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Paarthaalae Paravasam

THE 100TH film of a seasoned director, an impressive starcast, entrancing music and exotic locations — Kavithalaya's "Parthaalae Paravasam'' has all these. But they only prove that these factors alone cannot make a film gripping, meaningful and watchable. K. Balachander is in charge of the story, screenplay and direction.

The storyline is the foundation on which an interesting screenplay is built and when the foundation itself is flawed, the exercise makes you weary — especially towards the end.

Madhava (Madhavan) is a doctor by profession who becomes the heart throb of millions after he acts in a film. Simi (Simran) and Madhava get married — it is an arranged marriage. But once Simi gets to know that Madhava had had an affair with a classmate in college (Radhika Chowdhry) and has fathered a child she walks out of the marriage.

Till this point the story and characterisation are on a clear footing. Unbelievable occurrences are reserved for the next half.

The estranged couple come together as friends and try match making for each other, though they still love one another. The rest is chaos and confusion. Raghavendra Lawrence as the dancer Azhagu is in his elements. Again there is no depth in the characterisation — he falls in love easily and simply shrugs his shoulders, when he hears that Simi is getting married to Madhava. The scenes in which he stands out are ones where he confronts his father and family.

Simran does her role well, as expected, except in the scenes where she stammers when she gets too emotional. The affectation does not impress.

Madhavan shines in the scene where he is drunk and pours out his anger against Azhagu. In fact all the combination scenes of Vivek and Madhavan are enjoyable.

Chella (Sneha) is a nurse in Madhava's hospital and her love for the doctor goes unrequited. This is another character who is neither here nor there. Madhava stands divorced because of his hidden past. It is strange that he agrees to enter matrimony for the second time also without bothering to disclose the existence of a son.

Vali as Madhava's uncle adds some pep to the proceedings. But the credibility of the character goes for a sixer in the climax when he offers to marry Simi — a proposal that may be a ploy but one that is in very bad taste. Vadivukkarasi as a closeted drinker makes little difference to the story. Neither does `Thalaivasal' Vijay.

KB's women characters have always been strong intelligent and clear in their thinking. Simi is an exception. Radhika Chowdry enters twice and both the times the result is pandemonium — but she means well she says!

A.R. Rahman's ``Azhagae Sugama", soaked with feeling, in the voices of Srinivas and Sadhana Sargam, will be on the lips of melody lovers for long.

The lyrics of all numbers bear the stamp of experience — Vali, Vairamuthu style. (Since when did love become a bad word? The "Moondrezhuthu ... " number says so!)

The excellent camera work of A. Venkatesh is a laudable feature of ``Paarthaalae ... ".

There is a handsome Madhavan, a ravishing Simran and a bubbly Sneha — but where is the formidable and thought-provoking KB whom we were so familiar with?

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

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