Two things make any art superior.
1) When the inspiration behind the art is as intriguing as the art itself
2) When you as an audience finally see a pattern and able to interpret in your own way
Maanagaram can be easily overlooked as a fun, edge of the seat adventure commercial film. But there are things that make this film superior compared to the films that released this year in the state.
Lets talk about the second point, what meaningful pattern did I find in the film, which invoked in me a series of interesting interpretations, which I am about to spill.
In almost every scene, in almost every frame, you would find someone helping someone else. Not out of expecting anything in return but purely out of love.
The film starts with Sri confessing that he didn’t like this city, but the manager (Regina) anyway giving him a chance out of love for her friend (Sri’s Girlfriend).
Then in the Tasmac,
Sri is trying to give something to a fraudster, Sri is being advised by the rejected applicant about how to play smart in the city.
Meanwhile Sundeep is being consoled by his friends for his not-so-good encounter with his girlfriend (Regina).
Charlie thanks his friend (another driver) for getting him a taxi to drive for which his friend says “I have given a collateral. If you don’t perform, I will be doomed”
Villain’s friends hatch a plan to take revenge on Sundeep for his nice blow for trying to harass Regina.
It doesn’t end her. In the ‘kidnap’ gang, You see Shah Ra recommending his friend for work.
And it goes on and on…
Charlie’s wife, notifies him of an unknown file at the back of the taxi,
Charlie safely takes the certificate to the police station,
Sri says yes to Charlie for the ride, though he is new to the city,
Sri asks Charlie to first see his son who is admitted in the hospital,
Sundeep’s friend Karthik pounces on the acid-attacker in the bus,
Sri indirectly helps to successfully carry out the attack.
The pattern is getting repeated throughout the movie.
Regina helps the small kid lost in the road,
Sundeep saves Regina and kid from the villain.
Even In the simplest of scenes, you could see this pattern,
Shah Ra trying to start the share auto till he gets help from the Mechanic,
PT. Master comes to save Kanaga Teacher (the teacher of kid’s class) only to be badly beaten by the bad boy.
Now what is this all have to say to us?
Throughout the film you could see this love running which in turn helps people to progress in their lives.
There is another pattern worth introspecting,
It is the resolve to fight back!
Everybody is fighting back,
Charlie with his new taxi, has got to work hard to settle his dues,
Sundeep fighting to win the trust of his girlfriend,
Sundeep fighting against the bad boys who can be a threat to Regina,
Sri deciding to fight for his own honor lost in the police station which makes him to get hold of Sundeep’s friend Karthik (acid-hand),
Regina fighting with Sri to not to leave the job, for the sake of her friend
Kid escaping from the kidnap gang,
Kidnap gang deciding to fight with the PKP gang for their life,
Finally Sri stepping up towards the end to fight along with Sundeep against the acid gang.
What could have inspired the filmmaker to make this film?
A city with full of choices, A city inhabited mainly by immigrants who are mostly strangers to one another, a City with dreams and desires, the only way to survive is either you instill fear in others, or you overcome fear and fight to make your way up.
The PKP Gang and kidnap does the first.
Charlie, Sri, Sundeep and Regina does the second.
The best part, Director did not take a moral stand. Remember he didn’t kill the two villain groups. but it is just what goes around comes around.
But he makes a very solid statement though,
When you decide not to fight, that’s when you lose.
Sri being attacked at the start of the movie for no fault of his.
Charlie being unable to defend when the gang attacks him for no fault of his.
The Andaman joker trying to run away only to be caught again in the vicious circle.
Maanagaram is by far the most interesting film I have come across in the recent times.
The Director has his own way of making wits,
Remember the scene where Sundeep’ mother pleads with him to get her some vegetables. Well our hero is busy helping others in the town.