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Friday, September 28, 2001

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Film Review: Pandavar Bhoomi


WHEN WAS the last time one saw a film that made you want to rub your hands and cheer everyone associated with it? How long ago did one watch a film that made you feel there is still hope for Tamil cinema? It is time again for such reactions now. Inundated with talent from every quarter, comes Media Dreams' ``Pandavar Bhoomi''.

Strongstoryline, neat screenplay, clear characterisation, powerful dialogue and slick, confident direction - the new package from Cheran who is responsible for all the above, has all these and much more.

``PandavarBhoomi'' in keeping with the current trend, is again a story of brothers and sisters, love and jealousy, sentiment and sadness. But all these are strongly melded with incidents that unfold in an interesting manner.

A family of three brothers and a sister, (Raj Kiran, Chandrasekar, Ranjit and Kavitha) is forced to leave the native village after murders and mayhem.

Theyreturn after 12 years to re-establish links with their roots. The dilapidated house is demolished and constructed aesthetically all over again, thanks to civil engineer, Thamizharasan (Arun). Thamizharasan falls in love with Jeeva (Shamita) in the family. But initially conditions are not conducive enough for the romance to culminate in marriage.

The story has filial love but nobody goes overboard. It has brotherly attachment and sisterly affection, again within believable limits. There are young lovers but they are practical enough to accept both joy and disappointment without much ado.

Arun is one actor who has always done justice to the roles he plays. Here again as the hero Thamizharasan his emotions and expressions fill the bill perfectly. He is graceful in dance and effective in stunts. In is a pity that this talented young man gets opportunities so few and far between. Probably ``Pandavar Bhoomi'' will change all that.

Raj Kiran's subdued portrayal as the eldest brother is electrifying. There is no melodrama or over-acting even under the most trying of circumstances - such as the mother's death and the sister's murder.

The surprise packet, however, is the performance of Ranjit. He makes best use of the scene that revolves round him and makes the viewer's eyes moist. A superb cameo!

New find Shamita breaks the myth that looks alone matter for a heroine. With a simple, girl-next-door appearance she impresses with her natural essay, as Jeeva.

The scenes involving the carpenter and the labourers at the construction site are enjoyable. Charlie is at home in these sequences and so is Ilavarasu who earlier made a mark in Cheran's "Porkaalam". The dialogue is a striking aspect of the light scenes too.

Bharadwaj's music, especially in the background, is laudable. And so are the bewitching locations as seen through the lens of Thankar Bachchan.Negative aspects there are, like the juvenile symbolism of a vulture swooping down when the villain enters the scene, the villain entering his house and howling on seeing his father dead when the police is looking out for him right outside, and of course Vijayakumar's weird wig!

Yet ``Pandavar Bhoomi'' has to be welcomed, with open arms because decent, meaningful cinema deserves encouragement.

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

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