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Kadhal Virus

INITIALLY THE film did kindle a lot of interest — what with A. R. Rahman as composer and a fresh lead pair to boot. But because it has been in the making for too long, the euphoria that Sound & Light Studios' "Kadhal Virus" first triggered did wane a little. However, does the final product live up to expectations?

Apart from writing the story, screenplay and dialogue and directing "Kadhal ... ", Kadhir has taken on the additional onus of production too.

The film has its share of attractive elements — Coonoor captured in all its verdant beauty through the lens of Arjun Jena, a new technician, the alluring debutante Sridevi, the hero, Richard, who may not be the conventional, good-looking new face but is surely one with potential, and finally two melodious numbers from Rahman ("Sonnalum Kaetpadhillai ... " sung by Unni Krishnan and Harini will ring in your ears for a long time to come; Vaali's lyrics are also a highpoint of the song).

Kadhir's story is a melange of yesteryear love plots, viz., "Nenjil Oar Aalayam" and "Vasantha Maaligai", and thus transports you to the romantic interludes of the 1960s. Hence its romance ... the outmoded kind. For Deepak (Richard), it is love at first sight. The moment he sets eyes on Geetha (Sridevi), he falls for her. They meet in Coonoor a little later and our hero is heartbroken when he learns that she is already engaged. It is strange to see Raghuvaran being introduced as Geetha's fiancé! Especially after seeing him as the heroine's dad in films like "Bala", the pairing looks only risible. Thankfully he is understanding enough to leave way for Deepak. But things don't culminate in the marriage of Deepak and Geetha.

Communication gap leads to permanent estrangement and Geetha weds Rajiv (Abbas). It seems that the letters that the lovers write to each other are taken away by a jealous postman who is in love with our heroine! Come on Mr. Kadhir — in this age of cell phones and internet, surely this case of missing letters is a little too much even for the most credulous viewer! Again ridiculously Rajiv who is introduced as a management graduate from Mumbai, opts for a life of penury only to become a hero in films! Deepak, the martyr that he is, helps him.

The screenplay is incoherent in parts — the hero and the heroine get together as a romantic pair just a few minutes before the hero leaves for Chennai, yet funnily, later on there are flashbacks that show them sharing many moments of togetherness!

The dialogue and expressions are sometimes too cliched. The red rose- spread and the graphically engineered birds flying away symmetrically, so typical of its director, only give a sense of déjà vu.

The infection that this virus causes is as old as the hills.


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