There is a scene where Mariyan sits under the shade of a tree and experiences fear. Although beautifully conceptualised, the scene suffers because of poor execution. That pretty much sums upmy review for the movie.
In the next few days, you will see a wave of Facebook posts, tweets and reviews that will praise the movie as a classic but sadly it isn't for me. Mariyan is a story of a young man from a small fishing village Neerodi, who takes up a contract job in Sudan to help his lady love. He gets kidnapped by Sudanese terrorists and whether he escapes to get back to his village is told in a languid pace. The movie is produced by Aascar Ravichandran. Written and directed by Bharat Bala (famous for his Vande Mataram music video)
Yes, the survival story of a Tamil guy in Sudan is a wonderful premise. I really like the concept and the story but somehow I couldn't accept the execution. Any survival story has to sustain the interest especially when the protagonist takes that lonely journey towards redemption. There should be an insecurity and a sense of suspense in the minds of audience whether the protagonist will make it or not (Cast Away, The Way Back, The Eight Below). Sometimes, these survival movies are just a reminiscence of how they got through the ordeal, even then the audience want to know how it all happened (Life of Pi). Mariyan fails in both accounts. It doesn't have that sense of urgency nor does it push the audience to root for the protagonist. Everybody knows that Mariyan will make it and if not, you are constantly reminded by the heroine and sometimes even by the villains. In any survival movie, the hero evolves, he is a hero because he survives the ordeal not that he survives because he is a hero. Unfortunately, Mariyan suffers because of the latter.
Mariyan also suffers because of the artificiality. Be it Sonapareeya song or Theekurisi's villainy or the rifts between Panimalar and Seeli (Manorama – Suganya in Chinna Gounder should have been the inspiration but this is. far from convincing). Technically, the film is brilliant, be it the cinematography of Mark Konicknx or background score of AR Rahman (not the songs). But for me Parvathy Menon was the pick of Mariyan. The range of emotions she could show in close up shots is unbelievable. There has not been an actress in the recent past who can dominate a scene with an enchanting screen presence. I should say finally I have a favourite actress after a long time.
Having said that, Mariyan doesn't work because of that one basic flaw, the sheer lack of realism. It should have been a movie where Dhanush takes a back seat and Mariyan becomes the hero. The movie cries for a realistic approach. All we get is another hero centric cliche in the name of survival story.
I go with 1.5/5 for Parvathy Menon and technical brilliance. If you are a Dhanush fan, you can go, watch and yap about how “different” his acting is. If you want see a realistic survival story, rent a DVD of Cast Away or The Way Back or even the wonderfully shot Eight Below.
PS: A question to all those people who compare the movie with Cast Away, have you ever watched that movie?