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Arpudham

COMMON SENSE ought to tell one that there is a time and place for everything, including falling in love. And when such sense is wanting, one has to be ticked off — and that's exactly what the heroine does in Supergood Films' "Arpudham".

Just as things make you groan, "Please! Not again," the screenplay turns somewhat interesting. After "Parthalae Paravasam" proved a damp squib one hopes this second break works for Raghavendra Lawrence. Producer R. B. Choudhary ought to be commended for venturing into making small budget films, which do not boast of a high profile star cast or a famous director, but have a strong screenplay and story to back them.

All the same, the story of "Arpudham" is anything but new. Ashok (Lawrence) is a spendthrift and wastrel, who not only neglects the business set up for him by his father (`Pyramid' Natarajan) but fibs a lot to get money from the old man. Completely oblivious to his responsibility as the eldest son of a middle class household, Ashok falls in love with Priya (Anu Prabhakar). But when he proposes to her she lambasts him with a series of sensible, down to earth questions for which he has no answers — and thus begin his days of reckoning. What happens to this typical cinematic situation of unrequited love unfolds thereinafter.

Arpudhan makes his debut as writer and director with "Arpudham". His story is predictable and his dialogue passable, yet his screenplay and direction are strong points.

The role of a prodigal son has been executed well by Lawrence. His expressions are sincere and his dialogue delivery effective. It is the hero's dance choreography that is getting repetitive. However the steps for "Podhumda ... " are an exception.

Kunal, the Supergood constant, is a good-looking foil for the hero, just as in "Varushamellam Vasantham".

As one whose empathy for Ashok drives him to make sacrifices, Kunal makes a mark. Anu Prabhakar, who reminds one of Gouthami, at the time she arrived on the scene, proves she is much more than a mere song-and-dance heroine. And her `voice' has done a neat job too.

Be it a light, meaty or villainous role, `Pyramid' Natarajan has been proving his prowess with ease. If his casual approach to humour in "Alaipayudhey" brought a smile to your lips and the nonchalant touch to villainy in "Samudhiram" made him menacing, in "Arpudham" he reveals yet another dimension as the doting, disappointed and later proud father of the hero. But Kalairani as the wife does not have as much scope — the scene in which the son returns after staying away for a night is probably an exception. Livingston is hilarious in his caricature of a man always in love, but never seriously. In fact, in the few scenes he is present he hogs the show completely.

The re-recording is so loud at times that it is more a hindrance than a complement to the scenes. Some of the sets (the bar, for example) are too obsolete and unimaginative.

If you have the patience to sit through the initial segments, the appeal that comes later may have a positive impact.

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

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