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Go watch Jayam Kondaan!

Pavithra Srinivasan | August 29, 2008 13:38 IST

A still from Jayam Kondaan

The hero and his friends are in a cinema theatre, crunching on popcorn and getting ready to watch a Vijay-starrer. But just as Vijay erupts on screen, a goon insults our hero's friends, rousing them into a fury. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? But Sathya Jyothi Films' Jayam Kondaan (He Who is Victorious) has a twist: the hero plays pacifier, and smoothes down the issue. Reason: 'Not every problem can be solved by beating people up.'

That is the general tone of Tamil film, Jayam Kondaan, directed by R Kannan, the erstwhile assistant of Mani Ratnam. So has the student made sure his teacher's name remains unsullied? More or less. Which, in itself, is quite a victory.

For starters, Kannan seems to know that a good movie, like a good short story, gains a lot of points when it takes off right from the first scene -- the film begins with Arjun (Vinay) returning from London [Images] to start a new venture.

Arjun and his friends, including Vivek, are keen on enjoying life, and are full of eager plans to set up business in Chennai. But they need the capital first. They decide to utilise Arjun's savings, rather the money that his father left him. But when they withdraw it from the bank, they're in for a rude shock: there's only a meagre balance of a few thousand rupees left. What happened to the lakhs of money saved?

That sets the ball rolling. Careful enquiries turn up more shocking news: Arjun's father has had another family, most importantly, a daughter Brinda (Lekha Washington), who is determined to go to the MIT in the US. Arjun and Brinda have a clash when it comes to disposing off a property in Madurai [Images], supposedly bought from Arjun's own funds -- but neither can sell it without the other's approval. And then, battle lines are drawn.

Arjun journeys down to Madurai to take a look at the property himself, and meets the gangly, na�ve and attractive sports-girl Poorani (Bhavna), who mistakes him for her groom-to-be and falls at his feet. Much hilarity ensues, after which it is discovered that Arjun is here to sell the property and then hostilities start.

A reasonably fast-paced vendetta follows Arjun to Chennai, leading him to shack up with his angry step-sister. The man who had everything when he first came to Chennai -- now has nothing.

Vinay, as the protagonist is very comfortable in his role. He has expressive eyes, emotes well, and makes sure his audience isn't disappointed. But it is Lekha Washington, who is clearly the surprise package: this girl can act, and how.

Bhavna, with her soulful eyes and acting talent, could have done with a meatier role. As it is, she shines during the comic parts and has tried, with moderate success, to speak the Madurai tongue herself. It induces some laughter in the beginning, but she wins you over.

Vivek seems to have lost his touch; his jokes fall flat. Livingstone, even if he appears in a meagre role, is finally a true-blue police officer. Malavika, Santhanam and Nizhalgal Ravi have done well.

Kannan deserves credit for a good job on his story and screenplay. His twists and turns make you sit up, (Pattukkottai Prabhakar's dialogues are natural) -- and he etches small characters in a way that makes it easy to identify with them.

Balasubramaniam's camera makes sure the viewers aren't treated to bizarre angles. V T Vijayan's editing is slick and smooth.

Jayam Kondaan is a nice blend of the cinematic and logic. It is a good, watchable fare. Go for it.

Rediff Rating:

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