The Tamil movie Good Night is now showing across cinemas in the UAE. It is directed by Vinayak Chandrasekaran and stars Manikandan, Meetha Raghunath, Ramesh Thilak, and Raichal Rabecca.
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Tamil movie Good Night review
One of the recent laments among film buffs in Tamil Nadu is that its directors have lost the feel for slice-of-life fun stories, the kind that Malayalam cinema is making its own in India. Tamil cinema is either message kind or big-ticket star value (actors and directors).
Come to think of it, Kollywood has never had a great tradition in such a genre. The quirky Soothu Kavvum or Jigarthanda, or Super Deluxe belong to a different variety. We are talking about mining for mirth in everyday situations and characters. Films like VIP or even last year’s hit Thiruchitrambalam come close, but eventually, they were hero-centric vehicles.
This elaborate background is needed to fully appreciate what a cute little film director Vinaya Chandrasekaran created in Good Night. It is not a breakthrough movie but shows what a skilful writer and a set of committed actors can achieve with creativity and conviction.
The film is centred around characters from the middle class, the kind on whom violent Chennai-centric movies are usually made. That makes Good Night’s humour even more valuable. Good Night provides a delightful peek into the life of regular people in regular situations, even while taking up the issue of snoring and sleep apnea (because of which quite a few marriages worldwide end in divorce). Even in potentially serious situations, the impish gaze makes the film such a treasure. Actor Manikandan, whom we have seen in serious films like Vikram Vedha and Jai Bhim, shows a remarkable flair for timing that makes the scenes organically funny.
Mohan or Motor Mohan (Manikandan) is an IT guy in an office where his sleep and snoring problem is quite well known, and hence the pejorative prefix ‘Motor’. But quite early, when we are introduced to his problem in a light-hearted way, we get an inkling that this film is going to be a breeze. Motor runs into Anu (Meetha Raghunath), who works as an accountant — and their first meeting is a joyfully written stretch. And soon enough, they get attracted to each other even though they are poles apart.
Her life is the exact opposite of his. She is a loner, as she has no relatives, and the only people linked to her are her elderly house owners (Balaji Sakthivel and Kousalya Natrajan). On the other hand, Mohan has a gaggle of characters at home- his mom (Uma Ramachandran), sisters (Sree Arthi and Raichal Rabecca), and brother-in-law (Ramesh Thilak). They all share a winsome bonding. The way scenes in their house unfold is a testimony to good and empathy-filled writing. No emotion is thrown at us in cloying profusion.
Mohan and Anu get married, and the former, who has hidden the fact that he suffers from sleep apnea, is now worried. The rest of the story is about how the issue is sorted and how Anu becomes more accepting of people. While Mohan and Anu’s exchanges are cute, the real clincher is Mohan’s relationship with his brother-in-law is so beautifully presented.
Manikandan, as a man with a strange problem, does not overdo the quaint part. He keeps things at an even keel, and his natural flair for delivering serious things with underlying deadpan humour makes it all real. Meetha Raghunath, as the docile-looking woman with her demons to contend with, is so believable. Ramesh Thilak, as the brother-in-law, is in great form, and the running joke of how he met his to-be wife is rip-roaringly funny. All the other characters are equally fun and honest, and you root for the entire family.
The film has a few flaws, but to speak of them would be churlish. Vinayak Chnadrasekar has shown he is a director to watch out for in the coming months and years.
Good Night keeps you awake in a happy sort of way.
An engineer-turned-journalist, K Balakumar’s career began in print publications as a sports writer. That also opened doors for other journalistic avenues like films, music, finance, technology and politics, which nobody can escape in India. After 30 yrs in mainstream journalism, now a freelancer for various digital publications.