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Malaikkottai is avoidable
Pavithra Srinivasan | September 28, 2007 11:24 IST
God save us from the eternally "brilliant" movies which have the hero beating up 100 baddies all at the same time with the heroine cringing behind him, looking bedraggled, and his sympathetic cohorts offering silent support; after which the villain is dead / dismembered / depressed / insane / beyond redemption, and all ends well.
Sri Lakshmi Productions' heavily hyped Malaikkottai follows the formula of the action-hero who is the 'greatest of 'em all'. But it falls flat on its face. Director G Boopathy Pandian probably thought he had the next best story since Ben-Hur, and fell prey to the ever-present Director's Folly.
Anbu (Vishal) is the HERO. Enough said. He lives in Pattukkottai (where numerous Pattis and Palayams heroes usually come from), drools at girls, sings with friends, and rushes to the aid of one such friend. He also beats up the local Merchants' Guild Chairman, (Kaadhal Dhandapani) and surprise surprise! He is caught by the police, and sent to Trichy after a severe reprimand.
His adventures begin the very moment he sets foot in that exalted city, where he catches sight of Malar (Priyamani) for the first time. Naturally, being the Hero, he determines to make her his.
In the meantime, the city's chief rowdy Pazhani (Kannada actor Devaraj) and his cohorts are making life pretty miserable for its citizens -- talking on cell-phones, rushing around in Tata Sumos, ordering men to shoot/cut down men in swathes in public, and generally bellowing themselves hoarse.
This one's a handsome villain though, which makes the scenes he appears somewhat watchable -- not that his role is any great shakes.
Vishal himself is mercifully unaware of all this, as he romances Priyamani around her engineering college. He sings duets and chats with Kamala (Urvasi, in a dumb role) and generally lounges around as any good Tamil hero does.
However, his readymade heaven comes crumbling around in one blazing confrontation with his ladylove. This forms the (rather novel, you must admit) premise for his meeting with the villain principal. From then on, its mayhem, murder, bashings, burnings, finger-flipping and more bashings -- with snippets of would-be intelligent escapades by the hero that make you think of Ghilli gone flat.
Vishal is as always � mercurial, good-humoured, an effortless dancer and fighter, which makes it all the more pitiful. He has attempted humour in the first half, but his dialogue delivery, obviously meant to induce laughter is so stilted that you end up cringing at his efforts.
The next half has him spouting hero-clich�d sentences by the dozen, and sends you into a stupor. He is a far cry from the rather endearing young man in the eminently watchable Sandaikkozhi.
Flying leaps and slow-motion kicks are so Matrix that one is forced to ask when are they ever going to come up with something new? Ashish Vidhyarthi flits in and out of the movie as Vishal's uncle. Though he's a respectable police officer, he ends up as a laughing-stock. As for Ponnambalam's role, this one has got to be the silliest to date.
Poor Priyamani. For a girl who performed so effortlessly in Paruthiveeran [Images], the urban-glamour-girl tag leaves her nothing do except frown and dance dream-songs at alternate intervals. Not that anyone else can play it better -- that's just the way it is. What a terrible waste, though.
Mani Sharma's background score leaves you with torn eardrums and a headache the size of Saturn. The remixed version of E Atha, Athoramaa is probably the only saving grace.
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