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Charlie Chaplin

Prabhu, Gayatri Raghuram and Prabhu Deva in ``Charlie Chaplin''... sparkling with wit.

A COMIC fare with a clear storyline, a neat screenplay that has no gaping loose ends and witty dialogue with all the essential punches make watching Roja combines' ``Charlie Chaplin'' an enjoyable experience.

Comedy, from the laughable to the absurd, is highly saleable these days. However, ``Charlie Chaplin'', has less of the ridiculous and more of wit.

The total credit, hence, goes to Shakti Chidambaram, who is the film's director too.

Ramakrishnan (Prabhu) in a weak moment, gives in to his friend Vishwa's (Livingston) constant goading and agrees to meet a call girl, Thilothama (Monal), in his guest house. Thiru (Prabhu Deva) who lives at the place, would be tactfully sent away. But the plan misfires and Ramakrishnan's marriage is on the rocks. So is that of the newly wed couple Thiru and Susi (Gayatri Raghuram). Ramakrishnan's wife Mythili (Abhirami) refuses to relent and goes to court. The rest is a mix of confusion and hilarity with a sprinkle of sentiment.

Prabhu as Ramakrishnan does a creditable job, but he has to do something about his obesity. Another person who has to watch her weight is the debutante, Gayatri Raghuram. The new heroine's expertise in dance, however, is particularly impressive. As the wife who forever suspects the husband's fidelity, Abhirami is dignified and appealing — provided one forgets her fearsome dance steps for the song sequence in Goa.

For those who think Prabhu Deva's capabilities begin and end with dance, the ease with which he shows expressions comes as a surprise. Though over the years he has been honing his emotive skills, his timing, intonation and voice modulation in dialogue delivery are of an impressive calibre in ``Charlie Chaplin''.

Livingston too deserves special mention especially when he tries to mollify Mythili and Susi, blaming it all on himself, little realising that his wife is right behind him!

Monal as Thilothama, is another actress who has played her role well. Bharani, who quietly gave a couple of hit numbers in ``Paarvai Ondrae Podhumae'', accomplishes the same in ``Charlie Chaplin''. If ``Mudhalam Sandhippil ... '' is melodious, the ``Chumma Chumma'' song would go down well with youngsters.

The initial scenes where Susi follows Thiru everywhere to ``save'' him seem a little overdone after a point. The same could be said of the court scenes, which could have been pruned a little. Nevertheless Shakti Chidambaram needs to be lauded for ``Charlie Chaplin'' which has an interesting storyline presented well.


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