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Worth a watch

Pavithra Srinivasan | September 29, 2008 12:56 IST

A still from Kadhalil Vizhundhen.

Love stories are dime a dozen. Every movie-maker worth his salt churns out poor-boy-meets-rich girl themes once a month. So if you want to make your efforts stand out, the only way is to come up with a striking screenplay and solid acting.

Debutant filmmaker P V Prasad seems to have understood this as evident from his first time Tamil offering, Kadhalil Vizhundhen (I Fell in Love), produced by Sun Pictures and Atlantic Movies.

For one thing, the director has struck gold with Vijay Antony's Naakka Mukka song which has created a blitzkrieg of sorts among fans everywhere and catchy music is certainly a pre-requisite for a love-story. But instead of resting on his musical laurels, the director has tried to make his team work.

Witness the way he's turned the chunky Nakul of Boys dubious fame into muscled, cutesy hero Sabha. He makes you sit up when he trundles his beloved Meera on a wheelchair through the dark streets of a city, pursued hotly by Inspector Anbuthambi (Sampath) and his men. Eventually, when he jumps into a train and relates his past history to a sympathetic TTE (Livingstone), you realise there's more to him than just a lover-boy image.

Sabha, aka Sabhapathy is your average young college student who has the additional distinction of being part of a football team. Certain shots remind you of Alaipayudhey as he cruises along the city streets in a motorbike. This is a bit at variance with his financial straits: his mother is no more, while his father is a self-centred drunkard. Aching for love, Sabha does find it, quite literally, with a bang on his head. An angel's dupatta wraps itself as he's driving and there's an almighty crash -- and Sabha has fallen in love.

Enter pretty Meera (newcomer Sunaina), the proverbial rich girl who doesn't have a mother either. Struck with guilt over the accident, Meera takes greatest care of him, unaware of his burgeoning love.

The two become fast friends -- but Sabha wants to take it further. Yet, he's terrified of Meera's reaction -- she has become his bedrock, his support-system and he fears what might happen if their friendship is destroyed. In the end, though, it's Meera herself who provides him, unwittingly, with a way of proclaiming his love.

End result: Meera, after a week's torture and suspense, joins Sabha's college (which, bizarrely, changes name every hour!) and accepts his love. So is all well that ends well? Hardly.

You can hardly believe that this is Nakul, with bulging biceps, hair falling cutely into his eyes: its only his little-boy accent, especially in the later part, that sometimes give him away. As the distraught student who suddenly finds love, he's good. But as the anguished lover who is ultimately betrayed, he definitely deserves several pats on his back. Such a meaty role doesn't always come to a newbie, and he's made good use of it.

Sunaina is pretty, portrays compassion well and is quite good. Sampath, as a member of the police force is unsympathetic in the beginning, and his change of heart has been well-portrayed. The rest largely serve as a backdrop to the main story.

The winner of this game, is P V Prasad, even if he has been inspired by several other stories (Kadhal Konden being an example, among others), he still manages to spin a unique storyline. There are several plot-holes, though: the circumstances surrounding Meera's death aren't well-explained. The second half also could have been trimmed to be more effective. The violence too seems unnecessary.

Kadhalil Vizhundhen achieves at least in part, what other love-stories fail to do -- to bring a genuine lump in your throat at times. Worth a watch.

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