, engaging film that shouldn't be missed.
Verdict: Very Good