Unnai Kodu Ennai Tharuven


  Director: Kavi Kaalidass
  Cast: Parthiban, Simran, Sukanya.

  Release: 19.05.2000

In spite of good acting by Ajith, Simran and Parthiban, exotic locales, catchy tunes and impressive choreography 'Unnai Kodu Ennai Tharuven' (UKEK) falls way short of expectations. And the blame should fall squarely on the story and script writer Kavi Kalidas. The original Kavi Kalidas will turn in his grave seeing what his new millennium namesake has churned out! The story has too many holes, and is full of improbabilities.

The film begins with a nameless lady (Sukanya) entrusting her baby with a stranger in army uniform, a Brigadier (Nasser) and walking away into oblivion. As what transpires between the two is all in mime the identity of the lady and the baby remains a mystery. The officer who is in charge of the Military Training Camp in Ooty names the child Soorya (Ajith) and brings him up in true military fashion inculcating strong patriotic feelings in him. The Brigadier's boss with his family comes from Delhi on a visit and Soorya is entrusted with the task of taking them around. As expected Soorya and the Boss' daughter Indu (Simran) fall in love with each other. Contrary to expectations the Army officer agrees to the match. When it looks like for once the course of true love will run smooth Indu's father dies in a bomb blast in Delhi and her traumatised mother(Fatima Babu) too collapses on his body leaving the girl an orphan.

Indu returns to Ooty. She develops a sort of phobia regarding the Army and insists that Soorya should leave the Army if they are to marry. From here the story loses all credibility. Soorya who is said to have been trained from day one for a military career and cannot even tolerate anyone insulting the National Flag agrees to Indu's condition. Of course, Kalidas implies, after a bit of soul-searching which is not properly delineated. Indu suggests they elope. Though Soorya is aware of the consequences of desertion from the Army he agrees!

There is trouble in the border area and Soorya is selected to lead the group to be sent there. The Brigadier is forced to reveal the secret of Soorya's birth, that he is the son of an ex-nun and a condemned terrorist, 'bomb Shankar'. Knowing about his mother's 'sacrifice' for the country Soorya is once again charged with patriotism and is ready to respond to the call of duty.

The story writer has no idea about a nun's life. He thinks like an ordinary employee that she can just "resign" and walk out of the nunnery. It is ridiculous, to say the least. A nun is bound by certain regulations and to extricate herself from them she has to go through certain formalities which is time consuming. The door of the jail cell remains conveniently open for the ex-nun for her midnight rendezvouz with the condemned prisoner.

Indu too hearing Soorya's story is all ready to consummate their relationship without even waiting for the formalities of marriage, to be on par with Soorya's mother in patriotic fervour!

Powerful, and touching dialogue except in crude comedy scenes is a plus point of UKEK. Soorya asks the Brigadier a few pertinent questions, such as why he always showed the portraits of Gandhi, Nehru etc. as his relatives, like when the calf is dead people keep a stuffed one to milk the cow. Why didn't the officer formally adopt him? Instead of 'Sir' why didn't he allow him to call him 'father' or at least 'uncle'? No wonder the youngster wavers in his patriotism when for the first time in life he gets someone he can call his own. For once at least the storywriter has tried to plug the hole in characterisation here.

The director has absolutely no idea about army rules and regulations. There is one scene where Soorya punishes an erring senior cadet and puts him in the' dark room', claiming it is allowed as per army rules! Soorya as a very young boy is shown in army fatigue undergoing training with the other cadets!

Most obnoxious part of UKEK is Manivannan's comedy which is obscene and nauseating. The less said about it the better except that the censor board should have used the scissors sparingly. There is enough wit and healthy humour in the film to sustain audience interest without all that. Like when Soorya wriggles out of every tricky situation like the fridge episode and the echoing hillock scene and again when he turns the table on the cook during dinner with the officer and his family.

The songs are good and picturised well, the title song "unnaikkodu ennaitharuven athuthan kathalede" being the best. So is the background score.

Parthiban in the cameo role of bomb Shankar, proves his mettle once again. But his initial make up need not have been that of an aborigin. Ajith has put in a commendable performance as Soorya but because of an improbable story line and filthy comedy everything has gone vain.

Malini Mannath

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