Mookuthi Amman - A loud satire that is silly at times but also has its moments!
Once you have seen the trailer of Mookuthi Amman, you pretty much know that this is one of those films that uses the 'God vs Godmen' trope to put across its message.The start was a pleasant surprise and the initial half hour that introduces us to Ramasamy (RJ Balaji) and his family members is quite ernest and far away from the loudness that I was wary of. The humour isn't exactly rib tickling at this point but thankfully the scenes are low key and Urvashi leads from the front. Even RJ Balaji is rather restrained till now. But then the main conflict can't be delayed further and Nayanthara makes her entry as Mookuthi Amman.
The core isn't exactly novel and Oh My God (Hindi) is one such film which successfully dealt with the same idea. Mookuthi Amman cannot restrain itself for long and with the entry of the antagonist Bhagavathy Baba, the film falls into that loud and silly zone. Buffoonery is an art and when done well can be extremely enjoyable but what we have here borders on the ridiculous. A layered film is not what we expect but there needs to be atleast a semblance of credibility in the central conflict. An extremely powerful and evil godman is reduced to being a clown. When this happens, the seriousness of the issue is also diluted. The enemy becomes too easy to defeat and you are treating a very important and prevalent social issue in the flimsiest of ways. Again, the expectation is not that we want a serious film but throughout the second half, most of what happens in the name of comedy is just hamming and mockery.
Thankfully all is not lost and there are few scenes that work in the second half as well, though they are scattered in bits and pieces. The scene where Urvashi reveals her hidden sadness for example. The scene is powerful without being melodramatic. Nayanthara is effective. She plays Amman with a certain charm. There isn't too much glorification and Nayanthara plays the part like a friend who has magical powers. RJ Balaji is effective in a few scenes but once again mistakes loudness for comedy. It can work when you do it occasionally but if it becomes the only way you do comedy, then the laughs are hard to find. If pronouncing Harley Davidson as Horlicks Davidson is funny enough for you, then you might enjoy the jokes. He is better in the emotional scenes of the film.
The film could have definitely been more inventive. Exposing the villain through a TV interview has been done and dusted in almost every such film. Atleast the scene could have been clever. But it plays out like an afterthought and because it is the easiest way to bring things to a closure.
It has been sometime since we had a worthy comedy film in tamil. Watching a 2 minute spoof video in Youtube is an entirely different thing. Most makers these days think that a comedy movie is a collection of such 2 minute videos.
Agreeing with the message of the film and enjoying a film are two different things. Mookuthi Amman has its moments but is also happy to remain silly.