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Kuththu

FOR THOSE who have watched the director-hero team in action earlier in "Dham," Deivanai Movie Makers' "Kuththu" is no different. It's not even the proverbial old-wine-in-new-bottle stuff. Nothing about this remake of the Telugu blockbuster "Dhil," is new or innovative — in fact everything about it gives a feeling of déjà vu. What do makers take viewers for, you wonder.

Guru (Simbu) and Anjali (Ramya) are studying in the same college. He belongs to a middle class family, while Anjali's dad is a don who kills at will and goes scot-free. This is the way the storyline opens, and you get no marks for guessing the rest. Even if the story is run-of-the-mill, the treatment could have provided a few surprises. No way! Screenplay writer and director Venkatesh who's got his agenda well chalked out, does not stray even slightly from the formula. Suddenly (except for a vague scene at the beginning) you have college students being the fulcrum of action — an obvious ploy to attract young crowd.

You thought he had prudently stopped exaggerated mannerisms (with his fingers) in "Kovil," but Simbu resorts to such ludicrous gimmicks once again in "Kuththu." When the nimble fingered, lean and lanky young man threatens and takes on the underworld kingpin and his men and when they fall like a pack of cards `unable' to face his fiery attack (!) you can, at the most, give an indulgent smile and give up. To say that the hero's gumption and gimmicks are stale is an understatement. Guru enters chambers and exits as he pleases with just a blunt coin to unscrew the nail holding the window grill, and none gets even a clue! Can't blame Simbu totally ... probably he's just doing what he was told to do. Neither can his freshness, agility, expressions and dance be faulted. But can't he look out for action themes that show some difference in either the story or screenplay?

Manorama plays a small role as the heroine's grandma and as always, she is apt. New face Ramya looks appealing from certain angles. But like many among the new crop of heroines, she is another who could do well to watch her weight or at least wear outfits that camouflage the extra pounds. `Kalabhavan' Mani reduces villainy to sheer buffoonery with his antics and mimicry — in fact things get unbearable after a point. Vijayakumar plays Guru's father. And just as you begin to enjoy the harmless tiffs between the father and son he gets terribly serious. He tells his son, come what may he has to get the girl he is in love with. The girl's dad could be a bad guy, his son could lose his life, ... but he should not give up! He's not exasperated that his son, a college student, wants to get married nor is he unduly worried about the consequences! He makes it sound as if Guru getting married to Anjali ought to be the sole mission in life! The turnabout is so ridiculous that it's not even funny. Where on earth do you find the principal of a college clowning around with an awkward gait, with a student who's constantly threatening him in tow? You feel immensely sorry for Livingston.

Srikanth Deva's songs are more of sound and fury than melody or harmony. The re-recording in particular is plain din. Thankfully the duet, "Ennai Theendi Vittai" is an exception.

Makers have to realise that going on a stereotyped rewind trip and making rehashes of mediocre fare are surely not the way to stay in the race. Until that happens the viewer cannot hope for redemption.

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

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