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Inidhu Inidhu Kadhal Inidhu

THE BANNER is imposing — Ramoji Rao's Usha Kiron Movies. The title is poetic — "Inidhu Inidhu Kadhal Inidhu." So expectations are high.

Sibi (Jai Akash) and his neighbour Mamathi (Neha) are always at loggerheads. There is no let up even when Mamathi moves with her family to Ooty.

Mamathi learns about Deepika (Monika), the previous tenant in her house in Ooty, who had been driven to suicide. She assumes that Deepika's lover Ajay (Hamsavardhan) must be pining for her in Chennai, unaware that she is dead. She decides to write letters to him in the name of Deepika. Ajay's friend Sibi replies to those letters, because Ajay has been killed in an accident already. Thus goes the "Inidhu... " tale.

Jai Akash's actions are fine, but what about reactions, so vital for an actor? For example, the deadpan expression when he sees Ajay on the roadside knocked down by a speeding vehicle confounds the viewer. Where was the director? Jai's `voice' as dubbed by television actor Vishwa is some compensation as it carries more emotions than the hero's face. Neha, whom we saw as the second heroine in "Mounam Paesiyadhae" is apt as the bold, belligerent Mamathi later softened by love. Kavitha, the heroine's mother is a TV buff. But why should she say that she has given up watching the daily soaps on television because her daughter has agreed to get married? What is the connection, one wonders. You don't need an actor of Nasser's stature for that appearance whittled down to two scenes. Simran does a provocative song and dance number to pep up proceedings, a la Ramya Krishnan.

Letters, as the only means of correspondence, is an obsolete concept. The Vadivelu-Karunaas comedy track puts you off totally. It is unbelievable that it is from Shakti Chidambaram, director of the wholesome, light-hearted "Charlie Chaplin". He has also written the screenplay and dialogue of "Inidhu ... " Music director Devi Sriprasad's title song sung by Sumangali lingers.

At one point when Mamathi and Sibi realise that they had all along been exchanging letters on behalf of Deepika and Ajay, their feelings for each other begin to change. If things had been pruned at this stage, "Inidhu ... " would have been crisp and absorbing. Instead it drags on for 45 minutes — absolutely exasperating.

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

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