Imagine this. A ruffian who loves talking down to people, whose pastime is rearing and racing pigeons, and whose eyes mist over when he sees his favourite birds in pain. And then, the catchphrase ‘Senjuruven’, which has become a cult classic. This was what made Balaji Mohan’s Maari, starring Dhanush, hugely popular among a certain section of the audience.
Maari, which released on July 17 three years ago, is a film Dhanush holds close to his heart. In an interview with Bombay Times a year ago, he said: “My favourite is a Tamil film, Maari, that I did a couple of years ago. I played a notorious don, who beats up everybody and bosses them around. However, there was certain silliness and playfulness about him. We all have some notions about gangsters, but this film broke all such stereotypes. I wore shirts with flower patterns and John Lennon sunglasses.”
On Tuesday, the actor tweeted a picture, where he celebrated three years of Tharalocal Maari, “the naughtiest don of our times”.
— Dhanush (@dhanushkraja) July 17, 2018
Balaji Mohan directed Maari after two classy creations – Kadhalil Sodhapuvadhu Yeppadi and Vaayai Moodi Pesavum. His fans were divided on whether to diss him for Maari or appreciate him for exploring a new setting. Talking about the film to The Hindu, he said: “I have two sets of disparate audiences rooting for me. My Maari fans might not even know about my other work. My KSY and VMP fans are not exactly thrilled as I made Maari . Some think I made a film out of compulsion. But, all the genres I deal with are films that I would like to watch as someone in the audience.”
Maari had Kajal Aggarwal as the female lead; she played a fashion designer who turns all helpless and vulnerable, as is wont to happen in all films where the machismo of the hero takes precedence over everything else! Vijay Yesudas was the antagonist in the film, and music by Anirudh Ravichander lent swag to Dhanush’s onscreen look – he sported coolers, a sharp moustache and chunky gold jewellery.
Mention must be made of the dialogues too – a notable one is “Na kalapadamaana nallavana irukardha vida, suththamaana kettavana irukkaen!” (I’d rather be pure evil than contaminated good!).
Less than three years into Maari, the sequel went on the floors. Sai Pallavi plays the female lead – an auto driver, if news reports are to be believed. Considering the actress cherry picks her roles, one hopew Balaji has written a better part for her. This film has Tovino Thomas as the antagonist. Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Krishna and Robo Shankar star in important roles, and music has been composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja.
But, will Maari still stick to ‘Senjuruven’ or has Balaji come up with another catchy phrase for the sequel? We have to wait and watch.