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Updated: November 13, 2010 19:17 IST

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MALATHI RANGARAJAN
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Never a dull moment : Vallakottai
Never a dull moment : Vallakottai

The scales tilt in favour of Vallakottai (U) mainly because the film doesn't sag even for a moment. The story opens at high speed, and A. Venkatesh's screenplay and Arjun's action help maintain the tempo till the end. Don't look for logic here, you aren't supposed to.

While in prison for a crime — you aren't quite sure what it is — Muthu (Arjun) meets Bala (Prem). The prison mate is in dire straits — his ailing brother has to undergo a major surgery immediately. As Muthu gets a chance to get released early, he takes up the responsibility of funding the brother's treatment …

Looking fit and trim as ever, Arjun defies age in Vallakottai — his agility is stunning. Prudent make-up helps too. The hero has carved a niche for himself in the action arena and prefers to keep it that way. Hence like in his other films stunts are a highlight. ‘Thalapathi' Dinesh's choreography of the fights and Arjun's execution of the same are enjoyable. Initially, you are confused about the name of the hero, because he is introduced as Vaayuputhran and not Muthu. Only then do you realise it's because the bilingual has been titled Vaayuputhran in Telugu.

In the comic episodes, Arjun surpasses ‘Kanja' Karuppu with ease — you miss Vadivelu in Vallakottai. The parent-less Anjali (Haripriya) is a sitting duck with the villains hovering around her. And despite her well wisher (Latha) offering succour, she seems to prefer facing insurmountable odds posed by the powerful Nachiyar (Ashish Vidyarthi). Charming and expressive, Haripriya is a laudable find.

Some decades ago, you had heroes sticking on a goatee and becoming ‘unrecognisable' by the villains! It's strange that the aberration continues even now! How could Venkatesh (and Arjun too) believe that a different hairstyle, costume or a beard was enough to make the villains tear their hair about the identity of the hero?

The men are at their wits' end every time Arjun sports a ‘fancy dress' and even naively ask, ‘Who are you?' that you feel sorry for the nincompoops Nachiyar, Sethupathi (Vincent Asokan) and their henchmen!

Bala's character has been interestingly crafted and Prem does a neat job of it. You can't but admire Ashish — however humdrum the role, the man presents it with utmost sincerity! ‘Semmozhiyae,' a duet in the voices of SPB and S. Janaki, is a melodic surprise from composer Dhina.

The Venkatesh-Arjun combo has proved fruitful so far. Should be so this time too!

Vallakottai

Genre: Action

Director: A. Venkatesh

Cast: Arjun, Haripriya, ‘Kanja' Karuppu

Storyline: Once out of prison, the hero is on a noble mission

Bottomline: Acrobatics and stunts all right …

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