| Before Thullaadha Manamum
Thullum, before Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai, there was
Poove Unakkaaga, which first gave Vijay the role of
the soft, romantic hero. Since then he has played the role to
great success in movies like Love Today and the
aforementioned Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai, grabbing the
top slot among the heroes of the present generation. Infact,
his movies are the most sought after, after films starring
Rajnikanth and Kamalhassan, among distributors in Tamil Nadu.
But till this movie hit the screens, Vijay's sole claim to fame
had been a string of low-budget movies, many of which were
directed by his father S.A.Chandrasekharan. Those who endured
Nenjinile will have an idea
of what these movies were like. Most of them,
like Rasigan, were quite vulgar and the presence of Vijay
in a movie was a sure warning to lovers of good cinema to stay
away. To Vikraman goes the credit for retooling his image and
giving him a fresh lease of life.
The families of 'Malaysia' Vasudevan and Jaiganesh have been
bitter enemies ever since the former's sister, Janaki, and the
latter's brother, Robert, eloped. One fine day, they receive a
letter from Raja(Vijay), the son of Robert and Janaki, saying
that he intends to visit them. True to his word, he shows up
and finds a residence in the same street. Winning over members
of the family one by one, he confesses to being married when
they try to fix him up with a girl of their choice.
Nirmala(Sangeetha) shows up soon after, proclaiming to be his
wife. When cornered, Raja reveals that he has a secret agenda
for making sure the two feuding families come together and
Nirmala too agrees to go along with his plan.
Vijay's love affair is the highlight of the movie and is one
of the most well-handled romances in tamil movies. It is clean,
sweet and well-picturised.
But inspite of the winning love affair, the director would have
achieved only partial success if he had concentrated less on the
other portions. But Vijay's bringing together of the oldies in
the families, especially the reunion of Nagesh and Nambiar,
is very interesting too. There is a light vein of humour running
through the whole movie and most scenes(such as the initial
portions where the family members are introduced and later
when they take a peek at Vijay without the others knowing)
manage to bring a smile to our lips. The short segment with
Sangeetha posing as Vijay's wife(whole movies, such as
Nesam Pudhusu have been based on
this theme) has its humorous moments too.
The movie also has some surprises up its sleeve(two just before
the intermission and one in the climax) and they are definitely
startling. The twist in the middle of the movie is especially
unexpected and the director, rightly anticipating its impact,
announces the intermission right after with "Idhu Eppadi Irukku?".
The climax resists the temptation to take the well-trodden path of
giving Vijay some oppurtunity for stunts(the setup is there with
both Jaiganesh and 'Malaysia' Vasudevan organizing stick-wielding
goons) and instead opts for an admittedly cinematic but clever
solution to the problem. The director also follows this with an
effective ending with Vijay's dialog making several fine points
The one thing the movie lacks, which could have made it the
perfect love story, is imaginative song sequences. Barring the
one song which plays in the background while portraying Vijay's
increasing love, the other song sequences are unimpressive. Even
Aanandham Aanandham... is no great shakes and registers
solely because it is played so many times(S.A.Rajkumar's usual
formula for making a song a hit!).
Vijay brings the right mix of comedy and romance to his
portrayal. He is playful during the initial sequences while
hitting the right note as the soft-spoken youngster falling in
love during the second half. Sangeetha and Anju Arvind look
pretty. Nambiar and Nagesh have the largest roles among the
rest of the cast and perform well.