Prema Prema Prema (Kannada)
Renowned film-maker Siddalingaiah has signed rank newcomers once again. Known for films like Bangarada Manushya, Bhootayyana Maga Ayyu and Mayor Muthanna, to name a few, Siddalingaiah lends his magic touch to this film too.
Siddalingaiah, known for rural themes in all his films, has taken up Ramdas’s novel story Talemaaru this time and adapted the novel to the silver screen. One may have seen umpteen number of films in rural settings, but Prema Prema Prema manages to keep the audience engaged despite various inconsistencies. The film basically deals with a young couple Srinivasa (Suresh Raj) and Savithri (Sindhu) who love each other, but keep having frequent tussles. Thanks to elders, they wriggle out of these situations.
Rajan-Nagendra’s music is pleasing. Atri’s voice reminds you of the legendary P B Srinivas. Cinematography and sound recording leave a lot to be desired.
A clean and wholesome family entertainer!
Summer in Bethlehem (Malayalam)
LIDO (11.30 am)
A fun and family entertainer, even if dragging at times. There are songs, catchy tunes, dances with glamorous settings and backdrops, and a beautiful location which may set you on the trail of this Bethlehem in humara Bharat. Surprisingly, the movie directed by Sibi Malayil, has few melodramas and no focus. Perhaps, that is why a certain punch is missing. It gently wafts around and is gone, leaving a song on your lip.
The story revolves around Ami (short for Abbirami, played by Manju Warner, the naughty and adored one in a big family of grandparents and children. When the whole lot descend on Bethlehem Estate, which they believe belongs to cousin Ravi (Jairam), Dennis (Suresh Gopi) the real owner moves aside to play partner. Five cousins are of marriageable age’ and Ravi has only to chose to inherit grandpapa’s millions. There are some pranks and a mysteriously courier-delivered kitten which add to his confusion. Meanwhile, Molali (Kalabhavan Mani) the helper boy match-makes for his boss and Dennis, the orphan finds himself in the throes of love, with what seems to be reciprocation. Till, the cat is out.
A revolutionary turned terrorist who finds himself behind bars, a young college girl who carries her adoration for him too far, a pleasant surprise for the audience in the end, and finally all’s well that ends well. Manju Warner looks becoming in the guise of a tomboy, smoking, drinking, horseriding and bashing up people. Suresh Gopi comes a winner with some restrained acting, proving his real mettle. Jairam is simply himself, though perhaps a bit overshadowed by Manju Warner and Suresh Gopi. Probably, because the roles are such. There is not much stress on any character, not leaving much scope for acting. Can’t really call it much of a story, either. A time-pass to relax and watch.
Kannezhuthi Pottumthottu (Malayalam)
NAGA (11 30 am)
For serious viewing definitely, with the spotlight on Manju Warner as Bhadra, the girl who has grown up to avenge her parents’ brutal death at the hands of the lecherous landlord Nateshan (Tilakan). Nothing new the landlord angle, you may think. Yes, but the maathe ka tilak this time adorns a woman and the plan she has is neat. No blood on her hands and two lechers finished at one stroke.
Some good songs and excellent acting make it worth your time. Tilakan as the old man who hasn’t had enough looks convincing though Biju Menon does not look quite the baddie. As to Abbas, the role could have been done by anyone. Kalabhavan Mani is again excellent and jerks some tears as the retarded soul. But it is Manju who takes the cake as the girl who entices the men and is satiated only with the death dance. If good acting is what you are seeking, see this one.
Ninai Virukkum Varal (Tamil)
This Prabhudeva starrer is like a faded xerox of some of his more successful films, the ones where he plays the poor boy, particularly where the dominant tone is that of the lower middle class.
Prabhu Deva did’t seem like hero material, but through his hero roles, the voice of the slum, the very lower middle classes in lingo, gesture, song and dance have been brought to the screen in a kind of unornamented way that wasn’t, before him. Ninai Virukkum Varai starts very badly, and the first half hour is sheer torture, filled with silly pratter and even sillier actions. But it gets better. The story is rich girl-poor boy stuff. But with a difference. The girl considers the boy a friend, and thinks that he would be offended were some one to suggest they marry. The girl’s (Keerthi Reddy) father actually gives his consent to such a marriage, but she waves it aside. The boy (Prabhu Deva) in the meantime, egged on by his mother and friends has come around to the idea of proposing to her. She at this point, tells him that he is her best friend, and how much she respects him for not doing the I-love-you routine. From then on, it’s a long row of self-effacing, sacrificing acts on his part. She gets engaged to a boy who she’s asked him to select the friendship thing lacks force here. Why is it that when two men or boys are such friends that they could give up everything for each other, it comes across as real. But the same between a man and a woman, doesn’t?
Anyway, here the tale that seems all set for a dull end, takes a sudden, and really totally unexpected turn the girl’s fiancee has AIDS. One must commend the director, screenplay writer, the story person for putting this in. It’s quite amazing — the last half hour or more is about AIDS, in very human images. Keerthi Reddy is probably the nicest thing about this film, together with the actor who plays the goonda. The screenplay, story, dialogues and the direction are all by K Subash
Kala Krishnan Ramesh