20 Years of Alaipayuthey.

Surviving two decades in an industry with critics and competition about melodrama is certainly a good recognition in Kollywood. It’s just not important to celebrate its immortality but maybe by enhancing its victory. Movies like Nayagan, 16 Vayadhinele, Mahandhi and many more don’t happen every year. Films like these are made to stand as a foundation for the Tamil film industry to cherish life beyond a sketch. For me, Alaipayudhey definitely makes it to the list.

Certain subjects are best done with stars. Certain subjects like ‘Alai Payuthe’ are done with non-stars. In such films, stars are a burden.

-Mani Ratnam

What so special about Mani Ratnam’s niche? He always drives us with a new segment towards the clichéd ‘Romance’ genre. Alaipayuthey is one among his huddles.

Madhavan, Shalini, Mani Ratnam, A.R. Rahman what else could join this best combo, it’s already awe-inspiring. While the latter three were familiar to cinemas, but to Madhvan, it was his debut movie and he would have definitely felt the pressure. Releasing on April 14, 2000, watching the film even today is fresh and charming enough to fall in love with the characters.

Madhavan as Karthik and Shalini as Shakthi, the two immortal souls who are still an inspiration for couples on board. The character establishment of both the lead actors is done firmly at the start of the movie, and the limited amount of dialogues spoken is a great positive to the movie. The well-known concept of startups today was an alien term back in those days. Mani Rathnam wanted to project the role of Karthik played by Madhavan in a unique way, unlike the roles played by the heroes of other movies. Though the director wanted to gamble with a familiar genre of romantic drama, he decided to create his own recipe with ingredients that you will only get in his pantry.

Early into the first half, when Karthik decides to propose Sakthi, the dialogue happening in-between them on the footpath of a local commuter train is one of the highlights in the movie. For the decades to follow, this would remain a favorite scene for many. Back to those days, railway stations and bus stops could tell you more about stalking than Twitter and Instagram these days.

When it comes to the plot of romance Melodrama, handled in Alaipayudhey, the art of raising the conflict between the characters should be established properly and should also be communicated in a way without any complications. This is exactly what Mani Ratham has done, which led to the success of the movie. I firmly believe that films with a strong female character work big time.

Talking about conflicts, they are established in the first half of the movie, and how the story starts to unwind the dispute and also how Sakthi and Karthik tackle them throughout the course of the movie.

After deciding to marry in secret (wedding at a temple), the joy of the married couple Karthik and Sakthi isn’t as prolonged. The newlywed couples end up in a house away from their parents, well you know why!

The new house seemed to be incomplete with walls made of brick and cement yet to be painted and designed, so is their love and marriage life. Very early into shaping both their carriers, they badly wanted their parents by their side to accept their decisions. What else could make a better movie? If love and career are in the same plot on a graph, which is completely a threat to couples leading a life without support. The lesson learned by most of the 90’s kids, maybe that’s why they could hold love and career easily.

Although Sakthi had the guilt of spoiling her elder sister’s marriage, her mom found it to be an additional complaint to add it to the list of evil doings, of her daughter. The rich and enhanced version of dialogues between Shakti and her mother (Jayasutha) has meltdown the various segments of the movie.

Even though the issues between the couples weren’t sorted with their parents, the Malayali house owner couple were the ones to lend their shoulders, whenever Sakthi and Karthik faced problems. Their conversations between them portray an ideal situation of the problems faced by newlywed couples who are away from their parents and their suggestions on how to overcome them are pleasing to watch.

A.R. Rahman won the film fare for his wonderful compositions the following year. All the songs from the movie easily find their ways into everyone’s playlist. Mani Ratnam was clear in his visualization. His screenplay said it all.

Also Read: AIR 2040 Award-winning Short film Review

After the movie’s huge success, Madhavan became a popular figure and there was nothing to stopping him then. There is a subtle difference in the two characters he had played in the Mani Ratnam movies, Karthik in Alaipaiyuthey and Inba Sekar in Aayuzhdha Ezhuthu. Both characters fall in love with a woman, but Inba was the villain in the movie. The way Madhavan handled these characters are examples of a good actor.

Ofcourse “Garvam Alinthathadi” from ‘Snehithane’ has took out all the ego from everyone of us, who happen to listen this piece of interesting melody. Vairamuthu has taken the drift up to the core with his amazing lyrics. And he has never stopped to astound us starting from ‘Nizhalgal’. Still, he rules. Moreover, each and every song in the movie has exciting and has aptly suited the Melodrama.

Finally, to sum up, Alaipayuthey is a complete package of melodrama and is highly recommended for all the lovely couples out there.  

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