Rambha, Prakashraj, Neena

   Raasi has the dubious distinction of starting Ajith's downward slide after the huge success of Kaadhal Koattai. If John Travolta is the comeback man of Hollywood, Ajith could very well be called the comeback hero in tamil cinema. Starting off with Pavithra, he shot into fame with Aasai. But a string of flops followed and he was almost written off before he came back into the reckoning with Kaadhal Koattai. But he was unable to continue that success either. A series of flops later, he is now once again enjoying a taste of success with Vaali, Nee Varuvaai Ena and Amarkkalam.

When questioned about his string of failures, Ajith recently mentioned that he used to sign on for movies without checking the story or the script. Watching this movie, one is tempted to believe him. For I can't think of any other reason he would have agreed to be associated with this movie which is marked by a generic, unoriginal story and lame dialogs.

It is quite some time before we even see a hint of a story. Till then the movie coasts along on the playful romance between Kumar(Ajith) and his uncle's daughter Meena(Rambha). Kumar's loving family consists of his mother(Jayachitra) and his sister Kavitha(Neena). The uncle had apparently been a servant in Kumar's household (for some reason, this is never elaborated upon in the movie) and still has an inferiority complex on account of that. So, when a rich man(Prakash raj) casts his eyes on Meena and wishes to marry her, he agrees. Kumar's mother, wishing to maintain her family's honor, bans Kumar from stopping the wedding and he too abides by her wish. Meena, after waiting in vain for Kumar to save her from the wedding, stops it on her own. But disappointed with Kumar's inaction, she refuses to see him from then onwards.

There is nothing new or original in the story or its handling. The director manages to maintain a little suspense with the events leading upto Rambha's wedding with Prakash raj. But at no other place are we even mildly involved in the movie. The characters and situations have all been seen before and there are no surprises. Issues are left hanging and there are several loose ends. For instance, Ajith pledges his house to borrow money but this is never touched upon later.

People have mostly inexplicable changes of heart throughout the movie. Rambha falls in, out of and back in love with Ajith. Jayachitra first asks Ajith not to go the wedding and then asks him to save Rambha. Rambha's father showers affection on her sometimes and at other times, comes across as a villain. And a man who's beaten up by Ajith and is itching for revenge, turns into his friend. With most of these changes of heart having somewhat flimsy - or no - reasons, they seem false and more like the director's way of moving the story along rather than genuine behavior on part of the characters.

Ajith proves to be a real Kaadhal Mannan, romancing Rambha with zest. There are quite a few fights and he acquits himself quite well in those too. Rambha is in her elements in the song sequences and performs well while standing up to Prakash Raj. Prakash raj is typecast as the heartless villain and adds nothing new to the role. Nagesh and Vadivelu, as a grandfather-grandson pair, evoke laughs at some places. Songs and song sequences are tolerable.


Review by Balaji Balasubramaniam

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