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Vijayakanth and Kiran in "Thennavan"... a lacklustre show.

THIS TIME round Vijayakanth is the Chief Election Commissioner. And a very different one in that even if it is the Prime Minister he would talk to him only in Tamil and it is the PM who has to switch over to the CEC's native tongue! Also he is not one of those aged, experienced Government officers, but an energetic, middle-aged bureaucrat whose stunts stun the regular, bulky henchmen. And as if these were not enough, he would break into duets with the heroine just before a crucial scene, in green locations and hilly terrain, in gaudy outfits! Of course with the group dancers in tow.

But it is not as though there's nothing positive about Captain Cine Creations' "Thennavan". In fact till the half way mark, the film moves at a reasonably quick pace. (Trying times are reserved for the second half.) The film loses focus after Thennavan is put behind bars. Also his five-point agenda about the conduct of election is interesting and sensible.

Even at birth Thennavan (Vijayakanth) shows he is not made of ordinary stuff when he comes out alive from a dead mother's womb! Of course, for a hero anything's possible. He is an astute kid who makes great strides. And when the time comes he takes on the big, bad men without fear. Kiran is the leading lady, unnatural in expression and washed out in appearance. Her overtures are neither new nor enjoyable. You expect the proxy Chief Minister, Pushpalatha (Urvasi) to do something concrete. But she does precious little. And Thennavan always hangs around in Tamil Nadu as if he were in charge of only one State.

Chief Minister Ilanthiraiyan (Nasser) and his coterie are made to lick the dust, when Thennavan exposes their foul play during election time. The former takes revenge as expected but the final victory is of course the hero's. Nasser is the typical politician. But what has he tried to do with his dialogue delivery? The lip movement that looks almost grotesque does not make any positive impact. Vivek with his weird accent and epileptic bouts is just vapid.

Roles like that of "Ramana" add dignity to the hero's image. But those like in "Thennavan" seem bent on marring it. One has to blame the shoddy screenplay and inept direction. C.N.R. Manoharan's dialogue is what you have heard Vijayakanth utter in innumerable films. Ramesh Kumar's camera hurts the eye in the press meet sequence, when Vijayakanth announces the five new election rules. The jarring background sound in the scene makes it an aural menace too. Premalatha Vijayakanth's costume sense needs thorough refurbishing.

"Thennavan" would have been a tailor made story for Vijayakanth but for the flawed script, clichéd dialogue and unappealing caricatures. Somewhere down the line everyone from the director (M. Nandakumaran) and the hero seem to have lost interest.


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