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Thenkasi Pattanam

THE HEROES of Mass Movie Makers' "Thenkasi Pattanam" are robust ruffians ... crass and crude yet genuine and warm. In case the posters of the film splashed all over town make you squirm at their garish outfits, the two men are just that — strong men with loud taste. After successful sojourns in Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada, "Thenkasi ... " enters the Tamil arena.

Kannan (Sarathkumar) and Das (Napoleon) are inseparable friends from childhood. Uma is the sister (actually Das's) whom the two dote on. Drunken brawls and unwanted altercations are part of the lives of these two men, who have come up in life the hard way. Their flourishing business brings in a lot of money. Meenakshi (Samyukta Varma) and Kannan are in love with each other. Das initially falls for Sangitha (Devyani) but she rejects his overtures and to escape his wrath tells him that she is in love with Kannan. Das conveniently gets attracted to Meenakshi. Communication gap among the parties concerned leads to a drama that is both action-filled and humorous.

Charlie and Vivek add to the confusion when they decide to come in the disguise of ... a cow! Their idea is to make things clear to the lead players. But the way they go about it results in easily the most hilarious sequences seen in Tamil films in the recent past. Both deserve applause for their portrayal. Credit also goes to Rafi Mercartin (story, screenplay, direction) for the wonderfully conceived scenes. V. Prabhakar's dialogue adds to the flavour. Just when you began to feel the monotony of Vivek's intonation and expression in films, the actor has done a welcome turnaround in "Thenkasi ... " (in fact he comes up with his predictable "Adapaavigala" refrain that you have heard him mouth so often, only twice.) Charlie is a comedian who generally makes optimum use of even the most inane role given to him. Imagine the sheen that he would provide a role that offers scope — brilliant performance indeed!

Sarathkumar does a neat job as the sincere friend of Das and makes an impression in the light scenes too. For Napoleon "Thenkasi Pattanam" comes as a good break (probably after "Seevalaperi Paandi") — although late. Nevertheless, he has not let go of the opportunity and the result is a commendable portrayal from the experienced artiste. He reveals his inferiority complex and slight jealousy in an impulsive yet natural and appealing fashion.

The best thing about the characters is that they are practical enough to accept life as it comes. In the end Devyani accepts her lot with joy and so does Napoleon. And apart from the expected initial fracas love does not lead to melodrama and suicide, nor does rancour end in murder and bloodshed. There are villains but thankfully they are innocuous.

Samyukta Varma from the Malayalam film scene, is a little on the plump side, but her expressive eyes are an ample compensation. Devyani is just right for the role. Kovai Sarala and Delhi Ganesh are unwanted caricatures that arrive and disappear without warning.

Suresh Peters is the composer and his penchant for percussion is evident throughout.

"Thenkasi Pattanam" is a colourful mela ... action-filled and humorous.

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

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