"Kangalal Kaidhu Sei"

CRIME THRILLERS are nothing new to Bharatiraaja. He's proved a winner with such themes, earlier it was "Sigappu Rojakkal" and later "Tik Tik Tik". And now knowing that his rustic themes are not receiving the rousing reception they once boasted of, he has again turned to crime with Lakshmi Movie Makers' "Kangalal Kaidhu Sei", that comes with a U/A certification. The story (by S. Premnath) has obvious flaws — and it's puzzling that the experienced auteur has not done anything about them.

The incredibly wealthy Vasi (Vaseegaran) loses both his parents all of a sudden. The business conglomerate is shaken, but not Vasi. He takes on the onus and handles things with acumen and shrewdness. Barring his psychiatrist none knows that the young businessman is a kleptomaniac. But on one occasion, Vidya (Priyamani) notices him stealing things from a shop. So when he repeats the act at a diamond display and walks away with a rock worth Rs.10 crores, a crime for which Vidya and her fianc�, Police officer Premkumar (Akash), are taken to task, she tries to prove that the real culprit is the rich Vasi. The quagmire it leads her into is what "Kangalal Kaidhu Sei" is about.

Vidya's is a case of much ado — about something that has to be handled with quiet and caution. But where the slightest stir or suspicion could spell disaster, she creates pandemonium. Surely she could have been discreet when she rushes from the airport, runs to the fish tank where the stolen diamond is supposed to be, topples everything there, scrambles for the stone and sprints on the road with it. The inanity in her tension is irritating. No sensible police officer would take his fianc�e to Vasi's psychiatrist to gather details, knowing fully well that the girl, who is Vasi's employee, would be exposed to grave danger if the shrink told Vasi about the visit.

Bharatiraaja's screenplay reveals intelligence. Sometimes it appears that his level of thinking is so high as to confound the viewer — the frequent cuts to the various sequences amidst the flashbacks are examples. Vaseegaran, the good-looking hero of "Kangalal ... " seems to have made an impressive beginning. Under play is completely missing in Priyamani's performance. The exaggerated reactions, the ridiculous way in which she throws her hands up and down while delivering serious dialogue and the unnecessary fuss she makes in many a scene, make you wonder what the director was doing? There is this person running about in Vasi's household in a couple of scenes and uttering exactly one sentence as dialogue. Why Mayilsamy for such an inconspicuous entry and exit?

And if you thought that the days when every piece of English dialogue was immediately translated into Tamil are over, watch "Kangalal ... ". Sujatha's dialogue gives the English and Tamil versions then and there! "Cinderella ... " and "Anarkali ... " are on the lips of film buffs already. Another melodious A. R. Rahman composition is "Ennuyir Thozhi ... " Other worthy technical credits include B. Kannan (camera), K. Pazhanivel (editing) and G.K (art).

"Kangalal ... " has many Bharatiraaja touches. But does it have the skilled master's magic of the past?