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Vellithirai is worth watching
Pavithra Srinivasan | March 07, 2008 20:35 IST
Prakashraj and Prithviraj have made a name for themselves together � Mozhi, being a fine example. And when you watch their ambitious film, Vellithirai (Silver Screen), you're not disappointed.
A slick remake of the Malayalam blockbuster Udayananu Tharam starring Mohanlal and Sreenivasan, Vellithirai is a candid, and often funny take on the present South Indian/Tamil movie industry, its stars, directors and values -- with blown-up tantrums, palatial homes, shoe-string budgets, shoots, artists and heartbreak thrown in for good measure.
When the scraggly and rotund Kannaiyan (Prakashraj) meets Saravanan (Prithviraj), another struggling assistant director with a solid script and hopes of making it big, you know sparks will fly. They're both good friends at the start, even though Saravanan takes a few potshots at Kannaiyan's acting. A sore point is the young would-be director's friendship with blossoming actress Maithili (Gopika, who turns in a fine performance). Neither get the break he's hoping for -- but matters come to a head when Kannaiyan stumbles upon an opportunity to make use of Saravanan's script.
Soon, Kannaiyan the nobody becomes Dileepkanth the superstar with his set of personal trainers, managers and a full-blown brat attitude. The world turns upside down for Saravanan, who's left fuming at his friend's betrayal.
Maithili, meanwhile, is thrown out of her home by her brother -- forcing her to join hands with Saravanan in matrimony.
While Dileepkanth climbs the stairs of fortune, Saravanan is forced to look for other avenues to prove himself. In the end, it comes to a showdown -- is it to be Dileepkanth's superstardom, or the brains of a keen director?
It's obvious that Prakashraj has enjoyed his role in the film. As the eager-to-succeed Kannaiyan who fawns on every filmmaker, he's the epitome of the struggling artist. Later, as the established star on the covers of Filmfare and Vikatan, he outdoes himself. There's nothing quite so delicious as a villainy Prakashraj.
Prithviraj, meanwhile, makes the best of his assets -- his expressive eyes, which glint in fury, soften with love, or brim over with frustrated tears.
Gopika, in a solid role, gives a wonderful performance. She might be a sought after actress, but still loves her husband enough to make her sacrifices. Lakshmi Rai, M S Bhaskar and Charlie -- in their brief roles -- produce much laughter and push the story along.
But it's the finer details which make Viji's Vellithirai a satisfying watch. The montage of shots which show Prakashraj on his way to success, the confrontations between him and Prithvi, the typical situations that crop up during a film production, and the culmination of the events, leading to a sensational finale... Kudos to the editing! The screenplay, while adequate, could have been tightened. Some dialogues are quite clich�.
G V Prakashkumar's music ought to have been sensational but barely passes muster.
Watch Vellithirai for some good old cat-and-mouse games in the movie industry with well-timed punches. The magic of the silver screen rarely disappoints.
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