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Clipping (62kbs) - Deccan Herald, 18-04-1999. By Kavitha K., Mukhtar Anjoom, Srikanth Srinivasa, Kala Krishnan Ramesh, Jayalakshmi K.

Record Number : A0040592

Click to browse by keyword: Cinema Film exhibition Reviews: Film Literature Art


Silsila hai pyaar ka (Hindi)

We, the Plain Janes of the world, needn’t panic. There’s hope for us yet. With Lancome, Revlon, Christian Dior and YSL desperate to give us a make-over, we may just manage to ensare an arrogant, insensitive but richie-rich hunk. So what if he looks like a frog? His looks (or lack of them) don’t matter. Ours do. Yup, that’s what Silsila Hai Pyar Ka is all about.

And just in case the glam doll routine leaves you cold, the ghati turned-mod-Miss in this middling flick also has a heart of gold, a vava-vroom figure and a value system that will leave you gasping. How unreal can our film-makers get!

Ms Goody-Two-Shoes is Vanishka Mathur (Karisma Kapoor). She dresses in staid salwars, wears horn-rimmed glasses and soaks her head in enough oil to fry a plateful of bhajiyas, and she can’t say boo to a goose.

When she’s out job-hunting, she knocks prospective bosses out cold with her unwieldy umbrella —- a gift from Great Grandpops.

Egged on by her delightfully star-crossed aunt (Aruna Irani, please take a bow for a lovely cameo), she finally lands a job, courtesy an endearing business baron, Alok Nath.

Her work profile? To play secretary to Alok’s spoilt son (Chandrachur Singh). And to tag along while he woos an assortment of mini-clad bimbos in the backseat of his Ferrari.

Bratty boy can’t stand Ms Prim and Propah and loses no chance to insult her ordinary looks until one sunny morn, the Miss goes mod.., with a vengeance. Coiffured hair, stilleto heels, gowns with stunning slits, the lady goes alt out to bring the fella back on the right track. Does she straighten him out? Don’t worry. He’s really not worth it. Nor is the film.

Karishma as the girl-next-door is real and refreshing, but I wish she’d spare us those dreary bhaashans on good behaviour. And she doesn’t disappoint those who want to see her sizzle and simper either. As for Chandrachur baba, why does he look so bored with the proceedings? The only time he’s truly alive is when he’s waltzing with Aruna Irani!

Danny’s the surprise package. That man is classy. Talking of class, check out the film’s website
www.silsilahaipyarka.com. It’s snazzy and smart. Quite unlike the film.

Kavitha K

Zulmi (Hindi)

Hype is generally inversely proportional to quality. This film proves this. No feverish promos. No signs of any pretensions. No jiggery-pokery. The film’s just plain and direct. Bhai Thakur (Dara Singh) is the patriarch of the family. A sort of dharmatma, around whom revolve his kin. And, Balraj Dutt (Amrish Puri) is the sturdiest link in the family. Balraj and his wife (Aruna Irani) are not related to Bhai Thakur, but they mean much more to the Thakur than his own kin; Balraj was adopted by Thakur and the former’s loyalty to the Thakur is unquestionable.

There are two crafty brothers out there who are bent on spoiling the party — Zoravar (Dalip Tahil) and Bhaktawar. Zoravar hatches a plan to finish off Bhai Thakur. He succeeds and in the process the entire clan is wiped out except Balraj and his wife and the patriarch’s grandson Nihal. Before Bhai Thakur succumbs, Balraj vowes to protect Nihal till his last breath.

Nihal grows up to be a debauched, filthy-rich creature (played by Milind Gunaji). On one of his binges, his gaze falls on a beauty queen, who happens to be the only sister of Raj (Akshay Kumar). She spurns his advances and incurs his wrath. Akshay thrashes his cronies, but is soon overwhelmed. His sister commits suicide before Nihal’s devilish ideas can fructify.

Fate brings Raj face to face with Balraj Dutt. Balraj sees his own qualities in Raj. He employs him and assigns him the task of guarding his only daughter, Pooja ‘Twinkle Khanna). Pooja dislikes him. But she soon succumbs to the charms and the values of her handsome bodyguard.

Little does Raj know that he is staying with the family of his enemy, Nihal. When Nihal comes back, Raj loses his cool and vows to finish him off. But to do that he’s got to forget all the love showered on him by the Dutt household, not to forget Pooja.

The story by Kuku Kohli is fairly balanced and has several distinct pieces which neatly fit to give a clarity to the overall picture. Except for Teri badmashiyan aur meri kamzoriyan... the rest of the songs are seemingly incongruous. The action scenes are good.

The main attraction here is Amrish Puri. He is unmistakably tough and yet melts where his daughter’s happiness is concerned. He portrays mutually onflicting emotions with rare finesse. His dignified presence is the most assuring thing in the film.

Akshay continues his inconsequential exertions, while Twinkle goes around with a perpetually apologetic look.

