The dreams and drive of eight youngsters of an engineering college is the crux of Inidhu Inidhu (U). The refreshing campus tale takes you through four years of their student life, and should be a nostalgic trip for the middle-aged and a revving-up sojourn for the youth.

It's a great opportunity for cinematographer and first-time director K. V. Guhan, and he has put it to good use. His colour tones, top angles and silhouettes are the handiwork of a veteran.

English, Hindi or Tamil, you've watched several campus flicks. But only a few make an impact. Inidhu … ably balances curriculum and entertainment, and sentiment and success.

Guhan touches a poignant plane through the character of Paal Pandi (a character better etched than in Telugu). The college goer from the village develops a complex mainly because the ambience is alien to him. But the fashionable college ‘ma'am' takes him under her wing, and his confidence at the campus interview in the end drives a point home. Your heart goes out to Paal Pandi, and his eventual success sends a positive message to studious rural youth. Hitler (!), the actor who plays the role, is convincing.

Students Sidhu, Madhu, Aravind (or Tyson), Vimal, Shankar, Aparna and Sangeetha hang out together. Every one of them is vested with individuality that tweaks your interest in Inidhu … Tyson's admiration for his senior Shravanthi (or Shravs), Sidhu's interest in Madhu, Shankar's besotted love, the Vimal-Aparna pairing — each romantic rendezvous is different from the other. But at no point do they neglect academics — this aspect lends plausibility to Inidhu … You do have idiosyncrasies of professors showcased but they aren't overdone.

As far as performance goes, Narayanan who plays the highly intelligent Tyson, scores. The others — Aadith, Vimal and Sharan — are apt. Reshmi, who replicates Tamannah's role in Telugu, is a cute find, while Benaas' portrayal of the jealous Aparna is neat. Yet it is Sonia as Shravanthi, who remains with you for long! (She has repeated the role she played in Happy Days.)

Inidhu … is more or less a linear narration of college life and hence the story seems caught in a rut. On the positive side, it means there are no irritating digressions. And in today's scenario, isn't ragging per se a rather obsolete phenomenon?

Mickey J. Meyer enters Tamil as composer with Inidhu … The numbers are soothing on the ear but when they keep coming in cascades, they become too much of a good thing!

Intelligently eschewing the ignorable aspects of Happy Days, the Telugu original, Guhan's re-take is healthier. The protraction of the opening scenes, the retaliatory tactics of juniors and the stunt sequence midway have been effectively pruned. But the same can't be said of the end. The farewell goes on relentlessly that you begin to squirm.

Most of the time, Inidhu Inidhu entertains!

Inidhu Inidhu

Genre: Campus story

Director: K.V. Guhan

Cast: Aadith, Reshmi, Sonia, Narayanan, Vimal, Sharan, Benaas

Storyline: Life on a campus

Bottomline: The debut director doesn't disappoint