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"Jai" doesn't do justice to its hero.

AT NO point does Thyagarajan allow you to forget that he's the producer of Lakshmi Shanthi Movies' "Jai". He's seen to it that son Prashanth is the pivot of every scene. And it appears so obvious and overdone that there's the danger of the effort turning counter-productive.

"Jai" is a remake of the Telugu super hit "Adhi." Veerapandian (Thyagarajan) his wife and son return from the U.S., only to be murdered by his greedy relative, Vajravelu (Rajan P. Dev).

With his dad and mum killed, the young boy, Jai, is taken care of by the family's ever-faithful Nallamuthu (Rajkiran). The boy grows up and falls in love with his college mate Nandini (Anshu Ambani). And it is a guessable line that she turns out to be the villain's daughter. Jai returns to his village to avenge the death of his parents, retrieve the property Vajravelu has taken away and distribute it among the poor. The macho hero's eventual success unfolds on expected lines. It is not a difficult role for Prashanth. Yet if his portrayal looks clichéd it's the director (S. Narayan) who is to blame. The mannerisms seem contrived and the dialogue delivery lacks verve. The Prashanth, who impressed you in films such as "Jeans", "Kannedhirae Thondrinaal" and "Paarthaalae Paravasam" is missing in "Jai". But in the scene where he cries out loud for his dead uncle, Nallamuthu, he makes an impression. After a long period of search for the heroine, they've zeroed in on Anshu Ambani. Not great heroine material, you could say. But at least she's shown some wisdom, in not showing off much of that small paunch. In fact, she is one of those few heroines in recent times, to have worn saris for a duet sequence. A sleek Simran in an item number is a real compensation. Thyagarajan makes a comeback after 14 years in a miniscule role that offers little scope. You've seen Rajan P. Dev as a villain in so many films. But here he stretches his villainy beyond comprehensible limits that it becomes ridiculous. Where do you see a totally bad man suddenly going round biting people in the neck, like a vampire? Crude comedy from Dhamu, Vaiyapuri and Sathyan is another irritant. The college principal's stupidity and escapades in the name of humour only add to your woes. Janakaraj makes an appearance after a very long time and just as you sit back to enjoy his portrayal, the unwarranted scatological slant leaves no room for healthy enjoyment. Amidst all this cacophony, Rajkiran with his mellowed and mature approach comes as a refreshing change. The loftiness that the seasoned actor gives to any role he plays, is laudable. Seetha and Banupriya are the beautiful screen mothers of "Jai".

No other camera has hurt your eye as much as P. K. H. Dass's. The repeated, zooming close-ups and the irksome lighting in certain scenes play havoc on your senses. "Medhu Medhuvai ... " is a scintillating number from Manisharma.

The ballyhoo for many a scene including the opening one is puzzling because it gives the impression that something big is to follow suit, but nothing of that sort happens.

Probably the parameters that decide a hit in one language, may not apply to the same film when remade in another. Diehard NTR fans may have seen the legend himself in the grandson, Junior NTR, the hero of the original. And that explains "Adhi"s resounding success.


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