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A strong story



SOUND THEME: `Vanakkam Thalaiva.'

`Vanakkam Thalaiva'

Genre: Revenge drama
Cast: Satyaraj, Abbas, Vivek, Susan
Director: Shakti Paramesh
Storyline: The hero is ruthless and tortures an innocent young man. But he has a reason ...
Bottomline: A serious theme gets mired in formula ingredients.

Mimicking actors, scoffing at religion and indulging in light-hearted digs, Satyaraj provides enough to laugh and also ponder about in AP Film Garden's `Vanakkam Thalaiva' (A). Though the title sounds flippant, the theme is far from it. Drunken driving and the havoc it could wreak is the subject.

Similar point

You saw a similar point being made in a Rajesh Khanna film more than two decades ago. (Sivaji Ganesan played hero in the Tamil version.) But the treatment and tale here are very different. As always, Satyaraj talks a lot — sometimes rationally and at other times just for effect. For most part of the film he is seen as a villain, unnecessarily harassing the harmless hero. Till the real reason for his villainous acts unravels in flashback!

In seven different get-ups, Manickam (Satyaraj) confuses Mano (Abbas) without any apparent rhyme or reason, till the latter lands up in a mental asylum ...

The garrulous hero

Satyaraj does justice to the serious role, but at least in a film such as this he could have devoted his entire attention on emotions rather than on dialogue. Too much of verbosity affects the pace of the narration. Susan is the heroine. Abbas has a solid part — without being unbelievably heroic, he is natural in action and expression. When the point you wish to make is so relevant, do you need crude item numbers, the likes of Shakila and double entendres?

Vivek returns after a hiatus in a full-fledged comedy role and his reactions in certain sequences are enjoyable. Despite some unwarranted sequences, editor Sai Suresh's crisp cuts and director Shakti Paramesh's snappy shots make for a fairly fast paced fare.

The verdant dales of Munnar and the beauty of indoor shots come out well through Suresh Devan's lens. It's been quite a while since you heard Deva's scores — the composer is back with his mix of Ghanas and duets.

Had it not been caught in unwarranted commercial features, `Vanakkam ... ' would have been a very positive film with a poignant message.

A strong story is its asset and whatever the inspiration, M. K. Maheshwar deserves a pat for his line, if you can forget the clichéd climax.

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

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