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Friday, June 15, 2001

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Film Review: Citizen


JUST AS you think ``not a story of revenge again'', ``Citizen'' makes you sit up. A slow starter, this NIC Arts' production picks up momentum after the first half and peaks to a climax, with a difference.

Written and directed by Sharavanan Subbiah who makes his debut with ``Citizen'', every frame reveals the diligence and industriousness that have gone into the making of the film. Sharavanan Subbiah deserves to be applauded for racking his brains and coming out winner.

``Citizen'' would be a definite milestone in Ajit's acting career. And well aware of the scope of the role, the actor has worked hard. If Vasundhara Das as the heroine has little to do by way of histrionics, Nagma's role enacted with competence, comes as a surprise package.

Her agility and obvious enthusiasm to make the most of her character of police officer Sarojini Harichandran, is pathetically impeded by the harsh and deafening voice that has dubbed for her. A voice that is too jarring for words.

Sharavanan Subbiah's intelligence is also seen in his choice of artistes for the various roles - be it Pandu, Pandyan, Nagma, Meena or VMC Haneefa, the director has projected each one differently.

Born as Arivanandam, brought up as Antony and later rechristened Abdullah, the hero (Ajit) is all out to wreak vengeance on a judge, a collector and a DGP.

The reasons unfold later in court. Incidentally, Abdullah switching over to chaste Tamil in the court all of a sudden is reminiscent of Sivaji Ganesan's court scene in `Parasakthi'.

The culprit calling himself ``Citizen'' time and again reminds one too much of Kamal's ``Indian''.

Kanal Kannan is in charge of the stunts. Sadly the cinematic valour of the hero in the fight scenes has nothing natural about it.The hyped highpoint of the film, the various kinds of make-up that Ajit dons, at times prove to be a sore point - for instance when he comes in the guise of a politician.

The face, a caricature, looks so blatantly made-up in these scenes with not an iota of subtlety about them. `Nizhalgal' Ravi's make-up too has a touch of the bizarre.

There is an unwanted loudness in the re-recording, which, coupled with Nagma's `voice' makes it ear-shattering, especially in the scene where the police officer orders for the digging up of the shores of the sea.

It is puzzling that Sarojini Harichandran who makes so much headway in the case and leads everyone to the culprit, vamooses from the scene abruptly in the climax in court.

`You've heard this before' is what one feels when you listen to Deva's numbers. Vasundhara Das and Ajit look obviously plump in the ``Siki Muki'' song.

Slick editing by Sreekar Prasad, appreciable art direction by Sabu Cyril (especially in the song sequences) and commendable camera work by Ravi K. Chandran deserve special mention.Not everything about ``Citizen'' is plausible, nevertheless kudos to the creator's hard work.

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

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