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"Punnagai Desam"

IT IS a tale of four friends — nothing very new — the typical ``Pudhu Vasantham'' kind of story. But in SuperGood Films' "Punnagai Desam'' romance has a more prominent part to play. The treatment by K. Shahjahan is decent because nobody gets too unnatural and over-emotional at any point.

Parents do not understand the talent in their children and try to thwart it. So three friends in the village, Raja (Kunal), Selvam (Hamsavardhan) and Vijay (Dhamu) walk out of their homes. It is Destination Chennai. There, another of their friends, Ganesh (Tharun), joins them. Their experiences in the city is what "Punnagai Desam" is all about.

Tharun has an expressive face and shoulders the responsibility of the hero with ease. In certain angles he reminds one of his mother, actress Roja Ramani. He suits the soft role of a pining lover and a sincere friend, well. His voice and diction are so much like that of Ajit. Kunal, is a singer (as, in any group of four, one has to be so). Hamsavardhan is an energetic new find — the debut didn't do much for this lad, but ``Punnagai Desam'' proves that he does have the potential.

Dhamu has to watch out — his mimicking abilities are getting to be stereotyped. The undercurrent of humour throughout is a positive aspect of "Punnagai Desam".

Ganesh comes down from the village to meet his uncle and his daughter, (Sneha) whom he has not met since childhood. But why they have not seen each other for so many years, is an unsolved mystery. He refers to the uncle's daughter as Bommu while her name is Priya — and strangely even she doesn't recollect that she was ever called by such a name!

S.A. Rajkumar, the composer, has the knack of aping his own tunes. He does it again in "Punnagai Desam" ("Kaatrilae Paattu Varum").

The screenplay reaches ridiculous levels in the climax — when parents are advised, true friendship is underlined and lovers are united — because the entire show is a live telecast! (why Selvam does not bother about the absence of his lover Nandhini (Preetha Vijayakumar) at the scene of action is another mystery.)

Probably the director is trying to make a valid point — that our channels are so starved of programmes that even family re-unions can make entertaining live telecasts!

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

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