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Kunguma Poovum Konjum Puravum falls short

By Pavithra Srinivasan
April 24, 2009 17:53 IST
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The first thing that strikes you when you hear Capital Film Work's Tamil movie title, Kunguma Poovum Konjum Puravum is veteran Tamil comedian Chandrababu's immortal song. Otherwise, resemblance between the classic lines and the film directed by debutant Rajamohan under the aegis of S P Charan, is pretty much non-existent.

The flavour of today's realistic movie is to set it in an authentic town, preferably southern Tamil Nadu, pepper it with a heavy local dialect, pick out a few interesting characters  and begin the film pretty much slowly so as to set the pace. It actually works in the beginning, when you're introduced to the bustling little township of Muttam, almost on the seashore in the vicinity of Thoothukkudi, and which possesses its own unique charm; straggling alleyways, rural temples and beaten tracks.

Art director Vidhesh's complete mastery over his work is evident in the homes and huts that litter the town. Equally entrancing are Kuselan aka Koochan (debutant Ramakrishnan) and his coterie of friends, who rule the roost in Muttam until they stumble across Thulasi (Debutante Thananya), who settles down in a corner house with her grandmother. Nothing much is known about her at that moment, except that she's an orphan.

Thulasi, who possesses moderately good features, is considered a striking beauty among the locals as she's almost a shade fairer (!) than the rest. Not unnaturally, Koochan and Thulasi fall in love. Trading secret kisses, meetings and sharing confidences become the order of the day. Exactly how or why they become lovers isn't important. They're both 12th standard students and hormones reign supreme.

Perhaps it's this that makes a shaky foundation in the latter half. Though you're given a brief jolt when their love is discovered and Thulasi is practically torn to shreds by Koochan's irate mother, the second half, which should have kept you on the edge of your seat, loses momentum.

The characters stick to their role and a thread of logic is maintained throughout but the screenplay doesn't engage you much. Knowing in advance what's going to happen rather pricks the balloon of anticipation. One brief moment, though, right at the climax, does have the poetic quality that the movie strives for throughout.

Ramakrishnan has obviously had a blast paying the rather naïve youngster who suddenly discovers love. His nondescript rural looks are his best asset for this role but it's his mother who really takes the cake when it comes to performance. The woman's dynamite!

Thananya looks rather plastic at certain moments, but her face is surprisingly mobile when she's angry, so she makes it work. As is the norm in movies like this, it's the secondary characters that really complete the film and here, they bring beautiful Muttam to life.

Cinematographer Siddharth shows a realistic town without glamming it up and produces a truly heavenly place into the bargain. Yuvan Shankar Raja's music is suitably sombre and lighthearted where required: his Kadaloram and Muttathu Pakkathil linger for quite some time.

Rajamohan looks like he's been influenced by yesteryear classics like Kadalora Kavithaigal, Alaigal Oyvathillai and other such seaside love stories, and it shows in his settings, and occasional snatches of dialogue. He's certainly earned points for attempting something different but loses out on a done-to-death love story. If only he'd concentrated a little more on trimming his screenplay, this one would have been a cult classic.

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Pavithra Srinivasan