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"Ezhumalai"... action all the way.

AS HIS soft, romantic ventures "Rhythm" and "Vedham" created nothing more than a ripple Arjun has taken on action with a vengeance in Venkatramana Productions' "Ezhumalai".

The screenplay is Arjun's. So is the direction. And the action hero thrills his fans with stunts aplenty. Yet fights alone, however well choreographed, cannot make a film watchable. You need a well-narrated story — something "Ezhumalai" lacks. Most of the time action waits for no reason and seems to need no logic.

Thugs (Ashish Vidyarthi, Anandraj and others) rule the roost in the place and the village head (Vijayakumar) is helpless. So he brings up one of his four sons, Ezhumalai, (Arjun) as a fearless and strong guardian angel of the village. The hero is nave yet brave — warm to the good and the kind and fearsome to the cantankerous and cruel. Then you have the usual rigmarole of the villains reeling out empty threats only to be repeatedly beaten up by the invincible Ezhumalai. There are heroines ( Simran and Gazala) and of course, Mumtaz for that added pep, prancing around for glamour.

Arjun proves that he is still the unmatched macho hero of the Tamil screen. His diligence and sincerity are evident in the stunt scenes — the train sequences in particular have been laudably conceived.

Simran as the wife of Ezhumalai who is killed by the enemy has some scope to display her emotive skills, which she utilises well. In how many more films is she going to do the same kind of dances in the same kind of clothes? It's time the actress goes in for meaningful roles.

Gazala's asset is her svelte looks and sleek figure.

The unwarranted humiliation that the brothers heap on Ezhumalai serves no purpose. Nagalingam (Ashish Vidyarthi) keeps reminding us that killing Ezhumalai is his one-point agenda. But he forgets it when he comes face to face with the latter. He just drags his daughter away without so much as a whimper! Anjali (Gazala) who is missing at the marriage hall emerges at the hospital, after (hold your breath) getting her uterus removed before the wedding only to prove her love for the widowed father, Ezhumalai! What do our film folks take the doctors to be? Butchers who would cut out parts from the body just as one wants? Pathetic. The old school of thought about the dress code of widows sounds absolutely abominable, more so because it is voiced by the educated heroine!

The characters are inconsistent in their views, seem to suddenly appear from nowhere and have no clearly defined roles to play. The film, it is said, was a roaring success in Telugu.

In the race between Arjun, the action king and Arjun, the director, the former is way ahead.


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