Natural performances even from novices transport the viewer to the villages near Rajapalayam straightway. Helming the proceedings is Sasi who vividly showcases the mindset, attitude and approach of the rural folk in Poo (U), a Moserbaer-Nesagee cinemas production.
Sasi has adapted the short story, ‘Veyilodu Poi,’ to the cinema format, giving a poetic touch to the proceedings. Srikanth isn’t a villager in the real sense because he goes away to the city to become an engineer; so he is somewhat lacking in rusticity. The hero comes to the limelight after a long hibernation, and though his role isn’t as powerful as Parvathi’s, he fills the bill. After his debut with Sasi (Roja Koottam) Srikanth teams up with the director once again and things should augur well for him.
The heroine as the fulcrum of a film is rare in Tamil cinema, which abounds in larger-than-life heroes and Machiavellian villains — Parvathi, yet another Kerala import, enters the Tamil scene in a pivotal role and makes optimum use of it. Playing a rustic belle to the hilt in attire and expression, she also gets the body language right.
Maari (Parvathi) dotes on her uncle’s son Thangarasu (Srikanth) and in childhood the two were always seen together. Times change and Thangarasu becomes a city-bred while poverty makes Maari a labourer at the nearby cracker unit. The girl, however, is steadfast in her love for Thangarasu. But when he eventually begins to realise her feelings for him, his father has other plans. In story and characterisation, Poo is far from predictable. And extremely natural too! Maari’s stand about her lover, and her happy married life are appreciably realistic. Apt casting is a plus. Ramu, Srikanth’s poor father for whom self-respect is a precious commodity, Janaki who so perfectly enacts the role of Parvathi’s widowed mother, Kandasamy, the teashop owner who has a reason for keeping his wife and child away from the rest of the world, Inba Nila, the friend of Maari, who is completely at home in the role of a village teenager, Maari’s loving husband Inigo, her indulgent brother (Veerasamar also handles the artwork in Poo creditably), Mayil, the girl who plays Maari Junior and Subhash, the young Thangarasu — Sasi has given each a uniqueness that makes them unforgettable. Only Peria Karuppu Thevar and Paravai Muniyamma are unnecessary additions.
First time technicians such as cinematographer P.G. Muthiah and composer S.S. Kumaran have worked hard. The pallavi of ‘Choo Choo Maari’ sounds more like recitation, (Na. Muthukumar’s lyric breathes in an authentic bucolic scenario) but the rest of Kumaran’s songs are promising.
The film has a poignant message too — it underlines the aftermath of consanguineous marriages. But Sasi could have avoided the docu-feel in these sequences. The scenes at the teashop are funny at times but appear contrived after a point.
If Poo reminds you of worthy films with a rustic backdrop, it is only a compliment to Sasi. Poo is his fourth film. In content and treatment you could place it first!
Cast: Srikanth, Parvathi
Storyline: Maari is unable to marry the man she loves, yet she’s happy until …
Bottomline: Glimpses of a village that’s true-to-life!