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Thursday, February 9, 2012

CINEMA: Life’s not quite a beach

Cinemimi [Thursday, February 09, 2012]
MARINA Beach in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, is 13km long and the longest urban beach in the country. This Tamil movie is filmed there and focuses on the life of a group of children who makes a living at this beach.

Siva Karthikeyan and Oviya play lovers in Marina

This unique effort comes from Pandiraj, the director of Pasanga, which bagged three 2010 National Film Awards — Best Child Artiste, Best Dialogues and Best Tamil Feature Film.

It also swept other awards at international film festivals, including Best Director award at the 2009 International Children's Film Festival.

Pandiraj, who cut his teeth working for famed director Cheran, wowed audiences with his humour and dialogues in that movie, showing the enmity among schoolchildren. Not only did the film win awards, it also did well at the box office.

In Marina, Pandi again makes his mark working with a cast of young unknown children. You get the same big doses of humour as in his first movie.

The main character is orphan Ambikapathy (Pandi) who goes to Chennai in search of a living. He befriends an old man (Sundararajan) who has been abandoned by his family, a postman (Jithan Mohan) and some other children who make a living selling iced water and snacks on the beach, which is a well-known tourist destination.

Pandi plays an important character in Pasanga and puts in an effortless but convincing performance.

There is also a side story about lovers (played by popular TV host-turned-actor Siva Karthikeyan and Kalavaani heroine Oviya). These two are the only well-known faces in this movie and their antics prove to be very funny.

It is a pity that Pandiraj hasn't managed to keep the momentum going in the second half. If it was shorter by 20 minutes or more interesting things happened, the excitement and enjoyment of the first half would not have dissipated so quickly.

A good thing has been stretched unnecessarily. Preaching to the audience that the education of children is important is unnecessary.

Like Angaadi Theru (2010), which exposed the hardships which poor supermarket employees face, Marina takes a peek at the lives of those who eke out a living on Marina beach.

The songs (by newcomer Girishh G.) have been imaginatively picturised to develop the story further by new cinematographer Vijay, who was formerly a still photographer.

It is amazing that though life is difficult, people can still find a way to make a living, never losing hope of a better tomorrow.

This movie should prove interesting to those looking for something different from the usual police or love stories.

MARINA (Tamil)
Directed by Pandiraj
Starring Siva Karthikeyan, Oviya, Pandi, Gautham, Senthil Kumari, Jithan Mohan, Sundararajan, Jayaprakash
Duration: 150 minutes
Rating: U


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