Mozhi

Prakash Raj’s Duet Films has been making some fairly interesting films. There was Azhagiya Theeye, which I regard as one of the best romantic comedies ever made in Tamil. Then there was Kanda Naal Mudhal which was nearly as good. And now Mozhi, a movie about a man’s love for a woman who is deaf and dumb. The premise has so much scope for melodrama that you stay on tenterhooks most of the time, waiting for the movie to make a mistake. Surprisingly, Mozhi hardly ever missteps.

The humor in this movie is of an everyday kind – the jokes are the sort you or I might come up with. Which means that, while it’s not always laugh out loud funny, it is very often chuckleworthy. Prakash Raj, in a comic role after a while, is fantastic.

But outside of that, what really worked for me were some deft little touches. The scenes where the friendship between Karthik (Prithviraj) and Archana (Jyothika), and their friends Viji (Prakash Raj) and Sheela (Swarnamalya) develops is interlaced with music, and the interesting thing is how the deaf-mute Archana responds to music. Like a language she’s hearing for the first time, she seeks patterns. She notices the rhythm, and begins to vibe with it. The way this is done is obvious, yet not overdone. You don’t see her move her head too much, or start dancing suddenly. You just see her nod, almost to herself, hardly noticeable to an unknowing outsider. Nice touch, that.

The other moment that worked was towards the end, when she takes a cold, hard look at herself after Karthik has just read her the riot act. Her instinctive reaction is to clench her fists in anger – the reaction she has had all these years, and which we have seen so often before. But she kinda realizes that this refuge won’t work anymore, unclenches her fists and just screams out in grief. And her grandmom, sitting outside, looks concerned for a moment, and then smiles.

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