Cast: Sarathkumar, Jyotika, Milind Soman, Andrea
Storyline: The hero is drawn into a whirlpool of problems only because he almost allows another woman into his life.
Bottomline: Bewildering suspense in a family format!Less violent and more thrilling than the innumerable films you come across in the action genre, `Pachchai Kili Muthu Charam' (A) woven on a leitmotif of suspense, keeps the viewer engrossed. (The poetic title, from the popular MGR number, is an added lure) You think you know where the story is heading, but filmmaker Gautham springs a surprise at crucial junctures. Remember, extra-marital flings are taboo, he seems to say! Breaking away from the commercial mould probably for the first time, Sarathkumar plays the middle class family man. His underplayed portrayal exemplifies the actor's hitherto hidden potential. With minimal dialogue, little melodrama and apt expressions the veteran excels. However, stunts also find a place in `Pachchai Kili ... ' (produced by Oscar Films (P) Ltd.) Laurels to Stun Siva for restricting the fights to a realistic level! Strangely, there's not a single policeman throughout!
How it goesVenkatesh (Sarath) is a medical rep, with a gorgeous wife (Andrea) and young son Nanda (Armaan). Except for the disconcerting fact that Nanda is a juvenile diabetic and needs constant medical attention, life is quite smooth till he meets Geeta (Jyotika). After which it is pell-mell... You are so taken in by Sarath's performance that you wonder why he hasn't sought more such roles all the while. Andrea charms you with the vulnerable demeanour of a sheltered housewife. Pulling the rug from under today's heroines is Jyotika, with eyes that throw up a kaleidoscope of emotions, fast and furious. It takes a couple of scenes to get adjusted to the voice that's dubbed for her (actor Jaishree). And if accessories and attire can make a bold statement about the character portrayed, Jyotika's definitely does. Now to the actor, who storms into the film and takes the cake and the bakery with his essay Milind Soman! Fascinating and flawless are his lip movements and body language. It's as though he understands Tamil thoroughly, along with its nuances and colloquialisms! Brilliant! Harris Jeyaraj's score is in tune with the mood of the script. The stillness and silence of certain scenes enhance the impact. Percussion in the action sequences are effective you also feel it could have been less strident in some. It's refreshing to note that lyrics belong to an all-women department besides Thamarai, actor Rohini makes her bow as songwriter. Cinematography (Arvind Krishna) is an unobtrusive component that follows the story aesthetically except in places when Jyotika and the backdrop look too dark. Symbolic, you suppose!
Tastefully doneRajeevan (art) has created milieus with taste, while Anthony's editing adds to the thrill. Yet at times pace doesn't find a primary place. The first part draws to a close in a jiffy. The second is lengthier. The placing of the song `Kaadhal Konjam ... ' (a bewitching piece) towards the end doesn't quite jell. The onus of writing and directing notwithstanding Gautham emerges unscathed. In the credits he acknowledges that the inspiration is from the book, `Derailed.' So there's no point discussing it or its Hollywood version. Gautham has intelligently adapted the story to a desi format particularly in the second half, introduced new elements (not found in the original) of thrill and maintained the suspense well. All these with a hard-hitting message to the married men and women out there who tend to stray away from wedlock! MALATHI RANGARAJAN