Not so elementary, Watson


Debutant director Karthik Rishi’s Megha is two stories rolled into one, but neither is impressive. While one part is an expected love story between lead characters Mugil (Ashwin Kakumanu) and Megha (Srushti), the other is a whodunit that sees Mugil solving a crime using his forensic skills.

From their first encounter at a bus stand when Megha allows Mugil to share space under her umbrella to escape the rain, the love story seems forced and unnatural. And then there are those cheesy lines that have you rolling your eyes in disbelief. Sample this: When Megha tells Mugil that her dad paints well, he says it’s evident, considering she is his daughter! When Megha, who establishes in an early scene that she hates cigarettes, smokes one later, she says she makes exceptions for cigarettes that come straight off his mouth! When Mugil gets it back, he takes a drag and claims that it has now acquired the flavour of a rose. There are many such contrived lines that make it impossible to take their romance seriously. As for the whodunit, Mugil makes judgments that don’t quite seem to follow from the evidence he has. He is convinced that a case he is investigating is a murder and not a suicide based only on the evidence that the left-handed victim, a prospective police commissioner, shot himself with his right hand, and disregards being told that the victim is ambidextrous. He also jumps to the baffling conclusion that the only people who could benefit from the death are those who aspire to the commissioner’s chair, and narrows the list down to six people. Mugil appears to take one leap after another, and when he eventually gets around to narrating the exact sequence of how the crime must have occurred, you’re left wondering how he could have known. Much like the love story, there is little credibility to the investigation.

A better script and more attention to his acting in emotional scenes could help Ashwin Kakumanu break out as a solo hero. Srushti’s performance as Megha isn’t noteworthy. R. B. Gurudev’s cinematography is a bright spot, with quite a few scenes showing the effort put in. The film’s climax (originally a statement against euthanasia) was altered, following suggestions after a preliminary screening a few weeks ago. The change makes it end on a stunted note. Remember the abrupt altered ending of films such as Mugavaree (2000), Kadhalar Dhinam (1999), and Vettaiyadu Vilayaadu (2006) that left you with a bitter aftertaste?

Like the climax, there are too many forced scenes and inconsistencies that are out of touch with reality. At more than two-and-a-half hours, the film is longer than its content justifies, and the ill-placement of Ilaiyaraja’s hit songs in the second half only delays it further. In a movie where the protagonist is a forensic technician, you would think practicality would be an indubitable requisite. The filmmakers don’t though.

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