King or Kokki, Lee or Laadam, director Prabhu Solomon's urge to be different even within the ambit of the commercial format has always come to the fore. It happens with Mynaa (U) too. The theme is run-of-the-mill. But treatment, technical expertise and the unexpected nemesis-driven final sequence elevate it to impressive heights.

Sweetheart Mynaa's (Amala Paul) word is Suruli's (Vidharth) command. He goes to any length to keep her happy. Mynaa's mother makes full use of Vidharth's interest in her daughter, but when the moment of decision comes she discards Suruli and looks out for a rich, well-educated groom for her daughter. The love birds aren't going to give up.

Vidharth fills the bill as the illiterate but highly emotional Suruli. There are a few scenes where you feel he could have performed even better, but in the climax he scores. Amala Paul, who has got back to her original name (She was Anaka in the forgettable flick Sindhu Samaveli.) puts up a neat show. Mynaa would have made a perfect debut for the talented heroine.

A host of rarely seen faces come up with sterling performances. Thambi Ramaiah whom we know as a comedy writer, director and actor in small roles, shoulders the significant part of a jail warden with ease. So natural is Poovitha's enactment of the avaricious, loud-mouthed mother of Mynaa that you feel you are watching a real-life drama. In fact, the entire film is very natural — you are a spectator observing the men and women of Sevvangudi village from afar!

Neither can you forget Sevvazhai as Kirukku Maayi, the callous father of Suruli. But keeping you rooted is Sethu in the subdued but profound role of Bhaskar. A worthy find! When the last shot freezes on his face, somehow the respect for the character increases manifold.

And it's one of those rare occasions when the perils of a policeman's job get highlighted in cinema. Handcuffed along with a law breaker and walking him through undulating terrains for hours on end, when Ramaiah loses his cool you understand and empathise with him.

The virgin locations of Kurangani, near Bodi, are a connoisseur's paradise. Green, lustrous, inaccessible, frightening and romantic all at once, the choice of the scene of action deserves plaudits. So does cinematographer Sukumar whose unobtrusive camera adds to the spontaneity in the narration. But the village school ambience in films is getting rather repetitive.

It's unbelievable work from Imman. A turnabout from the composer whose melodies and background music in Mynaa linger in your ears for long! But it is also true that the song sequences steal the film of its tautness.

A voice in the hall says, “When a person in my village learnt that his sister-in-law was making a cuckold of his brother, he chopped her tress off and buried it in a cemetery.” It is then that you realise that Solomon has only bared crude practices still extant in villages. Yet the unbridled temper of the rustics is shocking!

You've seen heroes beating up baddies, and comedians attack and abuse old men in the name of fun, but Suruli ‘towers' over all when he knuckles an elderly woman for an inadvertent comment about Mynaa and her marriage! It takes away a little of the sympathy you feel for Suruli.

Stories of childhood friends turning lovers and the consequences thereof are too common to warrant mention. Yet almost throughout, Mynaa stands apart as a gripping narrative.

Mynaa

Genre: Family Drama

Director: Prabhu Solomon

Cast: Vidharth; Amala Paul; Thambi Ramaiah; Sethu

Storyline: Life looks rosy for childhood friends turned lovers. But Fate has other plans …

Bottomline: Common story, commendable narration

Keywords: Prabhu SolomonMynaa