Sneha and Prashanth in "Virumbugiraen"... backed by a strong storyline.
IN A marked deviation from the tedious gimmicks of formula, comes this interesting package produced by Mary Francis.
"Virumbugiraen" which ought to have been Susi Ganesan's debut attempt, has finally arrived after many a hiccup.
Set in a village where fissiparous ideologies, superstition and bigotry rule the roost, "Virumbugiraen" reveals social consciousness and has a message or two for fanatics of caste and creed. Susi Ganesan, the writer-director touches upon these issues, but doesn't go deeply into them. And this wary approach is understandable. You can't indulge in ideals in a film that is conceived essentially as an entertainer. So he makes compromises in the form of a couple of masala numbers, which prove to be the weakening aspects of "Virumbugiraen". The exasperation is more because the song sequences follow one another too quickly and hinder the otherwise smooth narration.
The storyline is strong and different. For Sivan (Prashanth), a fire fighter, educating his two younger brothers is the only priority. With a dependent mother, the fatherless family means everything to him. But thankfully there is no theatrics. It is more a spontaneous, natural affection that the family shares. When Sivan comes across a like-minded Thavamani (Sneha) the attraction is inevitable. Her motherless siblings mean more to Thavamani than her own marriage and future. The story proceeds thus in a village steeped in dogma and torn apart by dissension.
This is another performance-oriented role for Prashanth, after "Thamizh". In a season swarming with angry young heroes on screen, comes the calm, quiet but strong-headed Sivan. The profundity of the character has been understood and enacted with maturity by Prashanth. His unruffled reaction when he realises that Thavamani's letter to him has got into his family's hands is an example. Both the director and the hero make a mark here. Serious acting comes easily to Prashanth it is in the area of romantic expressions that he could do even better. Prashanth's agility in the stunt sequences is another point in his favour.
Pitted against him in a solid role, is Sneha for whom again "Virumbugiraen" was the first film she began working for. Be it the scene where the entire village gathers to listen to her romantic note to Sivan or when she brushes aside her father who throws her out and enters the house with defiance, this young actor proves her mettle. An attractive combination of beauty and talent! Anger, affection or passionate love, Sneha scores with the ease of a veteran.
Nasser, as her subdued but unrelenting father is effective as always. After "Mudhal Mariyadhai" it is another worthy appearance for A. K. Veerasami. Easwari Rao as the friend of Thavamani also makes an impression.
The beautifully captured bucolic milieu is an example of the skilled camera work of K.V.Anand - Ramji. Thotta Dharani's art, Suresh Urs's editing and Venki's special effects are the other laudable aspects of "Virumbugiraen."
The revival of family oriented stories, minus the melodrama, augurs well for Tamil cinema. And in that context "Virumbugiraen" is a welcome change.
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