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"Anbae Anbae"

LOVE ON screen always sells — provided the end is a happy one. At least that's what filmmakers strongly believe and in keeping with this unwritten rule comes "Anbae Anbae" from AVM.

Set against a familiar backdrop of familial love and filial piety and sprinkled with human frailties, this latest offering from the formidable production house is different from its earlier box office bonanza, "Gemini."

The rich family under the stewardship of old parents (Nambiar and Manorama) and comprising their sons, son in law, daughter, daughters in law and grandchildren, is gearing up for the 80th birthday celebrations (of Nambiar) in the family. Vishali (Sharmilee), a granddaughter, enters the home for the first time because a feud had separated her parents from the rest of the household. She meets Cheenu (Shaam), her uncle's son, and the two fall in love. What they don't anticipate is the intrusion of another cousin, Shiva (Yugendran).

This is Sharmilee's second film and she sails through the role of an absolutely soft girl. But can't our heroines be shown in a more natural light? The portrayal takes you to the Sharmila Tagore-Asha Parekh days when heroines were irritatingly good and boringly nice. Shaam is his appealing self and it is time he gets a break. Good at dance and expressions, the only sore point about Shaam is his not-so-convincing voice. And despite his rugged appearance and blatant rudeness Yugendran is an impressive foil for the hero. Soaked in melodrama is Manorama's enactment of the role of grandmother. Things could have been a little subtler, you feel. And surprisingly "Thalaivaasal" Vijay, whom you always thought was a natural actor, toes he line. His frenetic outbursts ought to have been toned down. "Poovilangu" Mohan scores with his expressive eyes and dignified portrayal. Mohan Ram, the son in law, who is supposed to be a doctor, is comfortably settled in his father in law's place and has little to do except nod his head now and then, smile genially and fruitlessly try a jig or two. In fact, few in the galaxy of television stars that you see in "Anbae Anbae" have been offered scope to perform.

Ramya Krishnan making a seductive appearance for a song sequence is an obvious inclusion, probably to re-create the "O Podu" record of "Gemini".

The title song (Hariharan, Sadhana Sargam) and SPB's solo, "Idhudhan Sandhoshama", have melodic touches, Bharadwaj style.

At a time when the break up of the joint family system is almost complete, flicks such as these with a huge family of aunts, cousins, grandpa and the like are anachronistic. Yet scriptwriter and director Manibharati, takes you into a home where you witness an affectionate drama unfold — so what if there is nothing new about it. All the same, the real villain of the entire cinematic tale is the rather ludicrous climax. A dog stopping wedding proceedings and going on all twos, beseeching the hero to take the mangalsutra from him is a bit too much, whatever allowances one tries to make! The innovation only proves comical. Surely storywriter S. Raja could have thought of a better way of bringing the lead pair together.


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