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The "Gummalam" gang belles expectation.

IF THE heroine's past and present stand like two disjointed fixtures that have nothing to do with one another, it is the screenplay that has to be blamed. And if the story hardly affects you at any point, it is the treatment which leaves much to be desired. However, the witty dialogue that makes you laugh aloud often is an exception. And so are the four new faces — each of the young boys makes an impression in one way or the other. Sarmadha Productions' "Gummalam" has story, screenplay, dialogue and direction by Suki S. Murthi, who makes his debut with the film.

Dinesh (Mithun Tejasvi), Ganesh (Shekar), `Uncle' (Aditya) and Iyyappan (Zakir) are students who have just given their Plus Two exams. Their single point agenda is obviously girl watching. The quartet presents the present day youngsters in quite a poor light. They are not for a moment bothered about seeking admission for college studies or planning their careers. In typical cinema style, they would wait till the results are out and even then they would hardly do anything about it.

Anu (Rathi) enters their lives like a whiff of fresh air and jealousy sets in. Of course, Anu's sudden appearance on the scene prepares you for a flashback that only ends on a flat, insipid note.

Anu is Adhirai in the past and strangely the girl running away from a life of sordidness and poverty lands in Coonoor in full make up and in the most modern and rather weird attire.

"Solla Marandha Kadhai" has raised a lot of expectation about Rathi — "Gummalam" just does not live up to that. Beginning with the very first scene that has Junior Balaiah as the principal of a school, most of the sequences are contrived and unrealistic. And the scene (in "Ek Chotisi Love Story" style) where the boys play peeping tom, lack finesse.

New composer Gandhidasan's "Thitraanga ... " is on the lips of many youngsters, with the lyrics adding to the effect. But the sweetness of "Kaatru Kaatru" lingers in your mind for long. Peter Hayn's fight sequences are rather natural — especially the fisticuffs among the boys.

Yet it is unbelievable that A. Kandasamy, whose first film "Sethu" was a trendsetter and a runaway hit, could have chosen to produce "Gummalam" as his second film!


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