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"Parasuram" ... Arjun and action dominate.

ARJUN AND action are inseparable. Beat him up black and blue, shoot him down or tie him up upside down with one leg and one hand dangling, he would rise like a phoenix to vanquish the baddies! After all, that's the hero's job. The patriotic strain is another constant in his films. Hence what naturally follows is a concrete message for youth. But should the director make the entire exercise so obviously preachy? Constant advice could tire the viewer, as it does after a point, in Anbalaya Films' "Parasuram", where the hero is the auteur too.

The film moves at lightning speed in the first half, despite speed breakers, Kiran and Gayatri Raghuram. But things come to a grinding halt at the point where, like our heroes from time immemorial, Parasuram, instead of killing the villain, drops his gun and opts for fisticuffs. He could have easily shot the culprit at point blank range and ended matters with the tempo intact. In fact even later there are umpteen places where the tale could have been cut short. But no, they don't let you leave that easily.

Parasuram (Arjun), an upright police officer, faces a different kind of foe this time — one who lures frustrated youngsters into his lair of terrorism, thereby creating a whole clan of motivated criminals. Parasuram is faced with the Herculean task of making these young men understand the selfish nature of their `guru.' And he achieves it through ways that are least credible.

The role is tailor-made for Arjun. Apart from histrionics and stunts, Arjun is appealing as a dancer also. Kiran ought to pay more attention to her makeup that has colours dabbed in patches all over her face, her costume, hairstyle and most important her weight, to avoid looking absolutely lustreless.

Gayathri, as the garrulous friend of the hero, begins well, and even when you think she might have a solid role to play, she turns out to be just another weighty heroine in tow.

Abbas does a neat job. Goundamani provides a few laughs and also some unsavoury humour. His unwarranted digs at an agonised old man who comes to the police station for help, irritate the viewer. Targeting a community unnecessarily is not always funny. If it is true that A. R. Rahman made producer K. Prabhakaran wait quite a while before he could compose music for "Parasuram", then the wait wasn't worth it. The songs hardly impress the listener. Praveen Mani has taken care of the re-recording that is sometimes different, sometimes loud and at times effective, as in the fight sequences.

Writer-director Arjun's intentions are noble. It is the execution that falters, especially in the last leg — for about three quarters of an hour before it is curtains.


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