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Merku Thodarchi Malai (English: Western Ghats) is a 2018 Indian Tamil language drama film. It was directed by Lenin Bharathi and produced by Vijay Sethupathi, with cinematographer Theni Eswar and composer Ilaiyaraaja.[1] This is said to be Ilaiyaraaja's 1001th film signed by him in 2015.[2]

Merku Thodarchi Malai (Western Ghats)
Merku Thodarchi Malai.jpg
Poster
Directed byLenin Bharathi
Produced byVijay Sethupathi
Written byLenin Bharathi, Raasi Thangadurai
Starring
  • Antony
  • Gayathri Krishna
  • Abu Valayankulam
Music byIlaiyaraaja
Cinematography Theni Eswar
Edited byMu. Kasi Viswanathan
Production
company
Distributed byVT Cinemas
Release date
  • 2018 (US)
  • 24 August 2018 (India)
Running time
118 minutes
CountryIndia
LanguageTamil

The film revolves around the life and times of a group of landless workers living along the foothills of the Western Ghats in India. It depicts how the introduction of commercialization creates conflict in the simple lives of the villagers.[not verified in body]

Contents

PlotEdit

Daily wage laborer Rengasamy makes a living carrying cardamom sacks from the mountains to the foothills of the Western Ghats in the interior of Tamil Nadu. Chacko, a communist from Kerala, unionizes these workers to prevent the estate owner from exploiting them. As a result, there are frequent clashes between the landlord and the union members.

Rengasamy wants to buy a piece of land from a local, but fails due to objections from the seller's family. He marries his cousin Eshwari, who is a worker on the estate, and joins her union. His second attempt to buy land ends in unexpected tragedy and he loses most of his savings. He later acquires land with a loan and begins farming to pay back the debt.

Meanwhile, in the communist party office, Chacko has a heated debate with a senior comrade about industrialization and the workers' conditions. Another comrade sends Chacko to deliver a message, and while he is away the estate owner closes the estate to make the workers and union members suffer. When Chako returns, the estate owner mocks him, saying that he had plotted with the senior comrade for this purpose.

Angered, Chacko finds the workers who are preparing to leave. He gathers a few of them, including Rengasamy, to take up weapons and confront the estate owner. The mob finds the estate owner with the senior comrade, kill both of them, and are jailed for several years. When Rengasamy returns home, the fertilizer vendor forecloses on his land for outstanding debts. Rengasamy later becomes a security guard for a windmill constructed on the land he once owned.

The film closes with a series of short scenes which show the helpful nature of the people of the Ghats. In one scene, a Muslim man provides land to the protagonist without asking for money. In another, the heroine is willing to take on debt for the marriage of a girl to whom she is not related. Lastly, the protagonist gives money to the land seller one day before registration, and the seller returns the money to the hero immediately after the deal is cancelled.

CastEdit

  • Antony as Rengasamy
  • Gayathri Krishna as Eshwari
  • Abu Valayankulam
  • Anthony Vathiyar
  • 'Late' M.S. Lai (a) Sudalai
  • Uoothu Rasa
  • Thevaram Sornam
  • Kodangipatti Mokkathayi
  • Pallavarayan Patti Pandi
  • Vanaraj
  • Master Smith
  • Theni Eswar

ProductionEdit

Lenin Bharathi is the credited screenwriter of the film Aadhalal Kadhal Seiveer,[relevant? ] and he was nominated in the category Best Storywriter at the 8th Vijay awards.[citation needed] He also contributed significantly towards the film Azhagarsamiyin Kudhirai.[relevant? ][citation needed] Bharathi's father and Ilayaraaja are long-term friends and this story is believed[by whom?] to be a landscape-based film. The film was outlined to Vijay Sethupathi about a year before production, gaining his interest in the project.[3] The shooting for the film began in January or February 2016[4] and concluded on 26 March 2016. The movie was classified with the 'U' certificate.[citation needed]

The production budget of the film was 2.3 crore (23 million rupees).[5]

ReleaseEdit

The satellite rights of the film were sold to Kalaignar TV.[6]

ReceptionEdit

Critical responseEdit

Ananda Vikatan gave the film a rating of 60 out of 100.[7]

AwardsEdit

  • The film was screened during the 21st International Film Festival of Kerala.[8]
  • The film won Best Cinematography at the Bioscope Global Film Festival, Punjab.[9]
  • The film has been nominated for 'Best Screenplay' Category in 17th New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF2017).[10][11]
  • The film was screened at the Singapore South Asian International Film Festival and Chicago South Asian Film Festival.[12]
  • The film was invited to the 6th edition of Toulouse Indian Film Festival in France to complete for both the Jury and Audience Prizes.[13]
  • The film won 'thot'
Date of ceremony Award Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
5 January 2019 Ananda Vikatan Cinema Awards Best Film Vijay Sethupathi Won [14]
Best Debut Director Lenin Bharathi Won
Best Production Vijay Sethupathi Productions Won
25 April - 28 April 2019 Norway Tamil Film Festival Awards Best Film Vijay Sethupathi Nominated [15]
Best Director Lenin Bharathi Won
Best Production Vijay Sethupathi Nominated
Best Cinematography Theni Easwar Won
27 February 2019 BOFTA Galatta Debut Awards Best Debut Actor - Male - Critics Choice Antony Won
Most Impactful Film By a Debutant Lenin Bharathi Won

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Isaignani for Vijay Sethupathi". The Times of India. 24 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Vijay Sethupathy gets Ilayaraja's 1001th (sic!) movie". Indiaglitz. 5 January 2015.
  3. ^ "Vijay Sethupathi's next?". Behindwoods. 5 January 2016.
  4. ^ "Vijay Sethupathi's Merku Thodarchi Malai starts rolling - Only Kollywood". Only Kollywood. 5 January 2015. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  5. ^ "MTM budget".
  6. ^ "Merku Thodarchi Malai 2 Pongal Special Promo 2019". youtube.com. 11 January 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  7. ^ "'மேற்கு தொடர்ச்சி மலை' படத்துக்கு கிடைத்த கௌரவம்!". Eenadu English Portal (in Tamil).
  8. ^ "18 Indian films selected for 21st IFFK". Manoramaonline.com. 8 October 2016. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  9. ^ Suganth, M (15 November 2017). "Merku Thodarchi Malai wins award for its scriptography". The Times of India. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Merku Thodarchi Malai receives accolades in New York". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  11. ^ "VFC Takes 3 Tamil Films To New York Indian Film Festival". TamilCulture.
  12. ^ http://www.ffif.fr/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/D%C3%A9pliant-A4-Cine-Indien.pdf
  13. ^ "13 Indian films to be screened from April 11 in Toulouse fest in France - Times of India". The Times of India.
  14. ^ "ஆனந்த விகடன் சினிமா விருதுகள் 2018 - திறமைக்கு மரியாதை".
  15. ^ "'Pariyerum Perumal' bags Best Film award at Norway Tamil Film Festival".

External linksEdit