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"Kalaignarin Kannamma"



Venkat, Meena and Prem Kumar in "Kalaignarin Kannamma" ...

FOR THOSE who savour M. Karunanidhi's proficiency in the Tamil language, as evinced in his dialogue for films for more than five decades now, Baba Cine Films' "Kalaignarin Kannamma," (U), directed by Baba Vikram should prove a nostalgic trip. The play on words, imagery and alliterations that fall in place so spontaneously are a treat for the philologist. Screenplay and dialogue are M. Karunanidhi's.

Anandan (Prem Kumar) and Madhan (Venkat) are close friends since childhood. In fact, it is the rich Madhan, who helps the orphaned Anandan to become a doctor. Kannamma (Meena), a medical college student, meets Anandan and the two fall in love. The story takes devious turns and detours once Anandan leaves for the warfront to serve as a medical doctor.

With telling eyes and expressive demeanour, Meena does justice to the title role. Prem Kumar (a popular TV face) and Venkat (Bose of the daily soap, "Metti Oli") get a break with "Kannamma." Prem is apt in a role that offers limited scope. Venkat can work a little more on his dialogue delivery and voice modulation. The characters of Vadivukkarasi (Kannamma's aunt) and Bala Singh (as Ulagappan, Vindhiya's dad) are clichιd. Equally hackneyed is the role of Mala (Vindhiya), Madhan's wife, who is cantankerous without reason. Sometimes good, sometimes plotting, and at other times funny, Vaiyapuri's character is vague.

A few enigmas

Two songs including the inspiring "Ilaignanae ... " number, composed by S. A. Rajkumar and sung by Manicka Vinayakam, are pleasing on the ear. The sudden, confusing and rather unconnected close-ups jolt the viewer. Vikram Raja's editing could have paid more attention to detail. Again some of the props are too predictable. Vindhiya's house, in the sequence where the father, with his son and daughter, conspires against the son in law, is an example. Why Madhan, who is affluent enough to educate his friend, and who attends school with him, should suddenly decide to remain uneducated is a puzzle. (The childhood scenes are somewhat pedestrian). And talking of affluence, how is it possible for the driver in Kannamma's house, a distant relative all right, to chase the heroine in costly cars and dole out money in lakhs (!) to those who collude with him? Also there's hardly any shock on Kannamma's face when her aunt joins the villains and heaps canards on her. And why an educated girl like Kannamma should allow herself to be subjected to such chicanery at the village panchayat beats you.

Wherever possible the dialogue has been used to drive home the writer's views on religion, current affairs (including the stamp paper scam) and social issues. The take-off is rather smooth and enjoyable, but the same cannot be said of the rest of "Kannamma."

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

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