Director: Prabhu Solomon
Cast: Sibi, Nila, Prakashraj
Storyline: A capable football team and its coach bite the dust - corruption is the cause.
Bottomline: Much effort has gone into this game. Every frame of `Leeladharan alias Lee' (U) reiterates hero Sibi's urge to make the most of the opportunity his actor-producer dad Satyaraj has created for him. And he has succeeded. Sibi has worked hard and it shows. The diligence should reap dividends for the young actor who has been in the wings and in his father's shadow since his debut. It's a role with potential and Sibi is impressive. Just as in `Kokki,' writer-director Prabhu Solomon's Leeladharan speaks little. He and his group of friends have a mission in life. They are a team of committed, well-groomed sportsmen (footballers) whose dreams are dashed to the ground by an apathetic bureaucracy and a vindictive politician.
Interesting turnVendetta has a purpose in `Lee.' The boys are young and inexperienced and so their plans of revenge go awry. Solomon makes these sequences suspenseful, natural and credible. Eventually they find a way to tackle the crisis, thanks to the satellite channel, Sun. This is yet another interesting turn. Cinematic, yet positive! But there's more ... Sibi ought to have chosen a film like `Lee' for his debut. The strong story and characterisation would have catapulted him to the big league straightway. At least now, post-`Lee' Sibi should pick roles with care. Nila is a lot like Simran you think, till you notice the waistline! Her expressions are apt, though the loony part is a bit overdone. Lip sync could have been given more thought to. Prakashraj in a purposeful cameo shines as always. The best part of Solomon's characters is that even the smallest (like the father of the boy who jumps to his death) has individuality.
Full of energyThe skill with which the camera (Rajesh Yadav) moves through the alleys, by lanes and tenements is credit-worthy. Again like in `Kokki,' many sequences have been shot in busy areas and hence look realistic. The camera pans, circles, zooms energetically and ... at times hurts. The silhouettes, montages, lighting and tones are eye-catching. Anal Arasu proves an asset in the incredible fight sequences the quick movements of his stunt choreography are mind-blowing. Imman's loud background beats are a marring factor of the fights but the hymnal music of the sober scenes is soothing at times. Scissoring intelligently to make matters taut is editor Harsha. Vairabalan's art excels in authenticity. When Lee chases the murderers who kill in full public view, Solomon makes you believe that he's the typical hero hounding the wrongdoer. But when the real purpose comes out, you can't help smiling in surprise. Dialogue is another accentuating factor of `Lee.' Pithy and profound! But why the aberration in the form of an item number (`Rock and Roll')? Gross and grotesque! Just when you feel Solomon is tying up loose ends rather crisply, the climax is prolonged by more melee, gore and bloodshed in formulaic fashion. On the face of it, this Naadhaambal Film Factory production may look like just another upright man's rising against corruption in high places. But the aspect dealt with, lends distinctiveness to `Lee's theme. Meanderings there are, but what matters is, for the most part Solomon doesn't lose perspective.MALATHI RANGARAJAN