Mukhtar Anjoom

Habba (Kannada)

Living in a large, Hindu, undivided family can be a picnic, or rather a habba (festival). Though one can get to see a mixture of all popular films made in the genre of Hum Aapke Hain Koun, Satte Pe Satta etc, this film stands out for its effort to infuse new life into the narration and proceedings.

The story revolves around a large family of five brothers headed by Vishnuvardhan and Jayaprada, resembling the Pandavas of Mahabharata. Vishnuvardhan is the level-headed eldest brother, resembling Dharmarya or Yudhishthira. Ambarish is the second eldest brother, resembling Bhima in character (obviously in weight and not in chronology) with Urvashi as his wife. Devaraj is the third brother, married to Kasturi. The film has to resolve the marriage of the remaining two unmarried brothers, Shashi and Ramkumar.

Shashi accedes to demands from his family members and reveals the identity of the girl he loves after initial reluctance. Even as he agrees to the match and marries Charulatha, his younger brother, Ramkumar, falls in love with Seetha (Vijayalakshmi), who happens to be an outcast in the village, for they have to put up with the tantrums thrown by her four elder brothers. So it is now the responsibility of the entire family to rally around Ramkumar

As the Pandavas remained incognito (Agyathavastha) for one year, the five brothers take different avatars to take on the might of Seetha’s brothers. Vishnu takes up his role as the ‘shepherd’, Ambarish as the cook, Devaraj as the gurkha, , Shashi as Vishnu’s assistant and Ramkumar himself as a eunuch dancer to impart dancing lessons to Seetha. Seetha has a kind and a doting granny played by Leelavathi.

Despite all the agonising and disturbing family equations, Ramkumar and Seetha fight it out till the end and eventually get their brothers to come round to their way of thinking.

Vishnuvardhan has put up a spirited performance. Jayaprada looks as beautiful as ever. She has not lost her charm at all. Ambarish definitely needs to slim down further. Urvashi looks out of place and so does Kasturi. Devaraj is okay. Shashi Kumar, who is recovering from his accident, looks pitiable. Ramkumar and Vijayalakshmi, however, live out their roles well. It is good to see Leelavathi after a long hiatus.

Hamsalekha’s music is the highlight of the film. The first half is a lyrical picnic with two songs Jenu goodu.. and Yaale yaale worth listening to. Credit must definitely go to producer Jayashri Devi and director D Rajendra Babu, for putting together a team of all five heroes together.

Rajanna (Kannada)

A film that could have been made worthwhile has been ruined by insipid narration and picturisation. This feature is new neither to Kannada film-makers nor to cinema buffs.

Rajanna (Vinod Raj) is an illiterate man who is in love with his foster uncle’s daughter. Suma (Suchitra). His foster uncle showers love on Rajanna and is eager to see his daughter married to him. Suma, studying in the city, is equally in awe of the illiterate Raju (as she calls him) in spite of his background. But there are villains who rape Suma. She is unable to bear the shock, turns mad and gets pregnant.

This is the time for Rajanna to make his sacrifice. His intention is to see that people responsible for the heinous act are punished so that Suma can live her life despite all the trauma. What follows is the usual drama. The audience fails to identify the villain, which is the only highlight of the film.

It is good to see Vinod Raj back on screen after a long time. One does feel sorry that Vinod is not taken seriously despite his talent. Suchitra is okay. Leelavathi and Srinivasa have been wasted.

Srikanth Srinivasa

Padayappa (Tamil)

Wow! The sheer amount of positive energy generated by this film (and others like it) is simply astounding. It’s not just Rajanikanth — don’t be deluded that the film is only packaging for Rajanikanth, he gives it a special tang, a perfect fizz, but Padnyappa scores on many other counts. Padayappa, as the name indicates, is connected to the story of Murugan. Rajanikanth is named Padayappa, and is the only son in the present generation of a family of Murugan worshippers. And Padayappa’s life is a mortal replica of the divine one. At many points in the film, Rajanikanth says, “En vazhi thani vazhi, “(my path is unique) which just about sums up the life of Murugan.

It is, however, in the relationship to his mother that the human Padayappa is so similar to the godly one — and this is perhaps one of the more important factors in the film’s success. Mutugan, after he was made the commander of the army of the gods. and had defeated the seemingly undefeatable Tarakasura, went on a sexual rampage.

Till no goddess felt herself safe anymore, and they all went to Parvathy, who sorted out the situation, so that every woman he looked at took on the appearance of his mother. The god remained celibate then on in spite of being twice married.

The sexual plays an important role in the film, and the way it is handled invokes identification.

Padayappa starts with sexual symbols and images — the snake, for instance. As the film opens, we see Soundarya, one of the film’s two heroines, worshipping the snake (which at a later time saves her life). And the other heroine, the anti-heroine, Ramya Krishnan, orders it to be killed. Rajanikanth appears at this point to prevent the snake pit from being broken, puts his hand into the pit, pulls out a snake and kisses it! At which the scantily-clad Ramya gives him a scorching, lusty look which bounces right off. But, interestingly, when he sees Soundarya — two-plaited, pavadai-jacket-davani clad, flowers in hair and pottu on forehead, he actually looks scared.

