All the performances are great, but Madhoo is as good as it gets.
The romance strikes just the right balance of whimsy, sensuality, tension and friendship. The supporting characters in the village add such a nice realist touch.
The themes of patriotism and the encroaching expansion of Imperialism on marginalized communities strikes a balance that is surprisingly nuanced. Rahman's music still captivates me, and as much as I love Pudhu Vella Mazhai, it's the incidental music that makes so many of the tense scenes work so well.