Friday, October 24, 2003

Thirumalai, Oct 24th, 2003

Thirumalai (Vijay) is a two-wheeler mechanic who lives in Pudupet and has three close friends for whom he would do anything. Raghuvaran is an artist who comes to stay near Tirumalai’s mechanic shop with his wife Nagalakshmi (Kousalya). Thirumalai happens to meet Swetha (Jothika), on a New Year’s Day. As she appears in front of him all of a sudden, she happens to greet saying ‘Everyone will do fine’. From that very day, things start to shine up in Thirumalai’s life. He falls in love with Swetha as he thinks that good things started to happen in his life only after she greeted him.

Swetha first ignores him, but soon she understands his nature and reciprocates. Meanwhile Swetha’s father (Avinash), a business tycoon who owns six satellite channels hates the idea of a mechanic being his son-in-law and seeks the help of a local thug Arasu (Manoj.K.Jayan) whose only job is to kill people for huge money. Arasu plots an attempt to kill Thirumalai. Does Thirumalai succeed in winning his girl or is he caught up in the plot against him forms the rest of the story.

Vijay presents the character that has a quite a few fine distinctions, creditably. Vijay, who generally does not believe in exerting himself too much in the emotions department, (there are a couple of exceptions though), has made a laudable effort. When he comes to know that Arasu’s men have kidnapped all his friends, Vijay's anguish over the incident have been well outlined by him. Jothika is as fresh as she was in Kushi and delights the audience with her dances especially Dhimusu Kattai number.Kiran comes in an item number Vaadi emma jakkamma.

There is nothing new in Vivek’s comedy track.Debutant director Ramana an assistant to R.K.Selvamanai moves the film at an interesting pace. Little more care could have been taken on the screenplay. The highlights of the film are Vidhya Sagar’s music and Peter Heyn’s stunts. Vidhya Sagar’s re-recording enhances the effect of many scenes, including the fight sequences. R.Rathinavelu’s camera work is catchy especially in the foreign locales.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Pudhiya Geethai, 2003

"Pudhiya Geethai"... driving home a useful message.

POSITIVE THINKING is imperative for achieving goals, is what Viswaas' "Pudhiya Geethai" underlines. The end is predictable, but the conviction with which the climax drives home the message makes it interesting.

Sarathi (Vijay) is an incredibly energetic young man - student, businessman, a friend in need and a loving son. The bubbling enthusiasm, genial smile that has a shade of innocence about it and the busy-as-a-bee kind of role is rather new for the generally stone-faced, slothful Vijay one is used to watching on screen.

The film gets its title from the fact that the hero expounds on life's philosophy. Suji (Meera Jasmine), a bespectacled dullard, is a friend of Sarathi, till things take a different turn. Jo (Amisha Patel) is again a friend. Predictions at birth clearly indicate that this wizard of a hero would live only till the age of 27. And the story takes off from Sarathi's 27th year.

Vijay presents the character that has a quite a few nuances, creditably. Mention must be made of the scene in which he desperately reels out details about himself, to the doctor, even as he is losing consciousness. The dialogue, in particular, helps make the necessary impact. Suji (Meera Jasmine), who is initially childish, blossoms into a mature girl, once she falls in love. The sudden transformation is unrealistic. And spectacles or no spectacles this heroine is indeed charming. But the same cannot be said of Amisha Patel, who makes her debut in Tamil with "Pudhiya Geethai".

Thin in appearance and artificial in expression, Amisha has not made her Tamil launch memorable.

Reddiar (Kalabhavan Mani), is the stereotyped villain. But the interesting change is reserved for the climax, where Mani makes an impression.

Kalairani deserved better roles, one always thought. The little scope she's been given, she has utilised well in "... Geethai." Sanjay is almost a constant in Vijay's films. As the fisherman friend Lawrence, who is in love with Sarathi's sister, the youngster does a neat job. Nasser in such a miniscule role? - really sad. The mother of the heroine, clinging to her youth, reeks of artificiality.

Dance masters Lawrence and Rajasekar have used some appreciable dance movements in the song sequences. The scene in which the hero falls from the terrace of the college has been well captured. Ramesh Krishna is the cinematographer.

Karthik Raja's re-recording enhances the effect of many scenes, including the fight sequences.
It is a pity that a composer with such potential remains under utilised. Yuvan Shankar Raja's songs, however, don't stir you much.

Unlike many films today, writer-director Jagan's "Pudhiya Geethai" is purposeful.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Vaseegara, Jan 15th, 2003

VIJAY'S ACCENT is on romantic comedy this time in Shots N Stills Production, "Vaseegara" - named after a hit number, penned by Thamarai, the title has a definite poetic touch to it. It is a breezy romance of the Mills & Boon kind and takes off well. Nothing dramatic happens from the beginning till nearly the end, and but for the contrived climax, watching "Vaseegara" would have been like a visit to any normal, happy, well-to-do household - refreshing and enjoyable. But the last few scenes are a real drag.

There is comedy, a little action and a lot of love - remake or otherwise the recipe is the same, only the proportion varies. Bhupathy (Vijay) is packed off to the city after graduation. His father's friend, Viswanathan or Vichu (Nasser) would help him secure a job. What the hero does not bargain for is Priya's (Sneha) interest in him. The girl is already engaged but that doesn't deter her. Her change of heart upsets the apple cart. Though Bhupathy wants to reciprocate he is very careful not to create problems in his host's home.

Vijay has rarely been natural in romantic expressions. Most of the time he would seem to be conscious of his steps in the song sequences and of the dialogue in the love scenes. But "Vaseegara" is different - you actually see him emoting quite well as the forlorn, love-struck young man. Sneha is absolutely comfortable in her role of the woman who is unrelenting in her love for Bhupathi. Gayathri Jayaram, the constant second heroine these days, seems to be gaining in girth. The Man Friday of the house, Kattabomman (Vadivelu) evokes laughter in some of the scenes - it is the decibel level that puts you off.

The scenes involving Vijay and Vadivelu are enjoyable and project the former as an effective comedy hero. Also the way in which he constantly addresses his dad (Manivannan) by name thus showing his closeness and affection for the old man is new and appealing. Nasser looks extremely dignified - yet why do these old men inflict stinging slaps on their docile wives, for no fault of theirs? It's time such crudeness in films is stopped.

When you see Suhasini enter the scene, you think she has a vital role in the proceedings. But no, she just makes a special appearance now and then, doles out a few axioms and vamooses. Pandiyarajan makes a special appearance too.

The story may be a retold version - but the screenplay, dialogue and direction are K. Selvabharathy's.

It is a different and more appealing Vijay in "Vaseegara," in the sense you don't see the Rajini influence (that was only too evident in "Bhagavathy") or the stereotype action hero mould so typical of him.