I always try to not have any expectations from a director based on his previous movies but I couldn’t help it with Santha Kumar. Mounaguru took all of us in such an unexpected ride and Magamuni gives us a very similar experience, if not better. With just his second film, Santha Kumar has created his own genre of films with a hero who is an outcast in the society, always stuck in unfortunate situations and the unexpected ways by which he brings himself out of it. In Magamuni, making it even more interesting, there are 2 heroes, who look the same, who get mixed up in each other’s twisted lives.
I was so glad I didn’t know Arya was sporting a dual role in this movie. The slow reveal and the confusion it caused was a welcome surprise to me. Maga is a poverty ridden driver who can’t even confront the guys who broke his car’s mirror or the auto driver by the day and a handyman who sketches plans for high profile kidnapping and murders by the night. Muni is a environment conscious farmer and a teacher stuck in in the vines of caste discrimination which makes him question everything around him. Maga is an outright atheist who ridicules anything related to spirituality and Muni has his own definition of God and is trying to recycle the indestructible caste just like plastic. Magamuni is the episode which connects these twins who were separated early in their life and grew up without knowing the existence of each other.
Psychology plays a very significant role in both of Santha Kumar’s movies. His heroes are not society’s definition of normal and a ‘normal’ society puts them off balance. Caste, religion, politics, corruption, everything affects all the characters in the movie. There is a non-corrupt cop who is pulled into corruption in the middle of a police orchestrated murder. There is a mother for whom her child is starting to become a burden and wouldn’t think twice about killing her son or herself if she doesn’t have her husband to support her. There are handymen who work just for money but are also loyal to their boss when they come to know that their boss’s boss is trying to ruin their lives. There are flawed characters all over, with the society also being one of them.
I have been normalised by illogical movies so much that even realistic things like the hero using maps to find his current location and a nearby hospital seems brilliant to me. Muni looks like someone in the 80s by still takes full advantage of the latest technology and resources that he can get his hands on. Despite being vastly different characters, both Maha and Muni have very similar take on education, what we teach the kids and what kind of society they will be growing up in. It’s things like these that made the movie stand out for me.
A character so subtle, something that Arya has never portrayed before, but shines in every aspect of it. The performances were excellent all over. And with Thaman’s music never distracting us from what is going on, you could see feel the work of all the brilliant people working behind the scenes to give us such a complete film.
I kind of feel sad that we have to wait so many years to get good movies like this from amazing directors while Sirutha Siva is spewing his vomit on screen every single year making hundreds of crores of profit. But to watch something like Magamuni, I’d gladly endure 5 more Vivegams.