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Five Star

THE TREND in Tamil cinema today is stories revolving round a group of youngsters (generally new faces). Madras Talkies' "Five Star" is another film in this genre.

Susi Ganesan's youthful, hard-hitting dialogue and a fairly neat screenplay are notable aspects of the film — the story and direction, also by him are done with a difference.

The action that takes off from an engineering college campus travels through the next 10 years of the lives of a bunch of five. The sixth significant star joins them later. The healthy camaraderie among three boys and two girls in college continues till the end and thus marks a new trend in screen friendship. Plausibility is a totally different issue.

Prabhu (Prasanna), Ilango (Krishna), Sundar (Karthik), Priya (Sandhya) and Indra (Mangai) form the group of five. During their college days they plan to stick to each other for life — as friends. They would work in the same firm and find life partners who would understand their friendship. The utopian dream does become a reality, except that, one of them — Ilango — decides to stray away from the gang. He has his own reasons — brought up by a martinet of a father who hardly knows the first thing in child psychology, he is pulled away from college one day all of a sudden, taken to the village, forced to marry a girl and sent back to the hostel. Life is not the same for the boy or his young wife Easwari (Kaniha) after that, and he flees abroad. The other four meet Easwari and do their best to help her. But she has no place in Ilango's life now. She broods, but only up to a point. Then she braces herself up and sensibly decides to live life on her own terms.

The hero Prasanna shows promise. Karthik's is a lighter role and the young man has made an appreciable effort. In fact the same thing can be said about the two girls, Sandhya and Mangai.

Yet it is Krishna as Ilango, projecting the character of a helpless, hapless and later defiant son who scores. There are scenes where he could have underplayed his emotions a little — but surely the young man has talent. The forlorn look, the suppressed sadness and later the fiery retaliation — Kaniha's eyes effortlessly convey a range of expressions.

All the same if there is one character that you remember long after the film is over, it is Vijayan as the unreasonable, despotic and eventually repenting father of Ilango. The cameo so effectively etched by Susi Ganesan and splendidly executed by the experienced actor, makes one wonder why you don't see him more often on screen. (He was a near non-entity in "Run"). Ravivarman's camera that captures actors at their natural best with subdued lighting, and the lush village in all its lustre, deserves mention. Foreign locations have been relevantly used and aesthetically captured.

A couple of tunes — the melodious opening of "Rayilae ... " song and the soft "Enna Soli ... " — from the husband-wife team of Parasuram-Radha have a certain amount of appeal. But the re-recording, for the most part grates on the ear.

With his first film "Virumbugiraen" still to see the light of day, Susi Ganesan seems to have given his all to "Five Star". The effort shows.

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

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