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Thavam, insipid
Nandhu Sundaram
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October 05, 2007 18:40 IST

It is conventional wisdom that when actors turn producers or directors they bring in passion, creativity and attachment to the movies they make. Thavam, produced by actor Arjun, stands in proud defiance to this theory.

As a script, the film's premises do have some promise. A man and woman meet at a suicide point (a scenic waterfall) to end to their lives. Before taking the extreme step (death by sleeping pills), however they decide to spend a day together.

He doesn't have a job and she is fleeing an unwanted marriage. But minutes after they have both consumed the sleeping pills, fate intervenes. A postman brings an appointment order and with the reason for suicide negated, he survives, and so does she.

It would take actors of considerable talent and an experienced director to make such a sequence work. Arun Vijay, the poor, unlucky actor, who seems to plough on bravely in a career that has never been graced by a hit, isn't really the star vehicle for this occasion.

Debutant Sakthi Paramesh directs the proceedings as if he doesn't give a damn. Lesser pleasure the audiences take home, the merrier. Nearly every known film device -- plot, logic and good dialogue ­-- is thrown to the winds as actors and technicians recklessly go through the mere motions of making a movie.

Actresses Vandana and Arpitha are such a let down. Vandana plays the pretty but suicidal girl in the opening sequence. Later, her job is to stay elusive -- she believes he is already married -- as the hero chases her all across town. It's high time that scriptwriters stop making their lead heroines stereotypes of Miss Goody Two Shoes. Not because they don't exist, but because they are so exasperating.

Arpitha has the strangest dialogue delivery. She pauses in her dialogues like former Prime Minister Vajpayee. As she hammed and hawed her way, pausing in all the wrong places, one couldn't help wonder why every pretty face had to end up in acting.

Vadivelu, who was greeted with whistles and loud cheering by the audience, is vulgar and comic in turns. Puking on screen, especially on other actors, has become an obsession for this actor, who nevertheless is sole source of solace. A scene in where he robs an IG's house without realising who the house belongs to, manages to make you laugh though it is not that funny. In a movie as pedestrian as this, it was one's consolation prize. 

Arjun makes a cameo in the end, as if to take responsibility for inflicting this horror on the audiences. Not long ago, the actor resurrected his nearly dead career by directing in a series of movies that kept him in the reckoning for the crowd-pleaser Mudhalvan. Those movies -- Sevegan, Prathab and Jai Hind among them -- weren't great, but there was an endearing attempt to desperately woo the audience that is so sorely missing here.

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