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Film Review: ''Alaipayuthey''

THE wavy movements are not restricted to the title card alone. ``Alaipayuthey'' goes backward and forward in time and the movement holds a thin thread of suspense too. The oscillation from joy and levity to seriousness and sorrow creates impressive waves.

Mani Ratnam has toed a different line this time. It is not just a boy meets girl and ``they lived happily ever after'' story. The skirmishes, squabbles, sentiments, petty jealousies and the teething troubles that middle class newly-weds undergo, is told in a fresh, natural style that bears the Mani Ratnam stamp. And thankfully there is no villain. Small incidents that blow up into rows have been well thought out.

Shakti (Shalini) and Karthik (Madhavan) meet and fall in love. They get married amidst stiff opposition and the focus is now entirely on how their marriage works. The film begins with a bang - with the sprightly, new, model-turned-hero Madhavan on a bike with a walkman. He is already married for two years. The scene then shifts to the past to the time when Kartik first met Shakti, and from then on it is the past and the present unambiguously juxtaposed. Shalini once again proves that she is a natural performer while Madhavan sails through the litmus test with ease.

A.R.Rahman's numbers are already a hit - be it ``Pachchai Niramae'' zestfully rendered by Hariharan, the melodious ``Snegithanae'' (Sadhna Sargam) or ``Yaaro Yaarodi'' (Richa Sharma, Mahalakshmi and Vaishali). Now they come with added flavour in the form of excellently captured visuals and scenic presentations. Nevertheless you cannot help wondering why Mani Ratnam has to have the ``September Madham'' (Asha Bhonsle and Shankar Mahadevan) sequence, which is only a hurdle amidst the smooth flow of scenes. The scene, with Sophia Haque's unnatural gyrations, is surely unwarranted.

Vairamuthu's lyrics add to the lustre and so does Sreekar Prasad's editing.

Mani Ratnam's cameos here are interesting. He projects Arvind Swamy as an IAS officer yet another time, after ``Dalapathi''. Khusboo's expressive gestures and anguish have been presented very effectively. Just a couple of scenes... but the two leave an imprint. However it is Natarajan's portrayal of the lawyer and his casual jibes that take the cake. It is gladdening to note that capable television artistes like Venu Arvind and Nitya are being noted.

Infusing light heartedness through Vivek's stammering is not in good taste. And there is something very cinematic and contrived about the climax of ``Alaipayuthe'', atypical of most part of the film.

All the same, a youthful bonanza from Mani Ratnam and Madras Talkies.

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Section  : Entertainment
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