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"Kadhal Kondain"

IF YOU thought their "Thulluvadho Ilamai" was a freak hit, the team is out to prove you wrong. R. K. Productions' "Kadhal Kondain" is the story of Vinod (Dhanush), an orphan who grows up in a home for destitute children.

His intelligence procures for him admission to an engineering college in the city.

He is reluctant to leave, but the Father (Nagesh) at the orphanage insists that he goes out into the world. He is confident that Vinod's astuteness would take him places. But it is in the city that the bottled up frustration of Vinod's childhood manifests itself and makes him an introvert and a crook. A little of "Sigappu Rojakkal" and a little of "Guna" — but on a very different plane.

The childhood scars have not been caused bya stepmother's cruelty or an uncaring dad's callousness. Thus even the flashback in Selvaraghavan's storyline is different. The cruel world that the poverty stricken children are exposed to haunts you for long. The film rightly comes with an Adults Only tag.

Dhanush is the most unconventional leading man in the industry today. Probably that is what sets him apart. Lean and gawky, this young boy looking like a self-conscious kid who's just finished school tellingly portrays the turmoil of a young man traumatised too early in life. A seasoned performer may have brought in a little theatrics — but not Dhanush. In the most natural of portrayals the actor projects an entire gamut of emotions.

Sonia Agarwal, the debutante, is a beauty. And this heroine doesn't lag behind in expressions either. Sudeep, another new face from Mumbai, has an important role, which he shoulders with confidence. As the friend Adhi, he is a suitable foil for the hero. He begins as a braggart but is soon subdued by the silent, manipulative Vinod. Veterans Nagesh and Srikanth leave their imprint in the cameos.

Yuvan Shankar's Raja's pleasing melodies bear a strong Ilaiyaraja influence. "Devadhaiyai Kandaen" (Harish Raghavendar) and "Nenjodu ... " touch you. Unnikrishnan's (with Sujatha) rendition of the latter is particularly appealing. All the same it is the theme music in the climax that bowls you over. The dance and stunt choreography for the scene, Dhanush's reactions, the ambience — everything about the sequence deserves applause. But Yuvan could have gone a little milder in the rerecording at some places, where the music is almost a din. All the technical credits in the film — G. K's art, Rambo Rajkumar's stunts, K. S. Raghunath and V. T. Avinash's editing, Arvind Krishna's camera and Kalyan's and Prasanna's dance choreography — deserve special mention.

Selvaraghavan has stuff. His story, screenplay, dialogue and direction are focussed and hit the bull's eye straightway — hardly missing the mark.


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