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Album

AT FIRST you are led to believe that Adhi Bhagavan Films' "Album" from Kavithalaya, is all about the Leftist slant of the young hero. But communism is not the core and soon his vociferous outpourings come to nought. So then, taking cue from the next few sequences, you settle down for a father-son feud. But again you are wrong because things get solved quickly and in a natural manner. Next the villain enters and tries to create trouble between the two elderly friends. So this is a family drama of sentiment, separation and reunion, you think. But at this point exasperation sets in, because your guess proves erroneous once more — whether it is the devious brother or the physically intimidating ruffian, they just fizzle out.

Wanting to avoid a contrived storyline and melodrama is fine. But then, in a film, something has to keep happening for the tempo to be sustained. The director, however, does not seem to believe in such things and so nothing much occurs till the very end. The story, dialogue and direction are by Vasanthabalan.

Jeeva (Rajesh) and Viji (Srutika) are neighbours who fall in love with each other. The families are so close to each other that they share their joys and problems. But none of them realises that the two youngsters are in love. It is this part of the story that eventually culminates in a climax. Jeeva believes that the elders would object to their affair and hence allows Viji to get engaged to a person of her father's choice. Till the day of the wedding the lovers suffer in silence — but there's always time.

Rajesh's face depicts a whole range of emotions quite creditably. (That is, if you are able to forgive his crying aloud in a couple of scenes) Srutika has a stronger role, which offers more scope, when compared to her debut film "Sri" and she has utilised the opportunity well.

Vijayakumar sails through the role of a sincere friend, kind neighbour and understanding father with ease. Yet it is Balachandra Menon as the hero's dad who steals the show. Sadly, Saritha's histrionic abilities get bogged down by her own weight, literally! The young sister of the hero impresses with her spontaneous reactions.

What was the need to justify the family's stand on an issue in the presence of an exhibition crowd? Why should a father get so mad when he learns that the son is in love with his friend's daughter? These are a few of the many questions that crop up.

"Thathalikkudhae ... " and "Chellamai ... " are foot-tapping numbers from Karthik Raja. But his re-recording is confusing at times — the scene involving `Pal' Pandi, his cows and a stranger, for instance.

Having a dig at the Hindu gods on the pretext of humour has become a habit among many filmmakers. The target is Muruga, and the comedy is in bad taste. But the last scene is hilarious — on the eve of the wedding, in the presence of all the guests the heroine proclaims that she is ready to run away with her lover. The father pacifies her and unites the two of them after a harangue of sorts and everyone is happy — while all the time the groom and his people, stand there unperturbed and absolutely unaffected!

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

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