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Old wine, brand new bottle

By Shwetha Bhaskar
December 19, 2006 14:47 IST
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Just when you thought filmdom had outgrown it, here comes another in the poor boy-rich girl genre.

What elevates Thiruvilaiyadal Arambam out of the hoary genre is the light-hearted treatment of the story of charismatic rogue Thiru Kumar (Dhanush), who flips for the ever-smiling Priya (Shriya, who has been hitting headlines as Rajnikanth's heroine in the Shankar-helmed blockbuster Sivaji).

The hero's forthrightness and perseverance, brought out through a series of comic escapades, helps him win her heart -- only for Priya's overprotective older brother Guru (Prakash Raj) to throw a spanner in the works.

Guru tries all the usual tricks -- getting the hero beaten up, offering him huge amounts of money; Thiru's response goes against convention, surprising everyone with his antics and rakish charm.

The film is driven by a witty script and dialogues that are genuinely funny without ever slipping across the border into the vulgar.

A foot-tapping soundtrack (D Imman) and flamboyant picturisation of the songs add to the interest level.

Director Boopathy Pandian has a tight hold on pacing, ensuring that the interest never flags. This is his second outing with Dhanush, having earlier helmed Devadhai Kandaen; the two obviously have a rapport going, and this helps the director tap into Dhanush's sense of comedic timing.

The two male leads complement each other with élan; Prakash Raj is the aggressive, imposing figure, combating immense frustration while dealing with the cheeky Dhanush.

The captivating Shriya does not have much chance of showing off her acting ability; she spends most of the movie overshadowed by the male leads.

The real reason to watch Thiruvilaiyadal Aarambam is Dhanush, who epitomises the new age hero: he is no superman, he is not even close to perfect, and he is thoroughly unapologetic about it all.

His character's philosophy ought to go down well with the present generation, just for its courage and endearing frankness.

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Shwetha Bhaskar