Mehandi Circus, starring debutant Madhampatty Rangaraj and Shweta Tripathi (in her Tamil debut), is a soulful love story between two individuals belonging to completely opposite spectrums of society. The story travels back and forth in time, from 2010 to 1992. The film’s director Saravana Rajendran and his brother Raju Murugan (an acclaimed director of films like Cuckoo and Joker), who has taken care of the story and dialogues, take viewers on a nostalgic trip down memory lane. People who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s will find this film closer to their heart. After the recent blockbuster ‘96’, Mehandi Circus is another film which showcases the pure, unadulterated love between a man and a woman.
Ilayaraja’s music is an integral part of the story and we get to see the extent to which his music influenced people in the 80s and 90s (the time in which the film is largely set in). The way a circus manages to hook the masses and other elements like the popularity of audio cassettes and audio shops add to the film’s nostalgic appeal. One particular thrilling, dangerous routine in the circus is a key driving factor in the film’s play.
Rangaraj turns in a competent performance in his debut. His role has complex shades and he brings that out well through his visage and body language. Shweta is extremely expressive and pretty. That she has dubbed in her own voice adds to the authenticity of her character - a rural Maharashtrian who can speak broken Tamil. The likes of Vigneshkanth (the hero’s friend) and Vela Ramamurthy (a church pastor who is also the hero’s advisor in matters of love) make a mark among the support characters. The casting works well particularly in the way the members of the circus troupe have been chosen; Ankur Vikal is a great choice.
Raju Murugan’s thought provoking dialogues will make you clap genuinely at times; like when a dwarf talks about his heart being the same size as any other normal human being’s. Composer Sean Roldan has a fantastic outing. His music for this film is drenched in melody and there is no denying that it’s a top-rate score. The lush Kodaikanal hillside locations add to the story’s appeal.
Mehandi Circus proves yet again that a well-narrated, well-presented love story will never go out of vogue. This one ought to hit the right notes with the masses.