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Friday, February 02, 2001

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Film Review: Nilaa Kaalam


IT IS a children's film all right, but is meant mainly for adults. Media Dreams' second venture, ``Nila Kaalam,'' fills the yawning gap that exists as far as films on children go. A simple story line, superb acting especially by the youngsters and good technical support... it is most definitely one of the best Tamil films to hit the screen in recent times.

The protagonists are three children - Nilaa (Ranjani), Amar (Dinesh) and Pulli (Udayaraj). The two boys work in a garage (child labour?) which is next to Nilaa's house.

Nilaa, daughter of a popular actress (Roja) who is estranged from her husband, has all the material comforts but yearns for company. Soon, she strikes a friendship with the boys. The children `plan' a picnic and Nilaa provides the car, food and the works. Their excitement knows no bounds. But that day proves to be the last day of their carefree laughter, childish pranks... their innocence-filled childhood.

The story and script by Sujatha is loaded with a message that is both sensitive and timely. Adults, more often than not, in their quest for name, fame and comforts, lose sight of the innocence in children today. We think that kids think the way we do... not the way they do! Also we seem to have lost the capacity to understand the simple needs of children..., a hug, some soothing affectionate words and a little bit of freedom.

That's all they ask for. But why have we become so insensitive to children? Are we in a way responsible for the loss of innocence? It is time we spared a thought or two to such questions.

As far as acting goes, Udayaraj as Pulli hogs the limelight. As the eight-year old orphan who only dreams of being with his non- existent mother and is completely ignorant about the ways of the mean world, Udayaraj would give the best actor a run for his money. He has absolutely no inhibition and is natural. In fact, at times one wonders if he is acting at all!!

Dinesh as the older boy, who has not lost his innocence but is at the threshold of teenage, is very convincing as is Ranjani as the rich yet neglected Nilaa.

It is an off-the-track role for Roja who plays the ambitious actress caught between the arc lights, her latest amour and her daughter.

Walter Devaram makes a special appearance and plays what he knows best... a cop!

Full marks to director A. R. Gandhikrishna for tackling such a theme confidently. However, the one song (apt lyric by Vairamuthu) could have been avoided.

``Nilaa Kaalam'' is a film that is a must for one and all.

SAVITHA PADMANABHAN

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Section  : Entertainment
Next     : Film Review: Paapa

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