A fresh tale of friendship between a group of young men and a woman made waves for its classy treatment and dignified performances in the early 1980s. Suhasini, its heroine, Vaagai Chandrasekar, the protagonist, and the director duo of Robert and Rajasekar had joined hands for the healthy fare. The same story under the same name has been remade in Tamil. The present Paalaivanacholai (U) has screenplay and dialogue re-written and directed by S. Dayalan.

Does the new live up to the old? Honestly, it doesn’t. Many sequences take a crass route. Dayalan has made it in certain scenes and marred others! He seems to have got jittery about presenting too decent a film that may come a cropper at the box office. The result is an overdose of item numbers and group dances that jarringly erupt between poignant, well conceived sequences! Instead Dayalan could have concentrated on pruning the protracted theatrics in the climax.

Prabhu (Nitin Satya), Ramana (Sanjeev), Iniyan (Chaams), Yuvan (Abhinay) and Sathyan (Adhi) are close friends, who meet regularly at a particular place. Their rendezvous gains a new entrant — Priya (Karthika), who soon becomes one among them. They are a fun-loving half dozen till the boys get to know of Karthika’s terminal illness …

Melodrama oozes all over the screen in the climax. Today’s viewer has no patience for such lengthy weepy stuff.

Each of the six main characters has a definite identity, which helps sustain interest in the film. Playing an auto driver with both serious and humorous shades to his character comes easily to Nithin Satya. He did it convincingly in Raman Thediya Seethai, and he does it again with enough conviction in Paalaivanacholai. Reprising Rajeev’s role of a philanderer in the original is Abhinay, who generally does well in the cameos that come his way. Sanjeev, a popular face on television, makes optimum use of the opportunity and presents an admirable underplay. Adding to the humour element in Paalaivanacholai are Chaams and Sathyan, who complete the five-some. Both do a neat job. Sathyan in particular — his healthy bytes never fail to tickle the funny bone. Be it a big or small role he shines. Wonder why it’s taking this talented actor so long to climb high up the comedy ladder! Karthika is a cute choice. She impresses with her cheerfulness and charm.

You can’t fault Sadhana Sargam’s ‘Maegamae,’ yet not many can forget Vani Jairam’s emotion-filled original. ‘Aalanalum Aalu’ is another enticing piece from the old album. But composer Bobby’s original strains are too loud, and that’s putting it mildly.

At one end of the spectrum is a dignified story of romance, geniality, ecstasy and agony and, at the other, you find decibel-defying music, ear-stinging beats, predictable footwork and bizarre pelvic thrusts! Hence the grossness (which corrodes the impact of the earlier version) makes you exclaim, “Why couldn’t they have left the original alone?”

Paalaivanacholai

Genre: Sentiment

Director: S. Dayalan

Cast: Nithin Satya, Karthika, Sanjeev, Sathyan, Abhinay, Chaams

Storyline: About a group of boys and a girl who joins them...

Bottomline: Not a commendable rehash