Therein lies the secret. For men like Padayappa can handle women like Neelambari (Ramya) who, as he explains, is the prachodakam kind of woman, while Soundarya is Sativik. And the Sattvik kind of woman is powerful because in her are the qualities that guide the lives of such men.

“Mother first. Even before God,” as Padayappa himself puts it. We could all benefit from that advice. Mother first.

The film is able to control all its different levels of meaning — the star equations, for example, both Shivaji Ganesan (who appers as Rajni’s father) and Abbas (as his son-in-law) speak lines acknowledging Rajnis star power, his style.

As the political implications, likewise, are clear enough, as Rajani himself says “Un balam azchi balam, yen balam makkal balam — yours is the strength of the government, my strength is the strength of the people.” There is plenty of political innuendo.

It all wears well.

In fact, if anything does seem at a loss, it’s the younger generation, particularly Abbas, who is like a fish gasping for air.

Rajanikanth is terrific, in the way that only he can be, there’s a kind of stillness now in his eyes, and about him, which gives the whole venture an air of irony.

The others, Soundarya, Lakshmi (as Rajani’s mother) Shivaji and Nazir, are all okay. Ramya is more than a little awkward, because everything about her character is played in a kind of crude, overstated way.

The music by Rehman, to Vairamuthu’s lyrics, sounds good while the movie is on, though whether without the presence of Rajanikanth they would have, is another thing. The lyrics seem to have been written with special care, since they have to make room for a lot of messages, such as telling the audience that Tamil is where Rajani belongs: Yenai thalattum Tamizhnattu mannu etc.

The story is interesting, it touches live spots in people’s sensibility and imagination. The screenplay and dialogues are a little crude on their own, but taking into consideration who they have been written for, they’ve done their job. All three are by K S Ravikumar.

I would recommend that everybody go to see the film, while it is playing to packed houses, for it gives you a positive charge, that no “sensitively made film” about real life will ever give. If a film like Padayappa is ‘mere’ fantasy, and escapism, I would like to escape everyday.

Thodarum (Tamil)

This film, starring Ajith, Devayani and Heera, was earlier made in Malayalam with Shobana, Priya Raman and Jaynram. The Malayalam version was better, because it led up to things better, and Shobana was good. Devayani is very clumsy and manages none of the subtlety of Shobana, she looks permanently sulky, so that even when she’s acting nasty, it just seems like her normal self.

Thodarum is a family melodrama, which on its own is not too bad, but after Padnyappa it falls completely flat.

The story goes like this — Ajith and Devayani marry. Devayani is brought up by her grandparents, and her grandmother has filled her head with the idea that if she doesn’t protect him, other women will entice her husband away from her. She takes this advice to heart, following her husband to work, wearing a burkha, slapping a girl for talking to him, removing the back seat of his scooter because he gave some girl a lift.

Ajith manages to handle these situations mainly because he’s still very much in love with his wife, and is not interested in a romantic relationship with another woman.

Once. however, things get a little out of hand — Devayani walks in on Heera in Ajiths arms — he’s comforting her after she’s just told him about the death of her parents.

Devayani storms out and walks home in the burning sun and collapses. The maid takes her to the hospital, and Devayani says that he said she’s ‘weak’.

From then on things turn really nasty — she’s shrewish, sharp-tongued, and goes all out to provoke him — into doing things he never meant to... Till finally, through a series of actions, Devayani has managed to get him to divorce her and marry Heera.

Why? Well, that’s what this tale is all about. But I’m sure you can guess.

You can see it once, Ajith and Heera are charming. But see Padayappa first and second. And third, and then if you feel like it....

Kala Krishnan-Ramesh

Mannaadiyaarpenninu Chengotachekkan (Malayalam)
LIDO (11.30 am.)

Yet another shrew to be tamed, yet another slapstick comedy. That sums up Anil Babus film.

There is nothing serious at all about this one from the moment go, when we are presented with three brothers of the Mannadiar family in the wobbly shapes of Innocent and two others, who terrorise the entire area! Their lives and loves have been laid at the altar of little’s sister Aarcha’s (Kanaka) command. They take to swords at a word from her and anybody who breathes her name is subdued by sheer ‘muscle’ power. Into this scenario happens a young lawyer, Sethuraman (Mukesh) of Chengota.

He worms himself into the hearts of the brothers, much to bet unjustifiable wrath. And starts getting the brothers to revolt against Aarcha’s norms. The story unfolds. Of a woman who cannot stand men and married lives, a woman who gets married to a man just for the kick of jilting him on his much-awaited first night. And of a man who takes vows at the altar all too seriously and pursues his wife, however wickedly she treats him. Finally, all’s well that’s ends well and the audience also can leave sans the usual tears. With Kalabhavan Mani and Jagadi leading a team of comedians, there are plenty of laughs here.

Jayalakshmi K







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