Long advertised as the result of a collaboration between the 'Dream Team' of Bharathiraja, Manirathnam,
A.R.Rehman and Vairamuthu, the result is a rather disappointing effort - a case of the whole being lesser
than the sum of its parts. While it can be said that A.R.Rehman and Vairamuthu have done their job well
enough, Manirathnam is almost non-existent and Bharathiraja has disappointed by picking up an old story
and not giving it any new dimensions.
Thiruppaachi and Sengulam are neighboring villages with a history of enmity between them. Maayan(Manoj)
and Machakanni(Riya Sen) meet on the day of her engagement and its love at first sight. Her
marriage itself gets called off when the groom and his family insult Machakanni's family and her romance
with Maayan continues. But when her brother finds out about him, all hell breaks loose.
The turned-down bridegroom is still itching for revenge and figuring out that the only way to extract
it is to marry Machakanni, he pleads for forgiveness and succeeds in melting her brother's heart.
The marriage is finalised but Maayan's friends swear to unite the star-crossed lovers. There is also
a subplot of Maayan's aunt(Radhika) trying to get her daughter married off to Maayan.
Bharitharaja fails to add any new trimmings to the age-old story of lovers from sparring villages
trying to unite against the wishes of their families. The only new things in the whole movie were
Manoj's costumes! His modern jeans and shirts and shoes stand out awkwardly against the backdrop of
the other villagers and their rustic behavior and clothing.
Bharathiraja is an old hand at romance and consequently, the initial encounters between Manoj and Riya
contain a few interesting moments like her 'slipping' for the second time to fall into the river to
see Manoj again and later, telling him about the easiest route to come and visit her at night. But the
multiplicity of songs during these sequences slow down the pace of the movie. The first song sequence,
Thiruppaachi Aruvaalaa..., is picturised well but the following songs - many of them 'bits'
rather than full songs - are unnecessary and seem like fillers.
The movie follows a familiar route once the romance is discovered. The hero gets beaten up, the heroine
is warned and shut in, her marriage is fixed with another man, etc. The movie turns increasingly
violent from this point onwards and there is quite a bit of bloodshed. The ending is cinematic and
worse, since none of the people opposing the romance have any change of heart, it doesn't solve any
problems and would in all probability, just lead to increasing violence between the two villages.
Three of Bharathiraja's R introductions, Revathi, Radhika and Ranjitha, are in the movie though its only
the first two that scoop up the acting honours. Revathi conveys a mother's love for her son well and her
crying in the scene where she sees her son lying in the field is heartbreaking. Radhika has lesser screen
time but makes her presence felt in the first scene she is seen. Her role as the sharp-tongued woman in
Jeans won her great praise and she basically continues the role here. Her tirade directed against
Revathi and Manoj and her turn-around once she sees Manoj deserve an applause. She also earns our
sympathy when begging Manivannan to get Manoj to marry her daughter. The solution to this issue is one
of the few genuine surprises in the movie though Manivannan's continuing silence in the matter, leading
to sad consequences, is unfathomable.
Manoj looks quite at ease in front of the camera, considering its his first movie but he is definitely
not hero material as far as looks are concerned. His voice is another big minus and does not go
with his build at all. As a result, the love sequences between him and Riya are tough to ingest.
Riya is his exact opposite. She is pretty (a smaller, thinner version of Aishwarya Rai actually) but
has an inexpressive face. Naturally, it is a mismatched pairing and this hurts in many of the romantic
scenes. A.R.Rehman's tunes lack the rustic
touch but this is more than made up for by Vairamuthu's lyrics. As a result, most of the songs like
Eechi Elumichi..., Kulirudhu Kulirudhu... and Adi Manja Kizhange... are catchy and
pleasing to the ear. Photography is frequently breath-taking. Background music, scored by Deva's brothers
Sabesh and Murali after A.R.Rehman's procrastination seemed to affect the movie's chances of being
released on Diwali, is just a rehash of the tunes from the songs in the movie.