"Thiruvalarchelvan" Karan, as he styles himself, started out at as an immensely likeable actor who showed the seeds of potential. Lately, though, he's taken to pushing himself as a star with all its trappings. Sizzling fireworks erupt when his name is showcased on screen; he bashes up ruffians, he's the tough guy who hides a heart of gold, fights against injustice and has all the girls swooning for him but weds only one.
Three Sum Pictures' Tamil film, Malayan, directed by M P Gopi (S A Chandrasekhar's protégé) is no different. It is set in Potlampatti, in the vicinity of Sivakasi and its fireworks factory.
Karan apes Kamal Haasan as much as he can, both in his dialect (which he botches) and his expressions, as he plays tough-guy Malayan, the man who would do anything for his mentor, fireworks factory owner Meiyyappan Annaachi (Sarat Babu). Malayan is his faithful hound, ready to fly to his master's defense which happens plenty of times when Meiyyappan's arch enemies M R K Vedhachalam (Rajan P Dev) and his equally fiendish son M R K Thanikachalam (Shakthi Kumar) yell and scream at everyone and naturally, hate the guts of their competitor, Meiyyappan. Malayan does a very creditable job of over-acting as the faithful hound foaming at his mouth.
In the meantime, he also happens to fall in love with Bakkiyam (Shammu, from Kanjivaram), playing a simple village girl with spirit. Her romance with Malayan is one of the high points of the screenplay; mild, humorous and convincing. Her father (Bala Singh) doesn't approve of the marriage but true love wins all, after plenty of dramatic twists. And just when it seems Malayan has everything -- catastrophe strikes.
Shammu is energetic and winsome, considering the role she plays, Udayathara is just barely there. The rest, excepting Ganja Karuppu, practically fade into the background.
The film is all about Karan, wearing garlands, emoting like a 60's melodramatic hero and jigging to Dheena's half-baked songs. Malayan is a worship-fest of Karan, at best.