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Friday, October 05, 2001

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Film Review: 12 B


AFTER MUCH hype and hoopla the eagerly-awaited "12 B" has arrived. Watching this film by Film Works is like moving through a maze, because for many it could be confusion confounded, at least for the most part of the first half.

The film is one, but it has two stories. The hero is one, but he is common to both, and till the mid point, the viewer is at his wits' end trying to differentiate between the two tracks.

Jeeva is in charge of story, screenplay, direction and cinematography. And you have to give it to him, with two tales narrated simultaneously, the screenplay could have added to the chaos. But "12B" has a reasonable amount of clarity, and that is definitely a salvaging factor.

It is one story for the first fifteen minutes or so... till the writer emphasises the fact that things could change for man in a matter of a second and that even minor factors could alter his future. So the story forks from here.

Shaktivel has to attend an interview that morning. A minor obstacle at the bus stop makes him miss the bus (12B) literally and otherwise. That should justify the title. Parthiban's voice in the background tells you that henceforth will unfold two versions — what would have happened to Shakti if he had been in time for the interview and also what happens because he is late. So for all practical purposes there are two Shaktis interacting with the same people in both.

Shyam in the hero's garb is an apt choice and looks more like a Madhavan clone. In fact, the opening sequence is so much like Madhavan's introductory scene in "Alaipayudhey". For a newcomer, Shyam is absolutely at ease in dance and fights.

Jyotika is her ebullient self and a perfect foil for the calm, quiet and sedate Simran. They belong to different stories and hence to two different Shaktis.

Simran does a commendable job in the climax when she tries to pull Shakti out of his unconscious state. But why she looks sad throughout is left to your surmise.

Sunil Shetty makes a bow in the Tamil tinsel town. A brief role, but well done.

Some of Vivek's one liners and comic sequences are fitting jibes that come with social consciousness. Harris Jeyaraj's numbers have become a hit even before the film's release. The lyrics penned in Tamil for the number "Sariya Thavara" have been successfully made to sound English by Samantha Edward, Febi and Mathangi, Sad! "Poovae Vaai Pesum..." is a melodious number that has traces of a couple of songs you've heard before.

Jeeva's intelligence can be noticed in a few places — like the scene in which Arvind (Sunil Shetty) comes face to face with Jyotika's lover Shaktivel.

The least a film loving layman needs is a comprehensible storyline. Two seemingly parallel lines totally intertwined could be too much for him. But otherwise the film has plenty of youthfulness, fun, vibrance and vivacity.

"At least the first half could have been one complete story and the other could have come later," comments a viewer as you walk out.

Jeeva wishes to make a point — that much is clear. The way he goes about it is what baffles you!

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

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Section  : Entertainment
Previous : Hero with a difference
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