Unique casting is the USP of Rettachchuzhi (U). And releasing a film that involves a score and more of children in the holiday season is another wise move. Rettachchuzhi is no boy-meets-girl romance, where the lead pair breaks into jigs with a group of dancers in the periphery at least thrice in a matter of two hours and a half! Neither does its hero perform impossible stunts.

Two children from families that have been at loggerheads for decades fall in love a la the Montagues and Capulets of Romeo and Juliet. The subject has seen several screen versions but writer-director Thamira differs in that he concentrates more on the inimical elders, and the children in the household, who do their mite to unite the lovers. When the list of seniors includes imposing names such as K. Balachander and Bharatiraaja naturally interest peaks.

Ramasamy (KB) and Singaravelar (Bharatiraaja), two respected elders in the village of Cheranmadevi, have been at loggerheads from their prime. The animus percolates down to the youngest child on each side and the result is the villagers find no respite from the daily squabbles between the two groups. (The way the entire village falls at the feet of the two men in a bid to end a petty quarrel evokes a smile.) Singaravelar is more mature than his older counterpart Ramasamy, who is unreasonable and stubborn most of the time.

KB's energy deserves to be lauded. Yet Ramasamy could have been less sonorous and his moustache more natural. In the final sequence when the children gang up together and ‘gherao' him the veteran makes an impression. Once you get to know that the fault for the simmering feud lies with Ramasamy the character loses your sympathy and the underlying humour you witnessed earlier wanes.

The role of Singaravelar, on the other hand, has subtle shades, which Bharatiraaja portrays convincingly. Comparatively it is an easy role for Anjali, after the graphic part she played in Angaadi Theru and she does justice. Aari is the new hero. Without the need for much dialogue he's able to convey enough through expressions. Karunas's humour is an engaging highlight and among the children, Vikashita, the child who plays the role of Khushboo, scores. Among the other actors, Manobala provides some light and interesting moments. But the actors who play the younger versions of the two big Bs come out with insipid performances.

Karthik Raja's re-recording is a feast for the ears. Rettachchuzhi isn't a lengthy film, yet you feel the drag. The mistake probably lies in the single point agenda of the children nearly throughout — if in the first hour or so they are rooted to the idea of enmity between two rival groups, in the second they are solely interested in bringing the lovers together.

Hence their lack of activity leads to ennui. Couldn't the editor (M. Kasi Viswanathan) have helped in getting Thamira's pace right?

Nallan Tamizh's dialogue is sprinkled with intelligent humour. And the screenplay gets a lift when just as you surmise that the lead pair is going to break into a song, the children chorus, “No duet, please!”

Rettachchuzhi has its share of pluses … and minuses too. Some of the actors lack spontaneity. For the lay viewer who prefers to have the story moving at a reasonable speed, certain parts of the film are patience-testers.

Rettachchuzhi

Genre: Family drama

Director: Thamira

Cast: K. Balachander, Bharatiraaja, Anjali, Aari

Storyline: Of petty enmity and children who come to the aid of a pair of lovers …

Bottomline: Different, well … that's about it