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Thursday, March 10, 2005

UNNAL MUDIYUM THAMBI

Or Don’t give up so soon as the end is not far, more power to your limbs and lungs, we can win because O Liitle Brother , You can do it
(Ed—Pithy working title !)

Aha, at last a film in a language other than H & E, we can safely discount Amelie for the moment as I would have flailed irretrievably without subtitles.

Would be prudent to state that the film was in Tamil, directed by k balachander and starred Kamal Hassan, Seetha, Gemini Ganesan, Manorama, Janakaraj and a few trees.

The story of a music maven and his insensitivity to worldly suffering that deeply pains and repels his sensitive son, who though musically inclined and accomplished, is increasingly distraught and distanced from his father.

Finds intellectual companionship, and later love with an outspoken Harijan girl, from whose travails he derives inspiration. His father meanwhile has adopted a Brahmin orphan who is nurtured and placed as his protégé at the expense of his own son. Things boil over when an indignant Gemini accuses Kamal of sponging off his successes and throws down the gauntlet inviting Kamal to make it big on his own.

He does, bringing succour to a beleaguered village haunted by the pall of alcoholism with his enterprising fiancée. Challenged once again by the counterpunching villagers to forbear marriage as a precondition to their staying off C2H50H, he acquiesces. Is feted by the Prime Minister and Proud Pa hugs him on stage.

Loud applause , misty eyes…

Constant refrain of heady idealism, so no surprises on theme. Steady performances expectedly from all the leads. Average music (heavy on classical and hence wasted on me ) bolstered by a very decent background score, classically attuned with the violin, mridangam, nadaswaram all into play. Perhaps the best of the cast were an eccentric and arrogant Gemini, and a pragmatic Manorama, who battles her own inadequacies and caring for her mute husband, G’s elder son.

As stated, the idealism is on the high side. I thought kb wasted the middle third with the heroine inexplicably disappearing entirely, and hence not really comparable to the other epic, Varumai Niram Sivappu ( The Colour of Poverty is Red , that’s the translation for those who like to be informed) where Sridevi shines throughout the film, matching Kamal in histrionics and dialogue. Another handicap for me is that I am yet to fully apprecisate casteism and its encumbrances in rural India.

Felt kb could have executed better in familiarizing the viewer with the why of the bottle rather than a sterile treatment just as a malaise corrupting homes. Also, that Manorama was given lesser freedom of expression, and she may just have waltzed into a Damini-esque tirade against the pathetic lot of the (Indian)woman ( which La Belle Karen Anand preens she knows about )

A watchable film, nevertheless and a 7 on 10 !

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