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Vazhthukkal is tedious

January 16, 2008 13:13 IST

First off, kudos to Seeman, the director for actually coming up with a movie in which English words are non-existent. Not an easy thing to accomplish.

On the other hand, Amma Creations' Vazthukkal (Best Wishes/Blessings) has nothing else going for it.

Boy meets girl. Boy loves girl. Girl agrees after a few songs. Then the family promptly throws the monkey wrench into the works. Sounds familiar? Yep, the same story you've been seeing since the times of Thyagaraja Bhagavathar -- who probably came up with more innovative performances in his time.

When you see the titles of this Tamil flick parading in pretty flowers of striking shades of red, yellow and pink, you know what you're in for, and settle down for a mushy, sweet movie. What you don't bargain for, however, is the fact that it's an absolute sappy fest.

Kadhiravan (R Madhavan) as the suave head of a software firm is his usual merry self, impossibly loving to his parents, shocked by the terrible marriage his friend undergoes, and is naturally wary of wedlock.

Wafts in Kayal Vizhi (Bhavana) the charming agriculture student whose essays are appreciated by international scientists! She still understands family-values, love and affection, and is willing to be just a mother and wife, and thus uplift the society.

You wonder how, with the profusion of aunts, uncles and cousins, with pure Tamil names and ruled by the inimitable Thatha, her family isn't gnawing each other to bits but that is Kayal's sweet, loving home in which everyone's gaga over each other.

By this time, you're pretty much sure of how everything's going to turn out. Parent-loving Kadhiravan (whom everyone, including the love of his life, always addresses by his full name, no matter how desperate the situation) falls for similar, joint-family-loving full-of-values wealthy beauty Kayal, and decides to woo her in earnest.

And it's at this point that the dialogue and screenplay stop being a charming novelty, and swiftly descend into an absolute comic farce. When the heroine, for instance, describes her home or whispers in her beloved's ears that she loves him utterly, in pure, chaste Tamil, the theatre hoots with laughter.

As for Kadhiravan, he mouths platitudes about his childhood, the sea, sky, wind and earth so much that the whole movie sounds like one big sappy greeting card. There's a fine line between broadcasting a message, and outright comedy, and you end up laughing at every scene.

Kayal's family, instead of inspiring you with the kind of yearning love and brimming affection that Kadhiravan obviously feels, provokes fear and nausea at their remarkable insipidity especially at their horrible colour scheme for their house. Kadhiravan learns interior decoration in four days flat from a designer who's willing to sacrifice her own business worth Rs 50 lakh (wonder of wonders) for his love and captures Kayal's heart through lengthy monologues on Love, Life and the vibrant blues and greens that clash horribly on the walls, Buddha statues and boats filled with flowers.

Madhavan's eyes glimmer with a sort of suppressed amusement in practically every frame, as though he's exactly aware of the silliness ensuing. It's a credit to the actor in him that he still manages to carry off every dialogue, no matter how trite, with sincerity. Even when he starts telephone conversations to his parents with a formal "Vanakkam …"

However, the surprise package is Bhavana. As Kayal, she has to push through reams of chaste language but her face carries an expressiveness that actually manages to pull it off. She even looks good when she's crying,  something the actress playing her mother is definitely not good at, as everyone starts giggling when she does. For that matter, the giggle-fit begins when every character begins to weep which they do in buckets.

The only respite from this endless sweetness is Kadhiravan's friend, who provides some comic relief.

Perhaps Yuvan Shankar Raja realized the futility of composing for such a movie; he seems to have given up the attempt within the first few scenes. The background score meanders mournfully, unaware of where to fit in.

You wish the movie had a definite intermission period. When it stops at the halfway point, half the watchers get up to leave, as it definitely looks like the end!

Seeman has obviously tried desperately, and failed to make a movie with a moral message for today's generation.

Rediff Rating:

Pavithra Srinivasan