Maamannan; Crusade for Social Justice

Mari Selvaraj, writer and director with three acclaimed films to his credit seems to know the medium of cinema. Though I haven’t watched ‘Karnan’ I have watched ‘Pari Erum Perumal’ and the recent ‘Maamannan’. 

The topics have something in common; the miserable status of underprivileged down South India and had been distanced as low caste by the society. The caste system in India and in Tamil Nadu is a matter of great concern and firmly connected to the political system. 

All the parties in Tamil Nadu never fail to proclaim that they want power only to ‘serve’ and ‘uplift’ the downtrodden and prefer to play the role of saviors from the other cast and upper class people. But, do they really do it? It is a million-dollar question. 

Anyways, oratory and promises about lower class people help them to accrue their vote bank.

But, according to this film maker the caste system and the cruelty perpetrated on the low class society is still prevalent. If ‘Pari Erum’ presented it in one way, ‘Maamannan’ projects it from another angle; even if the person is an elected MLA, if he comes from the lower cast he will not be respected. 

Mamannan (underplayed by Vadivelu, the popular comedian) is a timid, obedient and caste conscious MLA who respects all equally. But, Ratnavelu, the upper caste person (Fahad Faazil) is just the opposite. He is highhanded, arrogant, conscious of his caste and never fails to insult anyone from lower caste which includes Mamannan also. But, Maamannan’s grown up son Athiveeran (Udhayanidhi Stalin) is a firebrand youth who is well aware of the atrocities and arrogance of the upper caste especially Ratnavelu. 

As expected Ratnavelu and Athiveeran clash and who wins and how form the story. 

For me, this story is redundant and if it is real then it is only a matter of shame for this country especially to Tamil Nadu. Mari Selvaraj seems to know how to narrate the story on screen. While that is his plus point his fetish to bring dogs and pigs as metaphors is positively disgusting to say the least. 

Now Tamil movies are centered on such topics which can help those in politics and those who want to enter politics. Social justice and equality are two important subjects which finds innumerable takers among the public as well as by the political outfits also. ‘Maamannan’ seems to have hit the bullseye. Then why worry? 

Mari Selvaraj can safely weave his next movie also on this perennial subject of this nation, especially in Tamil Nadu.

For me, the movie was least impressive and more exasperating.


More by :  G Swaminathan

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