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"Ottran"

IT IS a role right up Arjun's alley. A straightforward police officer (all right, this time he is with RAW), one-man army, chivalrous, dynamic and astute. That's Karthik (Arjun), hero of Popular Films' "Ottran". What makes you sit up throughout the first half of the film is the screenplay that allows no room for sluggishness or dampeners. The film moves on at breakneck speed and by the time you take a breather it's intermission.

Vadivelu makes his appearance only in the second half with a stifling comedy track only to slow the pace to a great extent. His entry with the seductive Tejasvi mars the impact. Sudha (Simran) goes to Delhi to study fashion technology. Her brother Shiva (Shyamganesh) accompanies her. But matters turn awry with terrorists kidnapping Sudha and threatening dire consequences if Shiva refuses to help them out in Chennai. Shiva has to toe their line. He is forced to take three of them along to Chennai. Their mission is to meet another terrorist, Mohammad Ali, who is already in police custody. They stay at his home and his parents (Ambika and Sarathbabu), apart from a few superficial queries do not suspect any foul play. And that, despite Shiva's worried and constantly constipated look. For all that the father is an IG of police!

Son Shiva, for his part, makes a couple of futile attempts to seek help and save his sister, but then just gives up. Karthik enters posing as a cook, after which the three militants holed up in the house have a tough time. By the end there are too many loose ends to be tied up and the haste shows.

The three terrorists hiding in a police officer's house reminds you of the K. Balachander thriller, "Naanal" — there it was a case of four thieves and a police officer. Of course, the similarity ends there.

Terrific action Arjun style, coupled with sentiment and romance make the "Ottran" portrayal a cakewalk for the hero, who has proved his adeptness in such roles many a time. Arjun delivers the goods with the ease of a veteran. However Peter Hayne, the action choreographer, could have resorted to a more realistic line of fight sequences.

Simran is her fragile, chic self, with emotions in place. Sarathbabu is an actor who deserves to be utilised more often. And that the actor could do with a better-looking wig, is just another suggestion.

Ilankannan takes credit for the story, screenplay, dialogue and direction. Karthik's reason for not going for the villains' jugular straightway could have been stronger. All the same it is a fairly appreciable debut attempt for the director. Arjun's obsession for lengthy dialogue on the subject of patriotism is only too well known. The tendency to go overboard yet again has been reined in to a certain extent by Ilankannan.

P. Saisuresh's intelligent editing reduces the confusion that could have occurred due to the innumerable occurrences towards the end. Pravin Mani's background score is often too loud. "Oru Parvai", rendered by Srinivas and Sujatha, is a melodious piece.

"Ottran" is a treat for fans of action and Arjun in that order.

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

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