There's a delicate balance between portraying a genuinely touching story and going overboard with emotions. And that's where Global One Studio Productions' Raman Thediya Seethai (Rama's Hunt for Seetha), directed by K P Jagannath, manages to be different. Moserbaer's Tamil production has actually managed to hit the bull's-eye with this one.
The first few scenes themselves set the tone; first, a hesitant and bashful Venugopal (Cheran) trying desperately to carry on an interesting conversation with a prospective bride Ranjitha (Vimala Raman), in her picturesque home in Nagercoil. The conversation proceeds quite well in the beginning, until it hits an unexpected snag -- Venu was hospitalised for extreme stress during his school years; he still stammers as the result of the strain, and when he's unexpectedly put into stressful situations. Ranjitha, unimpressed with the story, rejects him.
And thus begins the saga of this modern-day Raman who owns a wedding invitation design shop (a refreshing change of scenery, where you see the working of this unique business), works with beautifully crafted invitations, alliances, marriages and bride/grooms but somehow, he's never successful when it comes to is own wedding.
A second alliance arranged, this time with Vidya (Ramya Nambisan) which actually gets to the wedding-day, but then goes down the tubes. Vidya runs away with her lover the day before her marriage, leaving her father Manickavel (Manivannan) distraught and furious. Remorseful, he promises that he will make sure Venu gets the perfect bride, as a sort of penance for his own daughter's fault.
But life holds no cheer for Venu, who's scarred by depression: perhaps he's just not the man who will ever experience romance or marriage. But life has a few surprises in store for him.
A rather charming story unfolds now, in the form of Nedumaran (Pasupathi), a blind radio jockey whose mission is to inspire people and inspire he does, as he outlines his own emotional love story with Thamizhisai (Gajala) whose steadfast love made him believe in himself. Nedumaran's zest for life and obviously joyous marriage inspires Venu, who continues on his hunt.
Another prospective bride Gayatri (Karthika) is interested, frank and pretty but she has a back story too; a hilarious, touching one, involving a reformed thief, Gunasekar (Nithin Sathya). Venu turns away, dejected, only to approach an inspector, Senthamarai (Navya Nair, in a cameo) but just when he's stunned by the twists and turns thrown by fate, destiny suddenly re-aligns itself.
K P Jagannath, who came out with Pudhiya Geethai and Kodambakkam earlier, has come up with a screenplay with enjoyable twists and turns coming at regular intervals, and makes sure that you don't have a moment's restlessness. There's a touching blend of melancholy, laughter and emotions that makes for watchable fare.
The casting is near perfect. Cheran, with his penchant for goody-goody roles, has once again donned such a one as the permanently unlucky-in-love Venu. Fortunately, he doesn't cry so much this time and merely wipes his eyes.
Pasupathi is superb as the blind RJ who's come up in life with sheer guts, determination and pure joi de vivre and is keen on passing it on to his fellow citizens.
Nithin Sathya is a loveable scamp who's convincing both as a petty thief and a reformed auto-driver.
Surprisingly, all the heroines have performed quite well: Vimala Raman is beautiful, slim and ravishing in the beginning, and when she breaks down in front of her mother, does bring tears to your eyes. Ramya Nambisan and Karthika are refreshing, while Gajala is sweet.
Manivannan and Karunas appear briefly, but make an impact.
Sometimes, the feel-good factor comes dangerously close to being sickly-sweet; but thankfully, just when you're scared that it's going to go overboard, he comes back to refreshing reality.
Vidyasagar has obviously worked over the background score; his silences are as effective as his music. Ippave Ippave lingers. Kola Bhaskar's editing is neat and brisk. Vairabalan has come up with sets that fit the story to a T. Vidya's ramshackle home is a great example. Rajesh Yadav's camera makes sure your focus stays on the story and characters; a sound job.
If you're sorely in need of a logical, yet feel-good romance flick with neat performances, this one's your bet.