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Don't miss 'Gilli'. You will enjoy it!

Guru Subramaniam | April 23, 2004 19:33 IST

Trisha and Vijay in GilliWe clap, laugh and adore Vijay as he takes over his contemporaries in the race to superstardom.

Gilli portrays Vijay as a comic hero who battles his villains logically while his physical powers are exaggerated dramatically. Having said that, Gilli offers nothing less than sheer entertainment and an edgy thriller for the Tamil film industry, which is deprived of such films.

Director Dharani's magic has worked. He has reached the top gracefully and is sure to remain there for some time. From Dhill to Gilli, Dharani's journey has been calculated, planned, and executed with discipline.

Gilli is certainly not just another remake of a Telugu film (Okkadu). Its story is not about a man's saga or an epic tale. But it ranks high in production values and entertainment.

It is a slice of life about an angry, young, brave Chennai-ite. Vijay's naive bravery earns him the animosity of Prakash Raj, a local dada who chases him and Trisha from Madurai and tries to get him killed. What follows is the crux of the movie. While the movie details the Prakash Raj-Vijay chase, it also explains Vijay's kabaddi aspirations and where they lead him.

The movie starts in top gear and doesn't stop until the end of the first half. The action oscillates between Chennai and Madurai, finally settling down in Chennai.

After Vijay reaches Madurai for a kabaddi match, the movie gears up. Then on until the intermission, action drives the story forward, the best being the car chase, one of the best such sequences in Tamil cinema. Don't also miss the scene where Vijay is pushed to take Trisha as hostage to escape Prakash Raj's clutches.

The second half slows down to unfold the story, romance, and other commercial elements. Dharani has worked hard to keep the movie going with the songs and the chase chasing one another. In this thriller, comedy and songs are a relief from the tension.

The climax with the Ganesh Chaturthi procession and the kabaddi match has been very well planned.

With his reduced makeup and Chennai slang, Vijay personifies yesteryear's Rajnikanth. His facial expressions and comic timing are similar to the superstar's. He shoulders most of the movie and lends it a charming style. He has most of the comic scenes and his dialogue delivery skills have, indeed, improved over time.

Trisha looks classy, but her role is reduced to that of a Barbie doll. But credit must go to designer Nalini Sriram for the costumes in the dance number Appidi Podu. Watch out also for Jennifer as Vijay's sister.

Prakash Raj, however, is the best thing to have happened to Gilli. He comes back to Tamil films as Muthu Pandi, the bad guy. His kingpin-cum-dada role is reminiscent of Kamal Haasan's Virumaandi. Note the scene in which Prakash Raj looks at Trisha and says, "Chellamey! I love you da!"

Composer Vidyasagar uses the Dhool formula here too. His songs call for huge crowds; every song has a celebratory mood. Kokkarakko, shot at night around Chennai sets, is tight and has a strange feel, though it is sung well. Appidi Podu has also been picturised well. This song prepares the audience for the climax. Yaaro Yarivano during the chase scene reminds us of the one in Kakha Kakha.

Vijay sets off on a kabaddi raid in GilliManiraj's grand sets of the Triplicane area are amazing, but only to be expected with a producer like A M Ratnam. Dharani has used them well and they find place in most of the songs and important sequences. Gopinath's camera, V T Vijayan's editing, and Rocky Rajesh's action sequences are top-notch. The sequences speak of the technical wizardry in Tamil cinema.

Aalavandhan boasted of Hollywood-like action sequences, but Gilli quietly grabs the title.

Kudos to Dharani for assembling this team. His screenplay, though it eschews logic, is fast without many flaws. He has also adapted the Telugu film Okkadu to suit Tamil tastes intelligently.

Gilli must be watched in a theatre to be enjoyed. This movie will be a hit, not just for its entertainment and production values, but for understanding and delivering what people want.

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