Mookuthi Amman Hotstar[2020] relishes in imparting wisdom to find the God within

It’s evidently hard to remember when was the last time a Tamil film came that was theologically sound. In the 60s, A.P Nagarajan films lured the audience to immerse them and rejuvenated their faith and belief. For a common man, A God or Goddess looks elegant with enormous amount of sparkling jewels, for whom science and logic bend their ways. Then, Rama. Narayanan was a household name when it came to Tamil cinema who could surrealistically depict God stories and mythological folklore. Many Tamil heroines had adorned the roles of Amman, Tamil Goddess in films. Ramya Krishnan’s still a hands-down choice to fit into the role marvelously. As time went by, audience lost interest in that kinds of tales. It’s also because there were certain pattern was followed in such films. The same old good vs evil fight story easily put the audience to predict the end and slips away their attention with such boring pattern. There were no more new ideas to be brought to the table.

RJ Balaji, as a sprouting filmmaker, wants to bring the old magic once again to fit into the contemporary script he likes his audiences to see. Chimbudevan’s Arai En 305il Kadavul (2008) (inspired by Bruce Almighty (2003) showed Prakash Raj, who played the God, in just simple white pajamas. There is a beautiful scene in Arai En.. in which Prakash Raj says God is a support system invented by mankind to drive through this never-ending mysterious universe and without a support system, humans tend to derail. That support system could be either God, like most say, or a fellow friend. It doesn’t matter as they need either of it to keep their sanity.

RJ Balaji doesn’t try to complicate things. In his universe, God exists and she is good but the self-claimed “messengers” of the God are the evil who exploits innocent people’s belief. It could have been an amazing soul-searching trip if it hadn’t relied a bit much upon the
comical reliefs which undermined a gracious effort. Mookuthi Amman has a tightly weaved first half with which you thoroughly stay. Balaji and NJ Saravanan, who co-directed the film, have really done a good job as it’s not an easy attempt to keep the viewers invested in the trivial problems of the protagonist and the characters those support him. There are so many information, visibly as well as verbally invest in us. We are kept given them about the man and his problems and yet we breathe through and absorb all of them. We stay and listen to him instead of fast-forwarding to heavy moments.

There are many fragments of hefty moments that guts through you. Urvashi stands tall in this amicable environment. She plays a woman who hides her pain behind her laugh. She is piercing when she breaks down seeing her long-lost husband in an unfortunate circumstances, when she expresses her grief, insecurity and disappointment her life has awarded her with, Urvashi moves you.

The second half of the film seems to have let its grip slip away. The way, in which Balaji makes you invested in him in the first half, got faded in the next. But the question, filmmaker wants to ask, remains loudly on the table. It paves way for a little introspection if not for a massive revolutionary one. There was a gut-wrenching scene close to the end of Trance (2019), in which Fahadh Faasil, a who exploits innocent people’s belief in the name of religion, where a man’s blind faith killed his daughter who suffered a fever since the man believed in God and not science. He believed a visit from the messenger of “God” would cure his daughter. Aamir Khan starred PK (2014) questioned such absurdity people do in the name of God and religion. Mookuthi Amman missed to plunge into that zone to take a punch. The filmmaker’s aimed only for a little introspection and denied themselves of the opportunity to be a bit edgy. Despite superficially dipped their toes, the young deserves a welcome to explore more.

A surreal Nayanthara as Goddess casts her magic charm with her snaps and smirks but it’s the least to say she only acts the medium, a voice of this humble attempt. RJ Balaji’s Zaniness doesn’t intrude the flow of the film and yet it doesn’t work in favour also for most times. The antagonist of the story Ajay Ghosh doesn’t scare much as he is mostly caricatured in a funny tone. It loses the serious grip on the film and doesn’t help much. Let Mookuthi Amman grace us through her wisdom and the ability to strongly question the exploiters.

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