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Vaanam Vasappadum

"Vaanam Vasappadum" ... positive and poignant.

THE AIM is lofty and the message poignant. The story is different and the theme bold. R. K. Film & Digital Movie Makers' "Vaanam Vasappadum" that brings in new techniques in the shooting format, has its share of pluses ... and minuses.

Directing the camera, and the entire film can be onerous — but P. C. Sreeram does them creditably, with Mahesh Muthusami and K. Ravishankaran doing the digital filming. Praising P.C. for his skill with the lens can only be redundant. In "Vaanam" yet again, the innovative frames are a draw.

Karthik (Karthik Kumar) meets, falls in love and marries Poongothai (Poongothai Chandrahaasan). But soon after the wedding, disaster sets in. The car in which the newly weds are driving home breaks down. The two who are in a mood to gallivant board a bus at an hour that seems so obviously unsafe. They miss each other and when Poongothai alights at the last bus stop, she finds herself stranded alone and vulnerable. The hounds, lurking in the dark, zero in on the `prey.'

The atrocities of rape and its aftermath that haunt the victim even in the halls of justice have been handled before (in "Damini" for instance).

But Sreeram's denouement has appreciable finesse. And he sends a positive message across — that it is society that ought to be ashamed of the dastardly act. The understanding with which Poongothai's family helps her in her time of trauma soon after the incident, is heart-warming.

The ludicrous `accidents' that the heroine meets with when she's learning to drive and lawyer `Thalaivaasal' Vijay's awkward posers in court that embarrass the heroine give you a sense of déjà vu. You've seen sequences like these in films before. Of course, the court scenes remind you of "Damini" and the old Tamil remake of the Rekha starrer, "Vidhi."

Debutant Poongothai is a clear let down. If P. C. thought that he could work wonders with the camera and make his heroine look appealing, he has not succeeded. At least she could have worked on her expressions, particularly in the first half.

Only in the second half there is some attempt at a plausible portrayal. In contrast Karthik Kumar who makes his debut as hero is controlled, effective and almost mature. Nasser's impairment is more an irritant. He's not totally mute either. Why could not have Revathi appeared in court instead of him? In fact, most of the court sequences lack depth because nobody seems to be bothered about bringing out anything concrete. The murder of the man at the scene of crime who comes to Poongothai's rescue is conveniently ignored.The father and sister are wallowing in prison. But the caring (!) daughter that she is, Poongothai just goes out and gets married! Not once does she as much as talk about the father's plight. Revathi looks washed out — her portrayal however is like a whiff of fresh air.

Lara and Sreeram's screenplay could have surely made Sujatha's story profound. Mahesh's compositions are scintillating. "Uyirae" is the best in music, picturisation and lyrics (Kavivarman). Jayendra joins the band of new lyric writers on the Tamil film firmament. Kasi Viswanathan's editing deserves special mention. Karthik's diatribe to the media in the final scene looks contrived, giving a docu-touch to the drama.


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