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THE TITLE has an aesthetic touch and hence kindles your interest. Super Good Films' "Thithikudhae" is a decent, youthful flick from the house of R. B. Choudhary.

Films based on youth are aplenty these days. Only when things are told in a different yet appealing manner will they make an impression.

"Thithikudhae," in this context, gives a sense of déjà vu. But it is not just one movie that you are reminded of. Stories of children turning into lovers are dime a dozen. So are love triangles. And to top it is the ploy of serialising real life incidents, a la K. Balachander's "Thamarai Nenjam", though the purpose is different here.

Childhood friends Anu (Sridevi) and Venu (Jeeva) are forced to live far away from one another when Anu's father is transferred to the city. Even a decade of estrangement does not make them forget each other. Their innocent friendship blossoms into love.

Then follows a game that is at times interesting. The climax is what our storywriters have to work on. "Thithikudhae"s climactic sequences are again run of the mill.

The time and place factors confound the viewer. For instance — where exactly is the heroine when she is first introduced? And has she been visiting the village every year or is it just this time that the hero has missed seeing her?

This is Jeeva's second film and again under his home banner. The young man is not very comfortable in romantic expressions and in duets but he is effective in the serious sequences. When he pleads with the guests for the sake of his sister and when he breaks down to Vivek after the showdown with Sridevi, Jeeva shows that with proper guidance he could be moulded.

Sridevi has an alluring grace and charm about her. And her entry is like a whiff of fresh air. The success that eluded her sisters ought to come this heroine's way. Sprightly and energetic, Srutika, the second heroine, does a neat job. It is a dignified portrayal by Nasser as the understanding father of Jeeva.

Fathima Babu should try to appear less melodramatic. While on exaggerated expressions, the child Sruti could have been taught not to be so over expressive, especially in the song sequences. In contrast is the natural and childlike enactment by young Hari Prashanth. Both the children look cute. For Vivek and Prasanna Kumar (who takes care of the comedy track) this is another of their humorous sojourns. Both laughable and predictable, the duo should see to it that their comedy doesn't get too contrived and stale soon. The title track makes you sit up and take notice of the composer — it is Vidyasagar. "Thaayarum Ariyaamal ... " is a scintillating number beautifully rendered (Unni Krishnan). It is the context that is jarring. "Mainaavae ... Mainaavae" begins in S. A. Rajkumar fashion, adopts an Ilaiyaraja style and eventually enters the typical Vidyasagar terrain. Arthur Wilson's camera unobtrusively wins the heart and eyes. The screenplay, dialogue and direction (for the story by Aditya) have been handled by Brindhsarathi.

Another game of hide and seek for the season.


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