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Marked by well-defined characters ... "Paarai".

HE MAY seem callous and indifferent but beneath the façade is a kind, helping heart. Almost always there are takers for such heroes, whom viewers are only too familiar with. So here's another rough, rugged looking, likeable man in Mass Movie Makers' "Paarai."

"Arasu" augured well for Sarath Kumar. "Paarai" should follow suit. Durairaj (Sarath Kumar) is a lorry driver who wears his rudeness like a medal. Bruised by the unpleasant events in childhood, he becomes a cynic and a recluse. His constant companion, cleaner Jayaram (Jayaram) is diametrically opposite — an unstoppable chatterbox and a loving family man. Just when Jayaram's zest begins to turn a little stale, the jolt comes. The screenplay gets a boost at this point.

Sarath Kumar lends credibility to the role with his robust looks and penetrating eyes. He has done away with melodrama totally. And when he breaks down at the death of his well-wisher, the grief looks very natural.

Surely "Paarai" has provided ample scope for Sarath and the actor has made good use of the opportunity. All characters, major and minor, have definite, defining traits. Actually that is the strength of the film. If you have a belligerent Vasantha (Ramya Krishnan) you also have a quiet and subdued Mallika (Meena) as a foil. Seeing Ramya in a performing role is a rarity — "Paarai" offers her the chance. And the way in which she uses her lashing tongue to keep preying wolves at bay has an appealing sadness. Both the heroines (Ramya and Meena) for that matter have played their parts commendably. The same can be said about the crude yet caring Vinu Chakravarthy, the petty thief City Babu, and the big-mouthed comedian Crane Manohar.

Another not-often-seen feature is a child talking and behaving like one. Baby Swetha's naturalness is noteworthy.

If you can overlook the loudness in the re-recording, Sabesh-Murali, the composers, have done a fairly pleasing job. "En Thai ... " sung by Krishnaraj is a soothing piece. The meaningful lyric (Pa.Vijay) adds to the impact. Peter Haynes' stunt choreography also deserves a word of praise. Some of the crane and top angle shots by cameraman S. Sriram are visually striking.

The husband (Vijayan) is a villain but he is never shown as harming the wife. Yet when his legs are crushed under a bulldozer and he is writhing in pain, the wife who earlier pleads with the hero that her house is spared watches passively! The police suddenly appears to arrest the hero! Till then you are given to understand that the police force never entered the village. Here the director falters. And when the story, screenplay, dialogue and direction are by K. S. Ravikumar, an experienced technician, such lapses appear rather strange.


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