“Madrasapattinam” is a movie that takes us back to the city, Chennai, as it was before independence and tells us the enchanting love story between a washer-man, in Madrasapattinam, and the daughter of the Governor General. Directed by AL Vijay and produced by Kalpathi S Agoram, the movie was released on July 9, 2010. The music has been given by GV Prakash Kumar and the film boasts of a cast that includes Arya, Amy Jackson, Alexx O’Nell, Nassar, Hanifa and Bala Singh.
The movie begins with a funeral, in London. Here an old woman, whose husband is being cremated, faints – owing to a clot she sustained in her head, in a past accident. The doctors give her a fifty-fifty chance of survival, on being operated and it is then that she decides to head for Chennai (with her grand-daughter), to complete some unfinished business.
From that instant onwards, the screenplay takes up the responsibility of going back and forth, in time. The transitions are done ever so intelligently, that the continuity of the plot never seems an issue. While in the present, the old woman continues her search, her tale in the past – when she comes to India and the reason for her quest in the present, is simultaneously explained.
Amy Wilkinson (Amy Jackson), the daughter of the Governor General, comes to India in 1945, when the struggle for independence is almost at its peak. While going around the place, with her camera, she meets Paridhi (Arya) – brave and fearless, a washer man by profession and also a wrestler. In a chance encounter, they help each other and what merely starts as a liking, blossoms into love. Amy is forcibly engaged to Robert Ellis (Alexx), by her father and step-mother. When they meet next, Paridhi hands over his mother’s thali (mangalsutra) to Amy and tells her that whatever happens, it is going to be hers. Meanwhile, the British decide to grant independence to India on the 15th of August, 1947. Wilkinson, who finds out about his daughter’s love, decides that the last duty he will perform as the Governor General is to see to that they do not get together and even imposes a ‘shoot-at-site’ order, for Paridhi. While the rest of the nation is celebrating the night of 14th August, Amy and Paridhi are anxiously waiting for the change of government, running around and hiding themselves from the Police, under the British rule.
What happens thereafter, why they were split, forms the rest of the past. Amy is now back in India – to return the thali to Paridhi, which she believes does not belong to her. Whether she finds him and returns the mangalsutra – forms the rest of the plot.
The sets and the graphics used, do a commendable job of recreating the past. GV Prakash Kumar has given some haunting tunes to this movie – which have captured many hearts.
Arya, following his extraordinary performance in ‘Naan Kadavul’, has come out with yet another power-packed performance and has done complete justice to his role. Amy Jackson, who is Miss Teen World 2008, in no way seems to be intimidated on donning the lead role in her debut film in a language she knows not. She glistens, on screen, every time she appears and has also worked hard on getting her lip-sync right, in the Tamil language. Alexx, Nassar, Hanifa and Bala Singh have also come out with note-worthy performances.
Director Vijay has done extremely well to string together this period movie. The scene in which Amy speaks in Tamil, the way in which the washer-men learn English and many other scenes in the movie would surely leave a lasting impression on the audience. Vijay has taken pains to see to that even characters with minor roles have their own importance. The guy going around announcing, the guy who always sleeps, the station master, the freedom fighters – are some of them.
‘Madrasapattinam’, as the tag line suggests, takes us through a journey from Chennai to Madrasapattinam, and leaves us wanting for more.
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