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Aindham Padai is below average

July 27, 2009 12:29 IST

Avni Cinemax's Tamil film Aimdham Padai (The Fifth Column), directed by Badri is one that is sans logic, reasoning and subtleness. Editing, cinematography and such technical aspects barely figure here; it is just one mega-hero who bashes up goons by the dozen, romances three or four heroines and ends up reforming the whole world, or a corner of Tamil Nadu.

Having his own protege direct his movie has done "Rite" Sundar C a lot of good as he is back in perfect formula fashion as the ruffian Prabhakar (was the name given on purpose?) who plays pranks, stands up for justice and is a loving third sibling in a family of five brothers -- Gunasekaran (Nasser), Karuna (Mukesh), Thanthoni (Vivek), and Thodanna.

Life is all about bashing up guys, saving his brothers' skins and falling in love (naturally) with the local Brahmin beauty Gayathri (why are they all called that?) played by newcomer Adhithi, who flashes some generous cleavage. Then there's the staple of all rural films for decades: an age-old feud with cousins, led by Sampath and Co.

D Imman's below-average fare provides Prabha the opportunity to dance a couple of hero-centric numbers as well, where he morphs into five Prabhas before the story suddenly take a welcome shift.

Enter Devasena (Simran) -- a peculiar name, but which might be a take on Manohara's Vasanthasena -- a classical dancer who falls foul of Prabha during dance performance. Soon after, there's another tussle and the two can't stand each other. But Gunasekaran effects reconciliation, and in typical filmy fashion, Devasena falls for Prabha.

But you can't actually have a yesteryear heroine, however hot she may have been, as the hero's love-interest. So you have Gunasekaran who suddenly decides that she'll make an excellent wife for his shy, unassuming second brother, Karuna. Why Devasena never figures out that she's engaged to Karuna and not Prabha, is never explained. This isn't, after all, the pre-independence era when the bride and groom never saw each other. Anyway she believes that she's going to marry Prabha.

And here we have some of the most interesting scenes in the movie: a genuinely in-love Devasena flirting gently with Prabha (and an item number thrown in, of course), her dreams and plans for the future which come crashing down when she realises the truth on her wedding day (a magnificent job by Simran, who, even if her role resembles Padiyappa's Neelambari a bit, makes you understand the meaning behind the words: "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.")

What follows is a cat-and-mouse game between Devasena and Prabha who try to wit outwit each other, with Thanthoni's laughs thrown in between. Sundar C, Simran and Vivek have really enjoyed themselves. But Adhithi, the newbie disappears before the intermission and that's it.

Devyani appears in a blink-and-you-miss role as Nasser's  fiancé. Kalpana has a silly dance number with Sundar C when the whole theatre lapses into giggles. How the mighty have fallen.

Aindham Padai never takes itself seriously. It is not meant to be one. It's got a lot of lewd jokes, double entendre, just plain irritating stunts, and songs guaranteed to titillate the front-benchers but Simran is one of the reasons it works even halfway. She's the real "hero" of the film.

Rediff Rating:

Pavithra Srinivasan