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An unconnected Vaitheeswaran

By Pavithra Srinivasan
March 14, 2008 14:30 IST
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'Everything is connected'. That's the tagline of Annamalai Production's latest, Tamil film Vaitheeswaran starring action star Sarathkumar, and directed by R K Vidhayadharan. You only wish the team had managed to connect the screenplay, acting and plot all together!

The beginning, in Vaitheeswaran Temple, is promising enough. When an astrologer-cum-prophecy expert Mani Shankaran (veteran Vijay Kumar in his usual loud, assertive role) predicts the birth and life of a wonderful entity called Saravanan, you sit up, hoping for juicy fare. But as it turns out, this is just another film on re-incarnation. Within the next few minutes, your excitement fizzles out as the plot unravels leading you to wonder what exactly they've got in store for you for the next two-and-a half hours.

Once the prediction part is over, the next few minutes detail the fate of little Saravanan, who's an unwitting witness to the heinous crimes of Dhanasekaran (Shayaji Shinde), who, with his cohorts, decides that the boy must die for his wrongs. Poisoned, Saravanan dies in his distraught mother's arms. She, a poor woman, is left wearing a bad wig and tattered clothes to lament in a temple for thirty long years, at which point her son will certainly come back to her.

And thankfully, instead of crashing in and beating up bad guys (that comes later), Dr Bala (Sarath Kumar) enters the scene at the right time -- only there's no clue as to his part in the re-incarnation set-up. At least, that's what the director wants us to think. Dhanasekaran has, by this time, grown as the next contender for the Chief Minister's chair, and naturally wants the opposition out of the way.

Bravo for the screenplay, which also throws a completely uninteresting Rupa (Meghna Naidu) dressed in a towel into the hero's arms, and has her playing a silly compere. She believes completely in the rebirth theory, and actually develops a fondness for Saravanan's present incarnation; from his previous life's childhood photo!

The end is predictable, with the do-gooder vanquishing the bad guys. The way it's done, though, is slightly meaningful, which is a relief.

Sarath Kumar appears after a break but it is quite obvious that his heart is not into it, as he sleepwalks through the whole movie. His expression never varies, be it anger, distress, ecstasy or love.

Meghna Naidu gets on your nerves, while Santhanam's part in the movie is puzzling. But your heart positively bleeds for poor Shayaji Shinde, who, after his brilliant performance in Bharathi, is forced to sport funny hairstyles, mouth the most inane dialogues and break furniture.

The best actor is easily Manobala, the ever-present comic sidekick. He's the only one who delivers his lines perfectly.

There's a whole gaggle of media-people, sidekicks and odd villains who run around, presumable to add colour to the story, and they're as washed out as the screenplay.

Shrikanth Deva's music tries desperately to spice up the proceedings -- but barring the title song, there's no scope for it.

One more re-incarnation tale added to the melee but there's no frills, no suspense, no thrills and no acting

The film is a costly mistake.

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Pavithra Srinivasan