Written and directed by debutant Usha Krishnan, Raja Mandhiri has Kalaiyarasan, Kaali Venkat, debutants Shalin and Vaishali in the lead roles. Balasaravanan, Nadodigal Gopal, Kayal Perera, Saravana Shakthi, Meenakshi, Rindhu Ravi and Anandhi play other important roles . Cinematography has been handled by PG Muthiah, editing by Selva R.K. and music by Justin Prabhakaran.
The movie starts with a song where two brothers are shown growing up together. While the younger one enjoys playing pranks on his brother, he always manages to make up to him and maintains the ‘bro’ code.
This underlying formula of their relationship is put to test in later parts of the movie due to a twist in the marriage arrangements of the elder. Composed in the most comical, yet convincing manner, this primarily makes up the plot. How they come out of the mix up and all becomes well to end well is the journey Raja Mandhiri will take one through.
The elder brother is played by Kaali Venkat (Surya) and Kalai (Karthi) plays the younger sibling. The choice of names of the two brothers was relatable.
Travelling forward with the premise the opening song had set up, the movie talks of the family’s futile efforts in finding a suitable bride for Kaali and Kalai’s love affair in college. Debutant Shalin Zoya, who has previously acted in Malayalam as a child artist, plays Kalai’s love interest in college.
Darling fame Balasaravanan plays Kalai’s college mate and keeps stacking up the comedy card in the movie. Another debutant Vaishali plays Kaali’s love interest. Nadodigal Gopal and Meenakshi play important roles as their parents.
Entertaining, engrossing and thoroughly enjoyable, Raja Mandhiri boasts of a bagful of sensible comedies. The director’s knack could be seen when comedy continuously seemed to interlude with crucial scenes, without disrupting the seriousness of a scene. The drama keeps unfolding itself and seems smooth and seamless. A lot has certainly been extracted out of the cast.
Chemistry between Kalai and newcomer Shalin is sensible and most certainly works well. Kaali Venkat steals the show playing an insecure thirty plus old. Shalin is candid and capturing, carries her role neatly.
The same could be said of Vaishali who plays Kaali’s love interest. Balasaravanan has brought out a neatly tailored comedian’s role, of somebody who works with the timing and delivery to bring out comedy. Music and cinematography are tidy.
To look at the movie through a giant magnifying glass, it can be said that the team has kept it simple and sensible and could have aimed for more by introducing some never-before-thought content. The decision to have an intro song could have been revised. Since the first few minutes of the film are vital for stealing the audience attention, it could have been utilized better.
Overall, Raja Mandhiri entertains with its comical script and endearing performances by the cast. Worth a watch with family.
Verdict: Raja Mandhiri is a simple and sensible entertainer.