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"Oorukku Nooru Paer"

Hans Kaushik, Julie and `Bharathi'Mani in "Oorukku Nooru Paer" ... driving home powerful messages.

CRIME AND capital punishment are the issues that director Lenin takes up in the national award winning venture, "Oorukku Nooru Paer", produced by Ananda Pictures. Lenin, who has won wide acclaim for his editing skills, was awarded the Golden Lotus for Best Direction for "Oorukku Nooru Paer". The film also bagged the Silver Lotus in the Best Regional Film category, for the year 2001.

The story is Jayakanthan's. Bala (Hans Kaushik) is a member of a Communist group that is fired by lofty ideals. Highly motivated, the members plan to steal from the wealthy for the common cause. Bala is an artist by profession. Bala's father in law (`Bharathi' Mani) understands his mindset, though he does try to point out the impractical approach of his son in law. But Bala's wife Saroja (Julie) is unable to understand her husband's theories or accept his ways.

The group needs funds and feels that looting the temple is no crime. Bala and a few others take up the assignment but what they don't anticipate is the sudden appearance of the temple priest in the dead of night. In the scuffle that follows the others escape and Bala ends up killing the priest, albeit inadvertently. The gallows await Bala. Meanwhile there is journalist Anandan (G. M. Sundhar) — a staunch believer in the power of the pen. Dead against capital punishment, he is on a signature campaign for the same. But nothing comes out of all this as far as Bala's case is concerned, and he is hanged to death. (As per his wish his body is sent for clinical study.)

Poignant scenes are many. The meeting between Bala and the priest's wife is one such. And when at the end of the meeting for the first time Bala has doubts about the way of life he had chosen, you realise that "Oorukku ... " is not just about the arguably unjustifiable law of capital punishment but also about the rightness of the ideologies projected. Addressing each other as `comrade', wielding weapons and ignoring family responsibilities can never help one, are other messages that come across strongly.

Alphonse Roy's camera, the angles and lighting that heighten the mood of the film warrant mention. Hans Kaushik could have been more expressive in certain sequences — like when he walks out of the house after an argument with his wife. Julie is apt and so is Sundhar. But it is `Bharathi' Mani who makes a tremendous impact as the helpless father, understanding father in law and loving grandpa. So does the priest's wife even if she appears only in two scenes.

But when a story such as this lends itself to brisk narration and crisper editing, why should it be deliberately slow? Also the dialogue at some points is on a plane that cannot be comprehended by all. When the aim of a creation is to reach out to all, these factors become important. Otherwise powerful films will continue to cater for only a niche audience. Strangely "Oorukku ... " has been refused tax exemption.

Choosing a line with absolutely no commercial frills even for its first production needs guts. Ananda Pictures, which seems to have it in plenty, has been well rewarded.


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