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THE FAMILY set-up and the popular jig (Dhanush, with Chaaya Singh there and Sindhu Dhulani here) are very much like in "Thiruda Thirudi," the wiry lad taking on the gargantuan henchman with unnatural ease is like in "Kuththu," the big talk and conceit of the hero is as in "Dhum," the dhoti clad bad man is the same you saw in "Machchi," the vamp and the hero dancing on the street is a repeat of a similar scene from director Ramana's own debut venture, "Thirumalai" (of course, there it was a rotund Kiran while here it is a slim Sanghavi) ... you can go on and on, but to what end? You try hard to find something original in Saravanas Creations' "Sullaan," (U/A) ... well ...

Subramani or Sullaan (Dhanush) as he is known among friends, is a happy-go-lucky adolescent, who realises his responsibility only when it's too late.

His father (Manivannan), a lorry driver, tries to tame his impulsive and reckless son, but nothing comes of it. Sullaan locks horns with the most ruthless and cantankerous underworld don Soori (Pasupathi). Each swears to wring the neck of the other and the result is a bloody one-to-one within the prison walls. At every point you wait for all the big talk to culminate in some intelligent move from Sullaan, but he keeps you disappointed till the end. The snag lies in the fact that at every turn the dialogue gives away much of what is to follow. The friend who develops a special affinity for Sullaan, you surely know, would meet his end soon. This is just one example. "Sullaan" has Ramana's story, screenplay, dialogue and direction.

Dhanush plays his part well, but there's nothing outstanding about the performance. Voice modulation is an area he could work on.

Sindhu Dhulani is one of those innumerable new faces you come across in film after film — a few dances in skimpy costume and a scene or two with the hero, after which she just fades into the background. But with the fourth (or is it third?) duet your exasperation level touches an all time high. Neither the heroine nor the director has bothered much about synchrony in her lip movements.

The way Pasupathi's roles are conceived could make him a mere caricature. You saw the extension of "Arul" in "Machchi." And it is a similar portrayal that you come across in "Sullaan." The constant growls, empty threats and rolling of eyes are beginning to get repetitive. An experienced theatre artiste coming to nought because of stereotypical theatrics is sad.

Easwari Rao, on the other hand, comes out with a meaningful portrayal. The scene on the bus where she gives a piece of her mind to a man who tries to misbehave with her is a highlight. But her monologue in the final scene is melodramatic and contrived. Another moving performance comes from Manivannan.

The film does not have a separate comedy track. There's no need for one — a skinny young boy beating up the bad men black and blue and they running away in fear (!) is hilarious. The hero spiralling in the air and the villain swimming in it also come as comic relief. Added to it you have the most docile, innocuous police force in whose very presence Sullaan indulges in a combat that ends in murder!

Vidyasagar's music has all the racy beats right in place. Only that they make very little impact.

Just because the role of a college goer from a lower middle class family suits Dhanush to a T, he should not be made to repeat the socio-economic scenario in film after film. The young actor just out of his teens, who could select his roles so beautifully in his first three films, now seems to be slipping in making the right choices.


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