Maara Movie Review: Kindly Designed Remake But Somewhat Disappointing. Maara is a remake of the much-loved 2015 Malayalam film Charlie, but as its director insists, it’s more of an “adaptation” in some ways.
Before we get into that aspect of this movie, this is what it’s about. Parvathy / Paru (Shraddha Srinath), a young woman, comes across paintings of the same story she had heard as a child on the walls of a multicultural fishing village in Kerala, where she has gone to work. Intrigued, she sets out to locate Maara (Madhavan), the mysterious artist who seems to have touched the lives of many there.
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Maara Movie Review:
The best thing about Maara is that it is presented not as a cash profit for a beloved movie, but as a carefully crafted movie that respects its source material but also wants to be its own work. Cinematography, by Dinesh Krishnan and Karthik Muthukumar, is a rich color palette with lighting adding warmth to images. After Dhaarala Prabhu last year, this is another film with excellent production design. Ghibran’s evocative music only enhances the joie de vivre that is an undercurrent to this story.
Maara is about the journey of a free-spirited boy and an independent girl who wants to be free “like a breeze” and make people smile. She brilliantly plays on raw emotions and takes us to another world where life is about love and hope.
Maara (R Madhavan) is unconventional. He’s a guy who invites a thief to a party with him at his house on New Years Eve. He also buys kulfi in the middle of the night just to make the ice cream vendor smile. Paaru (Shraddha Srinath), a restorer architect, decides to move to a new place to get away from a marriage proposal.
It’s when Paaru moves into a clunky old room that was once occupied by Maara, the story picks up. He comes across an incomplete story that draws his attention. He also sees a fairy tale he heard from a stranger when she was a child painted on the walls of a seaside town and goes in search of the man who painted it. Paaru, on her way to find his man, encounters various people who are influenced by his life.
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Maara’s innocence and her ability to celebrate the bright side of life make her fall in love with him.
The casting of Dhilip Kumar is one of the film’s greatest assets, as both Madhavan and Shraddha Srinath delivered what was expected without going overboard. Moulee’s character as Vellaiya, an elderly theater artist, still waiting for her lost love, gives us some lumpy moments that could linger in our hearts for a long time.
The role of Alexander Babu provides audiences with much-needed comic relief. Even those that appear for a moment, remain in your mind, like the sex worker, who commits suicide regretting her life.
The women in the film, whether Sshivada (a helpless doctor who regrets killing a 10-year-old boy) or Shraddha, are not the ones who need the help of a “strong” man to “save” them. They are not just damsels in distress. They stand up for themselves when it matters. Shraddha was exceptional and did justice to his character. Many characters in the film come from the lowest strata of society and are victims of self-rejection. Most of them move you and make you think. However, the sense of loss and helplessness that the film tries to convey could have been a bit more effective. This likely would have added more value to Maara’s stock.
Also, unlike Charlie, the director goes to great lengths to elaborate on his central character, making them less fascinating to the audience. Maara’s childhood scenes were unnecessary and could have been avoided. The script got a bit slow in the second half, making it difficult for us to connect with some beautiful characters on screen. This reduces the impact Charlie created on the climactic sequence of the film.
What is striking about the film is its contiguity with the surroundings, which is brilliantly captured by cinematographers Dinesh Krishnan and Karthik Muthukumar. That said, Madhavan’s performance is what holds the whole movie together. It is natural and has given everything to live the character of Maara. Her effervescent charm and joy are the highlight. The only downside is the look he chose for this character. He probably could have focused more on the outfits like what Dulquer Salmaan did in the original to give the character authenticity.
It is definitely a pleasure to see Maara. But for those who had seen Charlie, it might be a bit disappointing.