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"Sindhaamal Sidharaamal"

"Sindhaamal Sidharaamal" ... a neat venture that loses track towards the end.

AMID FLICKS which tell you that love is the be-all and end-all of life, comes Velu International's "Sindhamaal Sidharaamal", with a sensible strain. It may not boast of a popular star cast but the logical treatment makes "Sindhaamal... " stand apart. Yet as if the maker himself could not take in too much of a good thing, he chooses to flounder in contrived sequences towards the end.

"Sindhaamal ... " is writer-director Shanmugavel's first attempt. The lyrical quality of the title deserves special mention. And from the beginning till nearly three quarters of the film, the dignity that he lends to his characters, the realism in the story and the overall neatness of the screenplay give you a pleasant surprise. Clichés and quagmires are reserved for the last part, after the hero succeeds in his mission. However, you cannot ignore the lofty manner in which "Sindhaamal ... " begins to unfold.

Saravanan (Abbas) craves to make a mark as an artist. Always seen with his paint and brush, his only aim is to go to the city and enrol himself in the College of Arts there. His father Kandasamy (Rajesh) who owns a grocery shop in the village wants his son to get into the family business. So the angry father disowns Saravanan and Janaki (Nandita) the girl he is in love with fails to understand his passion for art, but nothing deters the determined young man. Braving all odds he realises his ambition. All that's fine, but the heroine's tale of woe begins at this stage, only to lead to a stilted climax.

There are quite a few confusing issues in "Sindhaamal ... " The villain who vows to wipe out Saravanan, is seen joining those singing and assisting him in a mammoth art project. Why Janaki's sister in law becomes cantankerous all of a sudden, is a puzzle. And why his friend Kannan and sister Vasantha spin a yarn about Janaki's wedding is again very vague.

Abbas looks almost rotund in "Sindhaamal ... " And his moustache is rather funny — sticking out in all its artificiality in some sequences, missing in a few and looking light and pencil-drawn in others. This apart, it is a neat, underplayed essay by Abbas.

Nandita comes out with an expressive portrayal. Abbas' bubbly college mate and friend Razia (Sona) adds pep. Ilavarasu's inimitable lingo is, as always, enjoyable. And Rajesh with an absorbing performance remains in your thoughts for long. Why is this veteran not seen in character roles more often?

Among Bharani's compositions "Satru Mun Kidaitha ... " and "Theee ... Theeyae" have melodic touches. Kumar V. Jai's camera captures the scenic beauty of the hills and waters in all its eloquence. Remiyan's art stands out for the naturalness in the sequences involving the village household. Significantly, the film has no romantic song sequence with a whole group of girls and boys gyrating in the background. Neither is there a comedy track that abounds in double entendres.

Shanmugavel ought to have avoided stuffing too many incidents into the storyline all of a sudden. At the same time he has to be complimented for a clean venture — a feature that is so hard to come by these days.


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