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Anbe Sivam

"Anbe Sivam"... a laudable effort.

YOU CANNOT but sing paeans to the tremendous talent of this actor. Kamal Haasan may falter now and then in his choice of roles, but just when he is falling into a rut, like a phoenix he rises and returns with a bang — as he does with Lakshmi Movie Makers' "Anbe Sivam". Kamal's versatility has been showcased yet again, with striking impact.

And after the "Aalavandhan" debacle, Kamal Haasan seems to have realised that letting out too much about the make-up and raising expectations to frenzied levels could prove disastrous.

So the scarred, thick-lensed visage and the arresting appearance in the flashback sequences come as a surprise. The hero has lost the rotundity that you saw in his recent films and sports a refreshing look. And to say that his performance is excellent would only be redundant. Kamal Haasan has once again done Tamil cinema proud.

"Anbe Sivam" is an appropriately titled story of Nallasivam (Kamal Haasan), an idealist, social activist and communist, whose past is poignant and present moving. His sense of humour that remains with him through his ups and downs is the strong point of the character. Nallsivam and Anbarasu meet each other at the Bhubaneswar airport on a rainy night and fate throws them together for the next three days before they reach Chennai.

Well-defined characters, a strong storyline and intelligent screenplay are the other vital ingredients of " ... Sivam". Kamal Haasan's diligence that has gone into the chiselling of the story and screenplay is only too evident. (Though there is still room for a little pruning). One is familiar with the wit of Madhan the cartoonist. His clever fielding of reader's queries, you have read with a smile. It is the same kind of sparkle that you witness in his dialogue too. Enjoyable is the word.

Sundar. C. is the director. Where had all this clarity of thought been hidden all this while, you wonder.

"Anbe Sivam" will be another milestone in Madhavan's career. "Run" proved that he could be a successful action hero. After "Kannathil Muthamittal", "Anbe ... " shows that he could score as a performer also. His portrayal will remain with the viewer for long.

Kiran exposes herself as an actress whose face can reveal myriad expressions. You hope the actress continues in this vein. It is generally in K. Balachander's films that one finds even minor characters making a mark — it happens in " ... Sivam." Be it `Pasi' Sathya, the tea stall owner, Yuhi Sethu, the suave thief, Sivaji, the station master, Ilavarasu, the inspector or the young man who plays the role of Pounraj, they are all memorable. And kudos to Uma Riyaz Khan — that single scene with Kamal speaks volumes.

Vidyasagar is scaling great heights as a composer. The theme song and the melodious "Pon Vaasam" are pointers. Vairamuthu's lyrics deserve special mention here. The rerecording in the fight sequence and the theme music played relevantly throughout are the other highpoints. Then there is a creditable array of technicians — Arthur Wilson's commendable camera work, M. Prabhakaran's impressive art and Sai Suresh's apt editing are the other pluses.

Madhavan's irritation is at times unwarranted. A bad rich man, his good kind daughter, poor boy rich girl romance and its repercussions are clichéd lines — but the difference in " ... Sivam" lies in the treatment. And when everyone knew about Sivam's street theatre ideologies how come Kandaswamy Padaiyachi (Nasser) the businessman with acumen, was not aware of the nature of the man?

" ... Sivam" claims that compassion and empathy are qualities that make a person God — a point that religious leaders always dwell on. Ironically "Baba" tried to impart the same.

What "Pammal K. Sambandham" could not and "Panchathanthiram" could only to a certain extent, as far as the box office goes, "Anbe Sivam" should. Those who wail about flimsy film plots and formula fare, in all fairness ought to encourage laudable ventures such as these.


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