Not often do you witness such hype and hoopla for a film teeming with first timers. Attakaththi (U) has been in the news ever since it was launched. That director Ranjith has apprenticed under Venkat Prabhu upped the interest quotient considerably. And a well-known production house such as Studio Green stepping in to release Attakaththi has further increased expectation.
Set in a milieu, which should be strange to the city bred, Attakaththi showcases the lifestyle of people living in villages around Chennai. When Government buses are the main mode of transport, and are overcrowded with students travelling to and from the city, you can easily guess the line. Ranjith wins appreciation for highlighting the day-to-day realities of life in the suburbs and for the theme which underlines infatuation and lust as overriding factors in love.
Falling in and out of love is easy for Dinakaran or ‘Atta’ as he’s called (Dinesh). The early sequence where he tries to sport the forlorn look of a jilted romantic after his feelings go unrequited is unforgettably funny. Dinesh debuts as hero and looks every inch a young man from the village with some urban influence. Nandita is the heroine. Performance wise, the lead pair passes muster.
The villagers call the family ‘Attakaththi’ (paper knife) because its members are notorious for their bravado. Be it the grandfather, the ever tipsy father, or Dinakaran himself, they are the all-fizz-no-fury kind. Thus the prefix is only too apt. Incidentally, the scenes involving the eternal drunkard played by Venu are thoroughly enjoyable.
Santhosh Narayanan’s music comprises songs (‘Gaana’) typical to the suburbs, though he also offers a melody, ‘Aasai Oru Pulveli.’ But the background score is mostly pedestrian.
The director’s concentration is more on capturing the ambience of the place and the mood of the people there. The subject of infatuation and unrequited love runs through the warp and weft, but characterisation of the lead players lacks clarity. You aren’t sure whether you have to laugh at the hero or with him, pity his plight or find it all a joke! Ranjith goes overboard at times allowing the screenplay to mock at the hero when it’s most unwarranted. How can the final disappointment that causes so much angst to the protagonist be seen as humour?
The scene of action isn’t one everybody is familiar with. So it’s a fresh experience. But most of the time, Attakaththi is a string of incidents, without a strong line backing it. So it isn’t riveting. Going by its content and form, Attakaththi should work really well in towns and tier two and three cities.
Genre: Romantic comedy?
Director: Pa. Ranjith
Cast: Dinesh, Nanditha
Storyline: Following girls and flitting from one to the other, the hero revels in a dream world of affairs that are almost always one-sided.
Bottomline: Sometimes funny