Friday, December 08, 2006

Mann a family entertainer

Mann a family entertainer - :: Malini Mannath

It’s a Tamil film shot entirely in Sri Lanka, a film that comes from the strife-ridden place after a 25-year gap. The film takes us to an ambience of about two decades ago, when there was diversity and class difference among the Tamils there. Weaved in is a story of love and revenge, when a girl from a lower strata falls for a youth from the upper class and is betrayed by him.

The film opens with Ponrasu, based abroad, who returns to his village after a two-decade gap to shoot a documentary. Little does he realise that his past would soon catch up with him in the most unexpected way. The director moves from the present to past when Ponrasu was a school student.

His was a family of landlords and many Tamils earned their livelihood working at his farm, like Lakshmi’s father Thangaiya (Chandrasekhar). The latter’s family was on the brink of poverty, but Lakshmi (Shana from Batticola) managed to attend school, thanks to the determination of her uncle Raja (Sukumar), who did various odd jobs to finance her studies. But it all comes to nothing when Lakshmi, succumbing to the charms of Ponrasu (Vijith, a London-based Sri Lankan Tamil), gets pregnant. She realises too late that Ponrasu had no intention of keeping his promise of marrying her.

The scene moves to the present, where Ponrasu’s nemesis awaits him in the form of the son he had fathered. There is an element of suspense in the latter part, the end being a fitting finale.

The director (Puthiyavan, a London-based Sri Lankan Tamil) has concentrated more on the content than on form. Some more finesse in the presentation would have worked better for the film. The cast is a fresh one and the amateurism in their performances is evident throughout. It’s the experienced ones like Chandrasekhar and Kadhal Sukumar (the only two Indian actors in the cast) who lend an amount of maturity to their roles. German Ravi’s songs are lively. Only, they don’t seem to jell with the style of the narration.

C J Rajkumar’s camera, with the panoramic shots and green tones used, lends a natural feel to the earlier part of the narration. Produced by Raja Gajendra, Mann has been released globally. Shot on a budget of Rs 75 lakh, the film was completed in a 30-day schedule. It’s a sincere effort that could have surely turned out better with more care in its presentation.

Director: R Puthiyavan; Cast: Vijith, Shana, Chandrasekhar, Kadhal Sukumar, Pushpika

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