Mayaanadhi (2017)

There is a moment in the movie which comes a little later into the film. Aparna (Aishwarya Lekshmi) and Maathan (Tovino Thomas) had sex after going through a breakup and it is the moment just after that. Maathan brings up the topic of going to Dubai and settling down. Aparna says 'No to that' and Maathan has a difficult time of comprehending that answer. She says 'Sex is not a promise, Maathan'. Maathan calls her a prostitute for that.

Mayaanadhi is full of little moments like this.That highlight the way boys and girls look at love and promises. The difference in that perception is something that forms the basis of the movie. When her friend asks her if she loves Maathan, why is she not ready to go with him. Aparna replies that she cannot trust him as he is still a boy at heart. The next shots shows Maathan peeing from the balcony.

Mayaanadhi is partly a love story and partly a crime thriller. And it manages to keep the two ends tight and when the two threads meet, the movie ends. At the start of the movie itself, we understand that there is no 'happily ever-after' for this one.

While Aparna comes out as a pragmatist with a focus on her - struggling - actress career, Maathan is a petty criminal who is still a boy at heart - in love with her hopelessly. He is ready to keep finding her wherever she is and try to be near her as well. In a way, he never grows up.

The backstory of their love only comes out in pieces through their conversations and as just a couple of clips of their college days. While we understand that their breakup was driven by Maathan's petty criminal acts, given Aparna's coolness towards him - it may be due to the boyish nature of Maathan as well.

This is more a struggling-to-be-in-love story than a love story per se. They have some beautiful moments but the moment they meet in that roadside shop in Kochi, we know that that relationship is doomed.

The fundamental difference in the way the boys love versus the way girls perceive love stands out through the movie. The moment mentioned at the start is one such. While Maathan sees sex as an act of affirmation of love, Aparna uses that more as a moment to share her happiness and nothing more. This fundamental flaw in the understanding of love splits them again and again and ends up in the bloody climax.

However, this is not a sad movie or we do not see Maathan raging about girls and all (like his Tamil counterparts do!). He is able to understand this difference and is ready to wait for her till she understands his love. That fleeting moment arrives but passes as soon as it arrives. Their love ends up being incomprehensible to both of them all through the movie.

Mayaanadhi impresses because of the way it handles the story and the characters. There is no sag or a unwanted moment in the entire movie. It just happens on screen and you are immersed. There is no drama or sentiment, just wry humor through out - slicing out pieces of life as we move along.

A movie to watch and think over.

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