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"Chellamae" ... refreshing approach to the story.

FOR A change, the heroine is not just a glam ma'am, but has been given a solid role to prove her prowess. And prove she does. Reema Sen makes proper use of the meaty proposition in GJ Cinema's "Chellamae," scripted and directed by AR. Gandhi Krishna. "Chellamae" is the director's full-fledged commercial venture and he has done quite a commendable job of it. Notably, the story opens with the hero and heroine as a newly married couple — something that's not been attempted in recent times. Not that it stops Reema's sexy refrains or suggestive costume. In fact they seem to come with purpose.

Raghunandhan (Vishal) works for the Income Tax Department in Goa and life is bliss with his newly married wife Mythili (Reema) — but not for long. Vishwa (Bharat), the motherless adolescent and neighbour in Mythili's Chennai home, whom Mythili has a special attachment for, follows her to Goa. Raghu and Mythili fail to realise the imminent danger near them. Vishwa works out a devious plan to whisk away Mythili to Chennai and keep her in his dad's holiday home on the city's outskirts. The case of the missing wife is solved after a series of interesting incidents.

The only irksome aspect is when Raghu appears to believe the old woman near their house, who crudely states that Mythili had eloped with Vishwa. Thankfully he comes to his senses very soon and realises that his wife could be in danger.

The tempo maintained so effectively till the end is a definite draw. Gandhi's intelligence comes across in the screenplay, though you cannot accept everything of it as plausible.

The tall and dark Vishal makes his debut with "Chellamae." As Raghu he is apt. But there's scope to hone the skills of this hero material further.

Reema has immense scope to reveal talent too (the `voice' helps a lot). She makes a tremendous impact as the exasperated Mythili who tries to din sense into Vishal's twisted brain.

Her grief and remorse when she fails make quite an impression.

Bharat (of "Boys") is a surprise packet. The venom he spews on Vishal, the dignity and distance he maintains with Reema despite his possessiveness and his reckless anger make the character different.

Bharat does enough justice to the role. Girish Karnad does not have a great part to play but looking every inch a paralysed person, he makes his presence felt. Vivek's comic lines in "Chellamae" are a joy. But when you think he would be around to help Raghu in the climax, he vamooses abruptly.

Dialogue (Sujatha, Gandhi Krishna) is one of the strengths of the film. K. V. Anand uses the camera as a brush to paint enticing sketches. Thus cinematography aids in elevating the entire canvas to an eye-catching plane. Harris Jayaraj's score is already a blockbuster and like in the initial lullaby and the "Arya Udhadugal ... " Vairamuthu's lyrics lift the song even higher. V. T. Vijayan's editing warrants special mention.

Traces of "Guna" and "Kadhal Kondain" are evident in "Chellamae," but Gandhi Krishna's refreshing approach to the storyline gives the necessary spark to make the venture watch-worthy till the end.


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