Poor boy meets rich girl. Rich girl snubs poor boy. Boy saves girl and girl falls in love with boy, which is the cue for girl's brother to bash him up with the help of a thousand goons.
Yawning already? Well, that's the premise of a thousand love stories that have wandered into celluloid over the decades, and Rathnamala Movies' Tamil film Inba, directed by S T Venddan, somehow seeks to tell you that it's a mind-blowing story!
At least the first few scenes try to give you the impression that something different is about to turn up: Inba (R Shaam) gets out of the correctional facility for juvenile delinquents, and returns home to fashion a new life.
Naturally, he's an angry young man who's trying desperately to rein his temper. He has the tough luck of being noticed by local bigwig Mala Ganesan (Arun Pandian), who looks every inch the prosperous ruffian, and is employed by him to guard his sister Priya (Sneha).
Priya is heckled by unruly college-mates, which necessitates the security but she obviously wants to have a good time, and hates the guts of Inba, who tags along. In a variety of incidents that remind of you of early Ramarajan/Kamal Hassan and other assorted hero-centric films, she abuses him and then promptly falls in love with the brooding, bearded and silent handsome man.
But trouble is not far behind as no self-respecting goonda brother is going to stand by and watch his sister fall for her bodyguard. Matters escalate into countless fights, interspersed with countless songs, and newer villains crop up all over the place. Everybody spouts the standard lines (what was dialogue-writer Subha thinking?) and once the climax is done, you heave yourself off the cramped seats with relief.
The only part that is worth watching is the brief flashback, which details Inba's past life, and the reason that colours his actions. Alas, the interlude is too short to enjoy and peppered by more songs.
Shaam tries desperately to act but no matter the circumstance and emotion, his face looks permanently puzzled, with a frown in place. The beard, however gives him a new look.
Sneha comes through with some grace; her svelte figure and dashing outfits add to her charm.
And then there's Arun Pandian. What, oh what, has possessed the actor to turn into a combination of Ashish Vidhyarthi and Raghuvaran, chewing and spitting out his dialogues? If this is his idea of villainy, be prepared for a fit of the giggles.
In fact, only three actors carry off their roles well -- Rekha, the villain's wife though her part is mercilessly small; young Jyothi, who plays Inba's love interest in school (her beady eyes and ready smile are a pleasure to watch); and there's the SP, who's much more of a proper negative character than anyone else in the movie and performs flamboyantly well.
Kanja Karuppu, as the pathetic locksmith, wanders around aimlessly spouting inane dialogues. Sulakshana and Thalaivaasal Vijay are wasted.
The music by newcomer P B Balaji tries to ape the trends of today but dissolves into noise for the most part. Not to mention the insane number of duets that crop up all over the place.
The stunts are especially well done, and would be much more appreciated if they were part of some martial exhibition, not a movie.
For three hours of unmitigated boredom, here's your pick.