Never judge a film by its title is an axiom to remember. If you think Kollaikaaran (U) sounds prosaic and presume that the film should be dull, you are in for a surprise. This modest creation by first-timer Tamizhchelvan is a laugh riot in the first half and a poignant family story in the second. Only that the first few minutes when the titles roll, and the first song sequence with Vidaarth and several dancers are aberrations in an otherwise neat attempt. But after the plot is set in motion, Kollaikaaran emerges as a film that warrants a watch. The director has apprenticed under director Seenu Ramasamy, you hear. The calibre shows.

Once a person is known to be a thief, the stigma is bound to stay, as it does in the case of Kuruvi (Vidaarth). He is notorious for his peccadilloes, and hence the rustics shun him. But later, though he mends his ways, he encounters real big problems. He is now a responsible brother and a sincere lover, who has turned over a new leaf, but when the rich and powerful man in the village decides to make him a sitting duck, Kuruvi finds life tough. So what is he going to do?

The line sounds serious but the humour that has been appealingly interwoven makes a difference. And commendably, despite the line offering scope for much violence, except for the action-packed sequence towards the end, Tamizhchelvan has kept the gore in Kollaikaaran under control.

Vidaarth, who rose high with Mynaa and nosedived into oblivion after Mudhal Idam, returns to impress. In a role that allows ample scope for levity, rage and vendetta, the hero shines. But he'd better beware — continuing to play the villager could land him in stereotypical roles.

As the girl in love with the hero, Sanchita suits the part. And playing the elder sister of Vidaarth to perfection, Senthi makes quite an impact.

A small film has dared to come out with the biggies — confidence in their content has made them do so.

Unexpected happenings, interesting narration and witty dialogue place Kollaikaaran far apart from films with mundane and predictable screenplays. Encourage the cast and maker — they deserve it.

Kollaikaaran

Genre: Sentiment

Director: Tamizhchelvan

Cast: Vidaarth, Sanchita

Storyline: A petty thief reforms after he falls in love, but when he is unfairly blamed and his family brutally assaulted, he isn't going to keep quiet …

Bottomline: A decent offering