With so many movies releasing every year, how many of them actually leave behind an impression that lasts in you forever? As far as I am concerned, I can count them in less than a minute. Movies that have made me go back to them, without the slightest tinge of boredom are probably three or max four.
Divya, Chandra Kumar, Manohar – do the names ring a bell? They are characters from a movie that stole my heart more than any other film, “Mouna Raagam”, the outcome of a spectacular piece of direction from Maniratnam with music from the all time great Illayaraja.
What makes Mouna Raagam so special to me? Many a reason. The best aspect about the movie is the inherent simplicity and correspondence to one’s day to day life. It doesn’t boast of grand settings and hyped up song sequences and the story unbelievably stays on track, which so often falters in most movies. Mouna Raagam is a reflection of sheer directorial brilliance boosted by an immortal musical score.
Every time that I watch the movie, it remains as fresh as I watched it the first time and the title track, Illayaraja has no parallel! He is just splendid with it and the soft piano and the tender violin pieces just caress you; it would be the most romantic background that one could ask for.
If there is one thing, I have wondered most about Mouna Raagam, it is the perfect characterization of Divya, played by Revathi. (I bet, nobody could have done the role better!). Hers was a character etched to perfection, by a director who would make you relate to a star, through an unbelievably natural role. For me, I can never isolate myself from Divya, in all that she is and everything that she goes through.
Divya is a reflection of what a girl of marriageable age would go through. She is a showcase of carelessness, ego, the recipient of a sudden outpour of attention (remember the opening scenes), someone who suffers from a discomfort of unfamiliarity and a girl with a tragic romance. Manohar, the iconic representation of youthful, vibrant romance, though appears for a very short time, leaves you thinking of him, even after the movie got over.
“Unakku en charm, en grace, en style idhellam parthu mayangiduvennu bayam”. (You are scared that you would fall for my charm, grace and style). Thus he goes to Divya, and I wouldn’t deny the fact. It’s Mani’s best nuances at work. This is probably where one would hear the haunting, title score recurring through the background and you just sink and melt into the short and sweet love, that is so close to you and is yet fictional. Beyond a point, the distinctions just blur..
And the other man, is the mature and composed MBA man, Chandra Kumar, played by Mohan – a performance so subdued and yet par excellence. He would be a hubby whom every girl would dream of, someone who could come with an understanding, as genuine and accommodating as his. He would willingly accept the insecurity of his new wife and give her the space but is sadly left unreciprocated, for most part.
Mouna Raagam is the story of a transformation, punctuated by a gamut of feelings – confusion, insecurity, helplessness, ego, sympathy, compassion and finally, culminating in love. Divya transforms from the bubbly girl in love with a naughty, crazy youth to a mature wife who is bowled over by the tolerance and simplicity of the new man in her life.
Mani’s structuring is truly fabulous. He centres his story on three main characters, with a brief romantic flash back that sweeps you, off your feet. The central character is the girl and the other two, men, one from her past and one from her, present and future.
Mouna Raagam is more than a movie – it’s a divine experience of living through one’s life under characters carved out by a master director and a perfectly blending music offered by a genius. Mouna Raagam is a masterpiece.. a timeless one..