Marudhu opens with a classic – a close up shot of the hero running, lungi tied above his knees; his eyes are intense, sweat drips off his forehead, and a dagger is clenched between his teeth. Right away, in this opening scene, he runs into the villain. Meanwhile, his sidekick Soori has the task of providing the all-important build-up to Marudhu’s character. We are told that he is a combination of both, a lion and a tiger. When he dresses up and steps out on the road, women can’t stop staring at him. But he doesn’t mind – because he sees them as Dheivam (God). Also, he worships his Appatha.
Soon, they break into an introduction song. The lyrics go, “He is a tornado, if you touch him, he will roar like a tiger.” It’s clear that Marudhu‘s Vishal is in the same mould as the Vishal of Murattukaalai, En Raasavin Manasula. And sadly, Marudhu is just like the director’s previous films – Kutti Puli and Komban.
Marudhu follows the same template until the interval. By now we assume the interval will end with a fight scene, where the hero beats up 50 goons, and delivers a mass dialogue while looking directly into the camera. But, there’s a twist. A female character steps in, and she is a kickass silambam expert. This is the silver lining in the film. Despite the machismo-inducing shots around the hero, the BGM and the stunt sequences, the really memorable part of Marudhu is the ‘mass’ the women show, without any punch dialogues, BGM, or flattering camera angles. And it’s not just the good women; even the villain’s wife coolly tells him to buzz off, when he suggests that she take his place in the local elections.
Director Muthaiah is unapologetic about the genre he works with. At the Marudhu press meet, he frankly said, “Sentiment is what is lacking in people today. If you feel that sentimental films are backward, so be it.”
When it comes to ruggedness, slang, and the way women are treated in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu – Marudhu nails it. But the hero’s character lacks depth, and that is a problem. Marudhu says he worships his Appatha. Yet, he is more henchman than grandson. He’s ready to kill anyone who even mildly irks her.
It’s no different with the woman he loves, Bagyam (Sri Divya). He says he loves her a lot. But, in fact, he stalks her. Bhagyam wants a husband who can cook, so Marudhu apprentices under a marriage caterer. Bagyam casually says that the mosquito menace is too much (she’s referring to him), and he goes around her house, fogging the area with mosquito repellent.
Marudhu repeatedly says that the women matter to him, and repeatedly does things they want. But it doesn’t really stir the audiences’ emotions.
Everyone talks too much. While Vishal churns out punch after punch, his Appatha can’t stop raving about her grandson. RK Suresh, the villain, talks and talks about his revenge plans. Soori is a joke vending machine.
Everything takes so much time to unfold, that too many things stay hidden from the audience for no real reason. Like why Appatha wants Marudhu to marry Bagyam, or why she keeps staring at him in a particular scene.
There are a few tongue-in-cheek dialogues in the scenes between Vishal and Radha Ravi, with references to the Nadigar Sangam row.
Thankfully, films with a rural backdrop usually have good villains (except when the story is about a huge conglomerate taking over innocent villagers’ lands – in which case, the villain will be a stone faced North Indian actor who can’t get his lip sync right). In Marudhu, we have RK Suresh who picks up where he left off in Thaarai Thappattai. He plays the deadly ‘Rolex’ Pandi, and intimidates with just his eyes.
Cinematographer Velraj has done possibly his best work here. With reds and browns dominating the colour tone, Marudhu has a baked effect. A sense of warmth permeates the film, thanks to the way sunlight is brought into the frame, lighting the characters with a tinge of yellow. The violence and the gore are hard to watch, and one torture sequence is so graphic, that you pity the actor who had to go through it.
With Marudhu, Muthaiah has brought together all the elements of a rural action film. Yet, some parts are overdone, leaving the audience feeling a little too alienated from the drama on screen. Watching Marudhu in a posh multiplex in Chennai, I can’t help but think: Muthaiah’s real audience is a few hundred miles south.
The Marudhu review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.