Can violence and humour be effectively juxtaposed? They can, says Porali (U/A). Can a film touch upon social consciousness and still be a thriller? It's possible, says its director Samudirakani. The astute twosome of director-actors, Sasikumar and Samudirakani, who had earlier come up with issue-based knots that made you sit up, do it again in Porali. Only that they've done it all too noisily. Nearly all characters scream at the top of their voices most of the time and adding to their din is Sundar C. Babu's resounding score! Yet, thanks to Samudirakani's riveting screenplay, Porali doesn't dodder.

A kaleidoscope of actors stomp the screen, and except a few of those who appear in the flashback, all the characters have been clearly etched. Vested with individuality, they make a mark, but prominent among them is Prof. Gnanasambandham, a familiar face on many a literary forum.

Playing the owner of a few shelters in a complex, he is equally comfortable on the big screen. The boozer in the building, the young girl, the cringing husband (Badava Gopi), the cantankerous wife (Sandra), the wastrel, each has a distinct trait. In fact, Gopi and Sandra would have been funnier if they hadn't been so unbearably loud. And the same goes for the heroine, Swathi. Why is her decibel level so high? Otherwise it's a cute role executed well. Nivedha as Tamizhchelvi is a homely face — her expressive eyes appeal. But the actor who steals the segment she appears in is Vasundhara, in a cameo. She plays Maari, the girl who fears none.

Now to the hero! As Kumaran, an intelligent do-gooder, Sasikumar, who is steadily evolving as an actor, is apt. Gone is the rawness you noticed in his performance in Subramaniapuram, his maiden. Of course, the Tamil accent can be worked on even harder , and that applies to a couple of other actors too. It's a commendable comeback for Naresh after his lacklustre debut some years ago. The part of Nallavan fits him like a glove. The story has many strands, and each is given a logical end.

Kumaran is a young man raring to go — though uneducated and rustic, he creates opportunities where none exists, even as he is escaping from the quagmire of avarice that threatens to gobble him up all over again. But this time he is going to turn around and retaliate. Will the enemy withstand the attack?

After a few inane appearances, Kanja Karuppu and Suri get roles with substance in Porali, and they do justice to them. But how come Karuppu doesn't know about his friend Naresh's past? Or does he? And such bloody mayhem in the city, but not a policeman in sight!

Samudirakani deserves accolades on various grounds, including the crispness in his dialogue. But he ought to be rewarded for two — two pairs of lovers but the film has no duets! The heroine is a dancer in films but not a single shot of her footwork is seen! Very intelligently, the makerhas discarded appendages the viewer can do without.

Kani's Nadodigal was an engaging running game. Porali is a different kind of chase, but again absorbing enough.

Porali

Genre: Sentiment

Director: P. Samudirakani

Cast: Sasikumar, Naresh, Swathi, Nivedha, Vasundhara

Storyline: An astute fighter who can take on a large, greedy group

Bottomline: Once again the S combo works