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SOLELY DEPENDENT on the incredibly agile Kutty, KR Infotainment (P) Limited's "Dancer" is a morale booster for the physically challenged. Writer-director KR deserves appreciation for his guts in projecting a hero with impairment in an otherwise commercial venture. Also it is to the maker's credit that "Dancer" has no contrived romance or duets. Yet in his eagerness to reiterate the positive message he wishes to send across, KR goes overboard. You don't have to subject a physically challenged young man to every sort of slight and humiliation possible, before driving home the point that despite impediments he scales heights.

Kutty (Kutty) loses his right leg in childhood (the reason is given in the flash back). He is a Man Friday in the apartment complex where he stays. Sheer perseverance and passion for the art make him an ace dancer. And he faces a lot of insults before he's given a chance to prove his mettle. Divya (Kaniha), who is harsh initially, stands by Kutty and does everything possible to make him an achiever. Probably it is not fair to expect Kutty to bowl you over with his performance when it is clear that dance is his forte. Yet you cannot help feeling that he could have worked harder on his expressions. But as a dancer he is brilliant.

Choreographers Kala, Brinda and Kalyan have done a commendable job, bringing in movements that highlight Kutty's prowess. Kutty's friend, Master Udayaraj (the boy at the teashop) comes out with an impressive portrayal. Robert, who is Kutty's ruthless competitor Arun, proves that he is capable villain material once again (after "Maaran") — you can ignore the gimmicks. The skill in dance is a major plus for the actor.

The supposed-to-be light-hearted lyrics (!) of the "Switch Potta" song makes you wonder about the lyricist — Na. Muthukumar can definitely be more imaginative.

And Pravin Mani's music doesn't help the number either. Certain sequences begin and end abruptly — like the scene on the beach where Kutty stands enamoured of the music that falls on his ears. However the humorous touches blend well with the story.

`Kaaka' Radhakrishnan yet again shows that talent can shine in any role. Manivannan, who is becoming a rarity in films these days, portrays the typical, harassed film producer wonderfully. Kaniha is apt and if she and her mother irritate you with their blatant rudeness, it is the director's fault.

The crudeness in many of the characters is downright unpalatable — cultured people don't behave in such fashion.

And Divya's mother living in reasonable comfort, stating that the economic scenario in the household (!) makes it necessary for the daughter to take up an acting career, sounds funny.

Avoidable melodrama, and graphics — the religious kind — that you would generally not associate with a social theme are strange inclusions.

Despite a logical story line, a docu-feel does crop up now and then.

The ideal is lofty. But the insensitivity in execution (for the most part) is disconcerting. Some years ago, "Mayuri" that had a similar theme catapulted Sudha Chandran to fame. "Dancer," which ends on an optimistic note, could do the same for Kutty.


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