Balu Mahendra as a cinematographer and director was one of the path breakers of Tamil cinema in the 80?s and 90?s. He has done some good work and made off-beat films that were critically acclaimed. Now the veteran is turning an actor with his new film Thalaimuraigal.
Thalaimuraigal is well crafted movie that strikes a chord and is a heart-warming story of a relationship between a grandfather and his grandson. Balu is the cameraman, director and hero of the film and can be proud of his all-round abilities.
The film is actually a nostalgic journey back to the villages, where one of the protagonists discovers his roots. Aditya (Master Karthik) is a city bred child of a doctor couple who had a inter caste marriage. Due to circumstances Aditya is forced to spend a long time in village with his grandfather (Balu Mahendra) an old man who is fanatical about his religion, caste and his language. The old man turns the city bred English speaking Aditya into a real Tamil who speaks the language and understands the culture and traditions.
Karthik as the small boy has done a neat job and his bonding with his grandfather played by Balu Mahendra is the backbone of the film. The scene where Karthik learns Tamil from his grandfather and in return he teaches him English has been beautifully picturised.
Balu Mahendra has lived the role of the retired angry Tamil school teacher and his measured dialogue delivery is perfect. All the other supporting cast of television artists like Sashikumar, Ramya Shankar, Vinodhini are aptly cast. Director- actor M Sasikumar who has produced the film has done a impressive cameo in the climax. Ilaiyaraja, Balu?s favourite music director has done the score for the film which has no songs but has been able to create the same magic with his BGM. Balu Mahendra has shot the film in digital for the first time in his life using a Canon 5D DSLR and has done a neat job. The location is right including the old house where it was shot and he has not used any artificial light.
The length of the film is tight at 105 minutes. If you want to nit- pick, the second part is melodrama and a bit mushy. But if you crave for nostalgia, try Thalaimuraigal.
Verdict : Good