Cast: Dhanush, Parvathy, Salim Kumar, Jagan, Appukutty
Director: Bharat Bala
After directing ad films and a Hindi feature film, Hari Om, Bharath Bala makes his directorial debut on Tamil screen with Maryan. It’s a story of the power of love, and of the survival of human spirit against seemingly unbeatable odds. Lyrical in its narrative style in the first half, the film could, however, have done with more coherence and conviction in its second half.
The opening scene is in Sudan, Africa, where Maryan (Dhanush) is working as a labourer. His two-year contract had just ended. And Maryan is looking forward to returning home to his beloved, Pani (Parvathy). The narration goes into a flashback mode, depicting circumstances that had brought Maryan far from home. The scene then shifts to a fishing hamlet in Tamil Nadu where the love story between Maryan and the feisty Pani Malar is shown. There is a sweet lyrical quality about their romantic interludes. The songs are aesthetically picturised. A R Rahman creates some soulful numbers and also a vibrant one with African beats. It’s then that the villain enters. He is a local moneylender to whom Pani's father Thomsa (Saleem Kumar from Malayalam screen) owed money. These episodes follow the predictable track. Maryan decides to take up the offer to work in Sudan. With the advance he gets for the work, he takes care of Thomsa's loan.
The director gives enough space and time to his lead actors with the camera (Marc Koninckx) capturing their emotions and expressions in insightful close-ups. Dhanush lends the right nuances to his character. There is an added maturity in his look, his performance impressive. Uninhibited and free flowing, Parvathy's expressions are a delight to watch. Saleem Kumar's role is not a very demanding one. There is this interesting scene where Thomsa expresses his need to smoke. And Maryan, who is in the fishing boat with him, instantly jumps into the water, swims to the next boat, and returns all wet with a beedi in his mouth.
Midway through the movie, the screenplay takes a nosedive. It hangs somewhere between a love saga and an action thriller, the two halves not quite jelling. The horror of the moments where Maryan and his friend (Jagan) are kidnapped and brutally treated should have touched a sympathetic chord in one. But they leave you untouched, the urgency and expediency of the moment failing to come through. The scenes of Maryan hallucinating is likely to go above the head of a lay viewer. After about 151 minutes since the movie, Maryan's journey does seem a rather long anddreary one.