There have been quite a few complalints about the absence of heroine-centric movies in Tamil. In fact, thinking quite deeply about it, even the people like KB who have been known and famous for the female-centric stories have rarely shown a movie with the heroine in the limelight. Nandhini in Manathil Urudhi Vendum is the one that comes to the mind, while analyzing the last 20 or so years of Tamil cinema. In other movies, the role of the female(s) is considerably higher than the average movies but still such movies have been either hero-centric, or, the woman is shown to be at the mercy of the man/dependent. A separate post is required for the detailed analysis, but, in the context of Poo, it is a brilliantly made movie with the heroine as the central character.
Story: To prevent any kind of spoiler, this is what I can say: mMaari (Parvathi), who is happily married, visits her native village for a festival. There, she wants to meet her cousin Thangarasu (Srikanth) whom she knows since their childhood. From a mix of flashback and the real-time events, we get to see their lives through the eyes of Maari.
While doing some googling on this movie, I came to know that Poo is based on a novel. That explains the freshness of the story and the way it plays with the emotions. It is a slow-paced movie but I never had a minute of boredom. With the limited knowledge that we know about the main characters in the first few minutes of the movie, it always keeps us engrossed on what is going to happen next. That means that the screenplay is a successful one. The dialogues too are simple and realistic. Almost every character, including the tea shop owner, who initially appeared to be an unnecessary insert resembling Vadivelu in several scenes, has a role play later.
The movie is a tribute to humanity and the social concepts of friendship, relationship and love. It has to be seen to be experienced. Parvathi as Maari has simply lived that character; she reminded me of Shobha of the previous generation. I hope we can get to see her more in meaningful roles. Srikanth plays his role well. The girl who appears as Maari's friend is a good find too. Other characters help bring the Rajapalayam feel to the movie. 3 songs (Aavarampoo, Maaman, and Dheena) are three lovely melodies; choo choo maari is cute when it comes first and haunting during the second time; and Sivakasi rathiye is an interesting folk number involving two unique people.
In some scenes, I was totally in awe of the writer/director's story-telling power: when a weight falls on Maari's feet, when she tries to remember and recall a phone number, when Maari momentarily meets her lamb, the penultimate scene involving hands, and the 'silence' in the ultimate scene are those which have stayed in the mind. After watching the entire movie, I watched the first 10 minutes of the movie again, which made me view them in a totally new light. Therein lies the beauty of her feelings. At times, we wonder if she is eccentric or obsessed on a character. Her last conversation with her friend in the flashback sequence brilliantly shows her real heart.
I strongly recommend Poo. IMHO, this is better than 'Subramaniapuram' and so is my candidate for the best movie of the year. One random thought before I finish: what is it with the simplest of the titles? 4 years ago, a movie was released with a title that was a part of the title of several dozens of movies before that, and it was a ground-breaking movie, set in the similar background of Madurai. I am talking about 'Kaadhal', which was, coincidentally released in the last weeks of 2004. Now, with 'Poo', the similarities are so striking, and I hope that 'Poo' too becomes a commercial hit.