Sunday, April 18, 2004

Ghillli, April 17th, 2004

"Ghilli" ... on a winning track

IT'S ACTION unstoppable and a sure hat trick for Dharani. "Dhil" took off at break-neck speed and went on in the same vein till the final frame, "Dhool" followed a similar fast track course and now again "Ghilli" begins, moves and ends on an incredible top gear.

For the finicky and the fastidious the happenings are bound to be unrealistic and even impossible but for the man on the street, who enters the cinema hall looking for sheer high velocity action, screenplay writer and director Dharani's "Ghilli" provides a sumptuous three-course fare.

The mind-boggling pace, however, sets in with Prakashraj's entry. Ghilli is the nickname for the popular kabbadi player Velu (Vijay). His father (Ashish Vidyarti), an assistant police commissioner, is a martinet who finds his son (who still has his arrears to clear before he gets his degree) incorrigible. His mother (Janaki Sabesh), on the other hand, dotes on him. His younger sister Bhuvana (`Baby' Jennifer) is the typical sharp and inquisitive schoolgirl. Velu goes to Madurai for a kabbadi match. But circumstances force him to lend a helping hand to Dhanalakshmi (Trisha) who is fleeing from the cantankerous Prakashraj, a State Minister's son, madly in love with her.

From then on it is a hectic run for the two with Prakashraj and his henchmen, who seem to be teeming all over the place, close on their heels. The role is like any other you've seen him do in ever so many flicks. The names of the films may change but Vijay has been the same. But in this Sri Surya Movies' production, the portrayal as a whole is on a different plane. Righteous anger, affection for the family, soft romance and agility on the playground, show us a different Vijay. The hero has portrayed the part with finesse and feeling.

Trisha is not a mere glamour doll in "Ghilli." Agony, ecstasy, sense and sentiment are expected of her and she manages quite well. Ashish and a soft character, you think, just wouldn't jell. But no, he seems quite comfortable playing the strict dad. Jennifer is impressive. But the actor who steals the show with nonchalance is Prakashraj, as the eccentric, middle-aged doter Muthupandi, who is willing to go to any length to get his sweetheart. Some may brand it as overacting and a few may find him crude, but with his villainous glare and comical gimmicks, Prakashraj emerges as a formidable drawing force - you just cannot hate this `bad man.'

Enthused by `Ghilli's mood, composer Vidyasagar has filled up his score with racy beats and reverberations - sorry, melody has no place in this fast paced venture. Dances are equally speedy, and Nagendra Prasad's (the hero's friend) footwork equals Vijay's. Crisp cutting of scenes bears testimony to veteran V. T. Vijayan's editing skills. Not very realistic, yet artistic are Maniraj's set designs. Gopinath's camera effectively captures the quick actions. `Rocky' Rajesh's stunt conceptions are commendable despite the unbelievable somersaults in the air. But at times the action looks so dangerous that they bring you to the edge of your seat.

Dharani does not depend on duets (there's just one), item numbers or a weather-beaten comedy line (Dhamu's idiosyncrasies in the name of humour cannot come under this category at all) to pep up his screenplay. But if he thought making Hindu Gods appear with mobile phones and the like makes a song sequence humorous (!) sorry Dharani, it's not in good taste.

With his finger right on the pulse of the viewer, and Vijay, the hero whom the masses today identify with, and Prakashraj, the inimitable villain in tow, this remake of the Telugu flick, "Okkadu," comes a clear winner.