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"Azhagiya Theeyae ... "

Prasanna and Navya Nair in "Azhagiya Theeyae" ... for those who long for healthy fun.

AMIDST RUN of the mill love themes and implausible action, Duet Movies' "Azhagiya Theeyae ... " comes as a whiff of fresh air. A simple storyline neatly narrated, the film is ably backed by Viji's dialogue. The comic digs, light-hearted barbs and humorous verbal exchanges in this breezy romantic story, keep your spirits enlivened. "Azhagiya ... " may not boast of big names in its cast, but each actor slips into the given role beautifully. Radha Mohan makes an impressive debut with his story, screenplay and direction. A film doesn't need garish sets, sexy gyrations or foreign locations to make it tick, is what Radha Mohan proves with "Azhagiya Theeyae ... "

Chandran (Prasanna) begins as an aspiring assistant director in films. It is a hand to mouth existence for him and his close friends, Murthi (Jayavarma), Bala (Bala) and Gopi (Kumaravel) whom the gang refers to as `Chithappa.' Nandini (Navya Nair) is apprehensive about men in general because the ones in her family, her father and brother, are an unscrupulous, cantankerous twosome. So when the father (Pyramid Natarajan) fixes up a match for her, she resists. Prakash Raj plays the fiancé. When things seem to get out of hand she seeks the help of her friend's brother, who in turn, turns to Chandran for an idea to help Nandini. The `idea' leads to unexpected happenings that are an enjoyable roller coaster ride for the most part. "Azhagiya Theeyae ... " has sentiment, love, joy and sadness too. But they come in right measure and are appealingly underplayed.

The production manager grumbling as he goes by and the young man on the road dropping his things with a shriek when an elated Prasanna walks past are situations that remind you of the old films of K. Balachandar where even miniscule characters made their presence felt. But it is puzzling why Radha Mohan has adopted the flashback technique. Devadarshini is absolutely redundant. And again, why a tragic sequence in between? It is more a distraction from the smooth flowing humour.

Comedy is a genre that is new to Prasanna. "Azhagiya Theeyae ... " is his third release and you see the young man improving in expression with every venture. His voice modulation in the humorous scenes in particular, is impressive. Navya Nair as the heroine passes muster. Jayavarma plays his part well. So does Bala. But the best is Kumaravel. This is a `chithappa' you'll remember for long. As a comedy storywriter he has you in splits. With a solid theatre experience, the two come out with spontaneous portrayals. Another character whom you can think about and laugh long after you've watched the film is the house owner `Annachi,' essayed with ease by M. S. Bhaskar. Eloquent and at home in the Tirunelveli dialect, Bhaskar has you laughing your lungs out. Ramba and Abbas dancing to the "Dil Mera ... " song has been very differently captured. In fact it's the same with all the song sequences. Nowhere are they routine or predictable. Skilful editing (M. Kasi Viswanathan) enhances the scenes further.

Kavivarman's "Vizhigalin Aruginil" is captivating with the lyricist dwelling so elaborately on the subject of love, without once using the word ("kadhal") anywhere in the number. With Ramesh Vinayakam's scintillating score the words gain greater lustre. But you wish the composer, who has sung the song too, had not allowed himself to sound so nasal. Otherwise Ramesh's prowess as a musician comes to the fore in the songs and the re-recording. At certain points there's a sense of déjà vu. Like the hum-worthy, "Ullalae ... " that reminds you of the popular "Nenjirukkum Engalakkum ... " from "Nenjirukkum Varai" — an MSV composition of yore. The theme of the number too bears a strong similarity.

"Azhagiya Theeyae ... " is a heartening experience for filmgoers who yearn for worthy fare in the Tamil tongue. Treated with finesse and presented in style, this Prakash Raj production is a pleasure to watch.


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