If you thought that the merciless antagonist always begged for mercy in the last scene of any film, you’ll be surprised to find out that Mappillai’s prime antagonist, Manisha Koirala doesn’t do so. The film just ends with Dhanush spitting another punch dialogue at his nemesis. That’s all the film has – tactless punch dialogues. Rather than make hay in sunlight, writer-director Suraj makes hay in darkness and no wonder the result is a mixed bag full of morosely sickening jokes and ardent heroism. In one scene, a chair just skates down a long hall and stops at the feet of Manisha Koirala. But, stay put, that seat isn’t for her. That’s for her Mappillai. And if you thought Padikkadhavan was a total mess, Mappillai is humongous.
For a remake, one could have just reworked the 1980s film. But, the so-called commercial cocktail that Suraj offers is horribly his creation. Hence, you can see where he stands with something he thought of his own, rather than rip-off some Hollywood flick. Mappillai also could have been a 140-minute easy-going fare, but Suraj brings in his own histrionics and a flashback that could have been trimmed to perfection, and you’re left to watch a 170-minute Mappillai. Vivek as the comedian provides some laughs, but most of his jokes leave you twitching. Vivek has a distinct style of his own that he forgoes in Mappillai and even the earlier Padikkadhavan.
Hansika Motwani (19) finally sees a release and this is going to be a wild summer for her as she has two more films releasing this year. But, what is the point on expecting a heroine to perform in a film which was made for its hero? Suraj stated that without Dhanush, there would be no Mappillai. And without Mappillai, we could have lived a peaceful life. But, Mappillai throngs painfully on your mind and you’re often reminded of the horror it offered. Manisha Koirala is forced to speak long dialogues as the camera pans from one side to the other; a technique Suraj often depends upon.
With the help of cheesy CGI, Suraj also makes an Airbus A380 land in Meenambakkam. Well, it wouldn’t look right if he were to have Manisha Koirala stepping down from a Boeing 747 as she’s portrayed as the state’s richest person. But, when did Meenambakkam airport acquire its own A380 runway? Mappillai also continues the trend of breaking the fourth wall in the climax much like Boss Engira Baskaran. I guess the filmmaker wanted to make sure that we take their screw-ups with a smile and not a groan. Manobala provides some comic relief appearing as a Nithyananda lookalike.
In Mappillai, the protagonist fights baddies and mutters punch dialogues, his ladylove appears dumb and sexy, and his antagonist uses up much time quoting revenge. It’s just another normal day in Tamil Cinema. God save you!