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HEAVE A sigh of relief folks! It appears the season of sheer love and lovers in cinema has bid adieu — at least temporarily. So if it is not a romantic interlude it has to be bloodshed and action. And action it is Vikram style, in AVM's "Gemini" that has stormed cinema halls after a lot of hype and hoopla. It is a stylised fare from director Saran, because realism is a casualty in many of the sequences. The story, screenplay and dialogue are also by Saran.

From ``Kadhal Mannan'' to ``Gemini'', his fifth, Saran has been proving that he is not a one-film wonder but a youngster with potential. Box office slips there may have been but that he is honing his skills to work out hits is obvious, as one watches ``Gemini''.

K. Balachander always had the knack of projecting certain strong points (apart from histrionics) that his artistes possessed — any unique talent in his actors would be weaved into the story and brought to the fore in inimitable fashion. The way in which Saran has so ingeniously utilised the mimicking talent of `Kalabavan' Mani, from the time the character makes an entry, superbly imitating the elephant walk, reminds you of K. Balachander. With his comic streak Mani makes himself a likeable villain.

After `Dhil' it is action time once again for Vikram. It is Tamil cinema's gain that Bala identified the potential in Vikram and brought him back for a second round with `Sethu'. Be it action or sensitive enactment, Vikram lends a natural touch. Thus even though the credibility level of Saran's storyline is low, Vikram helps "Gemini" score. There is the mother sentiment but it is skilfully (and thankfully) underplayed. The hero is a castaway but there is no unwarranted self-pity.

Gemini (Vikram) is a ruffian who heads an underworld gang. Teja (`Kalabavan' Mani) is the kingpin of another such rowdy gang. Gemini's anti-social sojourns come to a halt after he meets Singaperumal, DGP, essayed with dignity by Malayalam actor Murali, who made a mark in ``Dumm...Dumm...Dumm''. But Teja (`Kalabavan' Mani) like every "born cinema villain," will not allow Vikram to reform.

Kiran, new import from the North, has a beautiful face. But the debutante had better watch her weight. She has little to do except prance around with the hero in foreign locations. Venkatesh's camera proves an asset in these scenes.

A couple of Bharadwaj's compositions for ``Gemini'' are already a hit — "O! Podu!" has been part of the local lingo for a couple of years all right, but the number sung by Anuradha Sriram has given it a new, crazy dimension.

The enigma surrounding Manorama's entry eventually fizzles out as a case of much ado about nothing. Thennavan, as Gemini's assistant Kai, does a convincing job. His penetrating stare takes care of the expressions.

What is Vaiyapuri doing in the film? Or Charlie, for that matter? If it is in the name of comedy, it is plain pathetic. You understand the need for mass appeal, yet characters like that of Kamini (Rani) could have had more finesse.

Saran has made a formula film, no doubt, but has also tried to strike an astute balance.


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