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"Ragasiyamaai"



Neelam and Prasanna in "Ragasiyamaai" -- gains momentum rather late.

WHAT HAPPENS in the first half of Art & Heart Creations' "Ragasiyamaai ... " is innocuous, routine, run-of-the-mill stuff. A boy and girl meet and fall in love. They elope because the girl's rich father is an impediment. So what's new? Absolutely nothing as far as the story goes. But the non-starter gains some momentum when the scene of action shifts to quake-hit Gujarat. Amudhan, erstwhile assistant cinematographer of Thankar Bachan, wields the camera and the megaphone for the first time.

Amudhan (Prasanna) is a sculptor. A chance meeting with Minister Sankarapandiyan's (Pyramid Natarajan) daughter Viji (Neelam) turns out to be an instance of love at first sight. The father objects to the match and the lovers run away to Gujarat, where problems continue to haunt them. Of course things end well.

This is the second film for Prasanna, the young hero of "Five Star". He seems to have put on weight since his debut, as his rounded face shows. And he also looks more confident in the acting department. He performs particularly well in the last few scenes when he desperately searches for Viji amidst the victims of the earthquake, crying out aloud and looking absolutely distraught and helpless. Art director Vasan Karuna needs to be lauded for bringing out the scene of mass suffering in quite a natural manner.

Neelam, the heroine, needs to go a long way in the area of expressions. The vitality and charisma you would expect in a leading lady is missing here. All she manages is a frail, vulnerable appearance. Her costume is also confusing. In one scene you see her in bold, hep, halter-necked outfits and in another in the most ordinary of saris. So you are not very sure what kind of a girl this Viji actually is. Karunas comedy track is tripe — surely the writer could have conceived sensible situations to evoke laughter.

If despite a very natural portrayal from Pyramid Natarajan as Sankarapandian the role fails to make an impact, it is because the man does not give even one concrete objection, as to why his daughter should not marry Amudhan. Also you have seen several such screen dads before. The reason for the villains in Gujarat chasing Amudhan and Viji is not clear. Similarly after getting away to Gujarat with great difficulty, it is strange that the two take a long time to even contemplate tying the knot. And the director makes getting married at the registrar office seem so easy! There are no significant happenings that would lend some depth to the romance. So one is not able to appreciate the sudden vehemence in the two youngsters.

Karthik Raja's title music is absorbing.

The tense filled moments, when the hero and heroine are separated in the melee, redeem "Ragasiyamaai... " to some extent.

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

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