"Winner" -- with the typical Sundar C. stamp.  

AFTER A torpid phase that lasted almost a year, Prashanth bounces back into action with Mother India Movies International's "Winner" — a film that's been long in the making. It is a typical Sundar C. brand entertainer — of course, "Anbae Sivam" is a well-known exception — with comedy, stunts, romance and sentiment thrown in to make the product racy. (The gala wedding scenario is another Sundar C. trademark.) So naturally don't expect too much of logic in the story or plausibility in the narration.

Prashanth's stunts are on expected lines, with his macho image taking care of that end quite well. But in "Winner" he shows that he is equally at ease in comedy too. Along with Vadivelu, he has you in splits for most part of the film, though it's more like Parthiban's pattern of comedy again with Vadivelu. Prashanth's impressive sense of timing in dialogue delivery is a revelation. But strangely in the area of romantic expressions, he still has a long way to go.

Shakti (Prashanth), the righteous young man unable to brook wrongs, gets rough with rowdy elements often. So his anxious parents pack him off to the village, where his grandparents live. Nothing is clear about why their families had remained estranged all these years or why they suddenly decide to bury the hatchet. Probably these matters are insignificant when the focus is on some light-hearted fun. Shakti meets Neelaveni (Kiran) in the village and the inevitable happens. But the lovers do not get together easily — thanks to the heroine's villainous dad, as usual.

It is imperative that Kiran chooses clothes that hide the flab. In fact she looks charming in casual homely wear. Exposing is not for her, at least till she loses weight.

Anuradha, who played the vamp in yesteryear cinema, is another unimaginable heavyweight. She frightens you with her voice and demeanour in the role of Neelaveni's cruel aunt. You cannot but heave a sigh of relief when the hero silences her with a log! Riyaz Khan is one of the few actors, who have found a foothold in cinema via the small screen. He is a constant in most of the recent releases. Be that as it may, it is Vadivelu who steals the show. As the na�ve but conceited village nerd, he is hilarious — the dialogue and characterisation aiding him to a great extent.

G. Bhoopathipandian's dialogue warrants special mention because it adds pep to Sundar C.'s screenplay and direction. Yuvan Shankar Raja's choice of Udit Narayan for the serious, romantic solo, "Enthan Thozhi ... " is again sheer comedy! You almost feel sorry for Prashanth who `sings' the song. The re-recording, particularly in the scene where Shakti gets into the heroine's house at dead of night, even as she tries to save a bird caught in the water, is scintillating.

Frames that freeze to highlight the stunt skills of the hero, his fists of fury that spew out fire almost literally and daring dives that do not have even a semblance of realism about them make you curious to know who the stunt choreographer is — Dhalapathi Dinesh. The man has made Prashanth appear absolutely invincible!

"Prashanth, the Winner always", screams the title. For that, this time round the hero has depended solely on action and comedy. Will the ploy work?


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